Project Canterbury

South African Bishops. Provincial Synod, 1898.

Bishop Gibson (Coadjutor of Capetown). Bishop Carter (Zululand). Archbishop Jones (Capetown). Bishop Smythe (Lebombo) Bishop Gaul (Mashonaland.)

Bishop Baynes (Natal.) Bishop Bousfield (Pretoria.) Bishop Key (S. John's.) Bishop Hicks (Bloemfontein.)


Handbooks of English Church Expansion


South Africa



Sometime Bishop of Natal




LONDON: 34 Great Castle Street, Oxford Circus, W.
OXFORD: 106 S. Aldate's Street



Chapter I. Race Problems

Chapter II. Beginnings of Church Work

Chapter III. The Colenso Controversy

Chapter IV. The Province of South Africa

Appendix A. Later Stages of the Natal Controversy

Appendix B. Letter of Bishop Cotterill to Archbishop Tait


Preface to the earliest work on Church history--the first systematic record of Christian expansion--looks back behind the Day of Pentecost and behind the Ascension to "all that JESUS began both to do and to teach," implying that all the story the writer had to tell was of what JESUS, ascended yet present, continued to do and to teach in His Church.

That is the pattern for all Church history to follow--the modern story, like the ancient, is of the doings and teachings of Him Who is still in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. And the record has still the twofold character. It is the story of doing and teaching, of the outward and the inward, the outward history of travel and founding, of building and organizing; the inward history of truth and doctrine and principle behind and underneath the material superstructure.

In the following slight sketch of South African Church expansion I have had two classes of [ix/x] readers in mind. First, those who are chiefly interested in the fascinating story of the outward growth--the facts, the men, the places, the buildings, the gradual expansion from the "day of small things," from one diocese to ten, by which "the little one has become a thousand"; and, secondly, those who are even more interested in the inward principles, the doctrinal and constitutional questions of which the outward developments are the product and expression. The one class will think how the kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, and will rejoice to watch the smallest of all seeds grow into the great tree. The latter class will look deeper and see, with the eye of the soul, the leaven which is hid in the three measures of meal, and will trace the unseen process by which the kingdom of heaven as a spiritual force is working till the whole is leavened.

For the sake of the latter class of readers I have devoted considerable space to those controversies, which, though they often lead us into the dusty arena of the Law Courts, are an important and inevitable part of the process by which great principles of ecclesiastical polity are established. For the sake of the former class of [x/xi] readers I have banished a large part of this record to an appendix, so that they may, if they prefer, follow the outward progress of the Church with less interruption.

On the one hand I was anxious that the missionary student should find a more or less continuous story of the pioneering march of the Christian army. On the other hand, I felt that no story of the South African Church would be complete without a statement, full enough to be intelligible, of the constitutional struggle by which that Church has done so much to settle the lines on which the Anglican communion must be organized in those new lands where the Church is no longer "by law established." The fact that so many people have asked me, since my return from Natal, what the Colenso controversy was about, seems to show that there is need for a simple statement of the facts, and that it may be convenient to have, side by side, the salient points of the several legal decisions to which it gave rise.

In describing these controversies I have tried to be impartial. "All battle," says Carlyle, "is misunderstanding." I have tried to see the truth which animated each side. And I hope that the [xi/xii] result may be, not the reopening of dispute, but the strengthening of the bond of peace which now, by God's grace, prevails.

In conclusion I acknowledge, with much gratitude, the debt which I owe to previous writers--to the biographers of Bishop Gray, Bishop Colenso, and Archbishop Tait, to Dr. Wirgman, of Port Elizabeth, to the Right Hon. James Bryce, to the S.P.G. Digest, and to many other authorities. I am also indebted to the Bishops of Natal, Zululand, and S. Helena, and to the Rev. Canon Mullins, the Rev. the Hon. A. G. Lawley, and the Rev. E. H. Etheridge for important contributions. And finally I wish to thank my old friend Bishop Gibson for his great kindness in revising the proofs and supplying me with much valuable information as to the more recent developments of the Church in South Africa.


Nottingham, May, 1908.

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