Reverend the Lord Bishop of Oxford,
RIVINGTONS, HIGH STREET;
London, and Cambridge.
Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
THE commonest observer of the material works of creation may well learn from thence to own and admire "the eternal power and Godhead" of their Creator; but when we are taught the wonders of the new creation, the accomplishment of the scheme of redemption for those who were lost, the restoration of those who had fallen, how much greater reason is there for us to exclaim with St. Paul, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!" It is indeed all a mystery, a great mystery; such as could not have been known or imagined, save by direct revelation from the Great Author of it Him self; and can only be fully received and apprehended, in all its infinite scope and power, by those who are "bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."
 And what are we taught is the object of this great work of redemption? "The Son of man (says Christ) is come to seek and to save that which was lost." And St. Peter tells us, that "the Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." What is the meaning of such declarations? How are these things to be brought about? Surely not only the great facts on which this scheme of human redemption rests are to be accepted by us through the obedience of faith, but the means whereby it is to be made operative for the end proposed, and the manner of its growth and the influence of the work, as manifested through successive generations, are to be judged of and accepted by the same law.
Whatever may have been the expectations of the little company, the 120 that were assembled together after the death of Jesus, in the upper chamber at Jerusalem, however imperfect their conceptions of the nature of the work which they were then inaugurating, yet we now are well instructed in the fact that they were that grain of mustard seed that was to germinate and shoot upwards, and spread abroad its branches, until at length underneath its shadow all nations should find shelter; until Christ's own words should be fulfilled to the uttermost, "Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."
But to bring about this blessed result there must be growth, continuous growth; which is one special mark we should certainly look for in connexion with this work of Christ. Here however, no doubt, is one [4/5] great trial of our faith. Why, it is often asked, is not this all accomplished at once? Why tarry the wheels of His chariot, who is to set up His everlasting kingdom? Why are there so many hindrances to the success of the Gospel?
It is not our business to account for the mystery of iniquity, for the origin of sin, or its power for the spread of evil, and opposition to truth and godliness. Christ Himself, when He foretold the final triumph of the cause of the redeemed, foretold as plainly and fully the nature of the battle that was to be fought before the end came. St. John saw, in a vision, "the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband: and he heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God." But before this full manifestation, before the kingdom of God is thus set up, the tares will be mingled with the good seed; before the sheep shall be all gathered together into the one fold by the good Shepherd, "grievous wolves were to enter in among them, not sparing the flock;" and they who were appointed to watch for, and tend and feed the flock, were expressly told that they were "sent forth as sheep in the midst of wolves;" and were therefore warned to be themselves "wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."
It is then to take part in this great work of gathering sheep into the fold of the good Shepherd that so many here present this day are to be called to the respective offices of Priests and Deacons in [5/6] the Church of the living God. And if at other times, surely in these latter days, it is indeed imperatively required that they should, in the discharge of the duties of these offices of the ministry, "be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." Yes, these are indeed days when every institution and every principle is being tested and tried to the uttermost by the busy inquisitiveness of human reason; when restless minds and worldly covetousness are ready to overthrow or remodel everything, whether based on revelation of the Divine Will or the experience of human wisdom; when the only hope on which to rest for reducing the kingdoms of this world to become the kingdoms of the Lord's Christ, of ever planting the Cross with any effectual manifestation of power amongst the overwhelming millions of the still heathen nations, of stemming the torrent of iniquity and worldly-mindedness that is now so widely abounding even in nations nominally Christian, in checking what has been so eloquently, but justly, described as the success of evil, the prevalence and intensity of sin, the pervading idolatries, the worship of the creature, the corruptions, the dreary, often seemingly hopeless irreligion, that condition so fearfully yet so exactly given in the Apostle's words--"having no hope, without God in the world;"--if there be any real and sufficient corrective for these fearful manifestations of evil abounding, it must be sought for, not merely or mainly in any schemes devised by man, in the cultivation of the intellect and spread of knowledge and science and extension of civilization, but in the more effectual work of the Church of the living God, sanctifying every other device and [6/7] penetrating itself to the very depths of the moral plague: the Church of the living God, of which surely we may say in all the fulness of the Apostle's glowing language respecting the Israel of old, "to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises."
To what is it, then, that these persons here present this day are to be called? While the Deacons will be admonished so to give themselves up faithfully to the discharge of the duties of "this inferior office, that they may be found worthy to be called to the higher ministries of the Church," those to be admitted to the Priesthood will be exhorted " in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to have in remembrance into how high a dignity, and to how weighty an office and charge they are called: that is to say, to he Messengers, Watchmen, and Stewards of the Lord; to teach, and to premonish to feed and provide for the Lord's family; to seek for Christ's sheep that are dispersed abroad, and for His children who are in the midst of this naughty world, that they may be saved through Christ for ever."
St. Augustine, speaking of the office of a Bishop, said "Non est Episcopatus artificium transigendae vitae fallacis." [Epist. lxxxv.] And assuredly this is no less true of every office in the sacred ministry of the Church. The popular idea is too often made to rest upon the prospect or hope of getting what is termed a living in the Church. And because in these days, with the increasing communication between distant countries and spread of commerce and varied [7/8] enterprises, there are so many fresh avenues opened up by which a living can often be obtained more easily and abundantly in other professions and callings; and still further, because the Church of Christ is thought to be beset with trials, because her faith is assailed, and because the ministry in the Church is certainly not now a mere "transigendae vitae artificium," we hear that in proportion to the urgent requirements of the Church, and the increase of the population at home, and the growth of foreign missions, there is often a great deficiency of candidates for Holy Orders.
