London: April 20,1864
My dear Brethren,
By the Natal journals, which have just arrived, I learn that the Metropolitan Bishop of Capetown has forwarded to the Clergy of my Diocese, and commanded them to read publicly in their Churches, a circular letter, addressed 'To the Clergy and Faithful Laity of the Diocese of Natal,' and signed by himself, the Bishop of Grahamstown, and Bishop Twells,--the latter, as you are aware, not holding Her Majesty's Letters-Patent, nor even living within the Queen's dominions,--not having, consequently, any closer relation to ourselves, in the Diocese of Natal, than the Bishop of Jerusalem or the Bishop of Honolulu. As I wish to make reference to the contents of this circular, I shall append it entire at the close of this letter. (App. 1.)
It might, perhaps, have been expected that, before sending such a missive as this to be read in the churches of my Diocese, the Bishop of Capetown would have waited until the four months had elapsed, which had been allowed for my 'retractation,' or, at least, until the fifteen days had expired, during which, as was intimated at the close of my (so-called) 'Trial,' an appeal might be made on my part to His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury. the date of the letter shows that it was signed by the three Bishops on the day after, the delivery of the 'Sentence' against [1/2] me; and I have reason to believe that it was forwarded immediately, and read from the altar of my Cathedral Church by the Dean of Maritzburg. Under these circumstances, as I may yet be detained (against my will) some little time longer in England, in order to procure, if possible, an authoritative legal settlement of the questions at issue, I think it well to lay before you the following statement of some of the chief facts of the case.
Let me first request you to observe that in this circular the Bishop of Capetown makes no reference whatever to my having any right of appeal of any kind from his judgment. It is plain that he intends to deny altogether the existence of any such a right; since, at the end of the 'proceedings,' he said,--
I cannot recognise any appeal, except to His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury;--
and he regards this as a favour granted to me, not as a right which I might claim; since he had said just before,--
I have only to add that, if it be desired, as has been intimated, to make a formal appeal to His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, I shall consent to forward my judgment to His Grace for revision, waiving in this particular case, which is in itself novel, and of great importance to the whole Church, any real or supposed rights of this Church.
It is here assumed, then, that I am to be deposed by the simple 'Sentence' of the Bishop of Capetown, acting with irresponsible power, such as has never been claimed by the Archbishop of Canterbury himself, whether before or since the Reformation, though still exercised, as of old, by the Papal authority in the Roman Catholic Church; and further, that I am to be deprived by this edict--not only of all power 'to bear rule in the Church of Natal,' but--of all power 'in any way to minister in divine offices,' or, as the Bishop says (see 'Trial,' p. 401,) of all power to 'exercise any sacred offices whatever in the Church of God,' the Bishop of Capetown thus pretending to an Universal jurisdiction. This 'Sentence' has been approved, indeed, by two other. Ecclesiastics. But it has not been submitted to the [2/3] experienced judgment of any competent legal assessor; notwithstanding that the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, in its recent judgment in the case of Long v. Bishop of Capetown, laid down the following principle:--
Care should have been taken to secure, as far aa possible, the impartiality and knowledge of a judicial tribunal. Here the Bishop was not merely in form, but substantially, the prosecutor, and a prosecutor, whose feelings, from motives of public duty, as well as from the heat necessarily generated in the purest minds by a long and eager controversy, were deeply interested in the question. It was, perhaps, necessary that he should preside as the judge, before whom the cause was heard, and by whom the sentence was pronounced. But he should have procured, as a Bishop in England under such circumstances would have done, the advice and assistance, as assessors, of men of legal knowledge and habits, unconnected with the matter in dispute, and have left it to them to frame the decision which he would afterwards pronounce. But, instead of adopting this course, he selected as assistants three gentlemen, all clergymen, sharing his own opinions on the subject of controversy, and all themselves members of that Synod, which Mr. Long was accused of treating as illegal.
In the present instance, the Bishop of Capetown has selected as assistants two Bishops,--one a recent nominee of his own, and nominated, doubtless, as generally agreeing in sentiment with himself,--the other known also beforehand, as holding the same opinions as himself, very strongly, on the most important points that were likely to be discussed. I need hardly remind you that, by the laws of the Church of England, not even a presbyter or deacon of the Province of Canterbury can thus be deprived arbitrarily of his office and ministry by the will of one or more Ecclesiastics, or without having his case subjected to the searching examination of an eminent legal functionary in the Court of Arches, with a further right of appeal to the Lords of the Privy Council. But here it is assumed that a Bishop, holding a See under the Queen's Letters Patent, can be deprived of his office, and debarred from the ministry altogether, by the voice of -a Court of Ecclesiastics,--and that, too, when the Chief Judge has already, by public acts and utterances, shown himself deeply prejudiced upon the questions at issue, and has, in fact, identified [3/4] himself with the prosecutors, by supplying them with ex- tracts from the private letters of the accused to himself, of the very existence of which they must have been ignorant, had he not volunteered to furnish them.
You are, I believe, aware that, acting under legal advice, I deny altogether the right of the Bishop of Capetown, to sit in judgment upon me in this matter, or to exercise any kind of jurisdiction over me. I recognise certainly the dignity of his office as Metropolitan, which has been conferred upon him by Her Majesty's authority; and I have taken the oath of 'canonical obedience' to him as such. But the Privy Council has laid down the principle, in Long v. Bishop of Capetown, that in the case of any clergyman--
The oath of canonical obedience does not mean that the clergyman will obey all the commands of the Bishop against which there is no law, but that he will obey all such commands as the Bishop by law is authorised to impose.
The same principle will, of course, apply to the oath of 'canonical obedience,' which a Suffragan Bishop takes to his Metropolitan. I deny, accordingly, that the Bishop of Capetown is 'by law authorised' to summon me before him, to sit in judgment upon me, and ex cathedrâ to pronounce sentence of deposition on a Bishop holding the See of Natal by 'Letters Patent' of the Crown, co-ordinate with, and antecedent to, his own. Such power might, it is true, seem at first sight entrusted to the Metropolitan in his own Letters Patent, dated Dec. 8,1853, in the following words:--
And we do further will and ordain that the said Bight Rev. Father in God, Robert Gray, Bishop of the said See of Capetown, and his successors, the Bishops thereof for the time being, shall be, and be deemed and taken to be, the Metropolitan Bishop in our Colony of the Cape of Good Hope and its dependencies, and our island of St. Helena, subject, nevertheless, to the general superintendence and revision of the Archbishop of Canterbury for the time being, and subordinate to the archiepiscopal See of the Province of Canterbury. And we will and ordain that the said Bishops of Grahamstown and Natal, respectively, shall be suffragan Bishops to the said Bishop [4/5] of Capetown and Ms successors. And we will and grant to the said Bishop of Capetown and his successors full power and authority, as Metropolitan of the Cape of Good Hope, and of the island of St. Helena, to perform all functions peculiar and appropriate to the office of Metropolitan within the limits of the said Sees of Grahamstown and Natal, and to exercise Metropolitan jurisdiction over the Bishops of the said Sees and their successors, and over all Archdeacons, Dignitaries, and all other Chaplains, Ministers, Priests, and Deacons in holy orders, of the United Church of England and Ireland, within the limits of the said dioceses. And we do by these Presents give and grant unto the said Bishop of Capetown and his successors full power and authority to visit once in five years, or oftener if occasion shall require, as well the said several Bishops and their successors, as all Dignitaries, and all other Chaplains, Ministers, Priests, and Deacons in holy orders of the United Church of England and Ireland resident in the said dioceses, for correcting and supplying the defects of the said Bishops and their successors, with all, and all manner of, visitatorial jurisdiction, power, and coercion.
But no intimation, whatever of any such jurisdiction being about to be granted to the Bishop of Capetown is made in my Letters Patent, dated Nov. 23, 1853, and, therefore, senior by fifteen days to his. In them it is merely provided that--
The said Bishop of Natal and his successors shall be subject and subordinate to the See of Capetown, and to the Bishop thereof and his successors, in the same manner as any Bishop of any See within the Province of Canterbury, in our kingdom of England, is under the authority of the Archiepiscopal See of that Province, and of the Archbishop of the same. And further, an appeal is allowed from any sentence of the Bishop of Natal, within fifteen days, to the Bishop of Capetown.
Now I am advised that the above language, 'be subject and subordinate,' does not convey to the Bishop of Capetown jurisdiction over his suffragan. If it did, then any Bishop of the Province of Canterbury must be 'in the same manner subject and subordinate' to the Archbishop of Canterbury. But the Archbishop, as I am advised, is not' by law authorised' to summon before his tribunal any one of his suffragans, or to exercise jurisdiction over them.
And whereas the Bishop of Capetown has stated, in the preamble of his 'Sentence,' that--
 the Bishop recognised both the office and the jurisdiction, and elected his Metropolitan as his judge in accepting his Letters Patent--
this, I apprehend, has been said inadvertently; inasmuch as I could have had no idea, when accepting my own Letters Patent, that such a power of 'jurisdiction' would have been inserted a fortnight afterwards in the Patent of the Metropolitan. The fact is, that I never saw his Letters Patent, and was wholly unaware of such powers having been granted in them--none such being possessed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, whose authority over his suffragans was expressly laid down in my Patent, as the type of the Bishop of Capetown's over myself--until some years after my consecration. With respect to the solitary and doubtful case, on which the Bishop of Capetown relies in his 'Sentence,' as apparently implying that the Archbishop of Canterbury has the right to exercise jurisdiction over his suffragans (that of the Bishop of St. David's, under Archbishop Tennison), I am advised that, if anything is clearly established by that case, it is the undoubted right of appeal from the Metropolitan to the Sovereign.
It is also a mistake to say, as the Bishop has stated in his 'Sentence,' that the Bishop of Natal has--
repeatedly throughout his Episcopate, as has been proved by the documents put in at the commencement of this trial, even on a charge of supposed heresy preferred against him some time ago by two of his own Clergy, submitted to the judgment of his Metropolitan,--
from which it is inferred that I have recognised his claim of jurisdiction. I have ever paid him the respect due both to his office and to his personal character, and I have always received with due consideration any remarks, which he may have thought it right to make upon my writings. But I have never at any time recognised his jurisdiction, or submitted myself in my writings to his judgment: and I have not unfrequently found it necessary to assert and maintain my independence of his opinions, and my disagreement with them. With respect to the particular instance to which the Bishop refers, when, as he says, 'a charge of supposed [6/7] heresy had been preferred against me by two of my own clergy,' the extracts which were produced at the 'Trial' from letters of mine,--two private, and one public,--are as follows:--
March 2, 1858.
... I am afraid you will be grieved this mail by a communication from the Dean. Of what kind it will be, I cannot, of course, say beforehand; but the simple fact is, that I am directly at issue with him on the subject of our Lord's Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist, and that I feel bound to protest against the views he holds to the utmost of my power. . . But these things are trifles compared with what will cause you much greater pain, whether you agree with my views or differ from them. May God guide, and comfort, and keep you, in this and all the other many trials by which, I fear, your path is beset.
April 3, 1858.
By this mail you will receive from me a copy of the sermons which I have preached on the Holy Eucharist, and another, I expect, from the Dean. What your own views are on the subject in question, I know not. . . I am grieved that you should be troubled in this matter, when you have so much else to trouble you; but, unless I am judged and deposed as a heretic, I must live and die preaching the doctrines of these sermons in this my post of duty, and it will be miserable to feel that every sermon I preach will sound to the Dean as heresy. ... I need hardly say that, under such circumstances, it will be impossible for us to work together with any cordiality henceforward. . . . And, if I am not myself to be removed from my office, heartily glad should I be if one of them [viz. those Bishops who hold his views] would present him with a good living in England.
