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Title: Remarks upon the First Report of the Royal Commission on Ritual in connection with the integrity of the Book of Common Prayer - A Lecture
Author: Mayow, Mayow Wynell
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Remarks upon the First Report of the Royal Commission on Ritual in connection with the integrity of the Book of Common Prayer - A Lecture" ***

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THE ROYAL COMMISSION ON RITUAL IN CONNECTION WITH THE INTEGRITY OF THE
BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER***


Transcribed from the 1868 Church Press Company (Limited) edition by David
Price, email ccx074@pglaf.org



                                 REMARKS
                                 UPON THE
             FIRST REPORT OF THE ROYAL COMMISSION ON RITUAL,
                 IN CONNECTION WITH THE INTEGRITY OF THE
                          BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER.


                                * * * * *

                                A Lecture
          DELIVERED AT THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE BRIGHTON BRANCH
               OF THE ENGLISH CHURCH UNION, NOV. 27, 1867,
                    (F. BARCHARD, ESQ. IN THE CHAIR,)

                                    BY
                       THE REV. M. W. MAYOW, M. A.

                 INCUMBENT OF ST. MARY’S, WEST BROMPTON,
                AND LATE STUDENT OF CHRIST CHURCH, OXFORD.

                                * * * * *

                     CHURCH PRESS COMPANY (LIMITED),
                   13, BURLEIGH STREET, STRAND, LONDON,
                AND G. WAKELING, ROYAL LIBRARY, BRIGHTON.
                                  1868.

                                * * * * *

It is right to state that the Brighton Branch of the English Church Union
kindly requested leave to publish the following Lecture.  It may be well
to add that it was likewise delivered at Bradford and Leeds.

                                * * * * *



REMARKS UPON THE FIRST REPORT OF THE
ROYAL COMMISSION ON RITUAL, ETC.


THE Executive of the Brighton Branch of the English Church Union, through
you, sir, their Chairman, have, too rashly, I fear, as well as too
kindly, supposed that I might have something to say upon the above
subject which may repay this assemblage of Churchmen for their trouble in
coming here this evening.  It is certainly not for me to say you have
deluded them, but rather, without wasting time in apology, to do my best
to save (if it may be so) your credit and my own; and, what is of more
consequence, to throw some light upon the very important matter to which
my remarks are to be directed.  At any rate, the great importance of the
subject itself and the imminent likelihood of some action being taken to
disarrange or subvert the present standing of the Church of England by an
alteration in her Book of Common Prayer will ensure your deep interest,
and, I do not doubt, secure me an indulgent hearing; whilst the very
large and influential, and,—I think it will be on all hands allowed,—most
successful meeting held last week in London, gives an additional reason
for strengthening, if it may be so, the action then taken by diffusing as
widely as possible information as to the dangers apprehended, and the
means of resistance to be used in order to preserve its integrity.

It is a trite saying just now that there is a great crisis in Church
affairs; but I think it must be allowed to be not less true than trite,
even after making all allowance for the magnitude with which the time
present always invests things present.  In secular and material warfare
it may be that sometimes an underrating difficulties, a blindness to the
peril, is the very cause and means of safety or success.  But in assaults
like the present, where the battle-field is the Law and Order of the
Church, where the contest is carried on not with sword or spear, but with
the keen weapons of intellectual and moral contention, where very much
turns and must turn upon the enlistment of public opinion upon this side
or that; where prejudice, and ridicule, and sneer, and scoff, appealing
constantly to the irreverence and perverseness of the evil side of human
nature, backed up in large measure, as might be expected, by a licentious
and unbelieving press, adapting itself to a licentious and unbelieving
age; where these things are the daily engines of assault, there would
seem to be no safety in shutting our eyes to the danger, merely hoping
that all “will come some strange way right at last.”  Especially when the
assault is made upon doctrine, either directly or indirectly, (for if it
be upon ceremonial representing doctrine it is indirectly upon doctrine
itself,) when it takes the form of assault upon the integrity of the
Prayer Book, and the Catholic _status_ of the Church of England in
connection with it, we must be wise, and wary, and far-seeing to the
utmost of our vision, if we would duly organize our defence and fight
_well_ the battle for God’s Church and Gods Truth.  We must indeed try
not to exaggerate anything, but we must also endeavour not to underrate
any real danger which exists, and especially not suffer our citadel to be
undermined, whilst we are merely regarding a plausible or fair surface.

There seems, too, to be a peculiar and apt propriety in this term crisis,
as applied to the present aspect of Church affairs.  It is not merely
that there is a great _danger_, but a danger coming to a head, which, if
happily now overcome, will again subside.  Johnson gives as the first
sense of crisis, “The point in which the disease kills or changes to the
better;” and, as the second, “The point of time at which any affair comes
to the height,” according to the exact use of the word by Dryden:—

    Now is the very _crisis_ of your fate,
    And all the colour of your life depends
    On this important Now.

And we may well believe that if the present dangers which beset the
Church of England be overcome, God may have in store for her a very
glorious future indeed, even to her being a great instrument in His hand,
not merely for the spreading His Kingdom here at home, but also (may He
in mercy grant it) for the restoration of the Unity of Christendom, and
thereby for the Evangelization of the world.  As our hopes of this must,
however, depend upon her being able to maintain her Catholicity, so must
we watch with the most jealous care, and resist with the firmest
constancy all which shall impair, her maintenance of Catholic truth and
that position which God of His mercy has hitherto permitted her to hold.

One great means of her maintaining this position is the maintaining
untouched her Book of Common Prayer, and therefore there is and must be
need of the most careful watchfulness as to every threatening of assault
upon it.

Now I affirm without hesitation that the first Report of the Royal
Commission, appointed, to use its own terms, “to enquire into the
Rubrics, Orders, and Directions for regulating the course and conduct of
public worship, &c., &c., according to the use of the United Church of
England and Ireland,” threatens, and even leads, such an assault.  And
this gives the connection of the two parts of my subject as announced to
you in the title of this Lecture.

As to this threatening or assault contained in the Report, take a witness
the most unexceptionable perhaps of any who may be found anywhere, and
one whose testimony is only the more convincing as to the danger because
he himself does not see it at all, so that it is impossible to suppose
him to be straining anything to make a case.  Nay, he does not consider
what he himself suggests or advocates as a measure carrying out the
recommendations of the Report, or as a means to remedy certain
embarrassments, to be an alteration in the Prayer Book at all.  In his
recent Charge, the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol (himself one of the
Commissioners), after considering and dismissing as useless or dangerous,
or otherwise inadmissible, several other plans, recommends this:—“A
simple and positive enactment declaring what shall be, and be considered
to be, the ministerial dress, until further order be taken concerning the
same by lawful authority.”  And he adds;—“This of course must be by
direct legislation.  We may shrink from it,” he continues, “but in my
judgment it is now inevitable.  The very appointment of the Commission
seems to involve it, and the general temper of the country will demand
it.” {6}  If the Bishop’s witness is that the mere appointment of the
Commission seems to involve a legislative measure touching the Prayer
Book, how much more does its Report—leading even such a man as the Bishop
on to advocate it—shew that here is _more_ than a threatening of assault
upon it!

Perhaps we shall have something by and by to add upon the views and
recommendations of the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol’s Charge.  At
present I merely cite this passage as an evidence that the appointment
and work of the Royal Commission tend directly to an alteration in the
Book of Common Prayer, because such an enactment as is here contemplated
would be, I must venture to affirm, whatever his lordship may suppose, a
repeal of the Rubric on Ornaments as it stands, and has stood since the
last revision.  To this, however, I shall have occasion to refer again in
the sequel.

But now let us turn for a little while to the Report itself, as issued by
the Commissioners on the nineteenth of August, 1867.  After reciting the
matters for enquiry contained in their appointment, the Commissioners
say:—“We, your Majesty’s Commissioners, have, in accordance with the
terms of your Majesty’s Commission, directed our first attention to the
question of the vestments worn by the ministers of the said United Church
at the time of their ministration, and especially to those the use of
which has been lately introduced into certain churches.”  They
proceed:—“We find that whilst these vestments are regarded by some
witnesses as symbolical of doctrine, and by others as a distinctive
vesture whereby they desire to do honour to the Holy Communion as the
highest act of Christian worship, they are _by none regarded as
essential_, _and they give grave offence to many_.”

From this premiss they arrive at the following conclusion:—“We are of
opinion that it is expedient to restrain in the public Services of the
United Church of England and Ireland _all variations_ in respect of
vesture from that which has long been the established usage of the said
United Church; and we think that this may be best secured by providing
_Aggrieved Parishioners_ with an easy and effectual process for complaint
and redress.”  They then state that they have not yet arrived at a
conclusion how best effect may be given to this recommendation, but they
have (they say {7}) “deemed it to be their duty in a matter to which
great interest is attached not to delay the communication to her Majesty
of the results at which they have already arrived.”

Now from this, which is the whole substance of the Report, it is evident
that the conclusions of the Commissioners are wholly based upon the
ground that the vestments are “by none regarded as essential,” whilst
“they give grave offence to many.”  And of course the stress of the
argument, such as it is, rests upon their being admitted to be
_non-essential_; because, if they were _essential_, the consideration of
their giving grave offence to however many would be no reason at all for
restraint in the matter.  A thousand things give offence to a world lying
in wickedness which are only all the more to be proclaimed and declared
on that account.  The “offence of the Cross” has not “ceased” now any
more than it had in S. Paul’s day.  It is well known and widely spread,
but this affords no reason for restraining the preaching of the Cross.

But it may be said, admitting all this, yet as these vestments are
confessed to be _un_essential, the conclusion is very sound that their
use should be restrained; and, in fact, a great deal has been made on all
hands amongst the advocates of restraint of this the solitary argument of
the Commissioners.  There is often a sort of triumphant appeal:—“The
Ritualists themselves admit the vestments to be non-essential.  What can
be the hardship or evil of compelling them to give them up?”

Let us examine this view a little more closely, and see whether there be
not a lurking fallacy running through the whole argument.

