PRINTED BY JAS BOWES & SONS, HOLLIS ST.
This Charge was also delivered, with some alterations, at Charlottetown, on the first day of August, 1866, to the Clergy of Prince Edward Island, who unanimously requested its publication.
The principal alterations were, the omission of reference to proceedings of the Nova Scotia Legislature, pp. 15-17, and the addition of warnings and exhortations with reference to the prospects of the Church in the Island. The Clergy were urged to endeavor to stir up the people to do something more for themselves instead of relying upon continued assistance from abroad, both by increased contributions to the Church Society, and by making some provision for the future, by means either of Local Endowments, or of a General Endowment Fund, the latter being preferable because thus the more wealthy congregations will assist the more destitute. They were reminded that, unless provision can thus be made for the future, the work in which they are engaged, and most deeply interested, cannot be continued in some of the missions, and that it is not unreasonable to expect the present generation, who receive much aid from English Societies, to do something towards lightening the burdens of their children, who will probably receive little or nothing from the same sources.
Some irregularities with respect to the Offertory having become common, the Clergy were informed that, whenever the Holy Communion is to be celebrated, there must be an Offertory collection taken immediately after the sermon, and followed by the Prayer for Christ's Church militant, after which there may be a brief pause to allow of the withdrawal of children and other non-communicants. Any Clergyman who may hare put off his surplice, before going into the pulpit, must resume it before beginning the offertory sentences, which are to be read by him when he has returned to the Lord's Table as ordered by the rubric.
My Reverend Brethren,--
On meeting you again, after an interval of four years, the commemoration of our brethren, who have been taken from us during that period, may well occupy the first place in my address to you, and more especially so on the present occasion, when we have to deplore the loss of one who, for many years, occupied a position of dignity in this Diocese. The late venerable Archdeacon was highly esteemed by you all, being distinguished for his kindness and courtesy, and liberality; and on this visit to the city it will appear strange to you to pass his once hospitable door, without entering the house in which you were always sure to receive a hearty welcome. I desire to avail myself of this opportunity, publicly to express my deep sense of his kindness to myself, and of the readiness with which he always endeavored to assist me in the performance of my duties. He might naturally have expected to be appointed to preside over the branch of the Church, in which he had for forty years held high office, but his modesty, and his low estimate of his own qualifications, were such as to induce him to shrink from, rather than to covet, prominent position or heavy responsibilities. Consequently, from the time of my arrival until his last illness, he always acted with a deference to my wishes which could hardly have been expected in a man of his advanced age. When I arrived, he was past the time of life at which he might have been expected to perform the special active duties of his office, but he was always willing to do what he could. He at length passed quietly away in a good old age, surrounded by his family and friends, with little pain or suffering, and his memory will long be cherished by the many who have in various ways experienced his kindness, and especially by the poor, to whom he was a liberal benefactor.
 One of the youngest of the Clergy, who had given good promise of future usefulness, was called away a few months before the aged Archdeacon, and already, within the first six months of this year, three of our brethren have been removed by death, of whom two had been for several years incapacitated by sickness and infirmities, but the other was cut off in the prime of life, in the midst of an active career of usefulness, and it will not be an easy matter to find a worthy successor to fill his place. [Rev. J. T. Moody, Rev. A. Gray and Rev. Jas. Stewart. J Key. T. Crisp.] Of the two former, I need hardly remind you that, for more than three years, one had been grievously afflicted, and that sometimes his mental, were not less than his bodily, sufferings, but at length our merciful Father was graciously pleased to dispel the cloud, and to enable him to rejoice with the full assurance of faith. He frequently testified that all had been ordered for his good, with wisdom and love, that through his sore trial he had been brought nearer to his God, and had been enabled to comprehend the fulness of the Saviour's love. His was not indeed what we should term a "light affliction," but doubtless, now that he has entered into his rest, it appears to him to have been so, and we trust that it was instrumental in working for him "a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."
Through deaths and removals we have thus lost ten Clergymen, but on the other hand there have been twenty-one added, of whom one has gone to Prince Edward Island.
The vacancy caused by the death of the late Archdeacon has been filled by the appointment of Dr. McCawley, which I cannot doubt must be satisfactory to all the Clergy, many of you having been in time past under his instruction and guidance, and all of you being acquainted with his kindliness of disposition, and courtesy of manner.
Last year, in consequence of the enlargement of this Church, and the alterations which rendered it more suitable than any other Church in the Diocese for a Cathedral, I acted upon the authority contained in the Queen's Letters Patent, and constituted a Chapter for the Diocese, composed of a Dean and four Canons, of whom the Archdeacon is always to hold the first Stall. And I may here observe that, notwithstanding the decision against the validity of the Letters Patent, so far as they profess to grant jurisdiction, no doubt has ever been suggested as to the power of the Crown to [4/5] confer titles and dignities, in any part of the Empire, so that the authority under which the Dean and Canons hold their positions cannot be impugned. That the establishment of a Dean and Chapter was early contemplated, is evident from the grant by the Crown, in 1813, of certain lands for the use of a Dean and Chapter, which are held in trust by the Bishop. As this is a novelty to many of you, it may not be superfluous to mention-that the Cathedral is to be regarded as the Parish Church of the Diocese, to which all have a right to resort. It ought therefore to be spacious, and free for every one who is disposed to worship there from any part of the Province, and to be a pattern for all other Churches, while the Dean and Chapter are to act as a Council, at all times ready to give advice to the Bishop in any difficult matters, upon which he may apply for their opinion.
This building is not indeed what we would desire, and it is little creditable to this Diocese that, although the oldest, it is almost the only one of the eight North American Dioceses, in which there is not a stone Cathedral, the only one in which when we were honored by the presence of the Prince of Wales, there was nothing more than an ordinary Parish Church which he could be requested to visit. I hope however that the day will come, although I may not be permitted to see it, when men's minds being enlarged by travelling and seeing the magnificent structures of other lands, and old prejudices being swept away, there will be a general desire to erect one fabric, which shall belong not to any one Parish, but equally to the whole Province, which shall bear testimony to the zeal of the members of the Church, and their determination to offer unto the Lord their God of their very best. The contrast between the houses of the present day, and those of fifty years ago, is very striking, the improvement in the Temples of our God ought, at least, to keep pace with those in our own dwellings. I am happy to find that the progress, to which I referred in my last Charge, has continued without check, and that there is generally a determination to act upon this principle, of which you will find proofs in the two Churches now nearly completed in this city, which show a great advance upon all previous attempts, although they are neither of them in all respects to be taken as models, the one being of wood, the other necessarily [5/6] modified by the nature of the site, and the conditions imposed upon the architect. Some persons appear to grudge every shilling expended upon the House of God, while they are lavish in adorning their own dwellings, and in providing for their own comfort and gratification, and to think that we may offer to Him the refuse which is not good enough for ourselves. But surely true love will always desire to give of its best, to honor Him who is its object with its richest offerings. And we have little reason to fear any excess in the value of the offerings thus presented, provided only care be taken, that the style of decoration shall be in all respects suitable to a sacred edifice. Money expended, as it sometimes is, in providing luxurious accommodation for the congregation, is worse than wasted; that which is appropriate and beautiful in a drawing-room, may be altogether out of place, and a disfigurement, in the House of Prayer. The architecture, and all the decorations of a Church, should be so distinctive and peculiar that, wherever the eye may turn, it may light on something to recall the wandering mind to the object proposed in going there.
And I would make a marked distinction between the adornment of the Building, and the decoration of the person of the Minister, as the latter is much more liable to abuse than the former. We can understand that some persons feel very strongly the force of the arguments, used to prove that the ministers of the Lord, when engaged in their official duties, should be clad in beautiful garments, and a symbolical meaning is attached to the several portions of the garb which some of the Ministers of our Church have lately assumed; but these extreme ritualists of whom we have heard are, upon their own private judgment, adopting practices, and assuming dresses, unauthorised by the Church of which they are Ministers, and giving occasion to reproach, by apparently bestowing undue attention upon things unimportant in themselves, which may attract, but are scarcely likely to edify, the multitudes whose eyes are dazzled by the spectacle. I will not detain you with any discussion of the meaning of the rubric to which they [6/7] appeal as their guide, for it may suffice for us that, whatever its meaning may be, (and it must be admitted that in any case it does not sanction all the habits and ornaments lately introduced,) the custom of the Church for three hundred years ought to be regarded, and that with the exception of the Cope, which is still worn at Coronations, there does not appear to be any sanction in practice for the use of anything more than the Surplice and Stole, as the ordinary dress of the officiating Minister, with the addition for graduates of the University Hood. You are aware that the use of the black gown, when you are officiating, is as much unauthorised as any of the gorgeous vestments lately adopted, but your proper robe, the white linen betokening the righteousness of the saints, which you ought to wear at all times of your ministrations, is the emblem of purity, and is not to be surpassed by any gold or embroidery, however gorgeous it may be. [The Committee of Privy Council decided, in the case of Liddell v. Westerton, that "all the several articles used in the performance of the services and rites of the Church are ornaments," and that the word in the rubric in confined to those articles, the use of which in the services and ministrations of the Church, is prescribed by the first Prayer Book of The rubric in that Prayer Book appoints, for the Priest celebrating the Holy Communion, "a white alb plain with a vestment or cope," and for the assistants "albes with tunicles."]
