Prynne's relations with his diocesans--The Lambeth Opinion of 1899--Perplexing alternatives--Correspondence with Bishop Bickersteth--Discontinuance of the liturgical use of incense in response to the Bishop's "godly admonition"--Resignation of the Rev. H. H. Leeper--Communicants' memorial to the Bishop -- Restoration of incense and introduction of Reservation--Prynne on the evil of internal divisions.
THE events briefly referred to in the preceding chapter arose out of the Archbishop's opinion regarding Reservation and the liturgical use of incense --an opinion which Bishop Bickersteth, like so many other prelates, endeavoured to impose upon his diocese of Exeter. In the earliest days of his incumbency, and in the midst of the bitterest persecution he ever experienced, Prynne, as we have seen, had the support of his Bishop. The value of this support cannot be over-estimated. Dr. Philpotts was succeeded in the Bishopric of Exeter by Dr. Temple, by whom also Prynne and his work were very highly esteemed. With many other clergy of the diocese Prynne opposed Dr. Temple's appointment, but when that appointment was finally made, his first act on the Bishop's coming to Exeter, was to call at the Palace and tell the Bishop that he had felt bound to oppose his appointment, and to state his reasons for doing so. Bishop Temple, just in himself, appreciated those men who were real workers. He received Prynne most kindly, and told him that from what he had heard of his work, he felt sure they would soon be friends, and that they would work harmoniously together. Dr. Temple, as has been said, was always friendly to Prynne, although, of course, not altogether in sympathy with the kind of services held at St. Peter's. When the plans for the rebuilding of the nave and the addition of a side chapel came before the Bishop for signature, for the purposes of the faculty, on the plans and every drawing showing the chapel, or any portion of it, he crossed the same through with his pen and wrote, "Disapproved, Exon." A far more liberal spirit was shown a few years later, when he consecrated many churches with side chapels and second altars, showing that even the strongest of bishops can sometimes be progressive in their views. Indeed it is the strongest man that is most likely to be progressive.
While recognizing in the Vicar of St. Peter's a stalwart Catholic, Dr. Temple admired him for his saintliness and devotion of life, frequently expressing that feeling in private as well as in public. In 1878 he discussed with Prynne the position of the Society of the Holy Cross, of which organization Prynne was one of the early members, having joined in 1860. Dr. Temple made it very clear that while he objected to the Society as it then stood--this was the moment when public attention had been excited in consequence of statements made about "The Priest in Absolution"--he nevertheless entertained a very kindly feeling for many of its members, whom he describes as "truly excellent and holy men." "I wish," he adds, "I could help them by any encouragement that I could give. They have my deepest sympathy in their spiritual life--but I do wish they would make a new society." This was in 1878. A few years later Prynne consulted Dr. Temple with regard to the service at the Consecration of St. Peter's, and in reply the Bishop thus stated his own position on certain points:--
"Exeter, January 30, 1882.
"MY DEAR SIR,
"I have no objection to the Kyrie, the Creed, the Sanctus, and the Gloria in Excelsis being sung in the Communion Office on Wednesday. I wish very much that I could myself intone the proper parts of the service. But I hope those of your singers who have been confirmed will be partakers of the Holy Communion with the rest.
"I am always desirous of conforming to the wishes of the clergy when I can do so without breach of law. But it is settled, and in my judgment rightly settled, that the position of the celebrant at the beginning of the Communion Office is at the north side, and not before the altar, and that the position during the Prayer of Consecration must be such that the bread may be broken before the people. I know that some of the clergy profess to be able to stand eastward and yet break the bread before the people; but I have never been able to do it, nor have I ever seen it done.
"The breaking of the bread before the people is a really important thing if the manual acts are not to be degraded. For it is the principle of all our services that the people should take their part, and there is precisely the same reason why they should see the manual acts as why they should hear the words of Consecration. To be consistent, if the one be hidden, the other should be whispered, or be said in Latin or in Hebrew.
"I feel bound to add that though I always do my utmost to conform to the wishes of the clergy, I think it ill for the Church that there should be this inversion of the natural order.