In the first place, more than one of the witnesses has repudiated the
admission of the non-essentiality of these things; and even granting that
the term may have been used, it is a further question in what application
or connection.  Essential is a relative term, depending as to its sense
on the context in which it occurs, or the subject matter upon which it
bears.  It needs, therefore, in each case to be asked, Essential to what?
To the _being_ or to the _well-being_?  There is here a great and
important difference.  It is quite true that no one maintains that the
vestments are essential to the office of the priesthood, or to the
validity of any priestly act.  But they may be essential to the giving
due expression to the act; and to give this due expression may be
essential to the salvation of many.  Or yet further, the _thing itself_
may be unessential as to the validity of acts done, and yet the _liberty_
to use it may be of essential importance—aye, even though it may give
grave offence to some, perhaps to many.

An illustration may possibly help us to estimate the true value of the
Commissioners’ argument, or, as I should rather say, their sophism.  And
it seems very important to shew that it is a sophism, because the
paragraph in question in their Report is the one thing reiterated over
and over again by the advocates of legislation or repression.  It is the
stock argument, the only argument on which the demand for change is
based; and it is often urged as if it were irresistible, and there were
no reply to it.  Let us, then, examine it, and try to see its true force.

Now there is, as it seems to me, a very apt illustration of its fallacy
in a matter of ceremonial treated of in the 30th Canon, and a matter,
too, be it observed, where the ceremonial referred to, and defended, was
certainly not an essential of Christianity, and as certainly, at the
time, gave grave offence to many.

The 30th Canon, by far the longest and most elaborate of the Canons of
1603, treats of “the lawful use of the Cross in Baptism.”  The grave
offence taken at this usage is declared in the very first words of the
Canon—“We are sorry that his Majesty’s most princely care and pains taken
in the Conference at Hampton Court, amongst many other points touching
this one of the Cross in Baptism, hath taken no better effect with many,
but that the use of it in Baptism is so gravely stuck at and impugned.”
And then the Canon, instead of upon this account recommending that the
use be restrained, or that persons aggrieved (“Aggrieved Parishioners”)
should have provided for them “an easy and effectual process for
complaint and redress” instead of this, the Canon goes on to give various
godly reasons why the usage should be retained, even though it gave this
grave offence—aye, and though the cause of the offence was its being
supposed to have a savour of Rome, and though it was a matter in itself
indifferent.  Without reciting the whole Canon we may remark that the
reasons stated are exactly such as, _mutatis mutandis_, might be applied
to the very ceremonial brought under censure by the Commissioners; such
as, that whilst some derided it, others valued it and were edified by it;
that it brought into sight and kept in men’s minds certain great truths
of the Gospel; that it had the weight and authority of wide-spread and
Catholic use; that not all which was of Roman belief or practice was to
be condemned, &c., &c.  So the Canon says “it is to be observed that
although the Jews and Ethnics derided both the Apostles and the rest of
the Christians for preaching and believing in Him Who was crucified upon
the Cross; yet all, both Apostles and Christians, were so far from being
discouraged from their profession by the ignominy of the Cross, as they
rather rejoiced and triumphed in it.”  Again, that “the honour and
dignity of the name of the Cross begat a reverend estimation even in the
Apostles’ times (for aught that is known to the contrary) of the sign of
the Cross, which the Christians shortly after used in all their actions.”
And although the Synod goes on to “confess that in process of time the
sign of the Cross was greatly abused in the Church of Rome,” yet it
affirms in the plainest and most unhesitating manner the great principle,
that “the abuse of a thing doth not take away the lawful use of it;” and
adds, even further, “Nay, so far was it from the purpose of the Church of
England to forsake and reject the Churches of Italy, France, Spain,
Germany, or any such like Churches, in all things which they held and
practised, that, as the Apology of the Church of England confesseth, it
doth with reverence retain those ceremonies which doth (do) neither
endamage the Church of God nor offend the minds of sober men; and only
departed from them in those particular points, wherein they were fallen
both from themselves in their ancient integrity, and from the Apostolical
Churches which were their first founders; in which respect, amongst some
other very ancient ceremonies, the sign of the Cross in Baptism hath been
retained in this Church.”  Now, all this seems to me not irrelevant to
many other ceremonies besides the sign of the Cross, and indeed to have a
very close bearing upon the principles on which a high Ritual may be
defended.  But this is not all.  We come next to a point especially and
peculiarly to our purpose, for the Canon, going on to say that the sign
of the Cross is retained “with such sufficient cautions and exceptions
against . . . superstition and error as in the like cases are either fit
or convenient,” proceeds to instance some of these cautions and guards;
and the very first in the list is this, that the ceremony in question is
unessential.  The “vestments are by none regarded as essential,” and
therefore abolish them, says the Report.  The sign of the Cross is
unessential, and therefore retain it, says the Canon.

Mark this a little more fully, for what can be more aptly illustrative of
the Commissioners’ argument?  The Canon does not merely confess and
admit, but claims has an advantage and reason for the retention of the
usage, that it is not in any way essential to the Sacrament of Baptism.
So it says, “First, the Church of England, since the abolishing of
Papery, hath ever held and taught, and so doth hold and teach still, that
the sign of the Cross used in Baptism is no part of the substance of that
Sacrament: for when the Minister, dipping the infant in water, or laying
water upon the face of it, (as the manner also is,) hath pronounced these
words, _I baptize thee in the Name of the Father_, _and of the Son_, _and
of the Holy Ghost_, the infant is fully and perfectly baptized.  So as
the sign of the Cross, being afterwards used, doth neither add any thing
to the virtue and perfection of Baptism, nor being omitted, doth detract
any thing from the effect and substance thereof.”  Nor is this all.
Another paragraph follows, insisting upon the same thing with a second
reason, shewing forth still the value of the ceremony, though
unessential.  “Secondly, it is apparent in the Communion Book, that the
infant baptized is, by virtue of Baptism, before it is signed with the
sign of the Cross, &c., received into the congregation of Christ’s flock,
as a perfect member thereof, and not by any power ascribed unto the power
of the Cross.  So that, for the very remembrance of the Cross, which is
very precious unto all them who rightly believe in Jesus Christ, and in
the other respects mentioned, the Church of England hath retained still
the sign of it in Baptism; following therein the primitive and
Apostolical Churches, and accounting it a lawful outward ceremony and
honourable badge, whereby the Infant is dedicated to the Service of Him
that died upon the Cross, as by the words used in the Book of Common
Prayer it may appear.”  This very confession, then, of its being, first,
no essential part of the Sacrament; nor, secondly, essential to any one’s
being received as a perfect member of Christ’s flock;—is a safeguard and
security, it is argued, against any error or superstitious veneration of
the sign of the Cross, and so it ought, for its other values to be
retained.  How near is this to what the Commissioners, upon the evidence
before them, might justly have said in relation to the vestments; where
in the indifferency of the ceremonial in question they can only find an
argument for restraint or abolition.  Surely they might not have been far
wrong, on the ground both of reason and Scriptural authority, had they,
after the pattern of the Canon, asserted the vesture in question to be “a
lawful outward ceremony and honourable badge, whereby” more honour is
intended and done “unto the Service of Him,” and the blessed Sacrament of
_His_ Body and Blood, “that died upon the Cross.”

But the Canon has yet another argument bearing upon the duty of using
(not abolishing) things indifferent (nonessentials in other words) when
ordered by the law of the Church.  “Lastly,” it says, “the use of the
sign of the Cross in Baptism being thus purged from all Popish
superstition and error, and reduced in the Church of England to the
primary institution of it, upon those true rules of doctrine concerning
things indifferent, which are consonant to the Word of God and the
judgment of all the ancient Fathers, we hold it the part of every private
man and other reverently to retain the true use of it prescribed by
public authority: considering that things indifferent do in some sort
alter their natures, when they are either commanded or forbidden by a
lawful magistrate; and may not be omitted at every man’s pleasure
contrary to the law when they be commanded, nor used, when they are
prohibited.”  Is there nothing here to justify such as simply obey the
authority of the Rubric?

There is a passage in the answers of the Bishops to the Nonconformist
divines at the Savoy Conference, which aptly illustrates this statement
of the Canon, and is of the more moment because it shews that the mind of
those who managed that controversy in 1661 was entirely in harmony with
that of the framers of the Canons in 1603; and as the Savoy Conference
was the immediate precursor of the Convocation of the next year, which in
substance ratified and adopted its recommendations in the last revision
of our Prayer Book, those Episcopalian divines may well be taken as the
exponents of the mind of the very Convocation which passed the Rubric
upon ornaments.

We find the following among their replies to the objections of the
Nonconformists in relation to things indifferent in themselves.  “Whereas
the Nonconformists plead that they cannot obey the commands of the Church
for fear of violating the precept which forbids adding to the Word of God
(Deut. xii. 32): We answer, those Ministers do not well consider that it
is no addition to the Word of God to command things for order and decency
provided they are enjoined only as regulations of human authority.  And
supposing some persons continue perplexed and under scruples, the Church
may, notwithstanding, without sin, insist upon compliance with decent
ceremonies; and all this without being guilty of offending our weak
brethren, for here the offence is _taken_, not _given_.  It is the
prejudice and mistake of the scrupulous person that disturbs himself.”  A
somewhat more exact discrimination as to causes of offence than the
Commissioners seem to have “dreamed of in their philosophy!”  But the
Bishops of 1661 continue, “Neither will the case of St. Paul not eating
flesh if it offended his weak brother give any support to the objection.
For here, it must be observed, the Apostle speaks of things not commanded
by God, or His Church, of matters which had nothing of decency or
significancy for religious purposes, and therefore in a case thus
unconnected with Divine worship St. Paul was willing to resign his
liberty rather than offend his brother.”  Surely a remark not without a
very close significance in defence of those who are unwilling to forego
what they deem so important to the due celebration of Divine Service,
even though some are offended at it.  “But if any man should venture to
break a just law or custom of the Church, the Apostle marks him for a
contentious person (1 Cor. xi. 16).”  Has this no bearing upon objectors
now?  And the Bishops continue, “That these ceremonies have occasioned
many divisions, as it is pretended, is no more their fault than the
misunderstandings between the nearest relations, accidentally consequent
upon the preaching of the Gospel (Luke xii.) can be fairly charged upon
the Christian religion.” {13}  Have our present Commissioners duly
regarded all this in their hasty conclusion?