Printed Letter 'To the Clergy and Laity of the United Church of England and Ireland in the Diocese of Natal.'
August 11, 1858.
My Brethren in Christ,
You are aware that in the early part of this year the Very Rev. the Dean of Maritzburg and the Rev. Canon Jenkins formally presented me, their Bishop, to the Metropolitan Bishop of Capetown, charging me with unsound and heretical teaching on the subject of the Holy Eucharist, in consequence of two sermons which I felt it my duty, at that time, to preach in the Cathedral Church of this diocese, and subsequently to publish for the information, and, I would humbly trust, the edification of my flock. As you must naturally be desirous to know what are the views of the Metropolitan upon the point in question, I think it right to say that a reply has been received from him, in which, while declining to pronounce an official judgment upon the matter, he yet gives his opinion on the main subject in the following words ...
Such being the opinion of the Metropolitan on this point, I conclude that there must be passages in my sermons which are liable to be thus misrepresented.
 I have complained, in a letter published in the Times, of the publication of these extracts--
not because they--[two of them, as above]--were private communications, for the most part hastily written [amidst a press of business, to save the mail], but because, in the form in which they now appear, they are detached from the context before and after, and so convey an entirely erroneous idea of my meaning, and of the circumstances under which they were written.
You know well what those circumstances were. But the English reader would never have gathered from the above extracts that the Bishop of Capetown, who was then in England, and had not yet declared that he was 'not bound by the decisions' of the Privy Council, had in his reply to the Dean of Maritzburg expressed his opinion, that the views maintained by me on the subject of the Eucharist were not unlawful, and that the expressions of the Dean himself 'went beyond' the teaching of the Prayer Book:--
I cannot see that there is sufficient ground for charging the Bishop with unsound teaching respecting the Eucharist. . . I cannot, looking at the passages, to which I have alluded, as the real expression of his views; think that you were justified in presenting him as teaching false doctrine.
The language, which you have used, goes beyond that of the Church. She has nowhere expressed herself as you have done. . . I do hope that, to whatever extent the differences between you may have gone, you will, as a Christian man, express to the Bishop your sorrow for having offered him this slight in his own Cathedral--[viz. by sitting in his place in the choir, before the congregation, during the Holy Communion, after hearing the first of the two sermons in question, refusing to communicate with me, and compelling me to administer the whole Service, on an Ordination Sunday, alone.] [This Sermon 'on the Holy Eucharist' is printed at the end of my 'Commentary on the Romans.' In the second Sermon I showed that similar views had been expressed by Waterland and others.]
The clause, which I have italicised above, shows that the Metropolitan had expressed on a certain point an 'opinion,' which I had just copied, but which is not quoted in the Bishop's extract. With perhaps an excess of deference, I admitted that, as he had said this, 'there must be passages liable to be thus misrepresented.' But I proceeded at once to quote in my Letter a series of passages from the Sermon itself, which made it [8/9] plain that there was no real ground whatever for the 'opinion' in question. As the Bishop, however, did not at that time assume to sit in judgment upon me, nor claim to exercise jurisdiction over me, I had no occasion to protest against his proceedings. I was perfectly ready to receive with respectful attention any expression of his 'views' and 'opinions.' But I am wholly at a loss to understand how in the present' Sentence,' intended to be a formal judicial document, this Letter of mine could be quoted, as a proof that I had 'submitted to the judgment of my Metropolitan,' when, in his letter to the Dean, which gave occasion to my own public Letter, the Bishop of Capetown had actually himself written as follows:--
First, then, let me say that I can only reply to you through the Bishop, because I am doubtful as to the extent of my jurisdiction in this matter. While in doubt as to the extent of Metropolitan Jurisdiction in such a matter as you have submitted to me (a point not so easy to be determined as you may, perhaps, imagine), I cannot venture to give a judicial opinion upon the case laid before me. All that I can do is to give both you and the Bishop my views upon this unfortunate dispute which has arisen.
Under these circumstances, I have been advised to petition Her Majesty, and to pray that this question of jurisdiction may be settled by authority in England, before I return again to Natal. And it is possible that the 'Sentence' of the Ecclesiastical Court at Capetown may be found to be illegal, and null and void, without the 'merits of the case' being discussed at all. Even the Bishop of Capetown himself appears to have still some doubt as to the lawfulness of his claim to exercise jurisdiction in the case, since he says in the 'Sentence'--
If there were reason to think that jurisdiction in a legal sense was not conveyed by the formal instruments which profess to give it,--which is at least uncertain, &c.
Yet this course of proceeding is not that which I most earnestly desire. I shall be most thankful if some way is pointed out, by which the charges made against me may be investigated before a competent legal tribunal, so that justice may be administered, between me and my prosecutors, [9/10] according to the laws of the Church of England, without the interference of religious party-spirit and prejudice. There are other grave objections, as I am advised, that might be taken to the legality of the Bishop of Capetown's 'Sentence,' independently of those which concern the question of 'jurisdiction.' I should not, however, allow any mere technical objections to be urged on my behalf, either if there was a prospect, by waiving them, of bringing the case to be discussed 'upon its merits' before the highest tribunals, where the laws of equity would be maintained, and the precedents of previous decisions would be observed,--or if any judgment of those tribunals had been already recorded, which condemned distinctly the views which I have advanced. But so far is this from being the case, that decisions of the Court of Arches and the Privy Council have actually been given on no less than four of the charges brought against me, and given in direct contradiction to the 'Sentence' of the Bishop of Capetown.
These charges were altogether nine in number,--four founded upon my 'Commentary on the Romans,' and five upon my work on the Pentateuch; and I need hardly remind you that the Metropolitan and his two assessors, unanimously and unhesitatingly, found all the charges proven--except that on one of them the Bishop of Capetown said:--
This part of the charge is true, if limited as above--not true if intended to be general; and the Bishop is entitled to the benefit of the doubt.
On the first three of these charges, the English Courts have never been consulted, and have therefore pronounced no judgment whatever. But on the fourth point, that of 'Endless Punishment,'--and on the fifth, whether it is lawful to deny that 'the Bible is in all its parts the Word of God,' or to say that 'the Bible is not itself the Word of God, but it contains it, and assuredly God's Word will be heard in the Bible by all who devoutly listen for it,'--and on the sixth, 'whether every part of the Bible in infallibly inspired,' or, to use the [10/11] Bishop of Capetown's language, 'whether the whole Bible is the unerring Word of the Living God,'--the Privy Council has just pronounced its decision, distinctly at variance with that of the Bishop of Capetown. On the seventh charge, that of 'denying the authenticity and genuineness of certain parts of Holy Scripture,' the Bishop says--
I must rule that in denying that the five books commonly, almost universally, in all ages, ascribed to Moses, were really written by him, and in attributing them [a small portion of them only] to Samuel, the Bishop does not contradict the express language of the Church of England. .... But is it therefore lawful for the Bishop to teach that Samuel, and not Moses, was the author of the Pentateuch? I think not. ... It involves the rejection of our Lord's authority, and of His words as delivered to us by the Church in the Gospels, as we have them, wherein the Saviour is made to quote from each of the books of the Pentateuch. And this is one of those instances, to which I have just referred, in which there may be an offence against the Church's teaching, while there is none against the express language of the Articles or Formularies.
I need hardly remind you that both the Court of Arches and the Privy Council have again and again laid down the principle, that they are 'bound to look solely to the Statute and to the Articles,' and have refused to take account of passages of Scripture, even when found in the Prayer Book. Sir Stephen Lushington's words are as follows, in his Judgment in the case of the Bishop of Salisbury v. Williams:--
Were I once to be tempted from the Articles and other Formularies, the Court could assign no limits to its investigations: it would inevitably be compelled to consider theological questions, not for the purpose of deciding whether they were conformable to a prescribed standard, but whether the positions maintained were reconcilable with the Scriptures or not. ... I will not be tempted, in the trial of any accusation against a clergyman, to resort to Scripture as the standard by which the doctrine shall be measured.
And he rules thus in the course of the Judgment:--
I think that it is open for the clergy to maintain that any book in the Bible is the work of another author than him whose name it bears.
What is the true meaning of these words? I apprehend it must mean this,--that the clergy are at liberty to reject parts of Scripture, upon their own opinion that the narrative is inherently incredible, to disregard [11/12] precepts in Holy Writ because they think them evidently wrong. Whatever I may think as to the danger of the liberty so claimed, still, if the liberty do not extend to the impugning of the Articles of Religion or the Formularies, the matter is beyond my cognizance.
Thus the very principle, on which the Bishop of Capetown arrives at his conclusion on this charge, as well as the decision itself, is in direct opposition to that of the Dean of Arches, which latter has never been disputed, and stands at this time as Law in the Church of England.
But the Bishop of Capetown has gone beyond this. He has deliberately set aside another decision of the Court of Arches--that is, he has set aside the Law of the Church of England, as now existing, and expresses himself in his 'Sentence' as follows:--
It has been said, indeed, by a high authority, that, when the question in the Ordination Service for Deacons is put--'Do you unfeignedly believe all the Canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testament?' and to which the answer is given, 'I do believe them,'--the pledge then given must be regarded as sufficiently fulfilled, if there be a bonâ fide belief that the Holy Scriptures contain everything necessary to salvation, and that, to that extent, they have the direct sanction of the Almighty, even, apparently, though the historical portion of Scripture should be disbelieved.
I cannot concur in such a decision. It is a wrong to the Church thus to limit the meaning, and diminish the force, of its plain language.
On the eighth point--the question as to the limitation of the knowledge of Christ as the Son of Man--we have no decision of the Court of Arches or the Privy Council. But one of the most learned and eminent Bishops on the English Bench, the Bishop of St. David's, has written, upon the question, whether such a view as I have expressed may be lawfully held in the Church of England, as well as on the three questions preceding, and his views, on all four points, will be seen to be at variance with the decisions of the Bishop of Capetown. As the Charge of Bishop Thirlwall may not have reached the Colony, I append at the end of this letter (App. 3) some extracts from it, which I have printed in the preface to Part IV. of my work on the Pentateuch.
There remains only the ninth, charge,--that of 'depraving the [12/13] Prayer Book,'--a charge established against me, in the opinion of my three episcopal brethren, because I have urged that the liturgical forms need amendment in respect of some passages, in which certain narratives are treated as historical facts, which the progress of critical and scientific research has shown to be not historically true. In the sense of the Canon, however, to 'deprave' the Prayer Book is, I apprehend, to assert that it may not 'lawfully' be used; whereas I maintain most strenuously the 'lawfulness' of every part of the system of the Church of England, as at present' by law established, 'involving, I need not say, the duty of recognising, as her existing laws, the principles laid down from time to time by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Yet I consider myself perfectly at liberty to point out, if necessary, defects in that system, and to labour for their correction. If, indeed, the view which the Bishop of Capetown has taken of this matter were the true one, it would follow that the many thousands of clergy, who have expressed strong objections to parts of the Baptismal, Marriage, Visitation, Burial, and Ordination Services, must be also amenable to the same condemnation as myself. And I need not say that the liberty thus claimed falls very far short of the extraordinary freedom which has been exercised, either by the Primate, when declaring from his place in Parliament that he himself personally cannot, and will not, use in certain cases a certain portion of the Liturgy, or by the Bishop of Oxford, when publicly stating that he will protect his clergy in refusing to use the words in question in such cases.