A few days after writing the above letter Dr. Temple consecrated St. Peter's Church--"the visible proof," as he observed, "of the effect that Mr. Prynne had produced,"--granting the priests and people of the parish a dispensation from observing the Vigil of the Purification on this their day of festival, and sharing to the full in their joy on that happy occasion. More than a year later, in December, 1883, Dr. Temple wrote Prynne, expressing his profound sense of the danger involved in the proposal to legalize marriage with a deceased wife's sister. "Nothing," he said, "can be more disastrous to the morality of a nation than the lowering of the sanctity of domestic life and of the marriage bond. ... I pray that we may have God's aid to avert the evil that appears to be imminent."
In defence of such vital principles Prynne was ever most strenuous, for though he had no love of controversy, but rather regarded it with pain, he had (to use his own words) been accustomed all through his life to stand to his guns, entirely regardless of fear or favour, Joining the English Church Union at the close of 1862, when that society, then in its infancy, was engaged in meeting Bishop Colenso's attacks on certain books of the Bible, Prynne remained an active and earnest member of the Union throughout his life, some of his last public speeches being delivered in its support. From 1874 to 1876 he was vice-chairman of the Plymouth branch, a position he again held from 1887 to the time of his death. He was also a Vice-President of Devon (South) District Union from 1899, and in this capacity delivered a very striking address to its members at Torquay in the summer of 1902. On that occasion, tracing the course of ecclesiastical events during the past sixty years, the veteran clergyman drew special attention to the "Erastian Heresy," which the Union had so long fought against--namely, that any mere secular Court, set up by Parliament, has any right to decide matters of faith or to regulate the worship of the Church in such matters as the Church by her rules, canons, and customs, has sanctioned. "To admit such a claim would, as it appears to me, be to dethrone Jesus Christ from the Sovereignty of His Own Church, and to set up a mere secular authority in His stead--an act, surely, of disloyalty to our Head; in short, an act of idolatry." Of the few honours that fell to him, few were more valued by this humble-minded priest than his election by the President and Council of the English Church Union to a Vice-Presidency of that body, which position he held from 1901 to the time of his death two years later. By the President of the Union, Lord Halifax, Prynne was ever held in the highest esteem: on the occasion of the consecration of the new St. Peter's, that devoted layman, writing to express his regret at not being able to be present, observed:--
"I like to think of the happiness it must be to you to see your son's work finished, and to feel that all the long years of work at St. Peter's have been crowned with such a proof of God's blessing. It is not Plymouth only, but the whole Church of England, that owes you a deep debt of gratitude."
Prynne's friendly relations with his diocesans continued and deepened under Dr. Bickersteth's occupancy of the See of Exeter. Differing, as they undoubtedly did, in their theological standpoints, the two men had many points in common. The deep spiritual earnestness, which was such a conspicuous feature of Dr. Bickersteth's character, enabled him to appreciate very highly the truly "evangelical" aspect of Prynne's life and teaching; while Prynne himself held in the utmost respect and esteem a diocesan whose piety and sanctity of life were worthy of the best traditions of the school to which he belonged. Both men, moreover, shared in the knowledge and love of the Church's hymnology, the stores of which they had enriched. Possessing mutual sympathies, and actuated by common love for their Divine Master, Whom both so faithfully served, it was inevitable that their relations toward each other should have been of the most affectionate nature. Bishop Bickersteth, thanking Prynne for a volume of his sermons in feelings towards him:--
"I know that in some doctrines we do not see eye to eye. But I have for long, long years reckoned among my truest friends some whose doctrinal views differed from my own--their views and mine being, as I believe, within the wide embracing limits of our beloved Church-- and, as I have often found on closer conference with them, being much nearer together than they or I had suspected. And ever since I came into the diocese, I have felt an affectionate veneration for your labours of love and faithful ministry. ... I hope to read many more of your valuable sermons, and I venture to send you a very simple tractate of mine, the fruit of sermons I preached to my Hampstead flock, on the Holy Communion office. You will see in my words on the Prayer of Consecration of the Elements that I do intensely believe in the spiritual presence of our Lord in His Feast of Love."