To sum up:—these arguments, if not pressed to the full as to sin or fault
in those who may not use or carry out a prescribed ceremonial in all
circumstances, such as, for instance, long desuetude, may, at the very
least, one would think, be of sufficient weight defensively for such as
have merely obeyed the Law to prevent hard words being used either by
Royal Commissioners, or any others in high places, towards those, I say,
whose offence is merely that they have thus obeyed it.  And the fact of a
ceremony, significant, though giving offence, being thus prescribed by
the Canon, and others of like kind, contended for by the Savoy
Episcopalian Divines, though confessed to be _things indifferent_, gives
a special application of the whole to the one argument of the
Commissioners concerning the vestments being “regarded by none as
essential.”  For let it be well observed that the argument of the Canon
is; This ceremony, the sign of the Cross, though derided by Ethnics and
Jews, is rejoiced in by the Apostles; it begets a reverend estimation in
regard to a Sacrament: even the abuse of a thing doth not take away the
lawful use (no, not when the abuse has been by Rome).  The usage is
indifferent, non-essential, in itself, and the conclusion is, it is all
the more to be retained.  Moreover, being ordered by lawful authority, it
ought not to be made light of, or objected to.  In which principles the
divines of the Savoy Conference and the last revisers of our Prayer Book
agree.  Surely, then, these authorities in all this are as widely
divergent from the views and reasoning of the Royal Commissioners as east
is from west, or black from white.  And the whole comparison teaches us
much as to the value of their one argument, which I have ventured to call
a sophism, as to the vestments being “by none regarded as essential.”
Moreover, if Bishop Sanderson’s remark is sound, that “to take away the
indifferency of things indifferent is superstition,” it will not be hard
to decide between those who reverently use, and those who bitterly
denounce, the vestments, which are the _superstitious_ persons in the
present controversy.

But let us proceed to another point.  I said, that even when a thing or
usage may be in itself not essential, yet the liberty to use it may be
highly essential, and this, in spite of its giving grave offence to many.
Take a brief illustration of this.  We all know there was a time when the
marriage of the clergy gave grave offence to many.  Suppose at such
period a Royal Commission had been appointed to inquire into the
importance of the celibacy of the clergy.  Say the Commissioners had
reported, “We have examined many witnesses, married and unmarried.  We
find considerable difference of opinion.  But we find that by none, even
among the married clergy, is the marriage of priests regarded as
essential to any priestly act, whilst their marriage gives grave offence
to many.  We are therefore of opinion that it is expedient to enforce a
greater uniformity of practice by restraining the marriage of priests,
and admitting no deviation from what has been a long-established usage in
the Church, &c. &c.”  Now no one among us will deny the fact of marriage
being unessential to the functions of the priesthood, and yet the liberty
to marry may be very essential indeed to the welfare of the Church.  This
liberty, for “Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, as for all other Christian
men, to marry at their own discretion, as they shall judge the same to
serve better to godliness,” was at any rate thought essential enough to
be made the subject of one of our Articles.  And surely this may shew
something as to the weight to be attached to the one argument of the
Commissioners, for the “opinion” which they put out, and the conclusion
at which, on this sole basis, they arrive.

There is one point, further, which I should like briefly to touch upon
before leaving this matter of essential or non-essential, for it shews
how very carelessly or unscrupulously the Commissioners have done their
work, and made their Report.  The citation, which in its commencement
they give from the Commission appointing them, contains these words: that
“it is expedient that a full and impartial enquiry should be made into
the matters aforesaid,” viz. ornaments, vestments, and such like, “with
the view of explaining or amending the said rubrics, orders, and
directions, so as to secure general uniformity of practice _in such
matters as are essential_.” {15}  Now, observe, by their own shewing, by
the evidence they adduce, by the one argument they advance, they
recommend changes to secure a greater uniformity in things which are _not
essential_!  Their own very statement about these things, their sole
ground on which they form their opinion and base their recommendation,
is, that in regard to those witnesses whom they have examined, they (the
ornaments or vestments) are by none _regarded as essential_.  They accept
and endorse this; and then, in spite of the terms of their commission to
enquire how to secure a general uniformity of practice in _such __things
as are essential_, the only recommendation which they make is upon that
which they proclaim to be _unessential_, and what is more, upon the very
ground of its being _unessential_! {16}

But now, having considered the Commissioners’ one reason, and their
“opinion,” and their consequent recommendation, we must come a little
more particularly to examine their proposed mode of operation.  It is
true they here become vague and uncertain.  They think “it is expedient
to restrain in the public services of the Church all variations in
respect of vesture from that which has long been the established usage,
&c.” and, “that this may be best secured by providing aggrieved
parishioners with an easy and effectual process for complaint and
redress.”—(Report, p. vii.)  But as to the details of this provision, as
to “the best _mode_ of giving effect to these conclusions,” they are not
yet prepared with their scheme.

Perhaps this is all very natural, and it may be very fortunate.  We may
be thankful that we have not a scheme devised, to carry out their
proposal, as crude as the proposal and the Report itself.  But though
these details are not before us, and we have a little respite before they
come, we are not without some indication as to what they are likely to
be; and we shall do well to use the time we have before they actually
take definite shape, in providing as far as possible to thwart any
pernicious principles which may be embodied in them.

Now I affirm, and I think I shall be able to shew, that the remedy to be
provided for the “aggrieved parishioner,” by which he is to be enabled by
law to make complaint of, and obtain redress as to variations in respect
of vesture, (where being legal they yet displease him,) can _only_ be by
an alteration in the Book of Common Prayer.  I am not saying, remember,
that a due and a great regard is not to be had for the feelings, and even
the prejudices, of our people; though it can hardly be denied that it is
very desirable these prejudices should be met, and these feelings
directed by careful enlightenment, into a more reverent estimation of
holy things, than prevailed some years since.  If the _usage_ of Church
ritual which reigned, say, thirty, or forty, or fifty years ago, had been
stereotyped at any time as that which should be established for ever in
our Church, we should certainly have had a state of things perpetuated
which most of us would now regard as an immense spiritual misfortune, and
at which we should be wholly ashamed and grieved.  But what we have to
consider in relation to this Report is not at all this regard, on the
part of the clergy, for the feelings of their people, but the putting
into their hands a positive and express legal process of remedy and
restraint, where any change from long-established custom, however
accordant with the law, is proposed to be adopted.  And I say
unhesitatingly, that such redress, redress of such a nature, for the
so-called “aggrieved parishioner,” can only be by a repeal of the Rubric.
This surely is plain on the very face of the matter.  For the Prayer Book
gives the law (Church Law and State Law in one) as to what vesture or
ornament shall be used; and what power on earth can give the aggrieved
parishioner a right or power to interfere with this law, as much statute
law as any other thing in the statute book, but the repeal of the law?
There is no other conceivable mode.  What can restrain a priest from
complying with the law of his Church and the law of the land? what can
make it penal to obey it, but the repeal of the said law?  This may be
done directly or indirectly.  It may be done explicitly or implicitly;
but done it must be if any one or any number of aggrieved parishioners
are to be empowered to restrain their parish priest from, not, observe,
the mere impulse of his own fancy, but from an obedience to that which is
the law of his Church, and the statute law of the land, as laid down in
the Prayer Book.

This seems evident enough in the very nature of things.  And therefore if
we value the Prayer Book as it is, and the _status_ of the Church of
England as in such large measure depending upon it, we have every right,
and more than the right, the duty, to be up and stirring to defend it,
under the assault upon its integrity which this, the present Report,
threatens.  Indeed, under such intimations as we have, where “coming
events cast their shadows before,” it seems to me that it would be
absolute infatuation to wait until the attack is more matured, and the
danger nearer, before organizing every mode and means of defence and
resistance to that which is already so obviously impending.

But we are not even left to our own mere reasoning, or natural
anticipations, to guide us to the mode in which the Commissioners must be
prepared to carry out their opinion and recommendation.  We have a light
thrown upon this, in a lucid commentary upon the bare Report, furnished
us by one of the Commissioners.  I have already alluded to it.  The
recent Charge of the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol not only deals with
the question of Ritual itself, but specifically, in relation to it, with
the modes in which the recommendation of the Report may be carried out;
and I will venture to affirm, even in the face of his Lordship’s
disclaimer as to the mode which he himself advocates being an alteration
in the Prayer Book, that there is not one of the courses suggested
(except the course of leaving the matter to the decision of the Courts,
which he at once rejects,) that does not involve a repeal, direct or
indirect, of the rubric upon ornaments.  It will not be alien from, but
indeed very much to, our purpose to take his statements in some detail,
and see what they indicate as to the likely progress of the
Commissioners’ work.  Bishop Ellicott’s Charge in this relation is very
important, for it cannot but give us the key to what he at least will
press upon his brother Commissioners when again they meet, and perhaps is
now pressing upon them.

Let us turn to the Charge, and mark both its general tone and specific
recommendations as to high Ritual.  Having adverted to the “deteriorating
developement of the Ritual movement,” he says: {19}—“Reluctant as I am to
enter upon a subject of such difficulty and controversy, yet I feel it my
clear duty to place succinctly before you the present state of the
question, to endeavour dispassionately to estimate the real amount and
extent of the _evil_” (Bishop Ellicott has no doubts as to this term);
“and, lastly, to consider the remedies that have been proposed, and the
general counsel that may seem at this serious crisis most calculated to
bring back peace to our now disquieted Church.”  Then, after an
historical sketch, with remarks, shewing his lordship’s feelings upon the
subject, and a brief—almost, as it seems to me, a needless—apology for
the bishops for not having put down with a quick and strong hand certain
presumably _legal_ ornaments or usages, he proceeds to consider what may
be done in the way of remedy for the _evil_, as he deems it, of Ritual
representing doctrine, in the following terms:—

“Let us now,” he says, “leave the past, and with the past all antagonisms
and recriminations, and rather as calm, earnest, and loyal sons of the
Reformed Church of England, confer together as to what now remains to be
done.  Let us soberly and dispassionately consider what measures seem
wisest, what remedies most hopeful, at the present momentous crisis.  Let
us clear the ground by considering briefly some courses and remedies that
have already been proposed, and that probably will be reiterated with
pertinacity.  One proposed remedy is, the simple omission of the
Ornaments’ Rubric as in the Irish Book of Common Prayer; or its definite
and express repeal by some legislative measure.  This is a prompt remedy,
but a dangerous one—dangerous in part from reasons already adduced, in
part from the deep and rankling bitterness arising from the thus greatly
increased conviction that the law is really in favour of the use of
vestments, and being so is to be overridden by an unjust Act of
Parliament.  Two courses are always dangerous in this country; one is to
leave in the hearts of any party an enduring sense of injustice, a ready
political illustration of which is perhaps at once rising in the thoughts
of many of us; the other is, to come in direct conflict with that
constitutional principle which is embodied in the familiar and
traditional ‘_Nolumus leges Angliæ mutari_.’  We cannot, then, I think,
wisely adopt the remedy just mentioned.”