Thus, on six of the nine charges brought against me, it will be plain, I think, to the impartial reader, that the judgment of the Privy Council, if only it can be obtained upon the 'merits of the case,' would be certainly given in my favour. I feel confident that, on the other three points, as to which no judgment has been given as yet by the English Courts, the [13/14] views, which have been condemned at Capetown, will be found strictly in accordance with the formularies of the Church of England, and within the limits allowed by her laws,--though, no doubt, at variance with certain forms of opinion, held by the three South African bishops, and permitted also to be held by them, lawfully, within her pale. The fact, that my episcopal brethren have in so many instances, under the influence of strong prejudices in favour of their own particular views, come to conclusions directly opposed to those of the Court of Arches and the Privy Council, and other eminent authorities in the Church of England, makes it, at least, highly probable that their judgments would likewise be found to differ from the Law of the Church of England in the other three cases.
Should I fail in my endeavour to have the 'merits' of the case discussed before an English tribunal, and should the issue be raised, and the question be in some legal way decided in my favour, on the mere question of 'jurisdiction,' my position might then resemble in some degree that of the Ven. Archd. Denison, who took the lead in Convocation against me, and who is referred to by Bishop Thirlwall in his Charge in the following words:--
Some years ago, the Venerable Person, who was the Chairman of this Committee [of Convocation, appointed to examine and report upon the Bishop of Natal's Work on the Pentateuch], and is believed to have had the chief share in the framing of its report, was charged with the publication of unsound doctrine with regard to the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. In those proceedings, though they affected his civil rights, and but for a technical defect might have subjected him to penal consequences, &c. p. 107.
There is this difference, however, in the two cases, viz. that Archdeacon Denison was condemned of heretical and erroneous teaching, and deprived of his preferments, by the sentence of a lawful and competent Court, including (besides the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Dean of Wells, and the Oxford Margaret Professor of Divinity), the present Dean of the Arches, Sir S. Lushington, as legal assessor,--and also that he appears to have [14/15] thrown every possible technical difficulty in the way of obtaining a judgment upon the 'merits' of the case (see App. 4).
For my own part, I repeat once more that, if any decision had been already given by the Ecclesiastical Courts in England, condemning as unlawful the views which I have advanced, I should feel that I laid myself open to just censure, if I sheltered myself from the consequences of my doings under any mere technical objections to the proceedings at Capetown, or even under the plea that the Bishop of Capetown has no jurisdiction in the matter. But the case is widely different, when it appears that--not only have the Courts in England not condemned any one of my views, impugned as 'erroneous and heretical,' but--in all the instances, in which such views have come under consideration, they have distinctly affirmed that they may be lawfully held within the Church of England. All that can be said is, that the opposite views may be as lawfully held by the Bishop of Capetown and his assessors,--though, if I myself were any longer to dogmatise, in the usual way, upon the subject of endless torments, I should feel myself to be guilty of unwarrantable presumption.
It is now, therefore, as it seems to me, a duty, which the Bishop of Capetown himself has laid upon me by the course which he has followed,--a duty, which I owe to other Clergy of the Church of England as well as to myself, and above all to the National Church, and to the Truth, which that Church, as a Reformed Protestant Church, is bound by her very principles to teach,--to maintain my present position, and to protect myself from, such arbitrary proceedings by all lawful means. The Bishop of Capetown, indeed, affects to allow me to appeal, 'in this particular case,' to the Archbishop of Canterbury. To accept this permission as a favour, would be to admit both that the Metropolitan has the jurisdiction which he claims, and also that I have no right of appealing from it. Besides which, as [15/16] this appeal would be made, apparently, to the Archbishop in person, and not to the Judge of the Court of Arches, it would be impossible for me, knowing the strong language which His Grace has already used towards myself, and the views which he has more recently expressed in his Pastoral Letter with reference to the late Judgment of the Privy Council, to feel any satisfaction in submitting my cause to such a revision.
But, by the late mail, we also learn in England, for the first time, that the Bishop of Capetown and his two episcopal assessors, on the day before the 'Sentence' was delivered,' formed themselves into a 'Synod,' and laid down a number of resolutions, intended, it would seem, to be binding upon all the members of the Church of England, lay and clerical, within the 'Province of Capetown,' including, therefore, the clergy and laity of the diocese of Natal. In these Resolutions (which are also given at the end of this letter, App. Z) they have declared that 'the Church of the Province of Capetown' receives the 'Standards and Formularies of the Church of England,' but--
Inasmuch as this Church is not, as the Church in England, 'by law established,' and inasmuch as the laws of England have by treaty no force in- this Colony, those laws, which have been enacted by statute for the English Church as an Establishment, do not apply to, and are not binding upon, the Church in South Africa. And further they say:--
This Synod considers that the final Court of Appeal, constituted by Act of Parliament for the Established Church of England, is not a Court of Appeal in ecclesiastical causes for the un-Established Church in this Colony; and therefore this Synod declares that, while the Church in this Province is bound by, and claims as its inheritance, the Standards and Formularies of the Church of England, it is not bound by any interpretations put upon those Standards by existing Ecclesiastical Courts in England, or by the decisions of such Courts in matters of faith.
Thus, while professing outwardly to maintain the 'doctrine and discipline' of the Church of England, by accepting her Formularies, the 'Metropolitan and Suffragan Bishops of the Province of Capetown,' who at any time may 'meet together in [16/17] Synod,' may interpret these Formularies at their pleasure, without any reference to the decisions of the Ecclesiastical Courts in England. And, as 'Missionary Bishops' may be multiplied to any extent, so as to outnumber the lawful Bishops of the Province, and as these Bishops in partibus infidelium would not be appointed by Her Majesty, but would generally be;--as Bishops Twells and Tozer are, in effect, however they may have been appointed,--mere nominees of the Metropolitan, it would follow that--for the present, at least--these 'interpretations' would be practically those of the Bishop of Capetown himself, who would rule over those subject to his sway in spiritual matters, with irresponsible, despotic, more than Papal, authority, in all the regions of South Africa, within Her Majesty's dominions as well as without. In this 'Church of South Africa' it would be pronounced 'heretical' for a clergyman to say that 'the punishment of the wicked may not be endless,' or that' the Bible is not itself the Word of God, though it contains God's Word,' or that 'the whole Bible is not in every part the unerring Word of the Living God,' or that 'the Sacred Books contain some uncertain stories and legends,' or that 'the book of Deuteronomy may not have been written by Moses,'--though all these opinions might be lawfully maintained by the same clergymen, if officiating in England or Ireland. But so, too, the Metropolitan and a majority of his Suffragans, meeting in 'Synod' might lay down certain peculiar views upon the subject of the Sacraments, as the only views tenable within the 'Province of Capetown,' thus building up the power of the Priesthood to the subversion of the very principles of Protestantism. In this way it is plain that 'the Church of this Province,' both in its doctrine and discipline, would soon differ widely from the Church of England. All liberty of thought and speech would be repressed. The very clergymen, who in England might be presented to Livings, and promoted to Deaneries and Bishoprics, would be condemned and deprived in South Africa, and, if [17/18] Bishops, deposed without right of appeal, or, if they persisted in their spiritual functions, declared 'ipso facto, excommunicate.'
Under these circumstances, it cannot, be a matter of surprise that the Bishop of Capetown and his Suffragans have decided to adopt a new name for their new Church, as being altogether distinct from the Church of England. The ninth Resolution is as follows:--
That the title recommended by the Joint-Committee of both Houses of the Convocation of Canterbury, as designating the true position of the Church of this Province, 'The Church of South Africa, in union and full communion with the United Church of England and Ireland,' be adopted as its full and proper title, subject to any decision that may be come to by the united action of the English and Colonial Churches.
This title, no doubt, was suggested to the Houses of Convocation, directly or indirectly, by the Bishop of Capetown himself, who for many years past has used a similar formula in reference to his own diocese. I need hardly remind you of the fact that in Natal our own Church Council, both. Clergy and Laity rejected utterly this designation. It was argued that, as Englishmen in Natal are still 'Englishmen,' though not living in England or under English law,--as there are 'Members of the United Church of England and Ireland,' who are not riving in England or Ireland, but in Wales, or the Isle of Man, or the Channel Islands, or Gibraltar,--so you might claim to be entitled to consider yourselves, while the Queen ruled Natal as a British Possession, as being 'Members of the United Church of England and Ireland in the Diocese of Natal.' With that view I heartily concurred. I have always resisted the notion of separation from the National Church, on which the Metropolitan has so long been insisting; and I see not how it is possible to consent to it, so long as I hold Her Majesty's Letters-Patent.
For the See of Natal--as also, of course, those of Capetown and Grahamstown--was founded 'for the maintenance of the [18/19] doctrine and discipline of the United Church of England and Ireland,' and the Patent empowers the Bishop to 'visit all Priests and Deacons in Holy Orders of the United Church of England and Ireland, resident within the said Diocese.' And, although the Bishop of Capetown's Patent was issued after the Crown had granted a Constitution to the colony of the Cape of Good Hope, and therefore, as the Privy Council has ruled, in the case of Long v. Bishop of Capetown, 'was ineffectual to create any jurisdiction, ecclesiastical or civil, within the Colony,' yet my Patent was issued before any Constitution was granted to the colony of Natal, and therefore, as Chief Justice Harding stated recently in Court, is as good Law as any Law in the Colony.' Thus the colonial chaplains of the Church of England, who hold office from the Crown itself, and the other clergy of that Church, are in Natal placed by Law under the Bishop's authority; whereas my Patent gives me no authority to visit the Clergy of the 'Church of .South Africa;' and I should altogether decline any such responsibility.
So long, then, as Her Majesty is pleased to appoint Bishops in her colonies by Letters-Patent, the 'National Church' is at present to this extent 'by law established,' viz. that the Bishop receives a social status, which the heads of other communions--e.g. the Roman Catholic Bishops--do not enjoy, and that he is lawfully empowered--at least in certain Colonies--to visit, at all events, those of the colonial chaplains who are clergy of the Church of England. These powers and privileges may be very limited--much more limited than some may think desirable, or even necessary, for the welfare of the Church. But the remedy is, for those who are dissatisfied with this state of things, to do without the Letters-Patent, and the prestige which they and their Church receive from it--to assume the position of Heads of a voluntary body, on a par with the Bishops of the Roman-Catholic Church in the colonies, and establish at once a 'Free Church,' e.g. to be called 'the Church of South Africa, in union and full [19/20] communion with the United Church of England and Ireland.' Of course, in the face of so many other religious bodies, which have laboured long and nobly in the field, before any Protestant Bishop landed on the shores of South Africa, it would be arrogant to assume the simple title, 'Church of South Africa,' which, on our Protestant principles, belongs only to the great Catholic Body, including Christians of all denominations.
Nor is there any reason why such a Church, distinct from the 'Church of England,' might not gather into itself any of the Clergy or Laity of the present South African dioceses who might choose to forsake the National Church, and enter the new Communions--provided only that they did not claim to receive incomes from the colonial or military departments, as clergy of the 'United Church of England and Ireland,' or expect to be allowed to minister in Cathedrals and other Churches, built on sites expressly given by the Government, to the respective Bishops, 'in trust for the English Church.' It would remain also to be seen whether the 'Society for the Propagation of the Gospel,' which professes to represent in its entirety the National Church, would consider itself at liberty to supply funds for the support of Clergy who would be compelled, under fear of censure or deprivation, to teach the dogmas which from time to time might be enunciated by a 'Synod' of Bishops meeting at Capetown, as 'interpretations' of the Articles and Formularies, though at variance with the interpretations judicially put upon them by the English Ecclesiastical Courts, or who might be visited with severe penalties, as the Bishop of Capetown says, in cases--
where there may be an offence against the Church's teaching,--[not the teaching of the Church of England, but of the Church Universal, as understood and explained by himself]--while there is none against the express language of the Articles and Formularies.