The spectacle of these two old Churchmen, the evangelical bishop and the aged priest, drawing closer and closer together, and seeking each to understand the other more completely and fully, is one of touching beauty. The recollection of it, moreover, may help to a better appreciation of the difficulties with which both men were confronted toward the close of Bishop Bickersteth's episcopate.
His intense veneration of the Holy Eucharist, which was to him the very sum and centre of Church life on earth, early led Prynne to surround that great act of worship with every adjunct of Catholic ceremonial that he could command. The "Six Points" were adopted at St. Peter's very soon in its history, and of them all, perhaps none appealed more strongly to Prynne than the liturgical use of incense, with its beautiful symbolism of the great evangelical truth enshrined in the Sacrament of the Altar. Over and over again, with voice and pen, he taught the full meaning of the use of incense, than which, he was wont to maintain, no part of ceremonial had more of scriptural authority, or was more symbolical of high, holy, and truly evangelical truth. Upon the twofold grounds of scriptural precedent and primitive teaching, he never tired of justifying the retention and restoration in the Anglican Communion of this mark of her oneness with the whole Catholic Church. The Lambeth Opinion of 1899, with its condemnation of the liturgical use of incense in the services of the Church, occasioned the deepest distress to Prynne, who, in a little while, was called upon by his revered friend and bishop to relinquish those things which the Archbishops, relying on an obsolete Act of Uniformity, had seen fit to condemn.
Thus, at a time of life when the infirmities of age were pressing hard upon him, Prynne was confronted with two equally painful alternatives. On the one hand, his diocesan implored him, with all the fervour and earnestness at his command, to relinquish the use of the condemned ceremonial, and so to strengthen his bishop's hands in a moment of special difficulty and perplexity. On the other hand, Prynne was fully aware that by obeying his bishop's "godly admonition," he would be pursuing a course that would inevitably cause him to be mistaken and forsaken by many friends, and this at a time when, humanly speaking, he could not afford to do without their help and support. The situation was indeed one of peculiar trial and difficulty, the consideration of which caused Prynne the acutest mental distress and anxiety. The already heavy responsibility which rested on him in the matter was further increased by the knowledge that if he decided to surrender the use of incense in compliance to his bishop's request, the Rev. H. H. Leeper, who had been his valued colleague for twelve years, would feel it his duty to resign the work he had so ably carried on. Enough has been said to show the gravity of the situation with which Prynne was face to face. The subjoined correspondence may perhaps be inserted here as showing the line of action which was eventually taken, and the principles which animated Prynne's conduct in this difficult matter:--
"The Palace, Exeter,
"September 20, 1899.
"My DEAR MR. PRYNNE,
"I have heard that you are accustomed in St. Peter's Church to use liturgical incense and processional lights, and I feel it to be my solemn duty, as your father-in-God, to implore you not to use them henceforth.
"You have, I doubt not, read and pondered the decisions of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York as to the lawfulness of the liturgical use of incense and the carrying of lights in procession. They decided that these usages were unlawful, and their closing words are such as must, I think, touch the hearts and consciences of all Churchmen. They say:
"'We think it our duty to press, not only on the clergy that have appeared before us, but also on all the clergy alike, to submit to episcopal authority in all such matters as these. All alike have consented to the book of Common Prayer, and the book of Common Prayer requires all persons, not only if they doubt, but if they find that others disagree with them concerning the meaning of the directions contained in the book, to resort to the Bishop of the Diocese, who may, if he thinks meet, send the question to the Archbishop for his decision. In order to give the fullest opportunity to any who diversely take any question of this kind, to give reasons for their opinion, we have suspended our decision until we had heard the matter fully and learnedly argued before us, and we have now given our decision as the Prayer-book requires us to do. We entreat the clergy for the sake of the peace of the Church, which we all so much desire, to accept our decision thus conscientiously given, in the name of our common Master, the supreme Head of the Church, the Lord whose commission we bear.'