But, without meaning to make light of St. Paul's just claim, "That the labourer is worthy of his hire," or intending to underrate the necessity for a certain provision for temporal wants, I could wish that together with this idea of getting a living in the Church, there should be always more fully realized the far more important one of having a work in the Church given us to do--a work for Christ--a mission entrusted to us, that we may be "fellow-helpers to the truth," dispensers of the bread of life to others. Your office of the Priesthood is, my brethren, no doubt, one of great difficulty, as you will be reminded by the Bishop in the Service by and bye, but it is also one of great excellency. "Ye see with how great care and study ye ought to apply yourselves, as well that ye may shew yourselves dutiful and thankful unto that Lord, who hath placed you in so high a dignity; as also to beware that neither you yourselves offend, nor be occasion that others offend." Which latter caution cannot be too often remembered by all, especially by young men just entering upon [8/9] the work of the ministry, who, with eager zeal un tempered by discretion and uninstructed by experience, often cause trouble to themselves and loss to the Church by the stumbling-blocks they place in the way of those amongst whom they labour. While feeling it a duty to be "instant in season and out of season," while willing, as you may really feel, to make every sacrifice for the truth's sake--believe me it is of the first importance that that truth should be always spoken in the fulness of real Christian love, and that you should lean how you ought, without compromise of any great principle, to "be all things to all men, that by any means you may save some;" and that many things are lawful which are not expedient. And whatever be your station in the ministry, or the sphere of your labours, strive therein always patiently to suffer as well as to do the will of God. To school and to discipline the restless longings of an ardent spirit after some different, or as we may perhaps suppose more appropriate, sphere of action, is no easy task. On this point I cannot do better than use the language of Bishop Jeremy Taylor, in his excellent and well-known treatise entitled "Holy Living." "God is master of the scenes; we must not choose which part we shall act; it concerns us only to be careful that we do it well, always saying, If this please God, let it be as it is; and we who pray that God's 'will may be done on Earth as it is in Heaven,' must remember that the angels do whatsoever is commanded them, and go wherever they are sent, and refuse no circumstances; and if their employment be crossed by a higher decree they sit down in peace, [9/10] and rejoice in the event; and when the angel of Jud could not prevail on behalf of the people committed to his charge, because the angel of Persia opposed it, he only told the story at the command of God, and was as content and worshipped with as great an ecstasy in his proportion as the prevailing spirit. Do thou so likewise: keep the station where God hath placed you, and you shall never long for things without, but sit at home feasting upon the Divine Providence and thy own reason, by which we are taught that it is necessary and reasonable to submit to God."
But amidst the various trials you may expect to meet with, not the least will often arise, in many situations and under many circumstances, from a feeling of isolation, or want of sympathy in those around you, a lack of unity in thought or practice amongst your brethren. Certainly there would be not only much comfort to yourselves individually, but much strength to the Church, if we could be every where like Jerusalem--"a city that is at unity in itself." Bishop Taylor (to quote again a few words of his), in a Sermon preached upwards of two hundred years ago before the University of Dublin, remarks that: "Many ways have been attempted to reconcile the differences of the Church in matters of religion, and all the counsels of men have yet proved ineffectual. Let us now try God's method; let us betake ourselves to live holily, and then the Spirit of God will lead us into all truth." And this is good advice, which we may all well and wisely follow. Doubt less, however, there is a dreary depressing feeling which often weighs down the spirit, and is apt to [10/11] engender discontent and doubt, when we fancy that we see no fruits of our labours; when we look and labour for peace and brotherly love, and find strife and envyings abounding. Nevertheless, God often has His secret ones, whom we know not of, as He told Elijah when he was despairing of the hope of Israel, and thought himself the last confessor for God in the land: or our work may be to sow the good seed for others to reap, to lay the foundation upon which others arc to build; no mean or inglorious work, as will be shewn in the great day, if so be we have done it faithfully and patiently.
But, however this may be, it is still our duty and our privilege, both for our own sakes and for the sake of the truth itself, to pray for, and to strive after, and to believe in, the manifestation of an out ward and visible unity of Christ's people--the one flock in one fold; and this too as being in itself the most effectual means of advancing the growth and final triumph of Christ's kingdom in the world. It was the prayer of Christ, "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and. I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Life."
Now no man is worthy to hold office in the ministry of Christ's Church who has not faith in the Divine character of that ministry; and no man can accept the form of our Ordinal without acknowledging that character. And whoever holds such an office in the Church of Christ has a twofold relation--one, to the mother that bare him, in whose bosom [11/12] he has been nurtured, whose discipline and doctrine he has sworn to observe, whose authorised over seers he has pledged himself to submit to, and whose bread he is eating; and another, to those over whom he is placed in charge, and for whom he is to give account. But, further, in and through this very relation to his own mother and her children, he is brought into a real union with the whole body of Christ, of which he arid all his brethren, whether clergy or laity, are severally members.
What then is your position in England as forming a branch of the great Church Universal?
We have heard much of late of schemes for bringing about a union with Nonconformists at home, or between the Church in England and the Eastern, Scandinavian, and even Roman Churches. I must avow that to me it appears that, before the realization of any of these schemes should be in any way attempted, and certainly before any arrangement for such comprehension can be likely to be satisfactorily adjusted, a previous step is not only desirable but is an absolute duty. The Church in England, whatever be its traditions of the past or its influence at the present day, can only claim to be numerically, and still more geographically, a very small branch of the existing Church Universal. We justly feel confidence in the purity of her doctrines and the Apostolic character of her ministry, but where are we to look for the tokens of her present Catholicity, unless it be in the increasing witness echoed back from her Colonies in every quarter of the world--from the Church in Scotland, and from the great and rapidly growing Church in the United States of America, all her [12/13] own children in the faith? Had not the Church in England these living witnesses for her Catholicity beyond her territory at home, living witnesses and growing witnesses, free from all dependence on the support of a legal national establishment; were it not for these, we might well be apprehensive that we might see her powerless to contend against the growing Erastianism of the present day, and be coming, what she is so often reproached with being, a mere creature of the State. While, therefore, many are advocating what can often be only visionary and in the present circumstances dangerous schemes of comprehension between the Church of England and other Churches, against many of the errors of which we are still bound for the truth's sake to protest; while many are disputing about ceremonies and de tails of ritual observances of more or less significance and value, let us hope that the time is approaching when, as a great witness for Christ and His truth, the Anglican Church in all its branches will make some more real and effectual advance towards manifesting her unity before men, and gathering up the scattered fragments of the great human family in one body in Christ, by bringing together witnesses from every land, for those children, whom the Lord has already given her, and who are now really and actually one with her in their faith and ministry. As a spiritual body, and apart from its privileges as an established national Church, what the United Church of England and Ireland is to England and Ireland, what the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States is to the United States, what the Church in Canada is to Canada, what any other branch of our communion [13/14] is to the country in which it is planted, that the whole gathered together should be to the world.
From the last meeting of our Provincial Synod in Canada addresses were forwarded to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Houses of Convocation of Canterbury and York, respectfully urging the necessity for such a general assembly or great council. The Archbishop, in answer, told us that "such a meeting would not be by any means foreign to his own feelings;" and a Committee of the Lower House of the Convocation of Canterbury has sent in a Report speaking most favourably respecting it, which Report will no doubt be considered at the next Meeting; while the members of the Church in the United States hailed the scheme with very warm and general approval. God grant that it may be accomplished! It would afford the surest prospect of bringing about the restoration of unity with other branches of the Church, when we have first given evidence of our unity and stedfastness in the faith, and set forth what is our real claim to present Catholicity. And it will be in such general assemblies, for which the time is surely now fully come, when ecclesiastical principles and practice and catholic ways and usages are so well understood, that by intercourse and connexion with others, we may be encouraged to persevere under pressure of local difficulties, seeing that however our own, in any particular place, may be a day of small things, yet that as a whole, "we being many are one body in Christ." And thus, too, may we hope, under the guidance of the Spirit of God, to see the errors of individuals, or even of separate branches of the Church, more [14/15] certainly corrected, truth more fully established and maintained, and the Name of Christ glorified and acknowledged.