I would say, then, to those among you who are disposed to listen to my advice: 'Take no part in supporting this system of ecclesiastical despotism, the yoke of which it is now sought [20/21] to impose upon you.' However this new-formed Church may profess to be 'in union and full communion with the United Church of England and Ireland,' it is still obvious that, by renouncing the decisions of her supreme tribunals, and the very principles which have guided those decisions,--by promulgating a judgment directly contradicting, in many important points, those principles and those decisions, and by determining to enforce, if possible, submission to their judgment, by a threat of excommunication,--the three South African Bishops have taken a very decided step towards effectually separating their Church,' by whatever name they may call it, from the 'doctrine and discipline,' and the whole spirit, of our Protestant National Church 'as by Law established.' Stand you fast, my brethren, in the liberty wherewith, under the Providence of God, the blood of the Reformers first, and now, latterly, the advancing course of scientific and religious thought, with the sanction of the recent calm decision of the highest Court of Judicature, has made the Church of England free, and be not enslaved again under the yoke of ecclesiastical tradition.
That the Bishop of Grahamstown has attached his name to these Resolutions--that he should have acquiesced quietly in the notion that a Bishop, holding Her Majesty's Letters-Patent, might be deposed by the mere fiat of three Ecclesiastics, without any right of appeal to an English tribunal--without any regard being paid to--rather, in direct opposition to--the decisions of the Court of Arches and the Privy Council--has, I must confess, surprised me. I can only suppose that, holding very strong opinions on the subjects discussed in my books, he has suffered his Protestant sentiments to be overpowered and to lie dormant for a time, while engaged in the endeavour to suppress what he deems to be unsound and dangerous teaching.
But is such teaching unsound and dangerous? Is not, rather, the suppression of honest inquiry unsound and dangerous? I [21/22] have shown in this letter that, as far as it can be tested, my teaching is not condemned as 'unsound' teaching by the laws which govern our National Church--that it is strictly -within the limits allowed by the liberty which is granted to the clergy in the Church of England, though no such liberty, it seems, will be allowed in the 'Church of South Africa.' As to its being 'dangerous,' the danger is caused by those who would endeavour, with the feeble sandbanks of human authority, to dam back that mighty tide of knowledge, which, by the bountiful effusion of God's own gracious Spirit, is, at this very time, passing over the nations of Europe, and watering the soil for future harvests. Yes, there is danger in these times, but the real danger is this--that, if measures are not taken, such as those which I have (however imperfectly) attempted to carry out in my different volumes, for healing the ever-widening breach between the religious teaching and the scientific knowledge of the day--if we will shut our eyes in blind prejudice, and refuse to take cognizance of the facts by which God, the Creator, is making known Himself and His wondrous ways to His creature, man, through the revelations of scientific discovery,--if men high in office in the Church will still seek to enforce upon the clergy and laity such dogmas as these,--that 'the whole Bible is the unerring Word of the Living God,'--that' it is not permitted to deny that Moses (App. 5) is the author of the Pentateuch,' or 'to deny the [historical] truth of what is recorded therein, or of what is said in the Scriptures about the Flood, the Exodus, the history of the Judges,'--that 'the Church regards, and expects all its officers to regard, the Holy Scriptures as teaching pure and simple truth,--[i. e. in every part and in every statement]--for 'it is nothing to reply that they teach what is true in all things necessary to salvation,' (I quote the words of the Bishop of Capetown,)--there may come upon us, in just judgment--upon us or upon our children--the desolating misery of an age of utter unbelief. Let me remind you [22/23] of the weighty words of Dean Milman, already quoted by me in my Preface, to Part III:--
If on such subjects [as those discussed in my books on the Pentateuch] some solid ground be not found, on which highly-educated, reflective, reading, reasoning men may find firm footing, I can foresee nothing but a wide--a widening--I fear, an irreparable--breach between the thought and the religion of England. A comprehensive, all-embracing, Catholic, Christianity, which knows what is essential to religion, what is temporary and extraneous to it, may defy the world. Obstinate adherence to things antiquated, and irreconcilable with advancing knowledge and thought, may repel, and for ever--how many, I know not--how far, I know still less. Avertat omen Deus!
It is my earnest wish, as it has all along been my endeavour, to contribute in some measure, by my critical labours, towards this most desirable end, of eliminating by degrees from the traditionary husks in which it has been wrapped so long, and hidden from the longing eyes of men, 'a comprehensive, all-embracing, Catholic, Christianity, which knows what is essential to religion, what is temporary and extraneous to it,' and which may be brought to bear at all times, with its infallible eternal sanctions, unimpaired by all the discoveries of science and results of criticism, upon the secrets of men's hearts, and the actions of their daily life. That I have not altogether failed in my object I have good reason to believe, from the private assurances which I have received from many, as well as from the public support which has been afforded to me, in reference to the proceedings of the Bishop of Capetown, by a large and influential body of my fellow-countrymen, including many eminent persons distinguished in learning and science, and not a few of the clergy. I desire to acknowledge gratefully this assistance; and I welcome it especially as a sign, that the more intelligent minds in England do not desire that Science shall be altogether severed from Religion, nor despair that it may be possible in some way to reconcile the claims of both, within the bounds of the National Church,--if not all at once, and immediately, yet, at least, at no very distant day.
Encouraged by this support, I shall pursue steadily, while God [23/24] gives me strength to do so, the critical work which I find set before me. But, as far as I can now see into the future, the course of events will make it desirable that I should return to my diocese, without more delay than is necessary for the purpose of settling, if possible, the legal questions involved in the present controversy, and there maintain my rights in the face of the arbitrary proceedings of the Bishop of Capetown, and his threat of excommunication; It will not trouble me much to be debarred from the communion of the 'Church of South Africa,' to which I have never belonged, and with which I have no desire to intermeddle,--as it does not apparently distress the Metropolitan, and my other two Episcopal Brethren, to be out of communion, at this very time, with by far the greater part of Christendom.
If, however, anything were needed to stimulate me to pursue the work in which I am engaged, and to set before the Laity, in due time, as clearly and plainly as I can, the results at which I may arrive, it would be the attempt which is even now being made by zealous partizans, within and without the Church of England, to suppress the utterance of scientific Truth in these days as 'unsound and dangerous.'
By a former mail I sent out some dozens of copies of an admirable Lecture, which had just been delivered by one of our most eminent men of science, Prof. Owen, at the request of the Committee of the 'Young Men's Christian Association.' It was published, and single copies were circulated freely throughout the length and breadth of the land, under the express sanction of this 'Association,' whose President, as you are probably aware, is the Earl of Shaftesbury, and among whose Vice-Presidents are the Bishop (Bickersteth) of Ripon, and the Dean (Close) of Carlisle.
I was glad to avail myself of this opportunity of. showing you what were the sentiments of Prof. Owen on some of the questions discussed in my books. His character for caution and [24/25] reverence, in treating of sacred matters where they happen to be involved with questions of Science, is well known in England; and it was so thoroughly understood by the Committee, that they had no hesitation in inviting him to explain to their 'Young Men' how the case really stood, with respect to some of the grave questions which have been stirred of late in reference to the first chapters of Genesis. I felt assured that you would yourselves see, while reading his words, that the time was indeed come, when the Bishops and Clergy of the Church,--those, at least, whose minds were opened to the real facts of the case,--should break through the conventional reticence on these questions, which has too long prevailed among us, and tell out from their pulpits the plain truth in the ears of their people. For here was one of the most distinguished men of Science of the day--a serious and devout layman--who had been called at a time of earnest religious controversy to address the members of such a Society as this, and who--instead of evading the difficulties arising from Scripture, and so leaving his troubled hearers in perplexity and doubt, struggling to believe in the literal historical truth of the Bible narrative, yet with all their quickened intelligence refusing to believe in it,--felt himself impelled, by a sacred sense of duty, manfully to declare, as a fact no longer doubtful, but ranked among the most certain conclusions of science, that the knowledge which we now possess of the 'Power of God, as manifested in the Law of the Geographical Distribution of Plants and Animals'--
'is incompatible with the notion of the divergence of all existing, air-breathing, or drownable animal species from one Asiatic centre within a period of 4,000 years,'--
in other words, is incompatible with a belief in the literal historical truth of the Noachian Deluge. The Professor went on to observe, p. 31,--
I would add, that, of two plainly contradictory propositions, one only can be true; they cannot be harmonised. The attempt at reconciliation cannot be made without detriment to the moral sense and nature of him who sets about a work, ofttimes more akin to the special pleading of the scribe, than to the truth-loving, trustful, simplicity of the disciple of Christ.
 And he added many other like words, of which I have quoted some in the Appendix (5).
I had supposed that the cautious utterances of truth conveyed in this Lecture, which for some weeks had been circulated freely in the name of the 'Association,' would have been allowed to do, undisturbed, their beneficial work, in loosening the hold of old superstitions and traditionary views of Scriptural infallibility from the minds of the 'Young Men' to whom they were specially . addressed, and from those of many others besides--perhaps, of some among yourselves. It appears, however, that an influential minority in the Committee of Management have so far succeeded in their efforts to suppress God's Truth, that this Lecture of Prof. Owen is not to be included in the annual volume issued by the 'Association.' But the Publisher will be permitted to include it in one volume with the other Lectures upon his own responsibility,--though not without the concurrence, it would seem, or, at least, the help, of the 'Association,' who have spent, we are told, some £250 of their funds in preparing for its publication, that is, we may suppose, in engraving the plates, by which it is beautifully illustrated. It must be admitted that this is a strange way of shifting from themselves the responsibility of publishing a Lecture, which, though written in the most devout and Christian spirit, has been violently denounced as 'heretical," infidel,' and 'blasphemous.' Prof. Owen has asked, p. 32,--
May we not discern the hand of Providence in the successive floods of light thrown upon the operations of which this earth has been the seat? A Copernicus, a Newton, a Ouvier,--is not an accident. Ought we not to acknowledge a gracious purpose in the making known, according to His ways, and by the instruments He now chooses, so much of His power, as may be elucidated by interpreters of the records in the stony rocks?
In like manner, I ask, may we not discover a 'sign of the times,' the working, of God's Hand, in the advance of the science of Biblical Criticism, as well as of so many other sciences, in this our own day, on every side of us? Not in England only, but in Germany, France, Holland, Switzerland--even in [26/27] Belgium--the work is going steadily forward, by the unwearied industry of many labourers. And these men are working--not (as some did of old) for the purpose of getting rid of all religion, and all religious sanctions for the morality of the heart and life, but with the most sincere and earnest desire to be instruments, if it may be, in promoting the cause of true piety, and so blending its truths with those which God makes known to us daily by the progress of knowledge, that Religion and Science, which He wills to be joined as fellow-servants in His work on earth, and fellow-helpers of each other, may nevermore be put asunder.
The very fact, also, that the Bible, through the zealous labours of our Bible Societies, is now found in every house, and almost in every hand, may be regarded surely as one of the providential circumstances which mark a Power higher than our own, overruling the ages as they go. In the 18th century books of critical research upon the Bible might have been welcomed by a few learned men, or a few advanced thinkers, and, perhaps, by many who longed for the overthrow of all religion: but for the community at large they would have had no interest; they would have dropped unheeded from the press, and excited little attention. The Bible--at least the Old Testament--was comparatively little studied by the many, and little read except in churches; and the texts, which might have been discussed in a critical commentary, would have been almost unknown and unrecognised by the generality of readers.
Now, however, that the Bible is so widely spread and so thoroughly studied, these questions of Biblical Criticism have become intensely interesting to an immense body of diligent readers--to too many of them painfully interesting, the cause of grief and distress, which each true heart would gladly spare them, if God's work could be done, and God's truth born into the world, without such anguish. In the time of the Reformation, how many devout Roman-Catholics must have suffered trouble and perplexity of mind, before they saw clearly the bright light of day through the clouds of traditionary error! And, in [27/28] earlier days, how many a pious Jewish Mother must have wept over the (supposed) perversion and ruin of her son by Christian teaching, and bitterly cursed the day when he ever saw the face, or read the writings, of that foul 'heretic and infidel,' St. Paul--that 'pestilent fellow,' that 'mover of sedition,' that 'ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes,' who had 'gone about to profane the Temple,' and taught immorality--'Let us do evil that good may come,' and, above all, who had set aside the 'Law of Moses,' had declared that 'the Law was but a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ,' had enjoined--
'Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold! I, Paul, say unto you, that, if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.'