We have reason to believe that many of those, whose course we deplore in these respects, are actuated by good motives, their object being to attract the masses, in order that they may then teach them, a good result which may however be obtained at too great a cost; but we have reason to fear that many more, young men especially, have adopted the practices from a love of display, and are so much attracted by the gratification of their taste, that they attach to them a value far beyond their intrinsic importance. Indeed we cannot but be painfully struck with the evidences of a desire, in some of these young men, to imitate that branch of the Church, against whose corruptions we are bound to maintain a protest, and which by its many additions to the faith, more especially by its last new dogma, has caused its whole system to be regarded with a very justifiable suspicion. They go out of the way to use even its phrases and technical terms, as well as to give prominence to all the minutiae of its practices, and we cannot be surprised if many timid persons are driven in alarm to the opposite extreme.
I will not however waste words in warning you against practices which, I am satisfied, that none of you are inclined to adopt; but I would urge you all to follow the course, which will most surely keep you safe from either extreme. While you abstain from excess, take care also to guard against defect. Do not go beyond, and do not fall short of, that which is enjoined. This is the only [7/8] safe course, and indeed we must admit, that the present excesses owe their impunity to the previous excesses on the other side, by which it was proved that the laws and customs of the Church might be violated without involving the wrongdoer in any penalty. It is our duty strictly to observe all the rules of the Church, even in minor points. Your congregations may refuse to attend to your admonitions, and may attribute them to wrong motives, but your duty is clear. The officers of any earthly Society or Association are bound, above all other members, strictly to observe its rules, and if you are more neglectful of your higher obligations, you will be condemned by the example of the men of this world. If a man cannot conscientiously comply with the rules framed for his guidance, it is his duty, at whatever cost, to resign his office, and it is hard to understand the process, by which some men seem to persuade themselves that they are manifesting greater spirituality by neglecting, than by observing, such rules and directions. A very common excuse for neglect in minor matters is, that attention should rather be given to more important things. But our Lord has himself refuted this fallacy. When he denounced the Scribes and Pharisees, on account of their neglect of their higher duties, while they were scrupulous about trifles, he did not blame those scruples, he did not say that they were unfounded, much less did he condemn them. He did not tell them that they might safely neglect those minor matters, as they truly were, compared with the other duties named. He said emphatically, "these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone." In consequence of the weakness of our nature, it is not easy to apportion to each duty its legitimate share of our attention, we are tempted either, on the one side to neglect the payment due for "mint, anise and cummin," or on the other to omit "the weightier matters of the law." Let us then beware of adopting this common fallacy, let us always bear in mind that, although there may be a very wide difference in the relative importance of certain points, of doctrine or practice, we are bound to bring them all before those whom we are commissioned to instruct, and that sometimes it may be necessary to give to these lesser matters, a prominence beyond that which is due to their intrinsic value, because they had been too little regarded.
While speaking of worship, I desire especially to direct your [8/9] attention to the serious defects in the prevalent views concerning it. Judging from my own experience, I should say that very few persons have any conception of its true nature. Prayer is understood, and valued, as a mode of communication with God, as the means through which we are to obtain blessings, both spiritual and temporal, from Him, from whom "cometh every good and every perfect gift," and this acknowledgment of His power is worship in a low degree. But there is in it a reference to self, a return is expected. And the influence of this element of selfishness is evident in the mode in which public worship is regarded. We hear many persons say, that they do not care for more frequent opportunities, and do not avail themselves of those which are provided, because they do not find that they derive any special benefit from them, they think that they get more good from more social meetings for prayer. Now, without entering into the merits of this opinion, or discussing its soundness, we observe, on the face of these remarks, evidence of ignorance of one great object of the public assembly in the House of God. The object, in fact, ought to be His glory, apart from any consideration of personal gain or advantage. This is the highest worship, the worship of the Heavenly Hosts, this has been revealed to us as pleasing to God, and we must conclude that this is the model to which we should endeavor, as far as possible, to conform on earth. By coming together in a public place, we declare in the face of all men our allegiance, we do homage to the King of Kings, we honor Him in a manner, and to an extent, far beyond anything that is possible otherwise. Our views of the nature of our religious services, and of the manner in which they may most properly be conducted, must inevitably be modified by our conceptions of the proper character, and intention of the worship which is most acceptable to our God; and I beg you to consider whether you have been habitually endeavoring to raise the minds of your people, above the common low conceptions of the nature of the worship due to Him, and to make them sensible of the selfish considerations by which those conceptions are characterised. It is true that we never do anything for God's glory, without a corresponding benefit to ourselves, but as the motive is everything in the sight of Him who searcheth the hearts, it is of no little consequence whether we [9/10] come to the House of Prayer, with a view to offer the sacrifice of prayer and praise, to worship in the highest sense, or merely with the thought of self, and of the blessings to be obtained through hearing the Word of God and in answer to prayer.
It may be very difficult, in some of our scattered settlements, to secure the observance of the days set apart by the Church, for the commemoration of our Lord or of his Apostles, but you can always comply with the direction to give due notice of such days, so that the true members of the Church of England may profit by the appointment, through having their thoughts directed to the special subject commemorated, even when they cannot assemble in the House of Prayer. And if only two or three can be brought together, you should make a point of inviting your people to public worship on those days, at all events, on which we commemorate events in the life of our Lord. Christmas Day and Good Friday are, I believe, always thus observed in all our Parishes, but there are other days also, which the loving disciple will thankfully observe, such as more particularly the Epiphany, when the Church in her services directs our attention to three manifestations of her Lord, and above all, the day of his ascension. The common neglect of this day is almost unaccountable. I can understand the practice of those who deny that any day is to be observed more than another; they are consistent, although altogether wrong in their conclusions, but the observance of other days, Christmas Day for example, while Ascension Day is neglected, is unintelligible. The only conceivable answer to the question, why do you observe the one and neglect the other? is either, "because we have been accustomed to do so," which is unworthy of a rational being, or "because the world has thought fit to adopt the one as a holy-day, and not the other," which is unworthy of a Christian. If we may distinguish between those two days, is not the day of the Ascension to be regarded as a much higher festival than the other, inasmuch as the completion of the work is more than its commencement, inasmuch as we have to rejoice in the triumph and exaltation of our Redeemer, rather than in his humiliation? More especially, as time rolls on, and the end approaches, must the thought of the Ascension be dear to those who are looking for the appearing of their Lord, whose return is inseparably connected in our minds [10/11] with his departure, for, according to the declaration of the Angels, '" this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven;" and we rest upon his own gracious promise, "I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am there ye may be also." By the appointment of a proper preface in the office of the Holy Communion, the Church has set forth the propriety of a celebration on that day, and if we desire to commemorate our Lord, we cannot doubt that it is most fitting to do so in the manner pointed out by himself, when he said, "do this in remembrance of me." In England public attention has been lately directed to the neglect of this holy-day, and we may perhaps indulge a hope, that such a feeling will be awakened as will ensure greater facilities for those who desire, but owing to their worldly circumstances are unable, to observe it aright. In the meantime, until this desirable change takes place, it is most expedient to provide an early celebration, at such an hour that even those who are entangled in worldly business may assemble for worship, before beginning their ordinary occupations.
I hope it is not necessary to enforce the duty of selecting the subjects of your addresses from the Pulpit, in accordance with the teaching of the Church, upon the greater festivals, and at other seasons. It is very painful to a devout Christian, who enters heartily into the spirit of the services, and whose mind is occupied with the subject most prominently set forth therein, to have his meditations, and his line of thought, rudely interrupted by the intrusion of a new subject from the Pulpit. The system of our Church is designed for those whose citizenship is in heaven. She would lead us to connect our whole life with Christ, so that we may truly say, "our life is hid with Christ in God." A reality is imparted to the records of his ministry, by the annual observance of its prominent events, which cannot otherwise be secured. Our fasts and our festivals are connected with Him. With Him we sorrow, with Him we rejoice. We mourn while we contemplate his sufferings endured for our sins, we participate in the joy and gladness of his triumphs. Few minds are capable of comprehending fully abstract truths, all are much assisted by having them [11/12] presented in a concrete form. Moreover, the order for the special commemoration of certain points of doctrine, on certain days, is a safeguard against the temptation to dwell too much on some favorite parts of Scripture, and tends to secure an impartial preaching of God's Word, according to the proportion of the faith.