I imagine few of us will be disposed to question the justice of these
remarks, or to quarrel with the dismissal of this first proposed mode of
remedy.  But next he mentions another course, in these terms:—“Still less
wise should we be to adopt another but very dissimilar remedy that has
been pressed upon us, and will probably be pressed upon us with continued
earnestness.  This remedy may be considered as summed up in the following
formula:—‘Arm your bishops with more power, and then leave it to their
Fatherly wisdom to allow or disallow these innovations according to the
peculiarities of the case.’  In plainer words, let the bishop become,
instead of the administrator of the law, the manipulator of the law; and
let a want of reasonable uniformity, now dangerously great, be multiplied
tenfold.”

Observe here, before we proceed further, that this power of manipulation,
over and above being open to the objection which the Bishop notices of
multiplying diversities of practice, is in fact nothing else than setting
the bishop above the law as it exists, and is, therefore, as we said all
these remedies would be found to be, a repeal of the rubric which is the
present law.  But at any rate, here again, the Bishop rejects the
proposed mode of action, though, he says, we should “pause” upon it.

“On this remedy it is necessary to pause.  Every clear-headed man among
us must see, in the first place, that it is giving to bishops a power
which they have never even attempted to exercise, except in the unsettled
times which immediately followed the Reformation; secondly, that our
dioceses would exhibit varieties of usage dependent on the general views
and convictions of the bishop for the time being, and liable to be
altered when a successor came into his place; thirdly, that men of
advanced opinions would make every effort to get into the diocese of that
bishop who might be supposed, rightly or wrongly, most to favour
them—and, when there, would exercise a combined pressure which would be
very difficult to resist; fourthly, and lastly, that, after all, this is
but an ingenious expedient to postpone that settlement of the question
which common sense and common foresight now perceive to be inevitable.”

Without endorsing the concluding remark of the Bishop’s comment, we may
say that with great justice he condemns the remedy, though not expressly
upon the ground which I have mentioned as the strongest—viz., its setting
the bishop above the law, and so altering the Prayer Book.  He adds,
however, something more as to a modification of the plan of giving more
power to the bishops.

“We may, then, I think, fairly dismiss this proposed remedy as even less
hopeful than the first.  But there is a sort of phase and form of it, a
kind of intermediate course, which deserves more consideration.  The
proposed measure would be of this kind—to give the bishop not only power
to restrain, but to require him to stop, all Ritualistic innovations,
more especially in regard of vestments, whenever he might be appealed to
by a certain number of trustworthy parishioners.  The effect of this, of
course, would be to leave things alone where no complaint was preferred,
the justifying grounds being the uncertainty of the law on the one side,
and the deliberate preference shown by the parishioners for the mode of
conducting public worship then prevailing.  No doubt this, in some
degree, helps us over the plain difficulty we must expect to meet with in
those cases where Ritualistic practices have prevailed for some time
unopposed.  We must not disguise from ourselves that it will be extremely
difficult to bring back to simpler forms of worship a minister and a
congregation that have not only been accustomed to, but deliberately
prefer, much more ornate forms; the putting off of these vestments will,
in some cases, involve much more difficulty and trouble than their
original introduction.  It is human nature to cling tenaciously to what
is distinctive, and this deposition of the distinctive will be
complicated by the assumed close connection between the vestment and the
doctrine.  All these great and real difficulties we have before us, and
we may feel at first inclined to favour that which seems to reduce their
dimensions, but I do venture to think here again that the dangers likely
to arise from thus practically leaving the matter unsettled, and still
more from the local discords that would be sure to arise during the
constant attempts that would be made to bring the prohibitory bishop in
some way or other on the scene, and the sad divisions that would follow
if the attempt succeeded—all these things, I fear, must lead us to decide
against a remedy, which, while saving us from some immediate
difficulties, would bequeath to us and to our children a heritage of
future difficulties and dangers far exceeding both in number and degree
the difficulties and dangers of the present.”

There is much truth in these objections, but the most potent objection of
all is, that here, again, as in all other modes proposed by way of
remedy, there is the real and tangible repeal of the Rubric; so an
alteration of the Prayer Book, and a manifest change in the _status_ of
the Church and of Churchmen.

The Bishop next touches upon another plan, which indeed is not a mode of
remedy (in the sense of making a change to meet the difficulty) at all,
which therefore does not lie open to the same objection.  The Bishop,
indeed, dismisses it at once as hopeless and useless, though it remains
to be seen whether it really be so.  I mean the due interpretation of the
law by the courts of law; which being done, to let the law alone, and the
Prayer Book alone, and the Church alone.  However he continues;—“But,
lastly, it may be said, is all hope entirely past of finally settling the
question by an appeal to the law courts, and thence to that highest
tribunal that has already had the impleaded rubric before it, though
under a somewhat different point of view?  Yes, I fear we must now say
that all hope is finally past.  The knot cannot now be laboriously
untied; it must be removed by gentle drawing out on either side, or—it
must be cut.  In the first place, the country at large would not now be
content to wait for what experience has shewn might be a long-delayed
issue.  It would be urged that such delay would only aid the progress of
innovation, and that now when a Commission has been appointed and has not
recommended a reference to law courts, it would be a practical retracing
of steps that would seriously add to our present disquietude.  To which
we may subjoin this comment—that even if a speedy reference to the
ultimate tribunal (by some thought possible) could be secured, the
decision now, after the startling evidence given before the Commission,
would not, it is to be feared, whichever way it might be, bring to us all
the blessing of peace and settlement.  If it were _for_ the Ritualists, a
prompt effort would be made to set aside the rubric by legislation; and
then bitterness, struggle, and all the evils above alluded to, in
connection with a sense of injustice, would at once be in malignant
working among us.  If it were _against_ the Ritualists, I now sadly fear,
after the painful language publicly used by many of them against those in
authority, and the disregard of the Convocation Resolutions of last year,
that they would decline to submit to the decision, force unwilling men to
put the law in action against them, accept the issue, and leave the
communion of the Reformed Church.”

There is much here from which I cannot do other than express most
strongly my dissent; for—

1.  Why should the rabid violence of all that is uncatholic and
unbelieving in the country be taken to be the voice of the country to
which heed is to be given?  The Canon before quoted, when it speaks of
offending the minds of men, is careful to say “the minds of sober men;”
but here it seems that all which is most violent, unreasoning, and
intemperate, is to be accepted as the mind of the country from which
there is no appeal.  Nay, more, as is evident, this temper is hounded on
to be even more violent and rabid, by such unseemly deference to its
clamour, and by the pusillanimous assertion that law and order must be
overridden because the impatience of such minds will not be content even
to wait till the law courts have spoken.

2.  Why should we not wait, if it be needful to wait, in order to
determine with all due care and deliberation what the law is upon the
main points brought into controversy—what it allows and what it
disallows?  This tremendous impatience, this overwhelming desire for
exterminating obnoxious Ritual and Ritualists, this awe-struck terror
that if these men, and their practices, and their teaching be only given
fair play, their opponents of the uncatholic school will be defeated, and
be found to have clamoured for illegal restraints—all this is surely the
most wonderful admission against themselves and their cause, which men
even pretending to seek truth and right could possibly make, and one
least likely to commend their cause and mode of action to any just and
honest mind.  Hear a few words upon this head from a venerable Archdeacon
(_venerabilis_ not merely by station and age, but by learning and
Christian wisdom also), one of whom England may well be proud.  In the
_Guardian_ of November 6 you will find a letter from Archdeacon Churton,
enforcing with very great weight Gamaliel’s advice, “Let these men
alone,” at the present momentous crisis.  Allow me to read a few lines
from it.  He says:—“The advice which alone can save the Church from a new
schism is plainly Gamaliel’s advice.  I am very sorry that so many of our
present bishops, younger men than myself, are averse from it, or uttering
uncertain sounds which I could never adopt without suspecting my own
magnanimity.  It is to be regretted that they do not rather seek to guide
a movement which has in it too many elements of good to be rudely
condemned; and that they do not speak first of vindicating the law before
they alter it.  On the contrary, however, they seem to contemplate a new
statute to establish, as if of perpetual obligation, certain vestments
invented by clerical tailors of the last century, at which S. Ambrose
would have stood aghast. . . .  One of our sacred legislators has
declared himself above all things anxious not to allow the Ritualists
time to plead their cause with the public.  It was the praise of Bishop
Henry Spencer in King Richard’s time, according to Walsingham, that he
gave the Lollards the shortest possible shrift-time for coming to their
senses.”

There is a passage much to the same purport which will well repay perusal
in the late Essay on “The Law of Ritualism,” by the Bishop of Vermont,
the Presiding Bishop of the United States, from which several extracts
are given in one of the Appendices to the Commissioners’ Report.
Consider the following passage in reference to the unjust impatience of
the day, and the plea for the allowance of fair time to test the merits
of the question.  His remarks are directed no doubt in the first instance
to America, but there is nothing to confine the reasoning to America
alone.  “Time,” says the Bishop, “and nothing but time, can decide the
question whether an increase of Ritualism is advisable, or whether the
present average of parochial practice is best fitted to carry on the work
of the Church in such a country as ours.  I doubt whether any man can
estimate with sufficient accuracy the various elements which belong to
such a subject so as to form anything like a _positive_ opinion.  Success
after all must be the ultimate standard.  And that can only be determined
_by time_, _after a fair trial_.” {26}  The Bishop proceeds to give his
opinion, however, upon the matter, which is well worthy of our
consideration.