"My dear brother, I am the more anxious to beseech you, for Christ's sake, to submit to this decision of our Primate, in which I, your Bishop, fully concur, as your long and ripe experience has influence over so many. I do not hide from myself that any change of ritual may be a source of grief to some members of your flock, but I am sure that any sacrifice you and they make in this act of obedience will have an abundant reward in the union which is binding our beloved Church more and more closely together. I entreat you to strengthen my hands by yielding to my earnest desire and submitting to my godly admonition.
"Ever yours most affectionately,
"E. H. EXON."
"St. Peter's, Plymouth,
"October 20, 1899.
"My DEAR LORD BISHOP,
"When I wrote to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordship's letter on the question of incense and processional lights, and to thank you for the kind and courteous way in which you had expressed your wishes on the subject, I said I would take the matter into my serious and prayerful consideration and then write you more fully. I must apologise for the delay which has occurred in my doing so, which I trust your Lordship will excuse in consideration of the grave difficulties in which your action on the Archbishops' pronouncement has placed me. For more than thirty years we have used incense in the Eucharistic office at St. Peter's Church, with the goodwill of the congregation, and without any expressed disapproval on the part of the Bishop of the Diocese.
"I did not adopt this usage hastily when I came here: I waited twenty years before doing so, and did not then act before fully instructing my people on the subject and explaining the reasons of my action.
"I taught them that it was scriptural, having been originally ordered by God Himself--that it was not simply a part of Jewish ceremonial, but that it was prophesied of as an adjunct of worship in the Church of God when the Gentiles should flow into it, e.g. in Isa. xl., Mal. i., vii.--that its usage in the Divine Liturgy had prevailed in the Catholic Church from primitive times, and that its symbolical teaching was truly evangelical, signifying, not only prayer, but prayer saturated with the merits of Christ, which alone makes our prayers acceptable to God.
"On all these grounds I taught my people--that there was not and could not be anything superstitious in the use of incense, or anything distinctly popish. Even the Archbishops seem to admit all this, for they say, in the opinion which they have lately given, that the use of incense is not an evil thing or even an undesirable adjunct to Divine service, and that although, for the present, it is unadmissible in the Church of England, it may be again restored.
"My Lord, you have had experience of parochial work on a large scale before you were called to the Episcopal Office, and will be able therefore to understand and appreciate the pain which it will give a congregation who have been thus taught, and who have accepted that teaching and have learnt to love and value the type of worship which we have set before them, to be deprived of what they so much value. They express the sense of desertion which they feel, after being so taught and led, at this deprivation, and we, their clergy, suffer with them in their difficulties.
"Your Lordship may reply, not unnaturally, that the interests of one parish, however united, is not to be considered where the interest and peace of the Church at large is concerned, and with this principle I quite agree.
"But, unhappily, I am unable to think that the enforcement of a rigid uniformity in details, certainly not condemned in the Prayer-book, will conduce to the best interests and peace of the Church. I think it will lead on to great excitement and unrest, if not, eventually, to disruption and disestablishment. I am not one who thinks or speaks lightly of these evils,--great evils in my judgment, and injurious in many ways to Church and nation, yet inevitable, if Parliament, and not the Church, has power to decree rites and ceremonies and authority in controversies of faith, for the lex orandi is also the lex credendi, and this is the corollary which Sir William Harcourt has, with much skill and force, drawn from the grounds on which the Archbishops gave their opinions : and their contentions, if accepted and acted upon by the authorities of the Church, seem to strike a fatal blow at her existence as a living branch of Christ's Church--in short, to dethrone Christ from the sovereignty of His own kingdom and say, in effect, 'We will not have this man to reign over us.'
"I write strongly on this point because it seems to me the greatest danger we have to meet in the present, as it has often been in the past, in the Church of England--I mean the danger of allowing the British Parliament, composed as it is of men of all sorts of religions, and many, alas, of no religion at all, to regulate the faith and worship of that portion of Christ's One Church, of which we, my Lord, in our respective positions, are the ministers and guardians.