In this connection, I have also to desire you to be careful to use the Prayer appointed for the Ember weeks, not only when there is to be an ordination in this Diocese, but at the Ember seasons always. The observance of the Ember days, by special services, is I fear almost universally disregarded, but no one can be justified in complaining of inefficiency or other defect in any of the Clergy, who is not in the habit of complying with the rule of the Church, and offering up special prayers on their behalf.
We have need too to pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into his harvest, for the laborers are not nearly numerous enough to occupy the field. This Diocese has been more favored than many others in the number of candidates for Holy Orders successively presenting themselves, relatively to the demand for them, but still there is room. In England the inadequacy of the supply has caused much anxiety, and has led to careful, investigation of the cause, and to endeavors to devise a remedy, without any satisfactory result at present. Here there is indeed little inducement, from a worldly point of view, to prepare for the ministry, but we may believe that there is sufficient zeal in our people, to induce parents to disregard the prospect of earthly gains, and to dedicate to the service of the Lord in the sanctuary a child who, may show that he is moved by the love of God, and may appear likely to be fitted for this work; and there are probably among our young men more who would cheerfully devote themselves, for the glory of God, and the good of their fellow-creatures, if they were led to perceive that it is their duty to do so. I think that you may do much towards increasing the number of our Divinity Students, if you will make it your business, to look out constantly for any promising youths in your Parishes, and to endeavor to lead them early to look forward to the ministry, as their vocation, and will use your influence, with the parents of such youths, to induce them to encourage those early tendencies, and to forego the hope of earthly prosperity and worldly advantages [12/13] attainable in other callings. A Committee appointed by the Convocation of Canterbury reports thus:--"In conclusion, we would strongly urge the important consideration that not only the due training, but also the due supply, of candidates for Holy Orders is a matter which concerns every member of the Church. Laity and Clergy alike can contribute to these great ends, by judiciously fostering a disposition in their own children to devote themselves to the service of God in the work of the ministry, and by seeking out and encouraging among their neighbors and friends any who show an aptitude for the same holy office. A further way is the liberal support of all societies and institutions which have these objects in view." The facilities afforded by the system of our University, are such as to enable youths of small means to secure a suitable education there, for with a nomination, relieving the student from fees, and the allowance from the S. P. G., the expense to an economical youth ought to be less than the cost of his maintenance at home without such aid.
The prosperity of the Province may, perhaps, increase our embarrassment in this respect. We know not what may be the effect of the impending political changes, but if they lead to the anticipated results, the enlarged field that will be opened, and the opportunities for the acquirement of wealth offered to those who are engaged in secular pursuits, may afford temptations too powerful to be resisted by our young men, while the increase of population will demand a very large addition to the number of our pastors and missionaries. But on the other hand we may hope that, with enlarged means, there will be enlarged hearts, that the people, becoming accustomed to larger incomes, will not suffer their ministers to struggle on with such an inadequate provision as is considered to be sufficient in a new country, and that thus the improvement in the condition of the ministers will so far keep pace with that of other classes, that at least the prospect before them will not repel all, except the most devoted who feel themselves called upon to abandon every temporal advantage, in order to devote themselves to the work of the ministry.
We have already, at the meeting of the Church Society, determined that an effort must be made immediately to complete the Endowment Fund, already too long in abeyance, as there is no [13/14] other reliable source whence even the present stipends of the Clergy can be drawn, the grant of the S. P. G. being now £250 per annum less than the amount which we are pledged to pay on their behalf. And I now desire to remind you, officially, that you incur a grave responsibility, if you do not perform your part, and that even when the amount originally subscribed has been paid, you ought not to be content, but that every addition to your flocks ought to bring in an addition to this fund, and that those whom God blesses with success should be called upon to add to the amounts subscribed when their ability was less.
The propriety of employing Lay Agents has been much discussed, and it has even been proposed to allow them to officiate in the Churches in England, except only in the administration of the Sacraments. This, you know, has been allowed here as a matter of necessity, but we must admit that it is on many accounts objectionable, and although we thankfully avail ourselves of the services of laymen, who will kindly undertake, in the absence of the minister, to conduct the worship of their brethren, care should be taken to make the people understand the distinction between such an agent and the minister duly proved and commissioned. The lay agent should never wear the surplice, and should ordinarily be restricted to reading sermons furnished by his pastor. It has also been proposed to introduce the title of Sub-Deacons, but all things considered, I prefer the appointment of permanent Deacons, who might be persons engaged in other occupations supporting themselves, provided only it may be allowed them without reproach to lay aside their office, if they desire to resign it, and while I should maintain most strenuously the indelibility of Priests' Orders, I am not convinced that we are bound to take the same view of an Order which is avowedly probationary.
Although your primary object will be the increase of the Clergy, you may at the same time do something towards enlarging the number of School-teachers of our communion, for it cannot be prudent to allow the education of the young to fall entirely into the hands of these who differ from us. Formerly, when any one unfit for other occupations was considered good enough for a teacher, and there was little probability of obtaining a reasonable remuneration, the work fell into disrepute, and it was not easy to [14/15] induce the better class of young men and women to undertake it. But under our present improved system, teaching occupies the position of a profession, and adequate stipends are provided, so that any one who is apt to teach may expect to secure a fair maintenance, in an honorable and useful employment. I therefore renew my request to you, to look out for promising young persons in your several Missions, to lead them from childhood to look forward to teaching as a profession, and to send them, if possible, either to the College or to the Training School, to be educated and fitted for the work.
Our Common School system is not altogether what we would desire to have, but great improvements have been made, and we may hope that as defects are discovered in its operation they will be remedied, and we are bound to do our parts towards rendering it as efficient as possible. If we cannot secure separate Schools, in which religious truth may be taught, in accordance with our own views, we may at least be thankful for any training, by which the reasoning powers are developed, and the minds of the young are prepared to receive the instruction, which may be supplied by their Minister from the Pulpit, or in any other way. The Sunday School must be the complement of the Day School, and if you are unable to exercise much influence in the latter, you should give the more attention to the former. I have no doubt, too, that we lose much by the neglect of public catechising, and wherever you have two services in one Church on the same day, you may with advantage adopt this excellent mode of imparting instruction at one of those services. Only it should be remembered, that skill in catechising is not ordinarily to be acquired, without careful study and meditation.
The reference to the School Act leads to the mention of other Acts of the Provincial Parliament, in which we are particularly interested, and of these I may mention, in the first place, the Marriage and Registration Act. A change has been made in the regulations for the issue of Marriage Licences which is unimportant, but certain duties are imposed upon you, which I trust that you will scrupulously perform. We cannot expect the people generally to appreciate the utility of such statistics, as are to be obtained by a good system of registration of births, deaths, and [15/16] marriages, and it will probably be long before they will be careful to furnish the Registrars with the required information; but you may afford material assistance, by reminding the proper persons of their duty, whenever a birth or a death occurs in any family.
Two annual reports have been issued, and it is satisfactory to find that the returns are much more complete for the second, than for the first, year, and it is to be hoped that they will become more so, until they are as perfect as we can expect them to be. As you have all received the report for this year, I need not detain you with details, but it may suffice to commend to your notice the observations of the Secretary to the Board of Statistics, by whom the report is prepared.