Why should we waste our real power and influence? Why not thus put forth, in the most effectual way before the world, our own claim as a present witness for Catholic truth?
It is a favourite subject with the Missionaries of the Jesuits to claim for their Church the sole credit for missionary enterprize, and to talk of the Church of England--the Church of the Reformation--as still simply an isolated Church, cut off not only from other Churches, but confined to one locality. May God put into the hearts of those who have the power, whether in England or elsewhere, to give such public proof of the reality of our claim, and may it lead us on from strength to strength, until that yearning after unity, which is awakened in so many earnest hearts, both among ourselves and others, shall be at length fully satisfied by the prevalence of truth, the increase of love, and the growing establishment of the kingdom of Christ; when all nations, people, and languages shall be gathered together in one body in Christ; when from every quarter the sheep shall hear His voice and obey, and there shall be one fold and one Shepherd!
CONTINUE forth Thy loving kindness, O Lord, to this branch of the vine: Behold and visit this vine, and the place of the vineyard that Thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that Thou madest so strong for Thyself, this branch, abundantly watered, saved, and spared, amid many neglects and divisions; quickened, made fruitful in saints, rich in doctors and holy men, with creeds agreeable to Thy Word, and forms of sound words delivered from ancient times. Give us the great grace of unity, which we now lack; help us towards it by Thy Spirit, that, if we attain it not in our time, we may approach towards it. Help us first towards inward unity, unity amongst ourselves, in our own house, between the members of our own Church; heal our inward divisions, that they may pass away. Knit us together; remove prejudices, discords, misunderstandings of one another, harshness, the spirit of controversy. Give us forbearance and charity. For this Church of England, for all members thereof, priests and people, in all times, through all changes and chances of times, I do pray most earnestly. Send Thy blessing, O Father, that we may be found an acceptable people in Thy sight, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hast revealed Thy glory, by Christ, among all nations, preserve the works of Thy mercy; that Thy Church, which is spread throughout the world, may persevere with stedfast faith in the confession of Thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
O God, of unchangeable power and eternal light, look favourably on Thy whole Church. that wonderful and sacred mystery; and, by the tranquil operation of Thy perpetual providence, carry out the work of man's salvation; and let the whole world feel and see that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and all things are returning to perfection through Him from whom they took their origin; even through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
The above are given in a little work entitled The Faith, Duty, and Prayers of a Christian Missionary.
I BELIEVE it was more especially the latter portion of the foregoing Sermon, in which I spoke of the desirableness of assembling some General Synod or Council of the Anglican Branch of the Catholic Church, that led to the request for its publication: and I had afterwards some very interesting conversation, and several questions were asked respecting the same subject, which seems to be attracting increasing attention in various quarters. I think, therefore, that it may be useful, in order to assist in the discussion of so very important a proposal, to reprint some documents which have been already made public; and perhaps, as the proposal emanated from the Canadian Church, it may not be considered out of place if I add a few suggestive remarks of my own. I have no right to expect that other people should take exactly the same views that I do on this subject; but if, in making any suggestions, I can promote the discussion of the question, and lead others to give it their careful consideration, I shall not have altogether failed of my purpose.
[The Report laid upon the table of the Lower House of the Convocation of Canterbury at its last Session, by the Committee appointed to take this matter into consideration, concluded with the following words:--"In conclusion your Committee humbly and devoutly give thanks to Almighty God, for that He has put it into the hearts of His servants to take counsel together, after the example of the Holy Apostles and the Universal Church, for knitting in one, in the unity of the Spirit, all the Churches of the Anglican communion, by the use of means which are not only natural and legitimate, but necessary to the end in view the means of common prayer, united deliberation, and concerted counsels upon common interests, surpassing all other in their weight and value. Your Committee believe that no movement has been made, or can be made, more essential to the well-being of the Churches of the Anglican communion, and therein to the extension of the primitive faith and apostolical order throughout the world, than that which has arisen out of the address of the Church in Canada."]
The ADDRESS from the Provincial Synod of the United Church of England and Ireland in Canada, assembled at Montreal in September, 1865.
To his Grace CHARLES THOMAS, Archbishop of Canterbury, D.D., Primate of all England, and Metropolitan:
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR GRACE,
We, the Bishops, Clergy, and Laity of the Province of Canada, in triennial Synod assembled, desire to represent to your Grace, that in consequence of the recent decisions of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in the well-known case respecting the Essays and Reviews, and also in the case of the Bishop of Natal and the Bishop of Cape-Town, the minds of many members of the Church have been unsettled or painfully alarmed, and that doctrines hitherto believed to be Scriptural, and undoubtedly held by the members of the Church of England and Ireland, have been adjudicated upon by the Privy Council in such a way as to lead thousands of our brethren to conclude that, according to this decision, it is quite compatible with membership in the Church of England to discredit the historical facts of Holy Scripture, and to disbelieve the eternity of future punishment; moreover, we would express to your Grace the intense alarm felt by many in Canada lest the tendency of the revival of the active powers of Convocation should leave us governed by Canons different from those in force in England and Ireland, and thus cause us to drift into the status of an independent branch of the Catholic Church, a result which we would at this time most solemnly deplore.
In order, therefore, to comfort the souls of the faithful, and reassure the minds of wavering members of the Church, and to obviate, so far as may be, the suspicion whereby so many are scandalized, that the Church is a creation of Parliament, we humbly entreat your Grace, since the assembling of a general council of the whole Catholic Church is at present impracticable, to convene a National Synod of the Bishops of the [18/19] Anglican Church at home and abroad, who, attended by one or more of their Presbyters or Laymen, learned in Ecclesiastical law, as their advisers, may meet together, and under the guidance of the Holy Ghost take such counsel and adopt such measures, as may be best fitted to provide for the present distress, in such Synod presided over by your Grace.
F. MONTREAL, METROPOLITAN,
JAS. BEAVEN, D.D., Prolocutor.
To the Bishops, Clergy and Laity of the Province of Canada, lately assembled in their Triennial Synod.
MY RIGHT REV., REV. AND DEAR BRETHREN,
I have duly received the Address forwarded to me by your Metropolitan, from the late Triennial Provincial Synod of the Province of Canada, requesting me to convene a Synod of the Bishops of the Anglican Church, both at home and abroad, in order that they may meet together, and, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, take such counsel and adopt such measures as may be best fitted to provide for the present distress.
I can well understand your surprise and alarm at the recent decisions of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, in grave matters bearing upon the doctrine and discipline of our Church, and I can comprehend your anxiety, lest the recent revival of action in the two Provincial Convocations of Canter bury and York, should lead to the disturbance of those relations, which have hitherto subsisted between the different branches of the Anglican Church.