"Yet, although I cannot conscientiously accept the grounds on which the Archbishops give their opinion, or indeed the correctness of the opinion itself, or think that they are correct in applying the words in the preface to the Prayer-book to oecumenical customs of the Church, but which, as the Thirtieth Canon of 1603 says: 'doth with reverence retain these ceremonies which doth neither endanger the Church of God nor offend the minds of sober men,' yet the latter part of your letter seems to open to me a ground on which I can yield to your wishes, when you speak to me as my spiritual superior and my Father in God; and although I cannot say anything as to the future, yet, in the present emergency, and in fulfilment of my sincere wish, to submit to your Lordship's 'earnest wish and Godly admonition,' to the very utmost of my power, I yield to your Lordship's wish.
"I trust you will excuse my having spoken so freely and so frankly at a crisis which I now consider so grave for the future of the Church for whose interests I have laboured so long.
"I remain, my Lord,
"Yours respectfully and affectionately,
"G. R. PRYNNE."
"The Palace, Exeter,
"October 23, 1899.
"MY DEAR FRIEND,
"Your very kind answer which I received yesterday morning as I was starting for two confirmations at Sandford and Cheriton Fitz-payne, touched my very heart. I can fully enter into and understand your deep sympathy with your flock whom you have shepherded so long and tenderly, and I can only pray that our Heavenly Father will return to you and them an overflowing spiritual blessing for the sacrifice you have made in yielding to what I feel to be my Godly admonition.
"You and I are both of us so far advanced in life that it cannot be very long before we meet in our one Master's presence, and know even as we are known.
"Ever your grateful and affectionate father-in-God,
"E. H. EXON."
In submitting this correspondence to the press, Prynne thus addressed his friends and parishioners:--
"The subjoined correspondence will tell its own tale; but I wish to assure you that it has not been without the deepest and most prayerful consideration that I have made the sacrifice of giving up, for the present, the beautiful and symbolical use of incense in the liturgical offices of the Church.
"Whatever pain you may feel in the loss of a symbol which you have learnt to understand and love, and to which many of you have been so long accustomed, you may rest assured falls on me with double force, not only for my sake, but for yours.
"If, dear friends, it is a time of humiliation for the Church in losing some of the beautiful adjuncts of Divine service to which we have been accustomed; let us also remember that such humiliation may have come upon us in just chastisement for our unhappy divisions, and for our remissness in carrying out the great home missionary work which lies all around us, and, must I not add, for our own personal failures in attaining that high standard of spiritual attainment of which all beauty in external worship should be the expression.
"Let us hope and pray that God will restore to us, in His own good time, all that is conducive to His glory and our own advancement in that spiritual life which can alone prepare us and make us meet to dwell with Him in the Church triumphant in heaven."
The publication of the foregoing correspondence produced several results. The Rev. H. H. Leeper, acting in accordance with his previously expressed intentions, immediately placed his resignation in the hands of his vicar, thus terminating an association with St. Peter's which had already extended over twelve years, and might, under other conditions, have been considerably lengthened. At this moment Prynne was the recipient of letters from far and near, not merely his own parishioners, but clergy and laity all over England writing to express the sympathy they felt for and with him in this moment of heavy trouble and distress. Some there were--and these for the most part his own people--who found themselves quite unable to realize Prynne's position at this juncture, and whose disappointment at what they termed his retrograde action found expression in deeds as well as words. By the majority of Catholics, however, it was felt that in the cruel strait in which he was placed this veteran priest had acted with entire self-effacement, sacrificing, for a time, that which he of all men held most dear in humble obedience to the "godly admonition" of the chief pastor of the diocese, on a point in regard to which, as Prynne conceived it, the Bishop had undoubted right to use his discretion.