An Act has been passed, remodelling the Divorce Court, and chiefly affecting the mode of procedure. But it is for the first time expressly enacted, that persons divorced may marry again. This, however, is accompanied by a provision securing every Clergyman, who may be unwilling to officiate at such a marriage, from liability to any penalty, to which he might be liable for refusing to do so, or for refusing to publish the banns of such parties. I hope that you will all gladly avail yourselves of this provision, more especially as divorce is allowed here, for some causes for which it is not allowed in England, and in some cases wherein the law appears to be directly opposed to the teaching of Scripture, which does not admit of divorce except in one case. And even in that case, it does not appear that a man may lawfully marry the woman who has been put away as guilty. Increased facilities for divorce must necessarily lead to a deterioration of morals, and this appears now to be acknowledged as the effect of the new Divorce Act in England. [Last year in Convocation the Bishop of Oxford said: "That the present state of the law is satisfactory, I think hardly any of my Right Rev. brethren will affirm. Although the dissatisfaction in some minds may be deeper than in others, I believe it to be universal Many of those who, at the time of the alteration of the law of Marriage, and the formation of that unhappy Court of Divorce, supported the change, have to my knowledge expressed their deep regret at what has resulted from the establishment of that Court." The Archbishop said: "The all important point which is here at issue is, the re-marriage of the guilty parties, and that is to my mind most contrary to the Word of God." This year, the Lower House unanimously again adopted the resolution, "That this House believes that the Marriage and Divorce Act of 1867 operates most injuriously on the moral and spiritual character of the nation, bringing the sanctity of the marriage vow into disregard, and multiplying year after year the number of separations between those whom God hath joined together." It was stated in the course of the debate, that Sir Cresswell Cresswell had "confessed that the opposition was well grounded, that he had been taught the lesson of experience, that ho had come to the conclusion that it was better for society to treat marriage as indissoluble, considering it merely as a social question." Canon Selwyn, in concluding his speech, said: "If the result of the legislature having made our marriage laws as lax as those of the Romans, should be the same, evil following upon evil, and sin upon sin, bringing down the judgments of an offended God, let it not be said that we, the Bishops and Clergy of the Church, stood by and made no effort to stem the torrent of evil."] Let us be careful, if we cannot check the torrent, at least to refuse to do anything which may augment its force and effect. If the law of the State conflicts with the Law of God, our course is clear, "we [16/17] ought to obey God rather than men," and if at any time you are called upon to officiate in such a case, it will be your duty to refuse, for compliance would be wilful sin.
While speaking of marriages, I wish to correct a common misapprehension, respecting the force of a license. It is commonly supposed that it obliges a Clergyman to marry the persons who have obtained it, but its effect is merely to dispense with the publication of banns, and if he knows of any objection to the marriage, he is not relieved of his responsibility by the license.
An Act has also been passed, permitting Clergymen ordained in the United States to officiate here, under the Bishop's license, notwithstanding the prohibition contained in the Imperial Act of George III., chap. 84. Considering our proximity to the States, and the fact that the Clergy of our communion are always welcomed there, it has always been an unpleasant duty to treat them otherwise than as we are treated by them, and I rejoice that the disabilities are now removed.
You are aware that determined efforts have been made in England to obtain a revision of our Prayer Book, and we have reason to thank God that they have been unsuccessful, for any such revision as was proposed would probably have led to a largo secession from the Church. The alterations desired by some would be deemed highly objectionable by others, and it would be vain to expect, for anything new, the feelings which have been engendered by the long-continued use of a book, now venerable for its antiquity, as well as cherished on account of its intrinsic merits. We do not pretend that our Prayer Book is perfect in all its parts, for all human compositions must bear traces of human infirmity, but we believe we have in it a heritage of inestimable value, and we may well be jealous of any interference with it. It may be that the compilers have sometimes omitted what might advantageously [17/18] have been retained, or that they have retained expressions which might without loss have been omitted or modified, but we believe that regarded as a whole it is not surpassed by any uninspired, book.
The most serious objections that have been raised, have been to some expressions in the offices for Baptism and for Burial. The changes proposed in the former, would involve a denial of the doctrine held by the Church from the beginning. In the latter no question of doctrine arises, but it is generally admitted that in some cases the service as it stands cannot be used with satisfaction, and two years ago four thousand Clergymen thus expressed their conviction in an address to the Bishops, that "the indiscriminate use of the Order for the Burial of the Dead, as practically enforced by the existing state of the law, imposes a heavy burden upon the consciences of the Clergy, and is the occasion of a grievous scandal to many other people." To which the Archbishop replied: "The Bishops generally sympathise with the memorialists, in the difficulties to which they sometimes find themselves exposed with reference to the terms of that service. But I am sorry to report that the obstacles in the way of remedying those difficulties appear to them, as at present advised, to be insuperable." And within the last month, His Grace has repeated the same sentiments in the House of Lords.
This subject was discussed at great length in Convocation last year, upon a very full and able report of a Committee, which concluded by recommending, "the exercise of spiritual discipline, with modifications of the present law, as the legitimate and effective remedy for the alleged difficulties." This was adopted by a large majority, and was accompanied by a resolution, "that a Committee of this House be appointed, to take into consideration the whole system of the godly discipline of the Church, with a view to the restoration of it in such measure and manner as may be found practicable."
In the course of the debate several remedies were proposed, but the same objection applies to all plans based upon an alteration of the existing service, that no form of words can be devised so as to be both suitable for the faithful, and also for the unbelievers and evildoers. If any alternative were authorised to be used at the discretion of the [18/19] officiating Clergyman, he would be placed in a very false position, for while there are some at either extreme, with respect to whom there is little or no room left for doubt, there are many concerning whom he ought not to be required to pronounce any decided opinion. Of all the plans proposed, I believe that the best would be, the retention of our present service for the burial of communicants, and the authorisation of another less jubilant in its tones for non-communicants. I am aware of practical difficulties in such an arrangement, but I think they may be overcome, and that the objections are less serious than they are to the continuance of the present unsatisfactory state of things, which would only be partially remedied by the restoration of discipline, for that discipline would afford no relief, except in some of the most flagrant cases, whereas the distinction proposed is definite, and the most charitable interpretation might be given to the term "communicants," so as to include all who have not yet arrived at years of discretion. By the use of the lower office we should pronounce no sentence upon the departed, and since we do not believe that the future state is affected by the celebration or omission of the funeral rites, designed for the comfort and edification of the survivors, the deceased would sustain no loss, but the living would be benefitted by the warning, and by the declaration that something was wanting.
In ordinary cases we may use the service appointed, with a quiet conscience:--1st. Because we are forbidden to judge, and so long as there is any room for a weak hope we ought to exercise it; 2nd. Because the form does not profess to be specifically applicable to individuals, being appointed by the Church to be used for all who profess and call themselves Christians, if they have remained within her pale; 3rd. Because the use of a general form is attended with less injury than an extempore prayer or address, which must be regarded as applying to the particular person, and is therefore much more likely to mislead the bystanders, by its expressions of hope and confidence, which will naturally be uttered out of regard to the survivors, except in very extreme cases. We, however, need not be disquieted as our brethren are in England, for their difficulties arise in some measure from their obligations as Ministers of an Established Church, of which every inhabitant is by law a member with a right to claim their services. Here no one who is not [19/20] actually a member of our congregations can have any claims upon us. You are only answerable to the law of the Church, and I have no hesitation in advising you to refuse to officiate in any case, where death has occurred under such circumstances that there can be no room for hope, and where the use of the burial service would be a profanation, as for example in the case of a man who has lived and died an infidel, or of one who has been cut off while perpetrating a grievous crime, or of one who having been a confirmed drunkard has died in a fit of delirium. Only in every such case, it is your duty immediately to report fully to me; and you must be careful as to the ground of your refusal, for if the reasons were not sufficient, I should be obliged to act under the 60th Canon, which appoints three months suspension as the penalty for refusing to bury any corpse. And observe particularly that there must not be any mutilation of the service; if you cannot conscientiously use it as appointed, omit it altogether, and stay away from the funeral. If you attend, it is your bounden duty to officiate according to the prescribed form without variation or omission.
In my last Charge, I had occasion to speak of the Judgment, then lately delivered, upon two of the Essays in the volume called "Essays and Reviews." And I have now to speak of two Judgments of still greater importance to us, inasmuch as they affect the Church in the Colonies, so far as materially to alter our relation to the Established Church of England.
The first was in 1863, on the appeal of Mr. Long, who had been suspended and afterwards deprived by the Bishop of Capetown. The Lords of the Council stated, "we propose to deal with the question, (raised and discussed in the argument,) only so far as may be necessary for the purposes of the present decision, and to abstain as far as possible from saying anything which may prejudice cases that may hereafter arise." Nevertheless the principles laid down must be taken as a guide, and have been already accepted as precedents, and we collect from the Judgment the following conclusions:--"The Church of England, in places where there is no Church established by law, is in the same situation with any other religious body, in no better, but in no worse, condition; and the members may adopt, as the members of any other communion may adopt, rules for enforcing discipline within their body, which will [20/21] be binding on those who expressly or by implication have assented to them." Also that "a Clergyman, taking the oath of canonical obedience, and accepting a license from the Bishop, submits himself to the Bishop's authority, to such an extent as to enable the Bishop to deprive him of his appointment for any lawful cause."