The meeting of such a Synod as you propose is not by any means foreign to my own feelings, and I think it might tend [19/20] to prevent those inconveniences the possibility of which you anticipate. I cannot however take any step in so grave a matter without consulting my Episcopal Brethren in both branches of the United Church of England and Ireland, as well as those in the different Colonies, dependencies of the British Empire.
Your faithful and affectionate Friend
and Brother in Christ,
C. T. CANTUAR.
Primate of all England.
To the Most Reverend the Archbishops, the Right Reverend the Bishops, and the Reverend the Clergy of the Convocation of the Provinces of Canterbury and York.
We, the Bishops, Clergy:, and Laity of the Canadian Branch of the United Church of England and Ireland, in Synod assembled, would approach your venerable Body with the deepest sentiments of reverence and affection.
We are engaged, like yourselves, in endeavouring, in this distant dependency of the Crown, to uphold the truth of religion as our common Church maintains it, and that Apostolic Order which is so essential a safeguard in the preservation and diffusion of the Catholic Faith.
Recent declarations, in high places in our Mother land, in reference to the position of the Colonial branches of the Mother Church, have created amongst us feelings of regret and apprehension, as tending to shake the conviction, always so dear to us, that we in the Colonies were in all respects one with the Church of our parent country.
No statute or decision, we beg solemnly to assure you, much as it may serve to weaken our outward connexion with the [20/21] Church of our Fathers, can impair the integrity and vigour of those principles, in doctrine and fellowship, which constitute her inward life. We are one with her in the great articles of Christian belief, and one with her in that Episcopal order which binds her members in unity throughout the world.
In desiring most earnestly to retain this connexion, we believe that it would be most effectually preserved and perpetuated, if means could be adopted by which the members of our Anglican communion, in all quarters of the world, should have a share in the deliberations for her welfare, and be permitted to have a representation in one General Council of her members gathered from every land.
Deeply affected by the threat of isolation which recent declarations in high places have indicated, we earnestly solicit this measure of relief, as maintaining that test of inward communion which is to us the most precious.
But while we look with hope to such concession, we readily affirm our belief that the manner and measure of the relief and encouragement we solicit, will be left most wisely to the deliberate judgment of those ancient Convocations of the Church to whom, under God, the cause of true religion at home and abroad is so largely indebted.
F. MONTREAL, METROPOLITAN,
JAS. BEAVEN, D.D., Prolocutor.
It will be seen that more special reference is here made to a General Synod of what we may consider as our own more immediate portion of the Anglo-Catholic Church; but we were quite alive, if it could be obtained, to the far greater importance of making the Council more comprehensive in its character and objects: and the idea has been so warmly responded to, and in so wise and catholic a spirit, by many of our brethren in the United States and elsewhere, that we may well adopt the following language of the Report drawn up by the Committee of the Lower House of the Convocation of [21/22] Canterbury, appointed to consider the above Address from the Provincial Synod of Canada:--
"In reporting upon the matter intrusted to them, your Committe have to state that they understand that it was intended in the Address of the Metropolitan and Synod of the Canadian Church that such a Council as they now propose should be confined to the United Church of England and Ireland, together with those branches of it which exist in the dependencies of the British Crown.
"Your Committee are, however, of opinion that the thing most to be desired is a Council comprising the American and Scottish branches of the Anglican communion, together with all the branches of the United Church of England and Ireland, and its independent missionary Churches: not as in any manner or degree superseding or interfering with Provincial or National Synods, but as supplying the best means whereby such Churches may take counsel together upon matters of common concern or interest; and may thus more effectually guard their common inheritance."
In the Address from the Canadian Church to the Archbishop, Ins Grace is asked to convene "a National Synod of the Bishops of the Anglican Church at home and abroad." The proposal of the Committee of Convocation would thus require that it should be "a General Synod," &c. Of course it is well understood that no acts of such a Synod or Council of either description, however largely attended, would have a strictly legal force, either in England, Canada, the United States, or elsewhere; they could only take effect through the influence they would bring to bear in separate countries, and become law, when embodied in Acts or Canons, according to the rules by which the Church in such countries is governed. But if the Archbishop were to issue invitations for the assembling of such a Synod or Council, I cannot but believe that they would be very generally accepted, respectfully and thank fully, and that the acts of such a Synod would be of real importance and influence.
Let us consider of whom it is proposed that such a Synod or Council should consist. There are now, including a few Coadjutor Bishops, and without reckoning those who have [22/23] resigned their dioceses, one hundred and forty-four Archbishops and Bishops of the Anglo-Catholic Church, viz.
In England and Ireland, Archbishops 4 In England and Ireland, Bishops 36 In Scotland, Bishops 8 In the Colonies of England, Bishops 45 Missionary Bishops 6 Bishops of the Episcopal Church in the United States 39 Missionary Bishops of do 6 144
These, after the example of the great Oecumenieal Councils, which accomplished so much for the preservation of the Catholic Faith in the earlier ages of the Church, might be invited from their various Dioceses to form the Synod.
But it has been further suggested in the Canadian Address, in order to add weight to their deliberations and extend the influence of the Synod, that the Bishops should be "attended by one or more of their Presbyters or Laymen, learned in Ecclesiastical law, as their advisers;"--one of each, if possible, would be most desirable. And if any Bishop were unable to attend in person (and it is not to be expected, out of so large a number and scattered over countries so distant, but that this would in many instances be the ease), then perhaps it might be thought right that lie should be asked to send his proxy, to be made use of by some neighbouring prelate.
The subjects to be considered must, of course, be those of a general character. There are three or four I will venture to mention, which appear to me of special importance; and which of themselves may be considered sufficient to prove, that, under existing circumstances, the convening such an assembly is not only a wise step, but one that is an actual necessity.
It may be fitly left to the Archbishop himself, calling to his assistance such advisers as his Grace may think proper, to decide on the exact time and place of meeting, and arrange the preliminary services and the rules of order for the proceedings; and I cannot for one instant doubt, but that, if such a Synod be convened, there will be a very general desire to shew every respect for his high office, and to support him in the discharge [23/24] of his most important duties, as President of this first Meeting of "a Pan-Anglican Synod."
As to the objects for which the Synod is to be convened, amongst others that may be thought worthy of notice, I venture to name the following.