“I am willing, however, to state my _impressions_, and the reader may
take them for what they may be worth, according to his own judgment.  I
incline, then, to regard it as most _probable_ that this Ritualism will
grow in favour by degrees until it becomes the prevailing system.  The
old, the fixed, and the fearful will resist it; but the young, the
ardent, and the impressible will follow it more and more.  The spirit of
the age will favour it, because it is an age of excitement and sensation;
the lovers of ‘glory and of beauty’ will favour it, because it appeals
with far more effect to the natural tastes and feelings of humanity; the
rising generation of the clergy will favour it, because it adds so much
to the solemn character of their office, and the interest of their
service in the House of God.  And the opposition arising from its
resemblance to Romanism will die away, as men learn to understand that
Popery does not consist in the Ritualism which it pleased the Lord to
order for His own chosen people, but in Papal and priestly despotism, in
false doctrine, in the worship of the Virgin and the Saints, in Purgatory
and Indulgences, in Transubstantiation and pretended miracles, in
persecution and intolerance, and in all the other perilous corruptions
which are in direct conflict with the unerring Word of God.  These, and
not matters of mere Ritual, are properly Romanism; and these, and only
these, called for the work of Reformation.” {27a}

I cannot resist the temptation to add a few words more from the Bishop’s
work, so aptly do they meet many of the popular prejudices and fallacies
pervading the unreflecting or intolerant public mind at the present time.
After some excellent remarks upon the symbolism of the ministerial
garments, their adoption under Divine command in the old dispensation,
and their naturally passing from the Jews to “the Gentiles on the
strongest ground of Scriptural consistency,” he adds, “there are many
good and respectable Christians in our day who regard this matter of
distinctive ministerial garments with contempt, and sometimes even with
positive aversion, because they look upon it as one of the corruptions of
Romanism.  But the ancient Church of God is not to be regarded with
contempt by any man who professes to believe the Bible.  That sacred
institution was Divine, and was given by the Almighty Himself to His own
chosen and peculiar people.  None but a fool would say that the Church of
the Jews had any connection with the system of Popery.  Nor will any
sensible man pretend that the Reformation of the 16th century was
occasioned by the dress or ecclesiastical order of the Church of Rome;
which are in no respect more splendid or imposing than the usages of the
Oriental Churches.” {27b}

And, further on, after having examined various points of evidence as to
the principles and law of the Church of England in the matter, he adds,
“to my mind, therefore, the legal position of our English brethren in
this matter of Ritualism is justifiable as to its main design, and stands
on a far higher ground of Scripture, law, and reason, than that of their
adversaries.  So long as the great doctrines of the Reformation are
faithfully preached by the clergy I can see no danger that a solemn,
rich, and attractive ritual will ever lead any one to Popery.  Is it not
more reasonable to believe that the restoration of the old ceremonial
which existed in the second year of Edward VI. would give our Church the
advantage which now forms the most alluring characteristic of Rome? . . .
Has not truth as good a right as falsehood to be adorned with beauty?
And is it to be questioned that religion should favourably affect the
senses, in order that it may better reach the soul?” {28a}

3.  But, to return more directly to Bishop Ellicott; I must enter my
protest against, and state my most absolute disbelief in, the correctness
of his opinion as to the last danger indicated in the passage last quoted
from his Charge, as to what would be the conduct of the ritualistic
clergy under a legal settlement of points in dispute. {28b}  It may be,
indeed, that if judgment should go in favour of the Ritualists their
opponents would be stirred up to any conceivable pitch of madness; but I
must wholly disclaim all belief that the great mass of those who have
adopted a high ritual would do other than accept the decision of the law
courts, if duly arrived at.  Even with our present most unsatisfactory
Court of Final Appeal, I should expect this, though it might be under
protest; but I do not believe they would refuse to submit to the
decision, I mean as to ceremonial, or persist in usages declared to be
not warranted by the present law of the Church.  It would, of course, be
another thing if any attempt were made to tie up their hands, or shut
their mouth, as to doctrine; but in regard merely to ceremonial I do not
believe they would justify the Bishop’s confident prediction, “force
unwilling men to put the law in action against them, accept the issue,
and leave the communion of the Reformed Church.”  I do not believe this
for a moment as the effect of a legal decision, duly given, or as duly as
it can be at present, as to what the law really is; dealing only, I say,
in its terms, with ceremonial, even though we should all perceive, it may
be, that it had a connection with doctrine.  Still this would not be the
making a new doctrine, but only declaring that the law of ceremonies was
less favourable to the expression by symbolism or otherwise of certain
doctrines than it had been supposed to be.  This, I think, they would
endure.  What might be their conduct, if you alter the law on purpose to
catch them when they were not offenders under it; if you _change_ the
Book of Common Prayer in an uncatholic direction, in a matter touching
doctrine; if you do this for a party purpose, and to uncatholicize the
Church of England, I do not pretend to say.  I will venture no prophecy
as to what some might be led to do under such an aggravated condition of
injustice.  I do not myself say, I do not myself think, that they ought,
even then, to “accept the issue, and leave the communion of the Reformed
Church.”  But it needs no ghost to tell us that such action taken on the
uncatholic side would be a step towards making catholic-minded men
_despair_ of the Church of England; and if England’s Convocations and
Legislature should do this, you may well judge, my friends, if they will
not have gone near with many to sever the last strand of the rope which
held them to her.  No man, I will venture to say, leaves her till he
despairs of her; and to alter the Prayer Book in a Puritan direction, and
for a Puritan purpose, directly at the bidding and for the interest of
Puritan innovators, is unquestionably the way to make men despair of her.
And awful, indeed, must be the responsibility of any one who has any hand
or takes any part in so doing!

But Bishop Ellicott comes next to the scheme of which he himself
approves, not indeed as free from all difficulty, but as the best mode
which he can think of to relieve the “Aggrieved Parishioner;” and as one
which he imagines to be free from the imputation of repealing any part of
the Prayer Book.  We must give the proposal in his own words.  Having, as
we have seen, rejected all the former plans mentioned, he says:—“We are
thus flung back on the difficult question: Is there any other course or
measure that may still be suggested, and that can with any degree of hope
be followed, in the present emergency?  In attempting to answer the
serious question, we must obviously base our answer on the sober and
considerate Report of the Royal Commission, and test it by its degree of
accordance with the two clearly defined principles of that Report.  The
two principles are—_First_, that it is expedient to _restrain_ all
variations in respect of vesture from what has _long_ been the
established usage, on account of the grave offence so given to many;
_Secondly_, that aggrieved _parishioners_ ought to be provided with an
easy and effectual process of complaint and redress.”  Then noticing that
the Report makes “an inferential but important recognition of the fact
that the innovators are of two classes—the one regarding the vestments as
symbolical of _doctrine_, the other as furthering a desire to do _honour_
to the highest act of Christian worship” (which after all seems to be a
false division, for those who desire to do this honour to the highest act
of Christian worship consider it, I apprehend, to be the highest act of
Christian worship, and are anxious to pay it this honour _on account_ of
the doctrine), the Bishop proceeds,—“The two parties do not agree in the
view they take of the meaning and design of Eucharistic vestments, but
they do agree in the admission that they are not essential to the
Sacrament.  As, then, that which is admitted to be not essential is
certainly an innovation on prevailing custom, and being so certainly does
give grave offence, it surely must be pronounced right, fair, and
reasonable, calmly and considerately, but still firmly, to restrain the
innovation, at any rate until further order be taken by authority, even
though the innovation may be able to plead to the letter of a law long
ago left in abeyance, and practically abrogated by custom.”

It is not unworthy here of remark how we have again cropping-up the old
story of the vestments being “not essential to the Sacrament,” and
“giving grave offence;” the fallacy and one-sidedness of which one
argument of the Commissioners, I trust, I have already shewn in both its
parts.  After some words further on the doctrine symbolized, on the
conduct of the clergy who use the vestments, and on the not unnatural
“fears in some minds that the settlement of the English Church of two
hundred years ago is about to be changed” (and truly here he has “harped
our fear aright”), he goes on to express his desire for an effectual
restraint.  “But we must not less recognize the plain fact that there is
a sad and pressing necessity now laid upon us by prevailing licence,
anarchy, and I fear disloyalty, to restrain; and that now restraint
_must_ be applied.  We must, then, solemnly ask those true hearts who may
deprecate, not for themselves, but for what they may deem the interests
of the Church, any authoritative application of restraint, to suspend for
a time even their own innocent longings and predilections, to acknowledge
with us the overwhelming nature of the necessity, and to join cordially
and hopefully, not the side of recklessness, scornfulness, and self-will,
but the side of recognition of rightful authority, moderation, and
order.”

“Brave words, indeed, as you shall see in a summer’s day,” but as it
seems to me wholly misapplied, when it is remembered that the
“recklessness, scornfulness, and self-will,” attributed to the
Ritualistic clergy have never, so far as I am aware, or as I think is
borne out by evidence, gone further than this, that they have temperately
and respectfully objected to any “manipulators” being placed above the
law, and asked to be allowed in quiet to obey what they believe the law
to require; where, too, to speak generally, they have found such
obedience to the law to be acceptable to the mass of their people, or
even demanded by them; whilst, upon the other hand, the whole violence of
opposition and clamour (again to speak generally) has been exhibited by
those who have not belonged to the parishes or churches where such
ceremonial has been in use, but who have chosen gratuitously to interfere
in order to prevent others, with whom really they had nothing at all to
do, having such a Ritual, believed to be within the four corners of the
law, as by them was desired, and to them was edifying.

And now we come to the proposal itself—this remedy to meet so great an
evil.  “Lastly, then, if there is to be this restraint, what will seem to
be the safest and most effectual mode of applying it?  Certainly not, as
I have already said, by merely arming bishops with a little more power,
and then leaving the whole question in its present unsettled state to be
adjusted by individual authority and individual bias; nor yet again, as I
have already said, by the omission or authoritative repeal of a rubric
that has held its place in our Prayer Book from the date of the last
settlement; but _by a simple and positive enactment declaring what shall
be_, _and be considered to be_, _the ministerial dress_—until further
order be taken.  This, of course, must be by direct legislation.  We may
shrink from it, but in my judgment it is now inevitable.  The very
appointment of the Commission seems to involve it, and the general temper
of the country will demand it.  There are many melancholy signs that we
are fast drifting towards open violations of the public peace, and that
some prompt interposition of law will not only be desirable but
imperative.”