This was followed by the well-known Judgment, delivered last year, on the appeal of the Bishop of Natal, from the sentence pronounced by his Metropolitan and the other Bishops of the Province of Capetown. You are all probably aware, that the effect of this Judgment has been to determine, that the Crown, with the advice of some of the most eminent Lawyers of whom England can boast, has been for nearly fourscore years assuming a power, which does not belong to it, and misleading its unsuspecting subjects, by issuing with all due formality, under the Great Seal of the "United Kingdom, illegal documents. I do not think that this decision is to be regretted, so far as it affects the Church; but it appears to me to throw doubt upon what was supposed to be most certain, and thus to produce a very uncomfortable feeling of insecurity, for we have been accustomed to rely with implicit confidence upon the great legal authorities in the Mother Country, and we may now reasonably feel doubtful how far the exercise of the Royal prerogative may be legitimate in any matter whatever.
How far the Judgment commends itself to lawyers I cannot say, but I may point out a few extraordinary statements, and errors as to facts. Thus Lord Westbury, who delivered the Judgment, states that the two Bishops are "the creatures of English law," and are dependent upon that law for their "existence, rights, and attributes," thus confounding the nomination by the Crown with their consecration, and ignoring the fact, that the existence of Bishops is to be traced to a date long antecedent to the beginning of English Law. Speaking of the clauses purporting to confer ecclesiastical jurisdiction, he says, "the forms of such Letters Patent were probably taken, by the official persons who prepared them, from the original forms used in the Letters Patent appointing the East Indian Bishops, without adverting to the fact, that such last mentioned Letters Patent were granted under the provisions of an Act of Parliament," whereas he might easily have discovered that those clauses appear in the original Patent constituting this Diocese, [21/22] twenty-five years before the Act to which he refers, and a few years later in those constituting the See of Quebec.
This decision has determined the law of the land, and it is now held that the Letters Patent, when unrecognised by a Local Legislature, are only effective so far as they authorise the consecration of a Bishop, conferring a title, and constituting him a corporation. [In a Circular to the Governors of Colonies, issued after the Judgment in Mr. Long's case, the late Duke of Newcastle, having consulted the Crown Lawyers, said: "The Letters Patent then were ultra vires and invalid if, and so far as, they purported to convey to the Bishop any power of coercive jurisdiction, irrespoctively of the sanction of the Local Legislature, and of the consent, express or implied, of those over whom it might be exercised." "I am aware of no reason whatever for supposing them to be invalid, otherwise than as they may assume to grant this coercive jurisdiction. The Bishop's corporate character, and any other incidents of his Episcopal position, which result from the Letters Patent, remain untouched by the recent Judgment."] But there is reason to suppose, that there is a distinction to be made between those Colonies, in which there has been no legislation respecting the Church, and those in which such legislation has been carried into effect. Now in this Province, when the Diocese was created, the Church of England was the Established Church; and the Bishop has been recognised in several Acts, especially in the chapter of the Revised Statutes wherein Clergymen of the Church of England are prohibited from officiating in the Province, without his license. It may be, therefore, that we are here in a better condition than our brethren in some of the other Colonies, but still there can be no doubt that our position is not what it was commonly supposed to be.
A Bill has now been introduced into the Imperial Parliament, by the Colonial Secretary, and Attorney General, based upon the Privy Council Judgment, of which the intention is briefly, to place the Clergy of the Colonial Dioceses upon the same footing as those of the Church in Scotland and in America, with respect to officiating or holding preferment in England, and to place all Colonial Bishops in the same position as if they had been chosen by the voluntary consent of the Clergy and Congregations in their respective Dioceses, whether they surrender or retain their Letters Patent. Moreover, it is provided that all questions of law, respecting the rights and duties of every Bishop, and of the Clergy and Congregations in relation to the Bishop, shall be tried and [22/23] determined as similar questions with respect to the ministers and congregations of any other denomination would be determined.
The intention of this Act appears to be, to remedy a very inconvenient anomaly, and to place us bona fide in the same position as other denominations, and so far as it does this it is to be welcomed; but I fear that, in its present form, it would give occasion to many controversies, and perhaps lead to the litigation which it is intended to avert. [Since the delivery of this Charge, there has been a change of Government, and it is not probable that the attention of Parliament will he given to the Colonial Church, during its present Session.]
We have now fresh occasion to congratulate the members of the Church in Canada upon their position, from which they can calmly look down upon us and others who are struggling with difficulties, being independent of Privy Council Judgments, and little affected even by the action of the Imperial Parliament. And we must the more regret the rejection, by our Provincial Legislature, of the Bill which, without interfering with any persons beyond our own pale, would have secured to us the privileges now enjoyed by our brethren.
Since my last Visitation, the Convocations of the two English Provinces have accomplished more than had been attempted for many years, having, with the sanction of the Crown, altered some of the Canons of 1603, and the question arises, how far are we affected by these alterations? [When the address to the Crown, embodying these new Canons, had passed the Lower House of the Convocation of Canterbury, the Prolocutor said, "I cannot allow anything further to be put to the House without first expressing my deep gratitude to Almighty God for his great goodness in permitting us to perform an act which I conceive to be one of the utmost importance to the interests of the Church of England. If I could tell the House the extreme anxiety which has been felt by our Most Reverend President upon this subject, I am sure they would sympathise both with him and with me upon the present occasion. I look upon this result as an answer to the fervent prayers which have gone up from faithful members of this House: 'Concede igitur ut Spiritus Tuus, qui concilio olim apostolico, huic nostro etiam nunc insideat, ducatque nos in omnem veritatem, quae cst secundum pietatem."'] Since we do not belong to either Province, although we have been commonly supposed to be in the Province of Canterbury, I apprehend that, even if we may still be regarded as members of the United Church of England and Ireland, we cannot be bound by these new Canons unless we formally adopt them. You are probably acquainted with the alterations, to which I refer, and it will be for the Synod to determine whether we shall [23/24] adhere to the Canons as they were, thus diverging from the Mother Church, or shall follow her in her new paths, so that we may be governed by the same laws. [The Synod has since determined not to accept the new Canons.] The change in the 29th Canon, allowing fathers to be sponsors at baptism, merely authorises a practice which from necessity had become very common here. But it is not the less desirable still to adhere to the old rule, as far as possible, and to teach your people why sponsors are required, , independent of the parents, whose responsibility cannot be increased by any vows. But the alteration, involving the republication of the Canon, extends beyond this, and revives, what may be considered to be partly obsolete, the restriction to communicants of the office of sponsors. The two Convocations had substituted for communicants, persons capable of receiving the Communion, but the Government objected to promulgate the Canon in this form, and therefore the Clergy are now strictly required, by this new Canon, to refuse to admit as a sponsor any non-communicant. In principle, we must all admit that this is right, but we have also unhappily to admit, that the consequence of a strict adherence to it would be that many children would be left unbaptized, because duly qualified sponsors are not attainable. And when we consider that the requirement of sponsors is merely an ecclesiastical rule, we can have no hesitation in deciding, that any impediments to the administration of baptism introduced by it are greatly to be deplored.
The other Canons are those relating to the terms in which the Clergy are required to subscribe to the formularies of the Church. You will remember that, in consequence of complaints of the too great stringency of the forms, a Royal Commission was issued to investigate the subject, and the recommendation of the Commissioners deserves much weight, from the character of the persons selected, who were fair representatives of the several schools, or lines of thought, at present existing. The recommendations of this Commission were embodied in an Act of Parliament with the consent of the two Convocations, the 36th and following Canons being altered so as to be in harmony with it, and the general result is as follows:--The three Articles in the 36th Canon are cancelled, and the following declaration is substituted, "I do solemnly make [24/25] the following declaration: I assent to the 39 Articles of Religion, and to the Book of Common Prayer, and of ordering of Bishops, Priests and Deacons; I believe the doctrine of the United Church of England and Ireland, as therein set forth, to be agreeable to the Word of God, and in public prayer and administration of the sacraments, I will use the form in the said Book prescribed, and none other, except so far as shall be ordered by lawful authority." [This Act does not extend to the Colonies.] By these changes the declaration of the Queen's supremacy, "as well in all spiritual or ecclesiastical things or causes as temporal," is abolished,--the Articles and the Prayer Book are taken together, the doctrine therein set forth being acknowledged to be agreeable to the Word of God, and an opening is left for the use of any other forms, ordered by lawful authority; this last phrase being intended to relieve the minds of persons who have entertained scruples about the use of special services, on public fast or thanksgiving days. The lawful authority is not specified, but whatever it may be, where the Church is established, I presume that in the Colonies the Bishop of each Diocese would be thus designated, every Bishop being authorised by ancient custom to determine the forms to be used in his own Diocese; and there is no other person who has the semblance of authority to interfere with the mode of conducting our worship. The oaths ordered by the Rubrics to be administered at the time of ordination are no longer to be so administered, and a new oath, substituted in 1858 for the old forms, is to be taken previous to ordination and to admission to any ecclesiastical office or preferment.