I. There might be some general Declaration agreed upon, to be signed by all the Members of the Synod; perhaps some thing to the following effect:--
"We, the undersigned, Archbishops and Bishops of Christ's holy Catholic Church, presiding over Dioceses in various parts of the world, desire to offer up our humble and hearty thanks to Almighty God, that we have at this time been permitted to meet in general Synod, under the presidency of his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, in order that we may take counsel together after the example of the holy Apostles and the Church Universal:--
"Whatever obstacles may hitherto have existed, we cannot but see in the providence of God that great facilities are in these days offered for the assembling in one place of the chief pastors of Churches, which, though so widely scattered throughout the world, own the closeness of the bond which holds together those, who thankfully acknowledge a common language and a common ecclesiastical origin, and a share in the same apostolical ministry,--whose public liturgies, derived from the same source, are themselves substantially identical,--and whose work, at home amongst themselves, and abroad in the wide missionary field of the world, in short, whose trials and whose dangers, as their faith and hope, may be said to be one:--
"And while, as representatives of the Anglo-Catholic branch of the Christian Church, we assert our claim and acknowledge our responsibilities, as being entrusted with the oversight of so large and important a portion of the existing visible Church, we cannot but be aware of, and seriously lay to heart, the many evils which exist by reason of the unhappy divisions among Christians, whereby other branches of the Church have been so long in a state of estrangement and separation from each other and from us:--
"And therefore we confess it to be our bounden duty, and at this time solemnly pledge ourselves, in order more effectually to promote the glory of God and the increase of Christ's kingdom on earth, as we pray, so by every means in our power, consistent with the faithful maintenance of 'the truth,' to strive together for the restoration of unity [24/25] amongst the several members of Christ's body; that so, if it please God to give ills blessing to this or any other like effort, the fulfilment may be hastened of the prayer offered up by the Great Shepherd and Bishop of Souls, when He said, Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.'" [St. John xv 20, 21.]
II. In order to bring about the restoration of such inter-communion with any other branches of the Church, now estranged from us, some arrangements should be agreed upon, whereby the terms of such restoration may be settled with the general consent of the whole body: since it is neither wise nor just that separate Churches, and still less that individual members, should in so serious a matter be supposed to speak for the whole communion, while in truth they are only acting on their own judgment and after their own will; and so perhaps, instead of advancing, are really retarding any satisfactory more general action. Churches may be in time enjoyment of real and effectual intercommunion, without being identical in all their usages and ceremonies, provided that "the pure Word of God is preached in them, and the Sacraments be duly administered according to Christ's ordinance in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same." [Art. XIX.] But "it is not necessary that traditions and ceremonies be in all places one, and utterly like; for at all times they have been divers, and may be changed according to the diversities of countries, times, and men's manners, so that nothing be ordained against God's Word." [Art. XXXIV.]
And further, we may be in full spiritual communion with a Church whose ministers at the present time, through the operation of some local civil enactment, are not eligible for Cures amongst us. But however desirable we may think it that such impediments should, as far as possible, be removed, still these are only special exceptions, that do not really interfere with the higher and more important question.
 III. There might also be some arrangement made for carrying on, through the united action of the whole, the general missionary work of the Church in places beyond the boundaries of the respective countries where these several branches of the Anglo-Catholic Church are situated. Why, for instance, are we to have an English Episcopate and an American Episcopate both established in China, thus giving at once an appearance of division, and cause for misunderstanding? How much more effective a united work would be? This was the ground upon which the Bishop of Honolulu made his appeal last year in Philadelphia and New York, and elsewhere; and with no small success. But such action should not be the accidental work of an individual Bishop; it should be the rule of the Church.
IV. While acknowledging the Holy Scriptures to be "God's word written," and to be reverenced as such, the whole Anglo-Catholic branch of the Church has a special interest in that translation of the Holy Scriptures in the English language commonly known as "the Authorized Version." It is true we claim for it, in the execution of the translation, no special divine interposition to exempt it from even the slightest incorrectness in the rendering but whether this be so or not, it is, in itself, a noble inheritance, which we have received from our forefathers; and moreover not only its spirit and meaning, but its very words and exact phrases are found everywhere treasured up in our public liturgies, our general literature, and our inmost hearts. It is truly a sacred possession, the property of the whole communion; and it might be acknowledged as such, never to be altered, even under the plea of improvement, unless such a task be taken up and carried through with the general consent and approval of "a Pan-Anglican Synod."
Such questions would in themselves form no unimportant work for such a Synod. The time is come for some action in the matter. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of All England and Metropolitan, presiding over the most ancient diocese in the Anglo-Catholic Church, is the Prelate who alone can hope to convene such an Assembly with any prospect of success.
BESIDES this important question, connected with the whole Anglo-Catholic Church, there are the immediate relations between the Church of England at home and the Church in the Colonies, that require some careful re-adjustment. In an address which I delivered at the last Synod of my own diocese at Montreal in June last, I stated it as my belief "that there is a very strong and general feeling amongst Churchmen in this Province of a desire to continue, as closely as circumstances will admit, our connexion with the Mother Church. Remembering the history of that branch of the Church Catholic which is in England, the traditions of her past, her witness for primitive truth, her illustrious line of martyrs, confessors, and doctors, and the deep and varied learning and simple piety of so many of her present bishops and pastors, it is both our wisdom, as well as duty, to identify ourselves, as far as we may be able, with her as our mother, at whose breasts we were originally nurtured, and by whose love we have so long been cherished and so largely sustained." And I have no doubt but this is very much the case in other Colonies also. But the recent decisions delivered in the Appeal Courts of the Privy Council, and by the Master of the Rolls, have, as it is well known, broken down all the hitherto supposed strictly legal relations and legal identity of the Mother and Daughter Churches. This is a source of very considerable difficulty at present, because it has left it so uncertain, how, under the peculiar and quite unexpected circumstances in which we find ourselves, the action of the Church is to be continued and its discipline maintained. There is then here a wrong which requires to be remedied. I do not however consider that any blame can be justly thrown upon those who went before us, and who were answer able for the original organization of the Colonial Church. It was arranged in all good faith, and served its purpose for a time, while that Church was in its earlier stages of existence, in the strict sense a missionary branch of the Mother Church, and for the most part supported by contributions [27/28] from England. But it has grown up and developed itself with a most marvellous rapidity and power in the last few years, and circumstances have obliged us to test and prove its real position and character. If there be any legal obstructions, through the operation of any existing law now in force, to a satisfactory re-adjustment of these relations, and to the arrangement of sufficient means for the organization and discipline of the various Colonial Dioceses, it is surely hut just and reasonable that such obstructions should be removed.
The Bishop of London, thinking it probable that this subject may be brought under the consideration of Parliament, at its next meeting, and being anxious to obtain further information as to the feelings of the members of the Colonial Church, has forwarded to the Colonial Bishops, and to several of the Clergy and others, the following questions, respecting which hi s lordship asks for our opinions.
"First. The desirableness, or otherwise, of all Bishops in British Colonies receiving their mission from the See of Canterbury, and taking the oath of canonical obedience to the Archbishop.
"Second. Whether it is desirable that there should be an appeal in graver cases from the judgments of Church Courts or decisions of Bishops or Synods in the Colonies to any authority at home; and, if so, (I) to what authority, (2) under what restrictions?
