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or usage existed in the Church before its reformation may now be freely introduced and observed, unless there can be alleged against it the distinct letter of some formal prohibition.
• Now, against any such inference from the undoubted identity of the Church before and after the Reformation we feel bound to enter our clear and unhesitating protest. We believe that at the Reformation the English Church not only rejected certain corruptions, but also, without in any degree severing her connexion with the ancient Catholic Church, intended to establish one uniform ritual, according to which her public services should be conducted. But it is manifest that a licence such as is contended for is wholly incompatible with any uniformity of worship whatsoever, and at variance with the universal practice of the Catholic Church, which has never given to the officiating ministers of separate congregations any such large discretion in the selection of ritual observances.
• We, therefore, beseech any who may have proposed to themselves the restoration of what, under sanction of this principle, they deemed a lawful system, to consider the dangers which it involves ; to see it in its true light, and to take a more just and sober view of the real position of our Church; whilst with equal earnestness we beseech others, who, either by intentional omission or by neglect and laxity, may have disturbed the uniformity and weakened the authority of our prescribed ritual, to strengthen the side of order by avoiding all unnecessary deviations from the Church's rule.
• Such harmony of action we are persuaded would, under God's blessing, go far towards restoring the peace of the Church. This happy result would more clearly exhibit her spiritual character. The mutual relations of her various members would be more distinctly perceived, and our lay brethren would more readily acknowledge the special trust committed to us as stewards of the mysteries of God “ for the edifying of the body of Christ.” They would join with us in asserting, and, if need be, defending for themselves, as much as for us, the true spiritual freedom of the Church. They would unite with us in a more trustful spirit, and therefore with a more ready will, in enlarging her means and strengthening her powers for the great work she has to do amongst the swarming multitudes of our great towns at home and of our vast dominions abroad; and that Church, which has so long received from the hands of God such unequalled blessings, might continue to be, yea, and become more and more, “ a praise in the earth.”
• March 29, 1851.'
To the spirit and principle of this paper we hope we shall not be thought presumptuous in offering our cordial assent. We subscribe to its doctrine ; we admire its temper; and we anticipate for it the hearty concurrence of the vast majority of those to whom it is with so striking a combination of argument and authority addressed. But we hope also that we shall not be accused of an opposite kind of presumption and of being overdifficult to please, when we venture to point out two or three circumstances, as to which, though incidental and accessory only, and in nowise subtractive from the value of the document, it would be uncandid in us, and (as we think) unfair to the great cause we advocate, to suppress some expression of regret.
First, we believe everybody must lament that it has come at least ten years too late—come after matters had grown desperate with some, inveterate with others, uneasy and vexatious to all. And perhaps, in the wording of the preamble, it might have more exactly met the facts of the case as well as the views of the Prelates themselves, if the anxiety' expressed about the troubles' occasioned by resisting the Puseyite innovations had been directed more distinctly against the Innovations themselves. Nor should we have chosen such an occasion for treating the “external forms' of the Church as in any view of small importance.' We are well aware that such words are merely conciliatory forms used in the conciliatory spirit of the whole document; and we notice them as such, that they may not be hereafter misconstrued as an admission that there was room for mutual concessions'-an inference directly at variance with the main object of the Address which in fact concedes and compromises nothing; and which, with God's blessing and a firm resolution on the part of the subscribing prelates to see it executed, will, we trust, leave nothing of this at once serious and silly schism, but clearer views of the true principle of ritual uniformity, and a sharper vigilance against the insidious arts with which Romanism so ingeniously contrived to mask its approaches.
A second regret arises at first sight from observing that the Irish branch of our United Church appears to be absent from this important and synodal movement; particularly as the work of Dr. Mant, late Bishop of Down, the title of which stands at the head of this paper, was the most direct and decided episcopal encouragement which the innovators had received. But the fact is that the Irish clergy have been, by their closer acquaintance with practical Popery, protected against the Puseyite infection. Even Bishop Mant's book produced no ill effect but for one moment in one narrow neighbourhood; its general and permanent result was the very reverse of what the bishop intended. It was therefore thought inexpedient to embrace the clergy of the sister island in an admonition which was necessary only in the provinces of Canterbury and York.' It is satisfactory that this last phrase tacitly, at least, recognises the identity of the Church in England and Ireland; and we believe we may safely add that, if local circumstances had required it, the Irish bench would have given its unanimous assent to the Address. We the more gladly record this explanation, because we are convinced that any separation of the two branches of our Church would inevitably cause the early and total extinction of both-not, of course, as a form of Christianity-not as a spiritual Church ; as such she will endure as long as human intelligence and society-but as an Establishment ! If the Irish branch be rent away, the sister branch will die by the same wound—a more lingering, perhaps, but an equally certain death. And let us add another solemn truth-the fate of the Church will be the fate of the countries ! The Countries and their Church, their monarchy, their power, and their rank among nations, must stand or fall together!