The new declaration differs much unquestionably from that enjoined by the Act of Uniformity, now repealed, which was required from all Incumbents, "I do declare my unfeigned assent and consent to all and everything contained and prescribed in and by the Book of Common Prayer;" but I am not prepared to affirm, that any real safeguard is lost by the change. Those very stringent and comprehensive words may have been a stumbling-block to tender consciences, while by the careless they have doubtless been accepted and used, with but little regard to details, as a general admission of the soundness of the Liturgy. For any honest man, I think that the new form is sufficiently binding; for the subscriber declares not merely that he will use our formularies, [25/26] but also that he assents to them, and believes them to be agreeable to the word of God. If a man's principles are so lax that he will use a Liturgy which he does not believe to be in accordance with the word of God, it is useless to attempt to keep him out by any declaration; whereas a thoroughly conscientious man may feel scruples about the more stringent form, if there is a single sentence with which he is not altogether satisfied.
There is room for difference of opinion as to the merits of these alterations; but I am persuaded that our wisest course is to continue in strict conformity with the Mother Church, so long as we can do so without any serious loss or inconvenience therefrom. It has been indeed determined that we are free from all legal obligation in this respect, so that we may continue in the old course, or adopt the modifications introduced there, at our discretion; but we must not close our eyes to the danger that the several dioceses, being isolated, may in time differ both in doctrine and practice from the parent, and from each other, unless we thus follow the guidance of those from whom we fear that we are to be partially severed. I believe that ultimately the universal adoption of the Provincial system will be accepted as the only security against such variations; and it may be that the political union of these Lower Provinces with Canada will render it expedient for us to accept the offer, formerly rejected, to be included in the Province of Montreal. The Synod of that Province has addressed the Archbishop, and also the Convocation, of Canterbury, praying that a general council of the members of the Anglican communion may be held, in order to devise measures for the preservation of our connection with the Church in England. To one of these addresses a favorable reply has been received from his Grace; the other having been discussed in the Lower House of Convocation, led to a unanimous resolution, "that his Grace the President be respectfully requested to direct the appointment of a committee of this House to consider and report upon the petition of the Canadian Branch of the Anglican Church."
Some persons may be so selfish and narrow-minded as to care little about anything which does not immediately affect themselves; but they who understand anything of the Communion of Saints, or who coincide with the noble sentiment of the heathen poet, cannot but feel deeply interested in the trials of their brethren [26/27] in other parts of the world. [Homo sum; humani nihil a me alienum puto.] Every true son of the Church should be anxious to have its status so clearly defined, and its organization so complete, that it may be prepared for all contingencies: we ought not to be satisfied with the assumption that no inconvenience will be experienced, and that no difficulties will occur, during our time, without regard to the future. Every one who has watched the course of events through several years past, must have perceived that a great change has been taking place, and that we are now in a transition state. The branches of the Church of England have been extending in every direction, some of them acquiring much strength and importance; and it has become evident that they could not continue in the anomalous state, with which they had previously been content. The Colonies have one after another been permitted to manage their own affairs, enjoying the privileges of self-government, and it has been felt that the Church could no longer be kept in an inferior position, deprived of the advantages and yet subject to the restrictions of an establishment. But we are slow to divest ourselves of old prejudices: we cling to old associations, and we have been afraid to walk alone. And we should have continued in the same unsatisfactory state, if our confidence had not been rudely shaken by the occurrence of events, which have proved that we were leaning on a broken reed, and that we have been in reality in a much worse position than any other body of Christians. Thus He who over-rules all things, to the furtherance of his own purposes, is educing good out of the evil, and doubtless the Church in the colonies will manifest more life and energy, and will make greater progress, when once these questions are determined, than in time past.
The contest, in which the Church in South Africa is engaged, is carried on for the benefit of the whole body, and we have reason to thank God that He has vouchsafed to our brethren there, extraordinary firmness, and we ought continually to offer prayer on their behalf, that they may be enabled to persevere. We should especially admire the noble metropolitan, who has been called to take his place in the forefront of the battle, and to bear the brunt of the conflict. Some of us may, perhaps, think that, in some of the details of his proceedings, he has not adopted the most judicious course, but we do not expect perfection in man, and we ought to [27/28] shrink from criticising too sharply the deeds of one who, under most trying and discouraging circumstances, has contended so "earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints," and for the liberties and independence of our Church. It is satisfactory to all, and must be very cheering to him, to find that the sympathies of his brethren are almost universally with him, the convocation in England, the general convention of the United States, the Provincial Synod of Canada, and other similar bodies, having on behalf of those whom they represented sent to him addresses expressive of their approval and admiration.
As for the wretched apostate, who has occasioned so much trouble, we can only blush at the thought of his having been one of our chief pastors, and at the spectacle of a man still maintaining his right to an office, and endeavoring to secure its emoluments, amongst a body of which he has repudiated the leading principles, and whose authorised prayers he has publicly declared that he cannot conscientiously use. We have had cause for shame too in the fact that dignitaries of the Church at home have manifested their sympathy with this man, and have aided and abetted him, by furnishing pecuniary assistance, as well as in other ways, although it appears that only one clergyman in his own diocese, and he not an Englishman, has followed him. We may, however, indulge in the hope that such sympathisers will now separate themselves from him, and will be anxious to free themselves from all suspicion of complicity, since he is showing himself in his true colors. We cannot believe that, when he first gave the rein to his sceptical spirit, he had any foresight of the dreadful precipice towards which he would be hurried, although a bystander might have discerned the tendency of his course, and the improbability of any other end than the frightful depths of infidelity. He now stands as a conspicuous warning to all, (may we have grace to profit by it), to beware of any tampering with sacred things, and of carrying on our investigations of the truth, with a captious spirit, and with any desire to detect flaws and errors, such as has been manifested by him in all his publications. He has now published a Hymn Book, which, as he admits "does not contain the name of Jesus or Christ from one end to the other," and he defends himself by the plea that the omission of the name was not intentional, but was owing to an omission [28/29] which was intentional, of all hymns containing prayers to Christ, to which he objects on "scriptural and apostolical grounds." Can this man still act as the minister of a body, of whose meetings one of the earliest records is, that they sang a hymn to Christ as God? which thus addresses Him in her glorious hymn of praise, "We pray Thee help Thy servants, whom Thou has redeemed with Thy precious blood," and in another hymn in her most solemn service uses these words, "O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us?" Is it possible that he can celebrate the Holy Communion, and dare to use this language, if he does not believe it to be justifiable? If he denies the propriety of such prayers, if he could not say with the proto-martyr, "Lord Jesus receive my spirit," is it not evident that he has abandoned the faith of the Church? And yet this man retains his position by force, relying upon the authority of the highest court of appeal, under the protection of the Crown, by which the action of the Church has thus far been paralysed.
Surely then we should thank God, that He has raised up men who do not fear boldly to assert, and act upon, the inalienable right, and the unquestionable duty, of the Church of Christ, to purge itself from such a foul stain, and that He has placed in the highest dignity a primate, who docs not shrink from the responsibility of plainly declaring his opinion of the heresies of this daring sceptic. [Since the delivery of this Charge, the Archbishop of Canterbury, speaking of the decision of the Committee of Council, is reported to have said: "Of course the power given by the patents was null and void; but in no part of the judgment do they refer to the spiritual pastoral authority of the Bishops: that is left entirely free. That there should be any branch of the Catholic Church without a power of discipline, seems to be an anomaly unheard of. The power of discipline is inherent in every branch of the Catholic Church, and inalienable. To suppose any branch of that Church to exist without the power of deposing a heretical Bishop seems impossible. It is inconsistent alike with Scripture and History."] If we believe the scriptures, we cannot doubt that the sentence of excommunication was most justly pronounced, and that according to our Articles, he who calls himself Bishop of Natal, in reliance upon Royal Letters Patent, "ought, nevertheless, to be taken of the whole multitude of the faithful as an heathen and publican," so that "he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds." I have not yet received an official copy of the sentence, and therefore I have not formally published it, but it is a matter of such notoriety, and the published reports are so reliable, that I have no hesitation [29/30] in speaking of it. As you have a right to be made acquainted with my decision in this important matter, I have further to state, that I would not recognise any official act performed by him, and that if the Bishops of South Africa think fit to consecrate another Bishop, I am prepared to acknowledge such Bishop as the lawful pastor of the Diocese of Natal, although he may not be so designated. [The following resolution was lately adopted by both Houses of the Convocation of Canterbury: "As it has been decided, on appeal to the highest judicial Court in this kingdom on the one hand, that the Church in the Province of Natal, In communion with the United Church of England and Ireland, is in the eye of the law a mere voluntary association; and on the other hand, as the letters-patent do not profess to confer spiritual power, and have been declared by the Court to convey no Episcopal jurisdiction, it is the judgment of this House that the acceptance of a new Bishop does not impair the connection, or alter the relations, existing between the members of the Church in the Province of Natal and the Church of England, provided,--1. That the Bishop be canonically consecrated, according to the use of the Church of England. 3. That there be no invasion of the title of the Bishop of Natal conveyed by her Majesty's Letters-Patent."] Thus for example, if a man were to bring me letters of orders, signed by Dr. Colenso since his return to Natal, I should regard them as absolutely null and void, while I should certainly recognise as valid an ordination by any Bishop appointed and consecrated in his stead, on the nomination, or with the consent, of the church within the limits of that diocese.