Still, through all this trouble, God's work of educating mankind in the clearer knowledge of Himself went on, and it is still going on in our time; and we must take cheerfully the portion which His Providence allots to us, -while steadily advancing, under His guidance, through this transition state, into yet greater liberty and light, it maybe, than the world has ever yet enjoyed. We may believe that the old traditionary system has been, like the Jewish before it, 'our schoolmaster' by God's appointment 'to bring us to Christ'--to 'the Christ that is to be '--to the 'comprehensive, all-embracing, Catholic, Christianity, which may defy the world.' 'Prosecutions,' 'Church Censures,' 'Excommunications,' cannot stop this work. The Truth will maintain itself, and make progress, in spite of all. Very wise and very full of faith were those words,--and very worthy to be laid to heart by many in these days,--which were spoken of certain (so-called) 'heretics' of old--
"Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought; but, if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it, lest haply ye be found even to fight against God,'
I am, my dear Brethren,
Your faithful Friend and Bishop,
J. W. NATAL.
1. Letter forwarded by the Bishop of Capetown to the Clergy of the Diocese of Natal, and ordered by him to be read publicly in all the Churches of the Diocese.
To the Clergy and Faithful Laity of the Diocese of Natal.
Brethren in Christ,--We think it our duty to inform you that, after long and anxious deliberation, we have come to the conclusion that your Bishop has not been charged falsely with erroneous teaching, that he has openly proclaimed opinions which are at variance with the belief of the Church in all ages, and of our own branch of it in particular, and are, in our judgment, subversive of the Christian faith. In consequence of this it has been the painful duty of the Metropolitan, with the advice and consent of such other Bishops of the Province as could conveniently be assembled, to deprive him of his office as Bishop of Natal, unless he shall, within a certain specified time, retract the false teaching which has been condemned. Should he, by God's grace, be led to see the grievous errors into which he has fallen, and to renounce them, we shall have won back a brother to the faith, and your Bishop will be restored to you. Should he refuse to do this, he will no longer have any authority from Christ or His Church, to bear rule in the Church of Natal, or in any way to minister in divine offices; and the clergy will be released from their vow of canonical obedience to him, and will not be at liberty in any way to recognise him as their Bishop. Let us earnestly pray to God that he may be recovered, and yet again uphold that faith which he once pledged himself to maintain, but which of late he has sought to overthrow. We are not unmindful, brethren, of the sorrows, anxieties, and perplexities, which have come upon you, through the falling away from the faith of your chief pastor. It is our desire to bear you continually in remembrance before the throne of grace, that, not being tossed to and fro by every wind of vain doctrine, you may stand fast in the faith which is in Christ Jesus, as that faith has been held and taught by the Church from the beginning, and may walk worthy of the Gospel of Christ. It is possible that your Bishop may return to Natal before receiving the Metropolitan's judgment. If so, you will remember that the sentence does [29/30] not take effect until the 16th of April next, when the period for retractation will have expired. Commending you very earnestly to the protection and guidance of God, we are, dear brethren,
Your faithful Servants in Christ,
R. Capetown, Metropolitan.
Edward, Bishop Orange Free State.
Bishop's Court, Capetown, Dec. 17,1863.
2. Resolutions adopted by the Bishop of Capetown, the Bishop of Geahamstown, and Bishop Twells, meeting in 'Synod,' on Dec. 15, 1863.
We, the undersigned Metropolitan and Suffragan Bishops of the Province of Capetown, having, in the good providence of God, met together in Synod at Bishop's Court, near to the metropolitan city of Capetown, upon a summons from the Metropolitan, do sanction and send forth the following reports of the Acts and Constitutions adopted in such Synod.
Edward, Bishop Orange Free State.
(i.) This Synod affirms that the Church of this Province receives and maintains the doctrine and sacraments and the discipline of Christ, as the Lord hath commanded, and as the United Church of England and Ireland hath received the same; and that it receives the Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the Church, according to the use of the United Church of England and Ireland, and also the authorised version of the Holy Scriptures, as of the same authority in this Church as it is in the Church in England; and further, it disclaims the right of a single Province of the Church to alter the standards of faith and doctrine now in use in the Church--the Three Creeds, the Thirty-nine Articles, the Church Catechism, and other Formularies of the Church; and acknowledges that the Canons and Constitutions of the Church, in so far as they are of force in England, and as the existing circumstances of the. Church in this Province permit, have authority here also, until they shall have been altered by Synods of this Province.
(ii.) This Synod affirms that inasmuch as this Church is not, as the Church in England, 'by law established,' and inasmuch as the laws of England have by treaty no force in this colony, those laws, which have been enacted by statute for the English Church as an Establishment, do not apply to, and are not binding upon, the Church in South Africa; and that this Church, therefore, receives the English ecclesiastical statute-law only in so far as it may serve to remedy and supply manifest defects or omissions of the canon law, or of laws framed and enacted by the Synods of this Church.
 (iii.) On the grounds stated in the previous resolution, this Synod considers that the final Court of Appeal, constituted by Act of Parliament for the established Church of England, is not a Court of Appeal in ecclesiastical causes for the un-established Church in this colony: and therefore this Synod declares that while the Church in this Province is bound by, and claims as its inheritance, the Standards and Formularies of the Church of England, it is not bound by any interpretations put upon those standards by existing Ecclesiastical Courts in England, or by the decisions of such Courts in matters of faith.
(iv.) This Synod sanctions and approves of the regulations adopted by the Diocesan Synods of Capetown and Grahamstown, for use in their respective dioceses, and postpones to a future Synod the consideration of the means to be adopted for bringing the regulations of the several Dioceses of the Province into entire harmony.
(v.) This Synod deems it to be consistent with the laws and usages of the Church that the Bishop of a Diocese should, if he see fit, invite the presence of his laity in his Diocesan Synod, provided that nothing be done without the consent of a majority of the Presbyters, and that the consent of the Bishop he necessary to all the Acts of the Synod.
(vi.) The Metropolitan having communicated to this Synod the sentence which he proposed to deliver, after hearing the charges brought against the Right Rev. John William Colenso, D.D., Bishop of Natal, by three of the clergy of this Province, and the grounds upon which he had arrived at his conclusion, the Synod desires to express its conviction that the charges have been proved, and its approval of the sentence about to be passed upon the Bishop by the Metropolitan.
(vii.) This Synod is of opinion that if the Bishop of Natal should appeal to His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury against the sentence of the Metropolitan, it would be highly desirable to allow such appeal in this particular case, which is both in itself novel, and of great importance to the whole Church. As, however, the question of appeals to England from the Churches in the colonies involves considerations as to the rights of Provinces, and as to the hindrances which may arise from such appeals to a proper maintenance of discipline, owing to the heavy costs thereof, and other causes, this Synod does not express any opinion upon the general question of appeals to England.
(viii.) This Synod is of opinion that, should the Bishop of Natal presume to exercise Episcopal functions in the diocese of Natal after the sentence of the Metropolitan shall have been notified to him, without an appeal to Canterbury, and without being restored to his office by the Metropolitan, he will be, ipso facto, excommunicate, and that it will be the duty of the Metropolitan, after due admonition, to pronounce the formal sentence of excommunication.
(ix.) That the title recommended by the joint committee of both houses of the Convocation of Canterbury, as, designating the true position of the [31/32] Church of this Province--'The Church of South Africa, in union and full communion with the United Church of England and Ireland,'--be adopted as its full and proper title, subject to any decision that may be come to by the united action of the English and Colonial Churches.
(x.) That in the judgment of this Synod, it would be desirable, under the difficulties which hare arisen in the endeavour to establish the mission of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts in Independent Kaffraria, that the future head of the mission in that country should be consecrated as Bishop, and that the Society be requested to select a clergyman for that office, and present him to his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury for consecration, and in the meantime to send out any clergymen and catechists, whom they may consider qualified to commence the mission, to be placed for the present under the direction and government of the Bishop of Grahamstown.
(xi.) That his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury be respectfully requested to consecrate some clergyman, either selected by his Grace, or recommended to him-by the Society, as the head of the mission about to be sent to Independent Kaffraria.
*** As observed in the Guardian, April 13, 1864, 'The Synod has not apparently adverted to the fact that the Bishop of Capetown has signed the Thirty-sixth Canon, to the effect that--
The Queen's Majesty, under God, is the only supreme Governor of this Realm, and of all other Her Highness's dominions and countries, as well in all Spiritual or Ecclesiastical things or causes, as Temporal-
and has also taken the Oath of Supremacy, as conditions of admission to the Episcopate.'
3. Extracts from the recent Charge (1863) of the Lord Bishop (Thirlwall) of St. David's.
"The Church has not attempted to fence the study of the Scripture, either for Clergy or Laity, with any restrictions as to the subject of enquiry, but has rather taught them to consider every kind of information, which throws light on any part of the Sacred Volume, as precious, either for present or possible use. . . If the enquiry is to be free, it is impossible consistently to prescribe its results.'--P. 91.
"The Resolution [of Convocation], by which, the Bishop of Natal's book was condemned, assumes a paternal authority, which rather suits an earlier period in the education of the world; and it presupposes a childlike docility and obedience, in those over whom it is exercised, which are now very rarely to be found. It also suggests the question, what practical purpose it was designed to answer. Two were indicated in the Committee's Report;--'the [32/33] effectual vindication of the truth of God's Word before men,' and 'the warning and comfort of Christ's People.' But it is not clear how either of these objects could be attained by a declaration, that 'the book involves errors of the gravest and most dangerous character.' Both seem to require that the censure should hare pointed out the errors involved, or have stated the doctrine which the book had at least indirectly impugned, so as to make it clear that the alleged errors affected, not merely prevalent opinions, but truths universally recognised as part of the Church's creed.' p. 101.
'According to the view which I have ventured to take of the proper limits of synodical action, in the cognisance of books, the Committee over-stept those limits. They were appointed to examine the Parts which had then appeared of the Bishop's work, and to report' whether any--and if any, what--opinions, heretical or erroneous in doctrine, were contained in it.' They extracted three propositions, which they have characterised as we have seen. . .
It may seem, indeed, as if the Committee, in their mode of dealing with the first of the propositions, which they cite or extract for censure, had shown that they Were aware of the precise nature of the function they had to perform, and meant to confine themselves to it. That proposition is,-- 'The Bible is not itself God's Word.' The author himself immediately adds, 'But assuredly " God's Word " will be heard in the Bible, by all who will humbly and devoutly listen for it.' Of this qualification, the Committee, in their remarks on the proposition, take no notice whatever. But they first observe that the proposition, as they cite it, 'is contrary to the faith of the Universal Church, which has always taught that Holy Scripture is given by inspiration of the Holy Ghost.' They seem to have overlooked that this statement, however true, was irrelevant; but they then proceed to refer to the Articles and Formularies of our own Church, which are, indeed, the only authority binding on her ministers. But, Unfortunately, not one of the passages to which they refer, applies to the proposition condemned. Many, indeed, among them do clearly describe the Bible as the 'Word of God.' But not one affirms that 'the Bible is itself God's Word.' . . No doubt, the expression indicated that the author made a distinction between the Bible and the Word of Godj and considered the two terms as not precisely equivalent or absolutely Interchangeable. . , And there is certainly high authority for the distinction. Among the numerous passages of the New Testament, in which the phrase, the Word of God, occurs, there is not one in which it signifies the Bible, or in which that word could be substituted for it without manifest absurdity. But, even in our Articles and Formularies, there are several, in which the two terms do not appear to be treated as synonymous. . . If the Word of God is to be found nowhere but in Holy Writ, not only would no other Christian Literature be properly called Sacred, but the Bible itself would be degraded to a dead and barren letter, and would not be a living spring of Divine Truth. On, the whole the Report first [33/34] attaches an arbitrary meaning to an ambiguous expression, and then charges it with contradicting authorities, which are either wholly silent upon it, or seem to countenance and warrant it. . .