"Third. How far the Royal Supremacy, as acknowledged by the United Church of England and Ireland, can be maintained in our Colonial Churches.
"Fourth. What seems the best guarantee for maintaining unity of doctrine and discipline between the different scattered branches of our Church in the Colonies."
I can have little doubt but that the more these questions are carefully and patiently discussed, and we become influenced not by our feelings, but by the permanent principles on which ecclesiastical organizations ought to be established, with any prospect of inherent vitality and power of extension, the more certainly may we expect eventually to arrive at some safe and satisfactory solution of the difficulty. But [28/29] before giving any opinion respecting the several points here referred to, I will first insert certain documents which have recently been made public, and which will give some information as to the present position of the Church in Canada. These documents have particular reference to the consecration of Archdeacon Bethune, as Coadjutor-Bishop of Toronto, of whose election by the Synod of that Diocese I received notice since I arrived in England.
In consequence of the judgment delivered by Lord Westbury in the famous case of the Bishop of Natal and the Bishop of Capetown, it was determined that no more patents should be issued by the Crown for any Bishops in Canada; and accordingly, on the death of the late Bishop Mountain, in 1863, no patent was issued for his successor in the See of Quebec, but simply a mandate for his consecration, addressed to the Bishop of Montreal, as Metropolitan of Canada. It seems, however, that further consideration by the law advisers of the Crown has led to the determination to discontinue for the future the issuing of the mandate.
ELMLEY RECTORY, DROITWICH,
Nov. 27, 1866.
MY DEAR LORD,
I have much pleasure in forwarding to your Lordship a copy of a letter I have received from the Earl of Carnarvon, together with a document from myself, giving you the necessary authority to proceed at once with the consecration of Archdeacon Bethune.
I am sorry that there has been any delay in the matter; but as we have hitherto acted on such occasions under a mandate from the Crown, I certainly should not have felt warranted in proceeding without it, until thus advised to do so by some sufficient authority. And I am sure it will be satisfactory to your Lordship, and to the Canadian Church generally, to know that it is after a very full and careful consideration of our position, in connexion with all the recent judgments, that the Secretary of State for the Colonies, acting in accordance with the opinion of the law advisers [29/30] of the Crown, has written the letter of which I now forward you a copy.
I remain, my dear Lord,
Yours very faithfully,
(Signed) F. MONTREAL,
Metropolitan of Canada.
To the LORD BISHOP OF TORONTO.
21st November, 1866.
I have received your Lordship's letter of the 10th of October, relating to the proposed appointment of the Archdeacon of Toronto to be Coadjutor-Bishop of that diocese under the title of Bishop of Niagara, and his consecration in Canada with as little delay as possible.
It appears, by the recent decision of the Judicial Committee in the case of the Bishop of Natal, that her Majesty has not the power to create a diocese, or assign a sphere of action to a Bishop in a Colony in which an independent Legislature has been established. And it is the opinion of the law officers of the Crown, to whom I have caused this question to be submitted, that a mandate from the Crown is not necessary to enable Colonial Bishops to perform the act of consecration.
As, therefore, the intervention of the Crown is not legally required, either to give to the Archdeacon of Toronto the intended jurisdiction, or to authorise his consecration to the office of Bishop, it would not appear that the proposed mandate could have any legal effect: and, under such circum stances, it would hardly be consistent with the dignity of the Crown that her Majesty should be advised to issue such mandate. It will thus rest with yourself and the other Bishops of Canada, and will be in your own power under the Canadian acts of 19 and 20 Vie., cap. 121, and 22 Vic., cap. 139, to determine, without hindrance or assistance from the Royal Prerogative, in what manner the consecration of the Bishop of Niagara shall be effected.
You are of course aware that under Imperial Acts, of which 59 Geo. I cap. 60, is the chief, clergymen ordained by [30/31] Colonial Bishops, not having local jurisdiction and residing within the limits of that jurisdiction, are subjected to certain disabilities, except when this ordination is effected under commission from a Diocesan Bishop and within his diocese.
I have the honour to be, &c.,
The BISHOP OF MONTREAL.
To the Honourable and Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of Toronto, greeting,
Whereas, We, Francis, by Divine permission Bishop of Montreal, and Metropolitan of Canada, have been duly notified that, at a special meeting of the Synod of the Diocese of Toronto convened for that purpose, and held in the city of Toronto, on Wednesday the 19th day of September last, and subsequent days, the Venerable Alexander Neil Bethune, D.D., Archdeacon of Toronto, was, with your consent and approval, elected Coadjutor-Bishop of the said diocese, according to the canons and regulations providing for such election; and whereas we have also been informed that it has been duly decided that such Coadjutor-Bishop shall, on a vacancy occurring in the see, succeed to the Bishopric of the diocese of Toronto, but that until such vacancy occurs he shall be known by the style and title of 'Bishop of Niagara, Coadjutor-Bishop of the Diocese of Toronto.' And whereas it is very desirable that there should be no delay in providing for the consecration of the said Venerable Archdeacon Bethune, D.D., so elected and whereas we are unable to attend for that purpose by reason of our necessary absence at this time from the province of Canada, We do therefore, hereby, in virtue of our office and authority as Metropolitan of the Province of Canada, empower and enjoin you, in our absence, as the senior Bishop of the province, to proceed, according to due canonical form and order, to the consecration of the said Archdeacon Bethune, Coadjutor-Bishop of the Diocese of Toronto, with right of succession to the See on the first vacancy which may occur, and, until such vacancy shall occur, to be known by the style and title of Bishop of Niagara: and in order thereto we give you [31/32] hereby full authority to act for us at such consecration, and to call to your assistance the other Suffragan Bishops of the Province, or such and so many of them as shall be deemed expedient, not being less than two.
And for this we heartily commend you to the mercy and grace of God, and pray that you may be guided and assisted therein by the Holy Spirit for Jesus Christ's sake.
Given under our hand and seal this twenty-seventh day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-six.