Observe here the course proposed, and the marvellous declaration
concerning it, that it is “not a repeal of the rubric which has held its
place in our Prayer Book from the date of the last settlement.”  Yet the
remedy is “a simple and positive enactment (by direct legislation)
declaring what shall be, and shall be considered to be, the ministerial
dress—until further order be taken.”  This is the remedy; and after
details as to what it would prohibit, or at least allow to be prohibited
(which would include all now distinctly contended for under the rubric on
ornaments), the Bishop says, “_the rubric would not be repealed_, _but
placed in abeyance_.”  This is the special point to which I desire to
draw your attention!  Such a plan to be adopted, such restraint to be put
in force and imposed; and the rubric not to be repealed! the Prayer Book
not to be altered!  Imagine anyone after this “simple and positive
enactment” acting upon the rubric, using the things “prescribed,” or “in
use by the authority of Parliament in the second year of King Edward
VI.,” and then being proceeded against under the new Act.  Would he not
soon learn whether the rubric were not repealed?  What will lawyers say?
What does common-sense say on the matter?  What would those who believed
the Bishop (ill-starred mortals), that the rubric was not repealed, find
and feel to their cost, when his assurance had led them to believe the
law of the Church remains as it is?

Take a case in illustration.  Say you treated thus the Decalogue, or any
part of it.  Take the Sixth, Seventh, or Eighth Commandments: suppose you
left them to be printed in the Prayer Book still; but by “a simple and
positive enactment” set men free from obedience to them, or rather
prohibited obedience to them, until further order be taken.  Would they
be thus repealed so far as human enactment goes, or would the Prayer Book
still remain unchanged in respect to them?  Or, still better, look to the
Fourth Commandment—I say better, because the others are negative, and
this is positive.  “Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath Day.”  Grant
that it were still permitted to be printed in the Prayer Book, and
recited in church; but then that there were “a simple and positive
enactment” restraining men from keeping it holy; prescribing and
requiring a uniformity of work, according to custom widely prevailing,
reminding us that a careful observance of the Lords Day had become
obsolete; that long custom to the contrary had abrogated the usage, and
now it was expedient to restrain it.  Would this be no alteration?  Would
this be no repeal of the Decalogue, or change in the Prayer Book?  Oh!
but the Bishop says the restraint is only “until further order be taken.”
Well, what is the force of this?  Whatever hope it may hold out in the
future, is it any _qualification_ even, for the present?  Surely not.
Whilst the “simple and positive enactment” lasts, the former law is
repealed.  Besides, how much hope does it hold out, even for the future?
If the Bishop’s temper and counsel are to prevail, I must affirm _none_.
For we have seen that not merely the more violent enemies of Ritual, but
even the Bishop himself, whom we must assume to represent its more
moderate opponents, I say he himself is _not for waiting_ to give those
who are certainly more nearly maintaining and obeying the law than those
who clamour against them, even the chance of making good their position
in the eye and mind of England.  He will not do this at present, when
there is at least a fair presumption that in the main the law is in their
favour, but he will hold them out a dim hope of something turning up
propitiously for them in the future; when he has thrown all his weight
and influence into the scale against them, and when, if he can have his
way, he will pass a “simple and positive enactment” to condemn them, and
alter adversely their _status_ in the Church!  He will have them put down
now with the strong hand, by legislation framed expressly and on purpose
to catch them for their obedience to the existing law; but they may
console themselves with the thought that “all contemplation of a future
when further order might be taken concerning the questions now under
consideration would not be authoritatively excluded.”  Well, put the
consolation at its best; make what you may of it; avoid, if you can,
bitterly laughing at such a mockery of hope.  But even then, turn to the
state of things if such an enactment take place; “a simple and positive
enactment,” forbidding such “ornaments of the Church and ministers
thereof” to be used “as were in use by the authority of Parliament in the
second year of King Edward VI.;” and I ask again (for this is our real
and great question) What would be the condition of the Book of Common
Prayer?  Would it be what it is now, or would it be changed?  Would the
present rule be “in abeyance”—that is, much unused, but still the law—or
would it be repealed?  What is the difference between the proposed remedy
and repeal?  It would be as if you made “a simple and positive enactment”
that, “until further order,” no man should be arrested for debt; no man
taken up for theft or violence; no man prosecuted for treason; no man
hanged for murder.  You may call this, abeyance of the law in those
cases, but it is a misuse of the term.  A thing is _in abeyance_ which
for any cause happens to be _disused_, not when it is by enactment
_forbidden to be used_; as a title _is in abeyance_, not when there is no
heir (in which case it is _extinct_), but when the heir is unknown, or
the pretensions of two or more claimants undetermined; when the heir is
not _forbidden_, as the heir, to take it if he _be_ the heir, but only
whilst there may be doubt whether he be the heir or not.  But here, it is
assumed by the very act of legislation that something is known to be the
law, so that you despair of getting rid of it but by altering the law;
and therefore that, though it is known to be the law, and for the very
reason that it is known to be the law, it is to be prohibited and
excluded.  Can any man in his senses be made to believe that this is not
repeal?

I think, sir, I need go no further as to proving that all these schemes,
and this last just as much as the rest (all except the letting the courts
of law settle what is the law, and then abiding by it), agree fully in
this one point that they tamper with and alter our Book of Common Prayer.

And all this, over and above the reason and common-sense of the matter,
tells us what the next Report of the Ritual Commission will be, unless
the Commissioners be duly impressed with the danger of the course which
they are pursuing, and the enormous responsibility of trying to carry it
out.

And this brings me to a further practical point, which it is very fitting
that I should lay before you.  I mean the resistance proposed to all
alteration in the Prayer Book by means of the public meeting so lately
held in London; and the action to be taken in connection with the
resolutions then passed as to memorializing the Royal Commissioners upon
the subject.

There appears to be a curious piece of evidence that the great meeting in
St. James’s Hall has even already not been wholly unproductive of
results.  That meeting was held on Tuesday, the 19th of November.  The
_Times_ was singularly quiescent in relation to it for nearly a week: but
yesterday, Nov. 26, in an article upon Lord Portman’s questions in the
House of Lords touching the Bishop of Salisbury’s Charge—though not
dealing directly with the meeting—it yet introduces the following
apposite remarks:

“It is alike extremely difficult and extremely dangerous to alter our
existing formularies, but it would be perfectly possible, and that, as
the Bishop of London said, without any very sweeping alterations, to
simplify the course of procedure in our Ecclesiastical Courts.  It seems
to be generally felt that all classes of the clergy should be more
amenable to the public than they have been; and it will certainly be
better, as well as more practicable, to attempt in the first place to
effect this result, rather by an improvement in the administration of the
law than in the law itself.” {36}  Is it straining matters too much to
think that we have in this no mean tribute to the justice of the objects
and views of the meeting at St. James’s Hall?

And here it may not be amiss to say one word upon the principle of a
Memorial to such a body as the Royal Commission.  I believe there are
some who think it improper to memorialize the Commissioners, as if it
were like petitioning a judge to convict or acquit a prisoner placed upon
his trial before him.  Of course, if the cases were parallel, it would be
most improper and indecent.  But a moment’s reflection will shew the
difference.  The Commission is not a court of justice at all.  It has no
judicial functions at all.  There is no more objection to memorializing
it than there is to petitioning Parliament.  It is a body of men
appointed to collect evidence, and afterwards to give an opinion as to
what is expedient.  It is then in the very nature of things, of high
moment and importance that these Commissioners should know and understand
what large masses of earnest Churchmen are thinking and feeling, whilst
they are finding their way to their recommendations.  It is a duty upon
us to let them know what these feelings are, and what consequences are
likely to result to the Church, when we see their tendency, nay, _more
than tendency_, to lead an assault upon the Prayer Book.  It is not only
not improper, but it is a part of high and holy duty, which we owe to
ourselves, to our Book of Common Prayer, to our faith, to the Church of
England, to Christendom at large—nay, to God, our Maker, Redeemer, and
Sanctifier, to say openly and plainly, solemnly and earnestly, “We will
have no tampering with our faith; we will have no altering our Prayer
Book; we will have no legislation in this matter of Ritual;” and this all
the more; all the more deeply felt, the more strongly urged, _became_ we
see that this is a wholly one-sided movement.  We hear of no restraint or
restriction, no new Canons or new enactments, when men fall short of the
requirements of the Church and the Church’s law; when churches are closed
from Sunday to Sunday; when Christ’s people are starved and stinted of
their spiritual food and sustenance by few and far-distant communions;
when Services and Lessons are altered, and Services garbled and curtailed
at the will of this or that priest.  Nay, we hear of no “simple and
positive enactments,” even when men within the Church’s pale deny the
inspiration of the Holy Scriptures; impute absolute ignorance to Christ
our Lord, the ever-blessed Son of God; as, that He did not know as much
about the authorship of the Pentateuch, or the date of certain of the
Psalms, or other facts concerning the Holy Scriptures, as modern doctors
could tell Him; none, when we hear denied the possibility of miracles;
none, when we find explained away and rejected the duration without end
of Hell; none, when it is maintained that we ought not to pray to the Son
of God.  I say that upon these subjects we hear of no Royal commissions,
no Bishop’s charges recommending new enactments; no impending legislation
to place such teaching under the disability of “_abeyance_” even “until
further order be taken;” but here, where the law of the Church as to
ceremonies and vestments (things no doubt important, because no doubt
representing doctrine and connected with it, but certainly not more
important than those other subjects to which I have alluded), but here,
where these ceremonies and vestments, are the objects of ignorant clamour
and brutal violence, the Prayer Book is to be altered, and new law is to
be made, actually to put a penalty on those who have been guilty only of
the crime of obeying it as it is.