His position in this matter, never clearly understood by some, was admirably stated in the pathetic and convincing words which he uttered from the pulpit of St. Peter's on the Sunday after making his decision, October 29, 1899. Having spoken of some of the conflicts and difficulties with which life is filled, and claimed the sympathy of his people in "the great trial and difficulty" with which he, their pastor, had been confronted, he continued:--
"The use of incense in Divine service is, I now say with all the emphasis I can speak, a scriptural, primitive, and Catholic custom in the Church of God, and full of truly beautiful and evangelical teaching. And asserting this, as I do, people say to me, 'Why, then, do you give it up?' and I think they have a right to an answer. It is not because I believe that its use is more unlawful in the Church to-day than it was when I first began it thirty years ago, or than it has been, at any time, during this period. . . . When at my ordination, the most solemn period of my life, the Bishop asked me this question: 'Will you reverently obey your Ordinary, unto whom is committed the charge and government over you : following with a glad mind and will their godly admonitions and submitting yourselves to their godly judgments?' my answer was: 'I will do so, the Lord being my helper.' Now, I need not be told that the Bishop is bound by the law of the Church as much as I am, and that he cannot rightly give orders which would contravene the laws of the Church, and that this promise which I have read to you, binds us to submit only to things lawful for him to enjoin. This is, of course, quite true. But this raises the question which has been torturing me for the last month; the question, whether or not, in connection with my vow and under present conditions, it was or was not my duty, for my own sake and for the good of the Church, to submit to the request and godly admonition of the Bishop in this particular instance; and I felt driven to the conclusion that, as the use of incense, though an edifying custom of the Church, was not obligatory on any particular priest, or in any particular church, it was right, as well as wise, to yield to the Bishop's expressed wish and admonition in a matter which thus becomes one of discretion; and although I know, and feel most deeply, that I have run counter to the feelings of friends whom I respect and love, and who think that I have stretched the duty of submission beyond its just limits, yet I think that, on general as well as on personal grounds, it is well to show that we do most sincerely desire to obey those who are set over us in the Lord, whenever we can possibly do so with a safe conscience. I know there are some good and earnest men who take a different view of duty from my own, and God forbid that I should judge, much less condemn, them. To our own Master must we all stand or fall--that Master whom I must so soon meet face to face; but I do ask you to believe in the honesty of my own convictions, as I can do, in the case of those who differ from me.
"That I should be mistaken and forsaken by friends, among whom I have so long ministered and in very many cases loved and valued, must, as you can see, be a cause of deep sorrow to me and hangs as a dark cloud over the scene of my long ministry; but, if it is God's will that trouble and humiliation should come upon me at the close of my ministry as well as at the beginning, I can only say, 'Be it so, O Lord.' So many kind things have been said and written about me of late, in connection with work which is now being done in this church, so far beyond my deserts, that this humiliation must be good for me, and therefore I say in all submission, 'Thy will, O Lord, be done.' When the sympathy, love, and help which we trust we have been ever ready to give to others, fails us in time of need we can only do what we should counsel you to do under similar conditions--turn to Him who never fails to help and comfort those who trust in Him, and say, 'O be Thou our help in trouble; for vain is the help of man.'"
Deep sympathy with, and sincere loyalty to, their Vicar in the line he felt compelled to take, was displayed by the people of St. Peter's, Plymouth,--or the large majority of them--at this trying moment. These feelings found expression in the following Memorial to the Bishop of Exeter, which was adopted by the communicants of St. Peter's on Sunday, October 29, 1899, and signed by the two churchwardens:--
"We, the communicant members of the Church of England worshipping at St. Peter's, Plymouth, heard with very deep sorrow and regret our vicar announce his intention to discontinue the use of 'incense and processional lights' at the Holy Eucharist.
"We feel it our duty to support him in the course he has taken, and which he felt he ought to take under the present distress in the Church.
Apart from this, we desire to emphasize most strongly that the disuse of incense is entirely contrary to the wishes of the congregation.
"We therefore, as a united congregation who have peaceably enjoyed our rightful Catholic privileges here in this church for over thirty years (a portion of which time the present Archbishop of Canterbury held the Bishopric of this Diocese) desire to place on record our respectful, but emphatic protest against the discontinuance of these most Catholic, Scriptural, and Evangelical adjuncts of worship, for the following reasons:--
"Firstly. Because we believe that it is not in accordance with the tradition and practice of the Catholic Church of Christ, that the Archbishop's Erastian 'opinion ' in this matter should be forced upon a perfectly united body of loyal Church people.