Notwithstanding the growth of heresies, we cannot fail to notice amongst the remarkable phenomena of the present age, the increasing desire for unity. Divisions are multiplying, and yet, at the same time, men of earnest minds are generally manifesting a sense of the evil thereof. In our own communion, attention has been more particularly directed towards the ancient Churches, from which we have been so long separated, and especially towards the East. By the Convocation of Canterbury, and also by the general Convention in the United States, committees have been appointed to consider the causes of difference, and the possibility of reunion with the Greek Church. With it we have had no quarrel; our separation from it was a consequence of our union with Rome: and since we are now at variance with Rome, we may have the better hope of success in our endeavors to arrange satisfactory conditions of communion with the East.
Although probably many have not seen, you have all heard of, a Book intended to prepare the way for the restoration of the [30/31] long-suspended intercommunion, which has attracted general attention, having been highly approved by some and as decidedly condemned by others. ["The Church of England & Portion of Christ's one Holy Catholic Church, and a Means of Restoring Visible Unity. An Eirenicon." By Dr. Pusey.] The scheme may indeed be impracticable, and some may regard it as altogether visionary; but we ought not on this account to ignore the loving spirit which dictated it, nor to neglect any means by which we may possibly approximate towards the desired object. The following passage in another work of the same writer shews the spirit by which he was actuated: "God has His own everywhere. He is calling more and more to follow Him, who is 'the way, the truth, and the life.' As we love Him more, who is the truth, we shall receive, hold, set forth, the truth 'as it is in Him.' As we love Him who is our Head, with a more burning self-devoted love, we must in Him love His members. And love understands thoughts of love though ill-expressed, and catches at thoughts of truth though conveyed in broken words and but half uttered, and reads the heart with which it sympathizes. As we love our Lord more, we shall love more all whom He loves, and as we love more we shall understand one another better. One grain of love avails more than many pounds of controversy." If all who call themselves Christians were animated by such a spirit as this, there would be good hope of the speedy fulfilment of the prayer of our Lord, "that they all may be one."
To my mind, however, this very book appears to prove the impossibility of any restoration of communion with the Church of Rome, for it is based upon the supposition that she will abandon some of the errors which she evidently most fondly cherishes; and it exposes very fully the evils of her mariolatry, and the vanity of her claim to infallibility. The writer may sometimes have been disposed to yield too much, in order to promote the object at heart; but while we repudiate any such concessions, let us bear in mind that the present divisions are essentially an evil, presenting an insuperable obstacle to the diffusion of the truth and the conversion of the world. Let us pray more earnestly for the restoration of such unity, that it may again be said, "See how those Christians love one another." (Cp. John xiii. 35.) We are taught to pray, that "all who profess and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth, and hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life." Let us use these and the [31/32] other similar petitions in our Prayer Book, not as forms, but with earnestness and fervour, and let us each do our part individually, and thus we shall facilitate the attainment of this object, more generally, in the intercommunion of bodies now entirely separated one from the other.
We are sometimes asked why we do not seek for unity with the Protestant bodies around us, in the first place, rather than with these corrupt branches of the Catholic Church. And we can give several reasons for our selection; but it is a sufficient answer, that we could not agree with them upon first principles. We and the Greek and Roman Churches all profess to adhere to the order and discipline, as well as the doctrine, of the early Church; whereas most of these bodies claim nothing more than a general agreement with the descriptions given in the New Testament of the first Christians. We believe that our present ministers can trace back their authority, as derived by succession, through an unbroken line, from those who received their commission from Christ; whereas these other bodies cannot pretend to claim any such authority for their ministers. We regard Episcopal ordination as an essential feature of an Apostolic Church, whereas they reject it. Lastly, the name of the several sects who have risen since the date of our separation from Rome is legion, and their number is steadily increasing, by division and sub-division, so that we cannot in any way make advance toward them. A few of the leading denominations may be supposed to occupy a different position from the others in this respect; but if we were to descend to them, we should then have, in conjunction with them, to descend still lower to others, to depart still further from the ancient strongholds of the faith. It appears, therefore, that if ever there is to be anything like a reunion of Christians throughout the world, it must be commenced amongst those who have retained the Apostolic Order; and I believe that the restoration of intercommunion between the Anglican and Eastern Churches would be the most severe blow that has been inflicted upon Rome. There may be insuperable obstacles in the way, but we ought not to allow ourselves to be easily disheartened, and we have a part to perform even in this colony: we can pray, if we can do nothing more, for the speedy coming of the day when "there shall be one fold and one shepherd."
 Having thus directed your attention to some of the subjects which appeared to me most worthy of notice, I have now to speak more directly of your personal responsibility, and of the manner in which your ministerial functions ought to be discharged. Upon this topic many of you, my reverend brethren, are probably much better qualified to instruct me than I am to instruct you; but I must not shrink from the performance of the duty devolving upon me, so long as the great Head of the Church is pleased to retain me in the office which in His providence I have been called to fill.
I have at other times advised you strictly to observe the anniversaries of your ordination, by reading the exhortations then addressed to you and the vows then uttered, with self-examination and prayer; and it is scarcely possible to use language more forcible than that addressed to you by the Church, through the mouth of the Bishop, when you were admitted to the Holy Order of Priests. But those general exhortations are to be applied in detail; the temptations to which we are exposed vary with the course of time; the tendency of men's minds is at one period towards one form of error, and at another in an opposite direction.
In our day elementary instruction is within the reach of every inhabitant of the Province; but we are reminded that the diffusion of education is not an unmixed good. While we endeavor to promote it, we must not be unmindful of the danger to be apprehended, unless wholesome literature is at the same time provided for those who are acquiring a taste for reading; and it becomes our duty to supply them as far as possible, so that the ability to read may be made instrumental in facilitating our ministry. We cannot doubt that upon the whole the dissemination of learning, and the development of the faculties vouchsafed by God to man, must be beneficial; but the tree of which the fruit was so fatal was the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil," and still the evil is mingled with the good, and unhappily the propagators of error appear to be generally more active than the maintainers of the truth. At all events, they are more numerous, and it is to be feared that many of the lax publications of this age are circulated through the country, so that persons become acquainted with sceptical objections and difficulties, who are altogether unqualified for controversy, and attach undue importance to those objections, merely because they are themselves unable to refute them.