And here I must say a word as to such alteration of the law, if made,
being what one of the resolutions passed at St. James’s Hall termed it,
_ex post facto_ legislation.  A good deal has been said upon this topic,
and we are told that if you call such legislation _ex post facto_, then
all legislation is such, when it forbids for the future what has been
permitted in the past; and we are reminded that the true sense of _ex
__post facto_ legislation is when a penalty is placed, by a new law, upon
acts done before the law was altered.  Now first let me remark that, even
without coming exactly up to the definition, you yet draw very near to
the substance of _ex post facto_ legislation if you make a one-sided
change to catch only one side or one party whom you make offenders under
the new law, and when it is a law framed expressly and on purpose to
catch the men on one side and let the others go free.  Whether this be
technically _ex post facto_ or not, it comes exactly to that which, in a
passage already quoted from the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol’s
Charge, is described by him as likely to cause “rankling bitterness, from
the thus greatly increased conviction that the law is really in favour of
those to be restrained; and being so, is overridden by an _unjust Act of
Parliament_.”  But, secondly, there is another way in which such an
enactment would come very near indeed to _ex post facto_ legislation—I
mean where it disturbs a great settlement of many years’ standing, which
has induced men to enter into numerous and weighty engagements, from
which you cannot free them if you would, when you change their _status_
in relation to their obligations.  To take an illustration.  The country
has entered into such a kind of contract with the fundholder.  Millions
are embarked in the Funds upon the faith of a great settlement the
principles of which shall never be departed from; and to depart from
which would be _ex post facto_ legislation, practically putting a penalty
upon those who had come under voluntary obligations upon the strength of
those principles and that settlement.  But it may be said, nevertheless,
the country does sometimes vary the contracts and alter the rate of
interest towards its creditors.  Yes! but what would be thought of the
minister who proposed to do this, without offering, as the alternative,
to pay the lender off in full; to replace him in the position in which he
stood originally?  And if, without offering this, he proposed to alter
his _status_, who would not feel there was an unjust _ex post facto_
alteration of the law?  Now, upon such a great, just, and deliberate
settlement, have men entered into relations with the established Church
of this country.  And here the State _cannot_ set them free, or replace
them in the position in which they stood before they accepted the cure of
souls within her pale.  The Legislature _cannot_ give them the
alternative offer: and therefore, again, such a change as alters the
Catholic standing of the Church of England must come very near indeed to
being _ex post facto_ legislation.  But yet further, thirdly, there is
another consideration which brings this case exactly within the strictest
definition of _ex post facto_ legislation.  I mean the affixing a penalty
by new enactment upon acts done before the law was changed.  Observe, all
penalty is not material; not restricted to fine or suspension.  There is
the penalty of stigma and imputed dishonesty, as real and as hard to bear
in many cases as other punishment.  Now, it needs no great foresight or
wisdom to perceive that if the law of Ritual shall be altered in the
sense and mode proposed, this very thing will be used as a stigma and
brand of disloyalty to the Church of England against those men who have
been High Ritualists.  It is true it might be, and in my judgment, ought
to be, read the other way.  It ought to be taken as a proof that the
existing law being in their favour, those who could not endure the law
got it altered.  But, from the whole tone and temper of the objectors, it
is clear this would not be their line.  They tell us even now, over and
over again, with the outstretched throat of clamour, and with the utmost
violence of passion, that all such are false to the principles of the
Reformation; are dishonest and disloyal to their Church; are not to be
endured in a Protestant Establishment.  It is clear, then, that they
would proclaim the new legislation to be merely _declaratory of_ the
existing law; not admit that it _changed_ it; and so the enactment would
be used as a fresh ground of obloquy and reproach against those whom
their opponents could not convict of any crime, but whom they would thus
be allowed, nevertheless to condemn.  Such a stigma, such a penalty
placed by legislation upon acts done before the change of law, and upon
the persons who had done them, would bring such change of law under the
definition, in the strictest sense, of _ex post facto_ legislation.

But now to return.  Let me explain the position which I am throughout
maintaining.  I have not been speaking as the advocate of high Ritual.  I
do not understand the aim of the great meeting held last week in St.
James’s Hall to be this advocacy; nor do I so understand the Memorial to
be laid before the Commissioners.  It is not to defend high Ritual in
itself, however incidentally Ritual may be affected; but it is to defend
the Prayer Book.  It is to preserve our present _status_.  It is to allow
no door to be shut upon the Catholic side, whilst all are left open on
the Latitudinarian.  It is to preserve an outwork which defends
doctrine—dearer than life to many among us.  It is to keep all which
God’s providence has given us in our Reformation and subsequent
Revisions.  It is to preserve our character and place in the face of
Christendom; it is to shew our loving memory and gratitude for all which
our blessed Lord has done for us, and is still doing at the right hand of
God, that we will not consent to have this our heritage mutilated or
taken from us.  And surely in this all Churchmen who believe the ancient
Catholic Faith are interested with us, Ritualist or non-Ritualist.  I am
not myself a Ritualist in the sense of using any of the higher forms of
ritual, ceremonial, or vesture.  I believe indeed, and who that believes
the doctrine so represented, but _must_ believe, that England would be in
a higher, holier, and happier state, if, not neglecting one other point
of holiness, humility, repentance, or faith, yet, I say, if all among us
longed for and delighted in the higher and fuller expression of the
faith.  But I do not think this fuller expression is to be forced on
those who are unprepared for it.  I believe in many cases this would
hinder rather than help the doctrine.  And I have been accustomed to
consider that the _abeyance_ of much of the usage (I take the term in its
true sense of a practical discontinuance, not of a legal forbidding,
which is the repeal or extinction of a thing), that such abeyance may
well justify us in not harshly shocking prejudices or wounding feelings;
and, therefore, certainly it is not as a mere movement in support of the
higher forms of ritual that I am addressing you:—but I ask this;—What is
the object of our opponents?  Assuredly not merely to put down vestments,
or put out candles, or extinguish incense; but to drive out of the Church
of England the whole doctrine which those things represent; to expel
every one, whether Ritualist or not, who holds and teaches it; to run
riot in the destruction of every vestige of faith in the Real Presence,
in the Priesthood, the Altar, and the Sacrifice.  The papers of the
Church Association (_passim_), the writings of the whole anti-Ritualistic
world, who are also the anti-Sacerdotal party, from the well-known noisy
and ignorant correspondents of the _Times_ to the miserable man who so
lately has shocked every feeling of decency in his, at first, most
impertinent, and, at last, most blasphemous, correspondence with and
concerning the late revered Bishop of Lichfield; all such proclaim this
as their aim and end, with open mouth and outstretched throat.  If you
ask for an example, take the following brief passage brought before the
English Church Union at its anniversary meeting in June last, by Mr.
Charles Wood in his excellent speech on that occasion.  He said—“In an
article that appeared in one of the periodicals, which is most
conspicuous in its attacks upon Ritual—I mean _Frazer’s Magazine_—I
found, in one of its last year’s numbers, this, ‘There is no use in
taking half-measures.  As long as the Ordination Service remains as it
is, Ritualism will always be cropping up.  The real remedy is to alter a
single rubric.  Forbid the imposition of hands, and then we shall get rid
of Ritualism once and for all.’” {41}  Surely such language as this, and
it is the very staple of the fierce opponents of Ritual, should open the
eyes of all Churchmen as to what it is, (that it is really vital
doctrine,) for which we have to contend.  I say, then, that the present
contest and crisis touches every Churchman, Ritualist or not, who
believes the higher doctrine.  Nay, it touches every one, Ritualist or
not, who does not desire to see the comprehensive character of the Church
of England narrowed, in a party sense, and for a party purpose.  It
touches all who agree with what the Dean of Norwich lately said at
Wolverhampton, that it would be an immense and incalculable evil if one
great school of thought in the Church of England were to drive the other
out of her (though, by the way, I think he did not note what surely in
justice he should have noted, that it is only on the one side that this
desire for expulsion has been expressed).  It touches in short all who
desire to let law and reason have fair play against clamour and violence;
all who will stand _by_ and _for_ the Prayer Book as it is.  Let us all
join hand and heart in averting the present danger, and in defending our
heritage.  Oh! if I may say it, believe me, friends, there has been no
such crisis as now is in our Church, in our day at least.

Bear with me a few moments longer whilst I confirm what I have said by a
better warrant than any word of mine.  In the year 1865, he whose name is
perhaps more revered among us than any name of at least this century—he
whose memory is “as galbanum, and onyx, and sweet storax, and as the fume
of frankincense in the tabernacle,” the “sweet singer” of our
Israel—wrote and published some thoughts upon Ritual, and the doctrine
represented by it, and the growing opposition to it.  In almost, as it
seems, a spirit of prophecy, speaking of the very matter now in
question—a proposal for legislation, touching thereby the integrity of
the Prayer Book—he said:—“It professes, indeed, to meddle with one rubric
only, but it involves the same prerogative over all, and that which it
specifies is one of the most important and comprehensive, bearing
directly on one vital doctrine, and through that, as theologians know,
upon the whole Creed of the Church.  And what is more, those who promote
the movement openly avow that their object is thus comprehensive . . .
They frankly own their purpose to be, not simple reformation of that one
rubric, but the discomfiture at all points of a rival section in the
Church.”  He adds:—“It is well perhaps that they have declared themselves
so openly.  It may put many on their guard who might otherwise have
supported them at least passively, as not liking the special usages
complained of, or as fearful of their being revived where they would
cause disturbance.  Whoever after this their plain speaking shall join in
their movement must be aware that he is committing himself to a one-sided
policy, which ultimately displacing those who are called Tractarians or
the like, will quite overthrow the sort of equilibrium which for many
years has providentially subsisted among us.” {43a}

So clearly did John Keble see that the attempt to alter that one rubric
on ornaments was a matter of most vital importance to Sacramental
doctrine.  And if he spoke thus when the plan referred to was but in its
infancy, and the danger more remote, need anyone be told what he would
advise now?  Truly, “he being dead yet speaketh.”  Who is there that will
not hear? {43b}