"Secondly. Because we believe these adjuncts of Christian worship to be in accordance with the teaching of the Church in England, as embodied in the 'Ornaments Rubric.'
"Thirdly. Because there is no ceremony of the Church so distinctly enjoined by Holy Scripture as is the offering of incense.
"We do, therefore, most respectfully beg your Lordship to accept this memorial as a protest against the surrender of these lawful ceremonies of the Church, and earnestly pray that you will use your influence as the Bishop of this diocese for their restoration. And we most solemnly pledge ourselves (God helping us) to do all that lies in our power to win them back to their lawful usage for the honour and glory of His Name."
Little more need be said about this unhappy moment in the history of St. Peter's and its aged vicar. The bulk of the people remained faithful to the line marked out by themselves in the foregoing protest, and in a comparatively little while they had their reward. Prynne, both publicly and in private conversation, made it clear from the outset that his action was taken to meet a "present emergency," and was not to be regarded as final. "I cannot," he told Dr. Bickersteth, "say anything as to the future." When, in 1901, Bishop Bickersteth, on account of ill-health, resigned the Bishopric of Exeter, Prynne regarded himself as no longer bound by the compliance he had made to that prelate. At this time, therefore, he not only reverted to the liturgical use of incense and processional lights, but also began to Reserve the Blessed Sacrament for the sick and dying--a practice the necessity of which had been increasingly impressed upon him by the needs of his parish and, also, by his own personal requirement in moments of serious illness. The reversion to the use of incense, which had for thirty years formed part of the ceremonial at St. Peter's, was an occasion of great joy to the priests and people of that parish; while the Reservation of the Blessed Sacrament in St. Peter's had long become a necessity, which the nearness of All Saints' Church, where Reservation was instituted years ago, only partially met. And so, at the end as at the beginning of his ministerial life, Prynne was to be found in the fighting line, exemplifying in teaching and practice his regard for the rightful heritage of the Church he had so long and loyally served. He had, as he was wont to say, seen many so-called "crises" during his sixty years' ministry. Baptismal Regeneration, the Real Presence of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, the Sacrament of Penance, the use of Eucharistic Vestments--these were some of the principal objects of attack during his life, and each in turn had only emerged the stronger from the assaults made upon them. That a similar experience would reward those who in later days were content to work and wait, perhaps to suffer, for what they knew to be right, he was convinced. The only danger which seemed in these latter days to threaten such a consummation was, he was wont to say, internal division. Writing on this point in 1900, he remarked:--
"There is one great danger which is, I think, a pressing one, and seriously threatens the success of those great principles for which we have been contending for the last sixty years in connection with what is called the Oxford Movement--it is division amongst ourselves. No one, surely, who has watched recent events in the Church can ignore the fact that both priests and laymen, whose Catholic principles and orthodoxy are unimpeachable, have thought and acted differently in the very trying and difficult circumstances in which the action of the Bishops has placed them. Unless mutual respect and mutual tolerance are maintained between those who have taken different views of their duty, and have acted accordingly, I cannot see how it is possible to avoid such a serious rift as will weaken the forces which make for Catholic truth and practice, and throw back, for an indefinite period, the great causes which we all have at heart. Such organizations as the English Church Union, which has, in the past, done so much for the defence of the faith and just rights of the Church, cannot but be seriously weakened if such charitable consideration between men who are one in principle is not largely exercised. I would not venture for a moment to judge, much less condemn, those who from a conscientious conviction of duty have felt bound to act differently to myself. I know too well the severe struggle which I underwent myself in coming to a decision as to my own duty, to venture to reflect adversely on the conduct of others who came to a different conclusion; but I do ask for myself and for many of my brother priests, whom I sincerely respect and admire, the same just and charitable consideration as we readily concede to those who differ from us. Let us pray for each other that God will guide us all aright and bring us into godly union and concord, that we may together, with a united front, resist with greater strength the forces which are arrayed against us, and not fritter away our strength in contentions among ourselves, when we are, I trust, one in our great desire to promote God's greater glory and the good of His Church and people."