But, in their treatment of the next proposition, the Committee seem almost entirely to have lost sight of the principle, which, although misapplied, appeared to guide them in their examination of the first. For, with a single insignificant exception, they confront it, not with our Articles and Formularies, but with passages of Scripture. Quotations from Scripture may add great weight to a theological argument; they are essential for the establishment of any doctrine of a Church, which professes to ground its teaching on Scripture; but they are entirely out of place, where the question is, not whether a doctrine is true or false, but whether it is the doctrine of the Church of England. . . This is no legal refinement, but a plain dictate of common sense; and it does not at all depend on the composition of the tribunal before which such questions are tried, so as to be less applicable, if the Court consisted entirely of ecclesiastics. . , I should think it a great misfortune to the Church, if Convocation, sitting in judgment on the orthodoxy of a theological work, though without any view to proceedings against the author, should ignore and practically reject that principle. And, if in this respect the Report betrays the influence of a personal prepossession, which, however natural, ought not to be allowed to sway the decisions of a grave assembly,--above all, so as to bring them into conflict with the highest legal authorities of the Realm,--we have the more reason to rejoice that it did not obtain the sanction of the Upper House.
When I look at the Scriptural arguments adduced in the Report against the second proposition extracted for condemnation, they do not seem to me of such a quality as to deserve to form an exception, if any could be admitted, to the rule which would exclude them from such an investigation. i . The Committee observe that 'Moses is spoken of, by our Blessed Lord in the Gospel, as the writer of the Pentateuch.' I suspect that even a layman, little acquainted with the manifold aspects of the question, and the almost infinite number of surmises, which have been or may be formed concerning it, would be somewhat disappointed, when he found that the proof, of this statement consists of three passages, in which our Lord speaks of 'Moses and the Prophets,' of the 'law of Moses,' and of 'writings of Moses.' It is true that it would not be a fatal objection to tie argument, that the word, 'Pentateuch 'does not occur in the Bible. It might have been so described, as to connect every part of its contents with the hand of Moses, as distinctly as if the observation of the Committee had been literally true. But in fact this is not the case; and still less is any such distinct appropriation to be found in any of the passages cited by the Committee in support of their assertion, that 'Moses is recognised as the writer of the Pentateuch in other passages of Holy Scripture.' They are neither more nor less conclusive than the language of the Seventh Article, to which the Committee confine all the [34/35] reference they have made to the judgment of the Church on this question,--though this was the only matter into which it was their proper business to enquire. The Article alludes to 'the law given from God by Moses,'--a slender foundation for any inference as to the record of that law, much more as to the authorship of other parts of the Pentateuch, especially as the name of Moses does not occur in the enumeration of the canonical books in the Sixth Article. If the question had been as to the authorship of the book of Psalms, few persons probably would think that it had been dogmatically decided by the Church, because in the Prayer-Book the Psalter is described as the 'Psalms of David.'
The third proposition, 'variously stated in the book,' relates to the historical truth of the Pentateuch, which the author denies, not in the sense that everything in it is pure fiction, but that all is not historically true. . . But it is to be regretted that the Committee should again have lost sight of the object for which they were appointed, and have omitted to refer to any doctrine of the Church, which the author has contradicted. This was the more incumbent on them, since a recent judgment has formally sanctioned a very wide latitude in this respect. It is clear that, in such things, there cannot be two weights and two measures for different persons, and also that it does not belong to any but legal authority to draw the line, by which the freedom, absolutely granted in theory, is to be limited in practice. . .
These are the propositions which they extract as the 'main propositions of the book,' which, though not pretending to 'pronounce definitively whether they are or are not heretical,' they-denounce as 'involving errors of the gravest and most dangerous character.' But they proceed to cite a further proposition, which the author states in the form of a question, to meet an objection which had been raised against his main conclusion, as virtually rejecting our Lord's authority, by which, as the Committee state, 'the genuineness and the authenticity of the Pentateuch have been guaranteed to all men.' Whether the passages, in which, our Lord quotes or alludes to the Pentateuch, amount to such a guarantee, is a point which they do not discuss. They only observe that the proposition 'questions our Blessed Lord's Divine knowledge,'--and with that remark they drop the subject.
Considering that this proposition is incomparably the most important of all that they cite, . . one is surprised that it should have been dismissed with so very cursory and imperfect a notice. For it is not even clear that it correctly expresses the author's meaning. The question which he raises does not properly concern our Load's Divine knowledge, that is, the knowledge belonging to His Divine Nature. It is whether His human knowledge was coextensive with the Divine Omniscience. It is obvious, at the first glance, what a vast field of speculation, theological and metaphysical, is opened by this suggestion. . . Bishop Jeremy Taylor observes: 'They that love to serve God in hard questions, use to dispute whether Christ did [35/36] truly, or in appearance only, increase in wisdom. . . Others . . apprehend no inconvenience in affirming it to belong to the verity of human nature, to have degrees of understanding as well as of other perfections; and, although the humanity of Christ made up the same person with His Divinity, yet they think the Divinity still to be free, even in those communications which were imparted to His inferior nature. ..." It is clear to which side Taylor inclines. But I must own I should be sorry to see these hard questions revived. . . Still more should I deprecate any attempt of the Church of England to promulge a new dogma for the settlement of this controversy. And I lament that the Committee of the Lower House should have expressed themselves, as if either there was no 'dispute' on the subject, or it belonged to them to end it by a word. But, at least, as their remark indicated that the Bishop had, in their judgment, fallen into some grave error, it was due, not only to him, but the readers of their Report, and to the Church at large, that they should have pointed out what the error was by a comparison with the doctrine of the Church which it was supposed to contradict.' p. 103-116.
Bishop Thirlwall adds, p.123;--'A great part of the events related in the Old Testament has no more apparent connection with our religion than those of Greek and Roman history. . . The history, so far as it is a narrative of civil and political transactions, has no essential connection with any religious truth; and if it had been lost, though we should have been left in ignorance of much that we desired to know, our treasure of Christian doctrine would have remained whole and unimpaired. The numbers, migrations, wars, battles, conquests, and reverses, of Israel, have nothing in common with the teaching of Christ, with the way of salvation, with the fruits of the Spirit. They belong to a totally different order of subjects. They are not to be confounded with the spiritual revelation contained in the Old Testament, much less with that fulness of grace and truth, which came by Jesus Christ. Whatever knowledge we may obtain of them, is, in a religious point of view, a matter of absolute indifference to us; and, if they were placed on a level with the saving truths of the Gospel, they would gain nothing in intrinsic dignity, but would only degrade that with which they are thus associated. Such an association may indeed exist in the minds of pious and even learned men: but it is only by means of an artificial chain of reasoning, which does not carry conviction to all beside. Such questions must be left to every one's private judgment and feeling, which have the fullest right to decide for each, but not to impose their decisions, as the dictate of an infallible authority, on the consciences of others. Any attempt to erect such facts into articles of faith, would be fraught with danger of irreparable evil to the Church, as well as with immediate hurt to numberless souls.'
4. The main facts in the case of Archdeacon Denison are stated in the following extract from the Record of Dec. 4,1863:--
 Let it he remembered that, when the charge of erroneous teaching was first alleged against the Archdeacon, he confessed his conviction that the best interests of the Church of England required that the charge should be investigated by fitting and competent authority. Yet, in the face of this avowal, he threw every possible difficulty in the way of a judicial enquiry, and when at last the Commissioners met for the preliminary investigation, the Archdeacon refused to admit the authorship of the sermons on which the charge was founded--sermons, in which he had not only reiterated the doctrines to which exception had been taken, but defended them at length by argument and positive statement. The authorship and publication had to be legally proved at the expense of the prosecutor. In like manner, when the case came on before the Archbishop, the Archdeacon appeared under protest, and tried hard to prevent the case being heard at all. Overruled on this point, he again refused to acknowledge the authorship of the sermons, and, in fact, threw every possible impediment in the way of the prosecution. The same course was adopted to the last. All along it was the object of the Archdeacon not to bring his doctrine at all to the test, but to prevent its being tried or tested in any way whatever. The only Court, before which the 'merits of the case' were discussed and examined, condemned the Archdeacon, and, on his declining to retract his heretical doctrines, pronounced sentence of deprivation. Be it remembered that this Court consisted of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Ltjshinston, the Dean of Wells, and the Oxford Margaret Professor. If the Archdeacon is so confident that he was right, why did he labour so strenuously to prevent its being revised by the Court of Arches and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council? Why ride off on a mere technicality, and thereby evade a decision of the case on its merits? We do not for an instant deny him the right, which is possessed by every defendant in a Court of Law, from a peer to the lowest criminal, of availing himself of every technical informality which can impede the prosecution, and afford a chance of upsetting its' case. But, since the Archdeacon deliberately and advisedly adopted this line of action, after a decision had been given against him on the actual question at issue, he must take the consequences. The public mind will come to its own conclusion on the subject, and will repudiate his claim to be regarded as an innocent man, especially when it recalls the fact, that the delay, which ultimately enabled the Archdeacon to escape, was wholly due to his friends, the late and present Bishops of Bath and Wells, both of whom did all in their power to prevent legal proceedings. He has been condemned by a competent Court, and after the fullest investigation, for maintaining doctrine directly repugnant to that of the Church in which he ministers; and this judgment has never been reversed, or even revised.
5. It seems amazing that, with the evidence now before him, any Bishop of, the Church should still persist in maintaining that 'the whole Pentateuch was written by Moses.' I need hardly [37/38] say that it would be still more amazing, if, knowing himself that this statement is not true, he were to endeavour to fasten it as truth upon the Laity, or to censure his Clergy for maintaining the contrary. I have shown in my Preface to Part IV what admissions the Rev. J. J. S. Perowne has been compelled, as a Hebrew student, to make on this point. Among other remarks, he says-- So far, then, judging this work simply by what we find in it, there is abundant evidence to show that, though the main bulk of it is Mosaic, certain detached portions of it are of later growth.'
No attempt has been made, as far as I am aware, to give any formal reply to my Fourth Part, But I have before me a book, entitled 'The Mosaic Origin of the Pentateuch considered, in connexion with Parts II and III of Bishop Colenso's "Critical Examination" by a Layman of the Church of England, Author of The Historic Character of the Pentateuch Vindicated. I have said, in my Preface to Part III, that his former work, 'though ably and pleasantly written, would be found to be full of fallacies': and I shall quote below a few from the present volume. My object, however, is not now to discuss the arguments, with which the writer assails the details of my criticism. I am rather glad of the opportunity of showing, by a series of quotations from his book, how in this case, as in that of the Rev. J. J. S. Perowne and others, an honest and intelligent student, coming to the consideration of the question with a mind, not free, indeed, from traditional prejudices, yet willing to enquire into the truth of the popular belief, and open to reasonable conviction, has been obliged to admit that the results which he has arrived at 'do differ very materially from the views commonly held,'--that 'these are facts very strongly at variance with the notions generally entertained,'--that 'facts they are, however--not mere theoretic fancies, or unfounded assumptions.' And, as the book is 'dedicated by permission' to the Archbishop of York, I may fairly assume that these admissions are specimens [38/39] beforehand of those which are likely to be made, under His Grace's sanction, in 'the Speaker's Commentary.' Let the thoughtful reader ponder them well.