He adds this yet further, well worthy of our most heartfelt
contemplation:—“And if we look beyond our own country, as surely we are
bound to do, certain it is that such a decree” (_i.e._, an Act of
Parliament altering the rubric), “not only submitted to but promoted and
solicited by the Convocation of the Province of Canterbury, would
effectually quench, for the time at least, all the fond hopes of reunion
among Christians which just now appear to be dawning on us in various
quarters.  For, undoubtedly of all doctrines, that of the Eucharistic
Sacrifice is the one on which in the eyes both of East and West our
Catholicity would appear most questionable.  A _hair’s-breadth_ more of
wavering on that point would seem to them, I fear, an entire forfeiture
of our position.”  Oh, how noble and catholic an aspiration after a
reunion with East and West, and how just an appreciation of what would
vitally affect, adversely, the hope and prospect of it!  How different
from the narrow sectarianism which would boast of our isolation, and,
cavilling at everything, can see only an overture to Rome in an
“Eirenicon” to Christendom.  O that our Convocations may hear and heed
such warning words, and stand firm, whatever trial comes!  Let me hope,
let me pray, that all true Churchmen, Ritualists or not, will here throw
themselves into the gap, and raise a bulwark against tampering with our
Prayer Book.  The outwork may be the rubric on ornaments, but, “as
theologians know,” it is the Creed which is really at stake, through an
altered Book of Common Prayer.  We must defend the outwork to defend the
citadel.  We must one and all make our voice heard against change here,
either directly or indirectly, either explicitly or implicitly, either by
Convocation or by Parliament, or by both together.  Better our
Convocations were silenced again for a hundred years, if any minister of
the Crown would venture to silence them (which I shall not believe until
I see it), than that they should lend themselves to alter our Prayer Book
and impair its catholicity.  But to strengthen the hands of all who have
power or influence herein, we must be prompt, energetic, valiant, wise.
Believe me it is not a question of shapes or colours.  It is not a
question of supporting the Ritualists, though incidentally their position
may be supported.  But it is the question of not losing one jot or tittle
of what God’s providence has given us.  And to preserve what we have is
essential to our work at home and to our place in Christendom.  We cannot
afford to give away our birthright.  We cannot afford to be diverted by
any _bye_ enquiries or cavils.  The real question is the preservation
intact in its integrity of our Book of Common Prayer, and with it of
Catholic doctrine and truth among us.

I have used the term—our place in Christendom.  Let me add a word or two
more upon this.  English Churchmen, I fear, are too apt to overlook that
we are but a small part of the Church Universal, and that our aspirations
should ever be that “the unhappy divisions” which now prevail in it may
be healed, and the Church again be _one_ (according to our Blessed Lord’s
Prayer), that indeed “the world may believe that God hath sent Him.”

Now, with this feeling and this hope in our hearts, we must never allow
ourselves to forget that there is such a thing as an Œcumenical Council
of Christendom, and whatever the difficulties may be in the way of its
assembling, I believe to it all true hearts should turn.  Certainly, for
myself, I can say that this, as the great remedy for all our troubles and
distractions, and “not for ours only,” but for those of Christendom at
large, has been constantly present to my mind for many years.  That God
in His mercy, and in His own good time, would grant us a true General
Council to ease and compose our differences, and to restore the unity of
Christendom,—and, if it come, grant us all the due mind of submission to
it,—has been for nearly or quite a quarter of a century, a portion of my
daily prayer; and I think there is no ground to decry the petition as
either fanciful or wrong.  At least we have the warrant of some of great
name among us who have not thought so.  “That I might live to see the
reunion of Christendom,” says Archbishop Bramhall, “is a thing for which
I shall always bow the knees of my heart to the Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ . . .  Howsoever it be,” he adds, “I submit myself and my poor
endeavours first to the judgment of the Catholic Œcumenical essential
Church, which, if some of late days have endeavoured to hiss out of the
schools, as a fancy, I cannot help it.  From the beginning it was not so.
. . .  Likewise I submit myself to the representative Church—that is, a
free General Council, or so general as can be procured; and until then to
the Church of England, wherein I was baptized, or to a National English
Synod.” {45}

It may be supposed, indeed, that a general or Œcumenical Council is at
present hopeless, and therefore that all mention or thought of an appeal
to it is out of place; but I do not think this, for two reasons—first,
that there are certain points of doctrine which have been so definitely
ruled by General Councils and consent of Christendom that we know upon
them there could be no diverse judgment; and, secondly, that I see no
cause to despair of another such Council in God’s good time being called
together.  Even in the meanwhile the thought of, and habitual mental
reference to, such a Council is neither impertinent nor unpractical; for
the remembrance and sense of its authority, and the even mental
submission of the will to its rule, has the strongest tendency to keep a
man wholly catholic in heart and act.  An English Churchman should _live_
in the thought and in the hope of the voice of Christendom being again
uttered with no uncertain sound as to matters of perplexity and doubt.
Even “though it tarry, he will wait for it,” and in the meanwhile the
thought of it will bear its fruit.  Thus, whatever he does, and is
obliged to do, without the actual presence of such a guide, will be done,
not on the mere impulse of his own will, or the bent of his own mind, but
always in relation to what Christendom has definitely ruled, and in
implicit submission to what she will again say when she may meet once
more in a free and General Council.  Anyone so living, trusting,
believing, acting, will never be a schismatic, and cannot be a heretic.
But I do believe we shall never, till we get to look out of ourselves to
Christendom at large; never, till we remember our due place in it; never,
till we are ready to accept its decrees (when God sees Christendom fit to
give them); never till then, shall we be in that right mind and heart
which is waiting duly for the Bridegroom’s call.

I am quite prepared to have such remarks called visionary and unreal, and
all dependance upon, nay, all reference to, the Universal Church,
unpractical and absurd.  But none of these things move me, and I am
(though, I trust, no fanatic) yet hopeful of the help of God for those
who will try to help themselves.  As I have said, I cannot think the
expectation of a General Council is chimerical.  I cannot believe, if it
come, it will be useless.  We have no right, of course, to expect any
supernatural interposition or handwriting visibly on the wall to direct
us in our difficulties.  But I have faith enough in miracles, if that be
one, to believe that God may grant us the miracle of Christendom again in
Council, and make it the means to heal all our distempers and bind up all
our wounds.  Of this faith and this hope no man shall deprive me by the
mere calculations of human policy, or by the perverse promptings of an
uncatholic despair.  But let us all watch and pray, and work with the
help of God, to preserve our true catholic heritage and place, lest, when
it meet, it should meet to condemn us.  But this we will never believe
can come upon us until we see, which God forbid, our Church faithless to
God and to herself in the face of Christendom.

Our immediate work, our present duty, is indeed on a narrower scale and
in a smaller sphere, yet not without an eye to these further
consequences.  It is to maintain our catholic _status_; and in order to
this, to make it plain to all, friends and foes alike, that we will stand
by our Prayer Book, and never consent to alter in an uncatholic direction
one jot or tittle of that which it contains.

                                * * * * *

                                  FINIS.

                                * * * * *

    Printed by the Church Press Company, 13, Burleigh-street, Strand.



FOOTNOTES.


{6}  _Charge_, p. 75.

{7}  _Report_, p. vii.

{13}  See _History of Savoy Conference_: Collier, Vol. ii. pp. 876–886.

{15}  _Report_, p. vii.

{16}  If the Commissioners should justify their thus reporting on things
not essential, in the face of the very letter of their instructions, by
saying that they understand the term essential to be _relative_;
essential, not necessarily to the _Being_, but to the _well-being_ of the
Church, and that the repression of the vestments is, in their mind, thus
relatively essential; it occurs immediately to ask, why, if they were
thus so quickwitted to perceive this sense of relative essentiality on
their own side, were they so obtuse in seeing that the same construction
should equally be allowed to the witnesses examined, in their use of the
word essential on the other side?

Or, further, if they should plead that although the things themselves
were _unessential_, yet the _liberty_ to deal with them was _essential_,
(and in their mind essential on the side of repression,) and that thus
their recommendation to restrain ceremonial is brought within the terms
of their Commission; it must again be asked, why did they not award the
same latitude of construction to the witnesses upon whose evidence they
ground their sole recommendation; when it would be seen immediately that
their inference and conclusion are wholly illogical and absurd.  For
their reasoning fully stated would then run thus:—“We find the vestments
are by none regarded as essential to the _Being_, though we are aware
that by many they are considered essential to the _well-being_ of the
Church; and _therefore_ we come to the opinion that all variations in
respect of vesture be restrained and abolished.”  Or, (on the other
view,) “We find the vestments are by none regarded as in themselves
essential, though by many the liberty to use them is regarded as
essential, and _therefore_ we recommend that they be repressed and
disallowed.”  What must be said of a Report the compilers of which can
only present even the semblance of avoiding direct collision with the
terms of their appointment by such treatment of the word _essential_; who
claim this latitude of interpretation on their own side, whilst they
wholly overlook or deny the same to the witnesses whose evidence they
desire to make responsible for their illogical conclusion?  Truly if the
Commissioners have taken such interpretations for themselves, and in the
same breath deny them to the witnesses whom they quote, what words can be
too strong to describe their blindness if they did not see this
incongruity, or their unfairness if they did; whilst, if to escape such a
dilemma, they repudiate both the above pleas, what defence can they make
against the just rebuke of the trenchant Archdeacon of Taunton, when he
said at Wolverhampton that “they had been appointed to report only upon
things _essential_, and had reported only upon things _non-essential_”?

{19}  For this and the following quotations see _Charge of Bp. of
Gloucester and Bristol_, p. 57; also pp. 66–77.

{26}  _Report_, p. 131.

{27a}  Opinions will no doubt be different as to the accuracy of this
account of what is Romanism.  The passage is not cited to bind anyone’s
judgment in this respect, but rather for its negative weighty shewing at
least what in the judgment of such a man (one as it is evident with _no_
bearings which _anyone_ can call Popish) is _not_ Romanism.

{27b}  Appendix to Report on Ritual, pp. 130–131.

{28a}  Appendix, p. 130.

{28b}  See p. 24.

{36}  _Times_, Nov. 26, 1867.

{41}  Speech of Hon. C. L. Wood, _English Church Union Circular_, July,
1867, p. 241.

{43a}  Letter on “Ritual,” by Rev. John Keble, 1865.

{43b}  The following, very recently published by the Dean of Norwich, is
worthy of insertion as a note to Mr. Keble’s remarks:—“From the
alteration of the Lectionary to that of the rubrics there is but one
step; and from an alteration of the rubrics we shall pass by an easy
transition to the rearrangement of prayers—the cancelling (or bracketing)
of some and the insertion of others.  Questions of this kind being once
opened, the Prayer Book would become an arena of fierce and furious
controversy, and the reconstruction of it in what would be called an
improved form would be the dismemberment of the Church of
England”—Preface to Two Sermons: A Word for the Old Lectionary.  By E. M.
Goulburn, D.D., Dean of Norwich. 1867.

{45}  Bramhall’s Works, p. 141.





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