The third topic is more grave—that the Address wants the concurrence of four English bishops, Dr. Bagot of Bath and Wells, Dr. Hampden of Hereford, Dr. Lee of Manchester, and Dr. Phillpotts of Exeter. The three former have not given, that we are aware of, any reason for their refusal. It has been suggested that Bishop Bagot's state of health may account in some degree for his silence. Of the motives of Bishops Hampden and Lee we have heard nothing, and can only say that the general dissatisfaction at their original appointment will not, we fear, be diminished by this additional contrast to the majority of their colleagues. But the Bishop of Exeter has not been silent. That eminent prelate has in a recent Pastoral Letter announced very emphatically the reasons, or we might perhaps rather say the reason, for there seems to be practically but one, of his dissent:-namely, that it appeared to him * little short of a mockery' to address the Clergy upon such small matters,' instead of remonstrating with the Crown on the great question involved in what for shortness we will call the Gorham Case; and his Lordship informs us that, instead of a measure so "manifestly nugatory,' he proposed to his Right Reverend brethren an Address to the Queen to rescue the Church from a state of paralysis' by summoning the Convocation. We need not,
we hope, profess our affectionate reverence for the Bishop of Exeter. We do not doubt that in the Gorham Case his Lordship was entirely right in point of doctrine, and we cordially sympathise with his natural and reasonable feelings of dissatisfaction at the result, as well as at many of the incidents, of that vexatious affair : but serious as we may think the doctrinal importance of the Gorham Case, we cannot persuade ourselves that it is of so engrossing, so absorbing a nature, as to require or justify the suspension, much less the dereliction, of other, even though minor, considerations and duties. The evils in question are not ejusdem generis; heresy is one thing, ritual irregularity is another. Surely it can be no valid reason for not attempting to cure or to stay a lesser evil, that you cannot previously remove a greater
one of an altogether different character. Let us, for instance, adopt the Bishop's own metaphor, and suppose that a person afflicted with paralysis has had the additional misfortune of breaking one of his limbs ; would you prevent the surgeon's setting it until a consultation of physicians should have cured him of the palsy? Nor can we admit that these Puseyite innovations are small matters, though they are, we confess, very silly ones. If they were merely nugatory, we might yet again answer, hæ nugæ seria ducunt in mala; but we have too respectful a remembrance of the Bishop of Exeter's former Charges to admit that, though there may be greater matters, these in their results and consequences are to be regarded as small. On the 19th of November, 1844, the Bishop addressed a 'Pastoral Letter to his Clergy on THE OBSERVANCE OF THE Rubric,' which commenced thus :
* Reverend and dear Brethren,--I address you on a subject of very deep interest to us all—the diversity of practice in the worship of Almighty God, which, in concurrence with other unhappy events, has threatened to involve us in a state of painful, I had almost said perilous disunion.'
The Pastoral Letter proceeds to treat these subjects as involving the highest obligations of law and conscience; and it closes with a solemnity that would surely not have been employed on 'small nugatory matters':
"I conclude with entreating you to join me in fervent prayer to Him who is the Author of Peace and Lover of Concord, that he will accept and bless this our humble endeavour to promote peace and concord amongst us within his own house and in his own immediate service.'
We confine ourselves in this to us particularly painful discussion to the reason given by the Bishop for his dissent; and however much we may regret the absence of a name so high in learning, talents, and piety, it is some satisfaction to find that the specified point of difference seems rather formal and occasional than substantial; and that it neither does nor could have been intended to invalidate the intrinsic value and transcendent authority of the Address of so large a majority of the prelates. Nor do we apprehend that the dioceses of the recusant bishops are likely to exhibit any unseemly discrepancy from the rest of England-even if they dissented from the substance of the document, which does not at all appear—for it must be recollected that they, bishops and dioceses, are still—to a degree sufficient, we believe, to ensure uniformity—under the, at least, appellate jurisdiction of the Metropolitan.
But there is still another topic of consolation to be found in these otherwise regrettable differences. They can hardly fail to afford a most salutary lesson to the Church, and a lesson the more
YOL, LXXXIX. NO. CLXXVII.
forcible from the circumstances in which and the person by whom it is conveyed. We have of late heard much, too much we think, of the legal authority and practical advantages of Convocations and Synods for quieting dissensions in the Church. The Bishop of Exeter, as we have just seen, considers them as not merely a sovereign, but the only specific remedy for such disorders. But does not this very occasion authorize us to ask what can be rationally expected from any such assemblies when we find that the result of friendly and confidential conferences of eight-and-twenty prelates, met in the library at Lambeth, in a common interest for a common purpose,
incentive to conciliation and no disturbing causes, has been to widen the breach by the open secession of four important dioceses from the rest of England ?
We are satisfied that the few thinking men who may have hitherto been inclined to adopt the idea that national synods and convocations would insure unity of either doctrine or discipline, will now be convinced that the Houses of Convocation—upper or lower-would probably have no great resemblance to the Temple of Concord.
While we regret that the declaration of our Prelates has been so long delayed, we admit that there were serious difficulties in the way of an earlier demonstration. What were the real feelings and intentions of certain members of the University of Oxford in originating what may be called the Tractarian movement, we are not called upon to conjecture; but we have repeatedly expressed, and still adhere to the conviction, that it was mainly supported from pure and pious motives. Undoubtedly, at all events, some of the most amiable and personally respectable, if not the most prudent and profound of the clerical order, soon joined zealously in what professed to be an endeavour to conduct the service of our Church on a higher principle of conformity and unity than had been, it was said, recently practised. The heads of the Church could not but approve such a spirit, and, as the innovations affected to be no more than a restoration of observances directly required by the rubrics, which, it was alleged, were (even though partially disused) irrevocably binding both in conscience and in law on the whole clergy, they were naturally reluctant to take any step that might seem to contravene the strict rubrical code. They may also have very naturally hoped that any excess of zeal in so right a direction would ere long correct itself: and to a certain degree this expectation was confirmed. A majority of the clergy and nearly all the laity speedily discovered—if indeed they had ever for a moment lost sight of the important share that usage has always had in our Church services :-not a few even of those who had made them