We started with the presumption that the hooks -were written in the time of Moses, if not by Moses' own hand; and every step of the argument has brought the substantial truth of this presumption more strongly to light. p.115.
We entered the discussion unbiassed by any theory, but prepared to adopt whatever conclusion the facts of the case, fairly considered, might seem to require. Impressed with the conviction that the narrative was true, the laws authentic, and both probably contemporary, or nearly so, with the events, (the result of previous investigations), we have yet striven to keep the question of Mosaic authorship out of sight until the more important ones of constitution and date had been fully discussed, lest prejudice rather than reason should become our guide. And it must be confessed that the results we have thus arrived at do differ very materially from the views commonly held. The pre-Mosaic origin of large portions of Genesis, the existence of two records of the Exodus, one certainly, therefore, non-Mosaic,--the incorporation of narratives of foreign origin,--the numerous additions and occasional alterations made by a later writer after the Conquest,--these are facts very strongly at variance with the notions generally entertained. Facts they are, however--not mere theoretic fancies or unfounded assumptions; and in accordance with them must we frame our final view of the true origin of the Pentateuch.
'Much of it is certainly un-Mosaic, some earlier, some contemporary, some later than Moses. Many portions of the Pentateuch COULD NOT have proceeded from his pen, or even have been written under his direction.' p.141-2.
So far as the latter part of the Book of Numbers is concerned, then, the order of laws and narrative is regular and accurate enough, although the two are everywhere perfectly distinct, and easily separable. In the former part, however, considerable confusion exists; and not only are laws and narrative irregularly disposed, but even different sections of the latter transposed in the most unaccountable manner. . . All that we wish to point out is the striking contrast between this part of the history and that immediately preceding, recorded in the Book of Exodus, as a proof that they must have proceeded from different authors, and that the latter is, so far as its narrative is concerned, most certainly un-Mosaic. p. 147-8.
The materials, of which the first four books are composed, appear thus to be of very various dates and characters, the larger portion, however, being almost certainly Mosaic. They may be arranged as follows:--
(i) A series of 'Annals,' embracing the chief features of primeval and patriarchal history down to the death of Joseph--date and authorship [39/40] unknown, but some probably written in Egypt, and all certainly pre-Mosaic;
(ii) Additional matter referring to the same periods, from the pen of Moses, variously inserted among these, to enlarge, supplement, or replace different portions of them;
(iii) An Elohistic narrative of the sojourn in Egypt and the Exodus--date and authorship unknown;
(iv) A Jehovistic narrative of the Exodus and passage through the wilderness, up to the erection of the Tabernacle, including the earlier portion of the Sinaitic laws,--also a list of the journeyings in the wilderness,--written by Moses;
(v) A series of laws delivered during the last thirty-nine years of the journey through the wilderness, recorded probably by Moses;
(vi) A narrative of the events of the second and fortieth years, with which these laws have been incorporated, written shortly after the Conquest of Canaan;
(vii) Three isolated narratives, concerning Abraham's war with the four Kings, Jethro's visit to Moses, and Balaam's prophecies--probably (in part at least) of foreign origin;
(viii) A variety of explanatory notes, additions, and occasional alterations, with a few passages of greater length, chiefly from other ancient narratives, introduced by a writer of much later date--very probably in the days of Saul,
Out of these diverse materials we believe the first four books of the Pentateuch to have been compiled. The proportion in which they are to be found may be roughly expressed as follows:--. '
If these four books were divided into 1,000 equal parts, then (i), the pre-Mosaic annals would make up 164 of them; (ii), (iv), and (v), the Mosaic portions, 676; (vi), the later narrative, 214; (vii), the foreign records, 26; (iii) and (viii), the Elohistic Exodus, and the last revision, 10 each,' p.149-61.
With respect to the book of Deuteronomy, the author considers it to be, in some sense, decidedly Mosaic, yet he regards all the narrative parts as 'probably due to another hand/ and even the whole Book, apparently, as only a 'compilation' from the genuine Mosaic records.
'Although, however, we are thus bound to regard Deuteronomy as the standard of Mosaic composition, until internal evidence be alleged sufficient to prove it a forgery, we are certainly not warranted in supposing that the Book in its present form is to be ascribed to Moses' pen. It contains the account of his death, which (as already remarked) we cannot, without the moat extravagant and unjustifiable assumptions, regard as written by himself. Some part of the narrative, then, is clearly due to another hand; and, as there is no [41/42] appearance of this being a later addition, the same is probably the case with all the narrative sections. The way in which the 'Blessing of Moses' is introduced in xxxiii. 1, and more especially v 4, 5, are strongly confirmatory of this view,--at least as respects this particular chapter. But it may be objected, perhaps, that in some places Moses is distinctly said to have put these addresses, &c. into writing. This is certainly the case, both with respect to his last exposition of the Law and exhortation to obedience, xxvii-xxx, and his prophetical Song, xxxii. 1-43,--his writing and delivering them to the Priests, the Levites, being distinctly recorded. This very circumstance, however, only furnishes another argument against his authorship of the entire Book; since it is surely most improbable that Moses should have written these portions twice over; yet how else could he have given them into the hands of the Levites to keep, and at the same time record his doing so, together with several later incidents, in the same breath? It seems, therefore, most reasonable to regard the Book of Deuteronomy as a collection of genuine addresses, laws, &c. from the mouth, and most probably also the pen, of Moses, compiled and arranged by some later writer.
"The fact, that the 'Blessing of Moses' was recorded in its present form by a later hand, has been already insisted on. It would seem also, as Kurtz suggests, that it was written down from memory, not copied from original documents like the other parts of Deuteronomy, to which, doubtless, the frequent recurrence of the phrase 'he said,' v. 2, 7, 8, 12, 13, 18, 20, 22, 23, 24, and other peculiarities, are to be ascribed.' p. 283.
The following are instances of the manner in which certain difficulties are explained or 'reconciled.' The author believes, apparently, in the literal historical truth of the accounts of the Creation, Paradise, the Fall, the Deluge, the Rainbow, and the Confusion of Tongues, since he writes, p. 327--
'The opening portion of Genesis sets before us all we know of man's primeval history. His original Creation in the image of God, his Position and Office in the Universe, his Innocence, his Fall, the first and great Judgment on his sins, the first great Covenant of Mercy, his final Dispersion over all the Earth: Here are facts, which have an interest and value of their own, apart from any indirect religious teaching,--facts, which belong to every race and age, whose worth remains untouched, whose import undiminished, by aught of later date,--facts, which constitute the very foundation-stones of Revelation, as, indeed, of the history, the condition, and the destiny of all mankind.'
But, in order to reconcile the manifest discrepancy between the two accounts of the Creation, viz. that in G. i. 21, 24, the [41/42] birds and beasts are made before the man, and in G. ii. 19 are made after him,--(besides which, in G. i. 27, the man and woman are made together, the crown and completion of the Creation, whereas in G. ii. 21 the animals are made between the man and woman,) the author first assumes that the 'six days' of (x.i. are six 'epochs' of Creation, though it is hard to imagine that,--when the sun and moon had been' set in the heavens 'in v. 14-18, 'to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness,' the fourth, fifth, and sixth days, at all events, in v. 19,23,31, could have been meant to be any other than common days, or that the 'six days 'in E. xx. 9,--'six days shalt thou labour,'--do not mean the same as the 'six days' in v. 11,--'for in six days Jehovah made heaven and earth,'--or that in v. 11 'the seventh day,' on which He 'rested,' denotes a long 'epoch,' whereas the 'Sabbath-day,' which He 'blessed,' means only a common 'day.' But, having made this assumption, the author proceeds as follows:--
'The Creation of birds and beasts is stated in G. i. to have preceded that of man, a fact fully borne out by the discoveries of Geology: in G.ii., however, their Creation is spoken of after that of Adam, but before that of Eve. Of course, this seeming contradiction would be easily got over by supposing, (as we reasonably might,) that they are mentioned here because the subject required it, although in existence before. [But how is it, then, that the woman in G. ii. is not created at the same time as the man, as is obviously implied in G. i. 27?]
'This explanation, however, though sufficient to destroy the force of the objection, and in great measure, no doubt, correct, yet fails to vindicate the consistency of the two narratives with fact, so clearly and convincingly as may be done another way. If our view of the first record of Creation lie correct, and the six days be regarded as representatives of six great epochs of creative energy, . . then it follows that the Creation of birds and creeping-things on the fifth day, and of four-footed beasts on the sixth, does not mean that at those particular periods all the species of birds and reptiles and quadrupeds were created, which have ever lived upon our globe, but rather that these particular kinds of animals formed the chief and distinguishing features of those periods. There may have been birds created before the fifth day, others also on the sixth: just as there were, doubtless, fresh plants created after the third day. [But what means G. i. 21, 'and Elohim created . . every living creature that moveth, [42/43] . . and every winged fowl after his kind,' and again, v. 25, 'Elohim made every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind'?] All that is intended by the narrative is, we apprehend, to set forth the special characteristics of each succeeding epoch, not to define precisely all that was created on each day. Now it is a well-known fact in Geology that but very few of the plants and animals, especially needed or employed by man, can be traced back to periods prior to the date of his Creation. The subordinate members of each epoch were suited to the superior. When, therefore, man appeared on the scene, it was but natural that with him should appear also those creatures most suited to his needs. These, then, may be regarded as the contemporaries of man, created for him and with him; and these, no doubt, it is, that are spoken of as brought by God unto Adam, that he should see if there were any whom he could take for his companion, to whom also he gave names. [Yet G.ii.19 says, 'and out of the ground Jehovah-Elohim formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air, and brought them unto Adam . . And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field.'] But, if so, then they must be regarded as entirely distinct from those birds and beasts named in the Elohist's narrative, as characteristics of the fifth and earlier portion of the sixth days, and all possibility of contradiction is at once removed.' p. 24, 25.
So, again, the remarkable discrepancy which is found in the two versions of the Fourth Commandment, as given in E.xx.11 and D.v.15, is explained thus, p. 223:
"A slight examination of the way, in which the new clause at the end of the Fourth Commandment (the main discrepancy) is introduced, will show at once that Moses never intended it to be regarded as part of the Commandment, but simply as a remark of his own, to urge the people to obey what God had enacted. The original clause [E.xx.11] was connected on to the Command, as a reason for its promulgation, 'For in six days Jehovah made heaven and earth, &c.: therefore Jehovah blessed the sabbath-day and hallowed it.' The new clause [D.v.15] is added merely as a reason, why they should observe it, and is introduced very differently,--'And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and Jehovah thy God brought thee out thence, &c.: therefore Jehovah thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath-day.' The one, in fact, expresses God's reason for its observance, the other Moses's,--[so that Moses presumed to substitute his own 'reason' for the Divine,--for those tremendous words, which he himself and all the people had received from the Almighty Lawgiver, amidst the awful thunders of Sinai!]
Upon another point the author writes as follows:--
"With respect to the Hare, there can be no doubt but that the Mosaic [43/44] statement is anatomically inaccurate. But was anatomical exactness the object, or even a necessary adjunct, of the law? Surely not: the object was simply to define what animals might, and what might not, be eaten. And for this purpose two characteristics were selected, 'chewing the cud' and 'cleaving the hoof.' . . It is manifest that the only guide, which the people could follow in such a case, was appearance. By the rule of appearance, then, must all the provisions of the law be made, to be effectual. But it is admitted that in appearance the Hare does 'chew the cud,' and many non-scientific observers have recorded it as a well-known and undoubted fact. It is clear, then, that, for the purposes of the Mosaic Law, the Hare must be classed among animals chewing the cud. To make a statement of this hind, occurring in such a place and for such a purpose, an argument against the accuracy and authenticity of the Pentateuch, is absurd. To suppose that on such matters the letter of Scripture is to be regarded as divinely inspired and infallible, is scarcely less so (!)