(Signed) F. MONTREAL,
Such is the present position of the Canadian Church. Comparatively unimportant as it may be in itself, yet it is completely organized with powers of self-government, reproduction, and extension, and, I hope I may add; vigorous active life. It consists at present of five Dioceses, and, reckoning the new Coadjutor, six Bishops, with between four and five hundred Clergy. It is not improbable that the Province will be further enlarged. The Bishop of Rupert's Land, who is now engaged in the organization of his own Diocesan Synod, in a letter I received from him, speaks of "seeing his way much clearer with regard to union with the Province of Canada." What will be the futures of the other Dioceses of British North America remains yet to be decided; it may appear to them that, when the confederation of the Provinces has been effected for all other purposes, it will be desirable that at least the boundaries of the territory for Ecclesiastical and Civil Government should be conterminous. The larger the number of Dioceses, in all reason, that can be united the better, as it is a stronger guarantee against the undue and unsafe predominance of individual will and opinion; and ensures, on the death of any Bishop, the means of providing as there ought to be, from within the Province, the canonical number of suffragans, who may, at the call of their Metropolitan, attend for the consecration of his successor. But these are arrangements [32/33] that cannot be forced, and should not be hurried. No doubt we have had our difficulties to contend with, and so will others. Still is it not the true, I may say the natural result to look for, that, as in Canada, so in every other part of the Empire, where a sufficient number of Dioceses can be grouped together, they should, like us, be formed into an Ecclesiastical Province, under their own Metropolitan, and become subject to their own immediate government? The system of Ecclesiastical law, with its various Courts, under which the Established Church of England is governed, is not applicable to us; and by any laboured device to try and unite, for any such purposes, two bodies proved to be so very differently circumstanced, seems as contrary to justice as to wisdom. There certainly is material enough, for instance, in the West Indies and neighbouring Dioceses, in South Africa and St. Helena, in India, in Australia, and in New Zealand, for as many Provincial organizations, under their respective Metropolitans; and in many of these places the system is already in progress. And in no case, I suppose, need the distances, between the component parts of any such Province, be greater than that of the Dioceses of Oregon and California from New York, in which city I have no doubt both of them will be represented in 1868, at the next General Convention of the Episcopal Church in the United States.
As to the desirableness of "all the Bishops in British Colonies receiving their mission from the See of Canterbury," it may be quite right for those Bishops who occupy single, isolated Dioceses. They must have a social position, so to speak, in the Church; they cannot stand alone; nor can there thus be for such Dioceses any inherent power of reproductive life to carry on the succession of the Episcopate. But where- ever there is a distinct Province, composed of a sufficient number of Dioceses, under their own Metropolitan, it would, I think, be wrong in principle and injurious in effect. What does it involve, and what is its object? Is it supposed to be for the benefit of the Colonial Church, the Mother Church, or for the better maintenance of "the Faith" generally? If it is for the first, I would ask why is it to be expected that we are less likely to be faithful, and to adhere to the doctrine and [33/34] discipline we have received, than the Scotch or the American Churches for instance? Why seek to introduce a mild sort of Papacy, unknown in the Primitive Church? But if it he for the benefit of both, or either of the others, will not the full, free, and independent witness of many voices from various countries be of far more weight and influence, than the compulsory endorsement of the faith as embodied in the confession of the Mother Church? If the children may be expected always gratefully to acknowledge the help they receive from their mother, and the strength they derive from their connexion with her, are there no possible contingencies in the battle to be waged, when "contending for the faith once (for all) delivered to the saints," in which the mother may be thankful for the words spoken by her children in defence of their common inheritance?
As to the Royal Supremacy, I conceive that we can have no hesitation in acknowledging it, in the fullest sense in which it can, under the circumstances of our position, be claimed or exercised; though it may not be identical with that which is exercised over the United Church of England and Ireland, as by law established in those countries. In the case of the established Church, the Crown, being the giver of the ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of the Bishops (as distinct from their Apostolical powers), exercised through courts established by law, and by powers granted by the State to the National Establishment, has an undoubted and an equitable right to revise all sentences pronounced through the Jurisdiction thus given. [See the Earl of Carnarvon's Letter in reference to this subject of Jurisdiction.] All other supremacy to the utmost extent, we shall always acknowledge, in common with all the Queen's subjects whatever be their religion--viz., the supreme right of the Crown to revise all Judgments given in any Courts, and also always to be ready to see that every one has justice done him, according to the Canons, Rules, or Agreements, voluntarily entered into or accepted by individuals, societies, or communities, whether for secular or religious purposes.
For the rest, and in regard to the question of Appeals, I will merely subjoin an able letter, which I have received from [34/35] Mr. Strachan Bethune, Q.C., Chancellor of my Diocese, to whom I sent a copy of the Bishop of London's Circular, requesting him to give me his opinion respecting it. He informs me that the Dean of Montreal, and other officials there, had also received copies of the same; that they met together at different times, and discussed all the points; and that the general result of their deliberations has been embodied in his letter. Mr. Bethune has been giving very careful attention to these subjects and on various occasions I have received very valuable assistance from him. It will be seen that substantially I agree with him in all that he has said. Of course the Earl of Carnarvon's Letter to me, dated 21st November, could not have reached Canada when Mr. Bethune's was forwarded from Montreal.
These are grave questions, and there are others of deep interest to us all, that would form subjects for consultation in a Synod of the Members of our own more immediate branch of the Anglican Church, as existing at home and in the Colonies; while those of a more general character would be more suitable for a "Pan-Anglican Synod." But of one thing I feel quite convinced--that the more fully the subject is discussed, if it be only done in a proper spirit, the greater will be the benefit to the cause of "the truth" and eventual well-being of the Church. And in this, as in so many other matters, we shall find additional proof of the saying of St. Bernard, "Ecclesia, dum arguitur, intelligit."
MONTREAL, Nov. 27, 1866.
I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of a circular signed by the Lord Bishop of London, propounding four questions on the subject of the relations of the Church in the Colonies to that in the mother country, with a request on the part of your Lordship that I should suggest how these questions ought to be answered in the interest of the Church in Canada.
Before considering the questions themselves it may be [35/36] convenient shortly to review the precise condition of the Church as at present existing in this country.
By the Provincial Act 19th and 20th Vic. ch. i "The Bishops, Clergy, and Laity, members of the United Church of England and Ireland in this Province," were declared to have power to "meet in their several Dioceses," and "frame constitutions and make regulations for enforcing discipline in the Church, for the appointment, deposition, de privation, or removal of any person bearing Office therein, of whatever order or degree, any rights of THE CROWN to the contrary notwithstanding."
Under this Act Diocesan Synods were duly organized in all the Dioceses in the Province very soon after the Act was proclaimed as having received the Royal assent.
This Act contained a provision that the members of the Church in the Province might "meet in General Assembly within the Province, and "in such General Assembly frame a constitution and regulations for the general management and good government of the said Church in this Province."
After the organization of our Diocesan Synods, they all (with one exception) petitioned Her Majesty to appoint a Metropolitan Bishop in Canada, "who might hold and pre side over the General Assemblies of the Church in the Province."
In accordance with the prayer of these petitions Her Majesty was graciously pleased to appoint your Lordship to be our Metropolitan, and to erect the See of Montreal into a Metropolitical See.
In virtue of your appointment your Lordship in due course convened a General Assembly of the Church in Canada, which was attended by all the Bishops of the Province and by the Clerical and Lay Delegates of all the Diocesan Synods in the Province and at that meeting the Provincial Synod of Canada was duly organized, and a constitution adopted for the general management and good government of the Church throughout the Province.