Ans. The objection is that the statement occurs--not in a Mosaic, but--in a professedly Divine, law, 'Jehovah spake unto Moses and to Aaron,'--L.xi.1: and it must surely be believed that any words really uttered by the Almighty Himself, in whatever 'place' and for whatever 'purpose,' must be 'divinely inspired and infallible.' Hence, if this statement of a fact in natural history be not true, it follows that the words in question, ascribed to Jehovah, were not really spoken by Him to Moses and Aaron,--in other words, that the story, as recorded in the Pentateuch, is not an 'accurate and authentic' narrative of matter-of-fact.
6. Extracts from a Lecture by Prof. Owen, delivered at the request of the Committee of the 'Young Men's Christian Association,' and originally published under their sanction, though now excluded from their 'Annual Volume' of Lectures. [Exeter Hall Lectures: The Power of God in His Animal Creation, by Professor Richard Owen. Nisbet & Co., Berners St., London, price 3d.]
"Your Association seems seldom to be addressed by men of Science. In glancing down the present list of Lecturers, I find myself the only layman. And yet the so-called 'man of Science,' if he deserve the name, ought to be the possessor of certain parcels of indisputable truth; and he should be able to impart to you some of this most precious commodity.
"There have, indeed, been times when the Christian Church has been unwilling to receive it. But I trust to be able to show, by the example of such times, that a like jealousy of natural knowledge is without ground, and unworthy of any body of sincere worshippers of the Author of all truth. p. 4.
'Most annotators on Scripture represent serpents as the progeny of a transmuted species, degraded from its original form as the penal consequence [44/45] of its instrumentality in the temptation of Eve. Thus Drs. D'Oyly and Mant, in the edition of the Bible printed under the direction of the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, write: 'The curse upon the serpent consisted--first, in bringing down his stature, which was probably in great measure erect before this time--'upon thy belly shalt thou go,' or 'upon thy breast,' as some versions have it; secondly, in the manner of its provision--'and dust shalt thou eat '--inasmuch as, creeping upon the ground, it cannot but lick up much dust together with its food.' Almost every commentator writes under the same impression of the special and penal degradation of the serpent to its present form.
'But, when the laws of the science of animated nature form part of the preliminary studies of the theologist, he will appreciate the futility of such 'attempts to expound the symbolic text, as if it was a statement of matter of fact. What Zoology and Anatomy have unfolded of the nature of serpents in their present condition amounts to this--that their parts are as exquisitely adjusted to the form of their whole, and to their habits and sphere of life, as is the organisation of any animal. Far from licking up its food, as it glides along, the serpent lifts up its crushed prey, and presents it, grasped in the death-coil, as in a hand, to the gaping mouth. . . . But what more particularly concerns us in the relation of the serpent to our own history, is the palaeontological fact, that these ophidian peculiarities and complexities of cranial and vertebral organisation, in designed subserviency to a prone posture, and a gliding progress on the belly, were given, together with their poison-apparatus, by the Creator, to the serpents, before any of the actual kinds of Mammalia trod the earth, and long ages before the creation of man.' p. 19-21.
'The early Christians held that Scripture taught the earth to be the chiefest and hugest mass of created matter,--that it was the centre and sole habitable part of the visible universe,--that it was a plain, bounded by water and cloud. . . . The idea of the earth, as a plain, squared best with the dearest hope and earnest expectation of the early fathers and their persecuted converts, looking daily for the coming of the Lord to judge the dead, who should rise, and, with the living, stand before the judgment-seat.
'Great, therefore, and grievous, was the shock which was felt, when geometric reasons for the earth being a ball, and not a plain, began to sway and to trouble the minds of the faithful. For, if the earth was globular, one part of its surface might be as fit for life as its opposite; and how, then, could all men stand before the Judge, look up and lift up their heads to Him, if there should be antipodes? The doctrine of the rotundity of the earth was accordingly denounced as heretical. We read with astonishment the terms in which it was repudiated by some of the Fathers of the Church. . . .
'The faithful instruments, to whom had been committed the task of making known to man the Creative Power, as manifested in the shape of the Earth, continued their labours, multiplied their demonstrations, until at length the [45/46] learned and intellectual Augustine yielded. He warned the more zealous and ignorant of his Clergy of the danger of the opposition. This roundness of the Earth rests on geometrical data; and, as the mind of man has been created to receive and assimilate truth, it cannot resist such demonstrations. Men, therefore, will believe that the Earth is rotund; and when ye preach it to be flat, and denounce the new doctrine, they will say, 'If ye know so little of earthly things, how shall we believe you when you tell us of heavenly ones?'
'But more remained, and much more remains, to know. . . . The sad story of the philosopher Galileo--'seventy years of age, being of sound mind, and on my knees before you, (I quote from the Inquisitorial Decree), abandoning entirely, as justly ordered, the false opinion, that the Sun is the centre of the world and immovable, that the Earth is not the centre, and that it moves, the said doctrine being declared contrary to Holy Writ'--is familiar and trite. But the Dominicans, with unsparing and systematic measures to suppress the heresy, were less emphatic in denouncing its impiety than was Luther himself, the vehement Father of Reform.'
'Nearer our time, and proved by alike variety of adequate demonstrations, has been vouchsafed to us a knowledge of the age of the Earth--the certainty, at least, that the date of some 6,000 years, assigned to it in some theologies, is inadequate to the work which has been performed in it: and to those, to whom a knowledge has been most clearly vouchsafed of the nature of the Divine operations in the preparation and peopling of the dry land, that date is utterly--nay, absurdly--inadequate.
'The investigations of the various strata, of their composition, of their respective order and mode of formation, and, above all, of the evidences of life which they include, concurrently demonstrate that the globe allotted to man has revolved in its orbit, attended by its moon, through a period of time so vast that the mind strains to realise such period, by an effort like that by which it strives to conceive the space dividing the solar system. The facts so recognised teach that, from the remote period of the deposition of 'the Cambrian rocks, the Earth has been vivified by the Sun's light and heat, has been fertilised by refreshing showers, and washed by tidal waves--that the Ocean not only moved in orderly oscillation, regulated, as now, by Sun and Moon, but was rippled and agitated by winds and storms--that the Atmosphere, besides these movements, was healthily influenced by clouds and vapours, rising, condensing, and falling, in ceaseless circulation.
'With such conditions of life, observation of the relics of living beings teaches that life has been enjoyed during the same countless thousands of years, and that with life, from its beginning, has been death. The earliest testimony of the living thing, whether coral, crust, or shell, in the oldest fossiliferous rock, is, at the same time, proof that it died. . . And not only the individual, but the species, goes; and, just as death is met by birth, so extinction has been balanced by creation, i.e. by a concomitant and [46/47] continuous operation of Creative Power, which has produced a succession of species. . . We discern no evidence of pause or intermission, in the creation or coming to be of new species of plants and animals. . .
"I may say that, between the conceptions of past -time, which a knowledge of God's operations therein on our Earth imparts, and the dates of the beginning of these operations in the Jewish (A.M. 5623) and Romish (A.M. 5869) calendars for the present year (A.D. 1863), the difference is as great as between the astronomer's conception of the sky, and the notion of those men of Shinar, who thought to reach the azure dome by building high enough their Tower of Babel! . . To know, to try to realise the fact, that every bit of coal once moved as sap in the vessels of a plant, and that each cliff and 'bushless down' of chalk, and every quarry of limestone and marble, once circulated in the vascular system of an animal,--what can surpass such views of the Creative Power, or more inspire due reverence for the Wielder!' p. 26-30.
'Did time permit, I could open out to you another field of the Power of God, as manifested in the law of the geographical distribution of plants and animals, and show you how the peculiar life-forms, for example, which now respectively characterise South America, Australia, and New Zealand, are closely allied to, or identical with, the forms represented by fossils that characterised those parts of the dry land, before Niagara began to cut back its channel in the platform of rock, over the face of which) when uplifted 50,000 years ago, it first began to fall. And such knowledge is incompatible with the notion of the divergence of all existing, air-breathing, or drownable, animal species from one Asiatic centre within a period of 4,000 years.
'But to how many in this hall might such bodies of fact and inference be distasteful,--such enlargement of their knowledge of the Power unwelcome? May I suppose that there are any here who would arrest the course of Science if they could,--would gladly fetter its diffusion? . . . I would fain believe that there are not among the representatives of the Christian world, whom I am now honoured in addressing, any to whom the expositions of the Power, teaching the world's vast age, the co-relation and concomitancy of death with life, the unintermittance of creative acts, may be abhorrent,--who look with suspicion, dislike, or dread, upon the evidences, reasonings, proofs, of Geology, Palaeontology, Geographical Zoology,--who have ears to hear, and will not listen, who have eyes to see, and will not behold. But, if such there be, let me remind them that their mental condition is the same as that of the devout Christians, when the discoveries of the shape, the motions, and cosmical relations, of our small planet were first propounded. They know not, or they refuse to receive, the later evidences of the Power of God: 'They think they know the Scriptures, and they do err.' p.30-31.
"Call to mind the speculations in which some good men have indulged, and gone astray, on praelapsarian paradisaical conditions--such as 'the lion lying [47/48] down with the lamb,' and even being of like peaceful herbivorous habits. Hear the truth! Not only has death ever followed life in prae-Adamite plant and beast, but also, commonly, death by violence. Of old, and aeons ere so high a creature as man trod the earth, it was a scene of conflict and carnage. The evidence abounds of mutilation and wounds, and the healing of wounds and fractures in the old fossil animals. For the variety, the beauty, the polish, the sharpness, the strength, the barbed perfection, the effectiveness in every way of lethal weapons, no armoury can compete with that of the fossil world. Nor are the instruments of defence less remarkable. The spines of thousands of the more peaceful fishes, that were the prey of the fiercer sorts--both alike extinct--these icthyodorulites, as they are termed,--alone require a book for themselves for adequate illustration in our palaeontological records.'
'Not but that, for all that is essential to the right life here and in the life to come, Scripture alone sufficeth: the eternal truths are plainly told. ... It is the human element, mingling with the divine, or meddling with it, which the discoveries of science expose: it is the fence, set up about some narrowed and exclusive view, which they break down. Beware, therefore, of logically precise and definite theologies, accounting, from their point of view, for all things and cases, natural and preternatural; claiming to be final-and all-sufficient. 'Systems of Doctrine,' 'Schemes of Christianity,' 'Dogmatic Formularies,' are of human fabrication, the works of man's brain, of which he is as proud and jealous as of the works of his hands. They, forsooth, must not be meddled with! Any ray of light, exposing a hole or a bad joint in them, must be shut out--the light-bringer, perhaps, anathematised! They must be the exception to the common lot awaiting all mortal constructions! . . . Emancipate yourselves from notions of textual meanings, which may have been early impressed upon your plastic understanding. Clear away the film or medium, which has been systematically screwed upon your mind's eye by your early teacher, with best intentions, and in best faith, whether Anglican or Athanasian, Lutheran, Wesleyan, Presbyterian, &c. As much as may be, become again 'as little children,' in seeking guidance from Holy Writ. Above all, square your actions by Christian ethics, and be assured that, as you do so, the essential truths will become plainer to your intellect; for 'He, that doeth of the will, shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God.' p. 33-35. ['Emancipate yourselves, rather, from the notion of the necessity of receiving such " meanings," though often, it may be, the meanings intended by the Sacred "Writers, as, therefore, infallible Divine utterances, "the Unerring Word of the Living God." '--Note by the Bishop of Natal.]