Before entering on the business for which the first Provincial Synod was assembled, the Bishops and Delegates made [36/37] a public Written Declaration of "the principles" upon which they proposed to proceed.
In this Declaration they assert (amongst other things) that they "desire the Church in this Province to continue, as it has been, an integral portion of the United Church of England and Ireland,"--that they "maintain the ancient doctrine of our Church, that the Queen is rightfully possessed of the chief government and supremacy over all persons within her dominions, Whether ecclesiastical or civil, as set forth in the 37th of the Articles of Religion;" and that they "desire that such supremacy s continue unimpaired."
The Letters Patent appointing your Lordship Metropolitan expressly provided that all the "powers and authorities" thereby conferred "are subject to the rules, regulations, and canons" that the Provincial Synod "may from time to time make in respect thereof."
The election of the Ordinary Bishops of the Province is regulated by the Canons of the several Diocesan Synods; and by the Canons of the Provincial Synod the nomination and election of a future Bishop of Montreal and Metropolitan are provided for, and the powers of the Metropolitan are more over precisely regulated and defined.
By the Constitution of the Provincial Synod, provision is also made for an Appeal from all decisions of Bishops or Diocesan Courts to the House of Bishops, presided over by the Metropolitan, or President of the Upper House, or Senior Bishop in their absence.
With this brief statement of the position of the Church in Canada, I proceed to the discussion of the questions submitted for consideration.
I: The desirableness or otherwise of all Bishops in British colonies receiving their mission from the See of Canterbury, and taking the oath of canonical obedience to the Archbishop.
The first branch of this question proposes a change, to my mind, of a most radical character.
All Bishops of the Church of England, colonial as well as imperial, since the days of the Reformation, have received their mission or appointment from the Crown, in the exercise [37/38] of that royal supremacy which the Kings of England had asserted and insisted on for centuries before the Reformation; King Henry the Second, in the famous Battle Abbey case, in 1137, addressing the Bishop of Chichester in these remarkable words:--"Tu pro papae auctoritate ab hominibus concessâ, contra dignitatum regalium auctoritates mihi a Deo concessas callidate argutâ niti praecogitas."
The present proposal is, to invite the Colonial branches of the Church to take their mission or appointment from an authority subordinate to that of the Crown. Cui bono? And with what object? Is it with a view to erect, for purely colonial purposes, a kind of Protestant popedom? If so, I cannot see what interest we can have in consenting to derive authority from so doubtful a source.
So far as the Church of England in Canada is concerned, it may fairly be doubted whether the Crown has not really abrogated its prerogative by consenting to a law which vests the appointment of Bishops solely with the Diocesan Synods of the province. But the Canadian branch of the Church, prompted by feelings of old association and love for the Mother Church, of which it claims to be "an integral portion," has solemnly declared through its Bishops, Clergy, and Laity, that it still recognizes the ancient doctrine of our Church, that the Queen is rightfully possessed of supremacy over all persons, ecclesiastical or civil, in her dominions. In furtherance of which Declaration, all elections of Bishops are duly forwarded to Her Majesty, to the end that she may sanction the appointments and direct the consecration of the elected.
Then, as matter of actual practice, the consecration of our Canadian Bishops, under our present organization, is had by virtue of a simple mandate from the Queen to our Metropolitan, to whom alone the Oath of Canonical Obedience is taken by the Bishop elect.
I should say, therefore, that the Church in Canada ought unhesitatingly to answer his Lordship's first question in the negative.
2. Whether it is desirable that there should be an appeal, [38/39] in graver cases, from the judge of Church courts or decisions of Bishops or Synods in the colonies to any authority at home, and, if so, (I) to what authority, (2) under what restrictions
There are many reasons why we in Canada should answer this question in the negative. I. We have what the Church in England has not, a Court of Appeal, in which the members of the Church have at present at least implicit confidence. 2. The delay and expense incident to any appeal to an authority in England are sufficient of themselves to preclude the desirableness of any such appeal. 3. The experience of the Gorham, Williams, Long, and Colenso cases, is anything but encouraging to Colonial Churchmen to appeal to any authority in England in ecclesiastical matters, with the full knowledge that we have that the decision of any such authority may be finally overturned by the Judicial Committee of Her Majesty's Privy Council.
3. How far the Royal Supremacy, as acknowledged by the United Church of England and Ireland, can be maintained in our Colonial Churches?
The Privy Council has authoritatively determined, that in any colony possessed of an independent legislature, the Crown has no jurisdiction whatever in ecclesiastical matters. The Royal Supremacy, as recognized in England, cannot be main tained therefore in the Colonial Churches, however willing they may be to acknowledge and maintain it even in the modified sense in which it may be said to exist in this country.
4. What seems the best guarantee for maintaining unity of doctrine and discipline between the different scattered branches of our Church in the colonies?
I should say, the fact that they have hitherto most jealously preserved the same doctrine and discipline that have prevailed in the mother country. As an additional guarantee, I would suggest the building up, in each colony of sufficient size and influence, a free and unfettered Church such as under the blessing of God has been organized in this province of Canada. And, if more be needed, (in the language of our Memorial to the Convocations of Canterbury and York) let all the [39/40] members of our Anglican communion throughout the world have a share in the deliberations for her welfare, and be permitted to have a representation in one General Council of her members gathered from every land.
I have the honour to be, &c.,
STRACHAN BETHUNE, Q.C.,
The Most Reverend
THE METROPOLITAN OF CANADA.
P.S.--In addition to Mr. Bethune's letter, as a further illustration of the recent legislation in connexion with the Colonial Church, I give a short extract fro an Act, passed by the Provincial Parliament in Canada, with reference to the patronage of "the Rectories," established originally by Royal Patents, the nomination to them being vested, by an Imperial Act, in the Government of the Province, exercised by the Governor-General in the name of the Sovereign. The Act was passed by the Provincial Parliament, being reserved for the signification of Her Majesty's pleasure, Aug. 30, 1851: it received the Royal assent, given by Her Majesty in Council, May 15, 1852, and was proclaimed in Canada June 9, 1852.
This Act states in the Preamble, that "Whereas the recognition of legal equality among all religious denominations is an admitted principle of Colonial Legislation, &c. &c., therefore &c. 8cc. And that henceforth no Letters Patent shall be issued in this Province by the Crown for the erection of any such Rectories or Parsonages, or for the endowment thereof out of the Clergy Revenues, or for the Presentation of any Incumbent or Minister to any such Parsonage or Rectory," &c. &c.
And in the year 1854, in the Provincial Act for the Secularization of the Clergy Reserve Lands, passed with the same sanctions, it is stated in the Preamble, ''And whereas it is desirable to remove all semblance of connexion between Church and State, &c. &c. &c., be it therefore enacted," &c. &c.