 You must not therefore be content with such knowledge as might have sufficed for your work a few years ago, you ought to be acquainted with the opinions now current, you must be prepared, not only to give "a reason of the hope that is in you," but also to show the fallacy of the arguments used by the scoffer, and by which the minds of the illiterate may have been seriously perplexed. They who ignore the conclusions of science, properly so called, afford great advantage to the enemy. We cannot be too jealous of any approach towards unbelief, or disparagement of the written revelation of God's will, but we must beware of assigning to it a place which it was not intended to occupy. We need not fear to admit that, upon questions of astronomy or geology, or of any other science, information is not to be obtained from the Scriptures, and that the writers adopted the mode of speaking common in their day, and which alone could then have been understood, just as even now scientific men use on ordinary occasions the popular language. The Holy Scriptures treat of man, and the highest interests of man, their teaching is designed to mould the character, rather than to enlighten the intellect. They are fully sufficient to make us "wise unto salvation, but there appears to be a studious omission of topics, having no direct bearing upon the object with which the sacred books were written. If therefore any scriptural statement appears to be contradicted by facts, we may be sure that either the supposed facts are without foundation, or we have misunderstood the meaning of the statement. We need not be afraid of admitting that there are discrepancies in manuscripts and errors of transcribers, and difficulties in discovering the exact meaning intended to be conveyed in some passages. As has been said by a great critic, the text "is competently exact, even in the worst MSS. now extant, nor is one article of faith or moral precept either perverted or lost in them, choose as awkwardly as you can, choose the worst by design out of the whole lump of readings." [Dr. Bentley.] Whatever may be the deficiency of our knowledge, respecting some points, we are still satisfied that we have a sufficient guide, for we rely upon His love who, if he had so willed, could have by a miracle preserved for us the indisputable original text of the divine revelation, and could have so framed its language, that there might be no room for misconception of [34/35] its meaning. We do not hesitate to accept the Scriptures as inspired, upon the authority of the early Church, of men who being well acquainted with the estimation in which the writers were held, and with the evidences of their divine mission, have handed down these documents, endorsed with a certificate of their genuineness, and of the certainty of the evidence on which they were received. But as I spoke at some length upon this subject in my last charge, I will not enlarge upon it now.
I would also refer you to that address for other observations bearing upon your public ministrations; but there are some things which cannot be too frequently repeated, and I should be sorry to dismiss you without at least an attempt to fan the zeal and devotion burning in your hearts, reminding myself as well as you of our obligations, and of the importance of spirituality in ourselves, if we are to influence others for good. Our first duty is to try by all means to save some. If we have anything of the spirit of our Lord and Master, we shall cheerfully devote ourselves to this work, for He came "to seek and to save that which was lost." He never spared Himself, when He was weary and sought rest, He was nevertheless induced, by His compassion for the multitudes to forego it, and to attend to their wants rather than His own. It is a happy thing for both minister and people, when there is much familiar intercourse between them, when they have acquired the habit of going to seek counsel and comfort from him, and he is in the habit of seeking them out in their own homes, and ministering to the whole as well as to the sick within his cure. We are to "be instant in season out of season," carefully watching for, and availing ourselves of, every opportunity; and I wish particularly to enforce your duty towards the whole, for the sick are seldom neglected, but I fear that some of my brethren are more remiss with respect to those who are in health.
The sick are to have the precedence for several reasons; they have a claim to our sympathy, in some cases the nature of the sickness is such that the time of probation of the patient is evidently nearly at an end, and in the hour of affliction the heart is commonly softened, and the exhortations may be thankfully received which at other times would have been rejected. The work in their case too is far easier for the minister, who is expected, as a matter of course, [35/36] to deal faithfully with them, but it is often a very difficult thing to obtain access to those who are in health, when we would speak to them of the things which concern their peace. The very persons who appear to be most attentive hearers and admirers of discourses from the pulpit, are often most unwilling to receive the words of warning and counsel addressed to themselves personally; they admire the earnest denunciation of sin in the abstract, but they would fain avoid the presence of him, who would apply those words by saying, "thou art the man." It would be interesting, were it not painful, to observe how such persons, when they cannot avoid seeing their minister, contrive to evade the anticipated stroke. They offer suggestions, which give a new direction to the conversation; they introduce topics upon which you cannot refuse to converse, without apparent rudeness, and by manifold devices they deprive themselves of the benefit which they might have received from the faithful treatment of a skilful physician of souls, while he is grieved by the consciousness, that his interview has been in vain, and by the conviction it may be that one who professed much interest in spiritual things is in truth undecided in his course, if not actually opposed to godliness. Nevertheless our duty is clear, we are still to persevere; they who are least inclined to receive our admonition have the most need of them, and we recall the exhortation in the Ordination Service, "see that you never cease your labor, your care and diligence, until you have done all that lieth in you, according to your bounden duty, to bring all such as are committed to your charge, unto that agreement in the faith and knowledge of God, and to that ripeness and perfectness of age in Christ, that there be no place left among you either for error in religion or for viciousness in life."
The question may sometimes suggest itself, with respect both to our private and our public ministrations, when we find persons obstinately determined not to give heed; ought we to continue to repeat the same things? is it not "casting pearls before swine?" There are persons, and sometimes they may be a majority of any given congregation, who are only hardened by the repetition, who appear virtually to say, 'the more frequently you urge what you declare to be my duty, the more determined am I not to accept your teaching, or to comply with your exhortation.' The [36/37] instruction therefore given to such persons only hardens them, and we are very much tempted to abandon the unprofitable task, and to cease to utter warnings, which only tend to increase their condemnation. There may be cases in which, guided by the dictates of prudence, we may thus act with propriety, still we must beware lest we thus give up those whom God has not given up. The responsibility must rest upon those who refuse to hearken. If we have given warning, we have delivered our own souls, and it is our burthen that to some we are to be "the savor of death" while we desire to be to all "the savor of life," but if we have neglected to give and to reiterate the warning we incur guilt.
And generally we may assume as an axiom, that it is our duty to lay most stress upon those particulars which our people are least inclined to receive. Our inclination is naturally to find out, on the one hand, what is most agreeable, that we may present it to them, and on the other hand what is least acceptable, in order that we may keep it in the back ground; but our action ought to be reversed. A man may make himself very popular by giving them what exactly coincides with their own notions, for this is doubly pleasant to the hearers, since the word thus spoken is grateful to their ears, while they are elevated in their own estimation by the feeling, that their opinions are just what they ought to be, that they are themselves examples of sound doctrine. But I do not hesitate to repeat what I said to you eight years ago, and I would especially request my younger brethren to observe this, that no man who is in all respects faithful will be popular. A superficial observer might suppose that some of the most popular men are also the most faithful, but this cannot be while human nature continues to be what it is. If we are guided by the word of God, we must admit that "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God," that "the carnal mind is enmity against God," that men naturally "love darkness rather than light," and fear to come to the light. You may, by a straight-forward earnest and faithful discharge of your duty towards God and man, compel the approval of the multitude, but you will not be popular in the common acceptation of the word, unless you are willing to sacrifice truth for the sake of popularity, abstaining from reproof, and keeping back what they are not disposed to hear.
 There is a natural desire to reach heaven as easily as possible, and men like to hear stirring sermons, provided only there is nothing to disturb their own state of self-satisfaction. They like to hear of salvation by faith only, for they can easily persuade themselves that they have faith, provided they are not required to practice self-denial, and mortification, and to shew their faith by their works. Others again, of a different temperament, find satisfaction in any amount of labor and self-denial, and are well pleased, so long as these are insisted upon, and room is left for any claim as of right, but they are dissatisfied and indignant if the doctrine of free grace is brought prominently forward, so that no place is left for pride. In some congregations there may be a tendency to rest much upon externals, and to attach more importance to discipline than to doctrine. In others there may be a very insufficient estimate of the use and value of ordinances, and even of the means of grace ordained and appointed for our benefit by the Lord himself. For the former the preaching of the doctrines too little regarded is most essential, and the latter require more frequent instruction concerning the parts of the system which are not rightly understood.
And withal, brethren, remember that you are to teach as men entrusted with the precious deposit handed down from the beginning. We need not enquire about the deficiencies of others, but we are bound to satisfy ourselves, that our branch of the Church is the true representative of that which Christ instituted, that we are true disciples of those whom He first commissioned. We are not to "judge them that are without," but we are bound to teach in all its fulness that system which the apostles, under the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit established, to which our reformers conscientiously adhered. Let us not be of those who call him Lord, and do not the things which He saith. He who knows what is in man, whose wisdom is infinite, is pleased to work by means. Saul was converted by a miraculous intervention, but Ananias must lay his hands upon him that his sight may be restored, and must baptize him. He received his commission immediately from the Lord, but the prophets and teachers at Antioch were commanded to give him his formal mission, to separate him for the work whereto he was called. Let us not then presumptuously imagine that we can be wiser than God. Many persons think that man can do as well [38/39] without ordinances as with them, or perhaps better, and due attention to them is stigmatised as formalism, but if we will not simply sit at the feet of Jesus, and humbly submit to His teaching, our boasted wisdom will be found to have been folly, in that day when we shall see all things as they are. People talk of the "sacramental system" as something very dreadful, without understanding the meaning of their words. If they mean a system, in which the doctrine of the opus operatum is held, in which the sacraments are put in the place of Christ, they cannot too sharply condemn it, but they often ignorantly thus denounce the very truth of the gospel, from which we deduce the doctrine expressed in the 25th Article, that "sacraments ordained of Christ be not only badges or tokens of Christian men's profession, but rather they be certain sure witnesses and effectual signs of grace, by the which God doth work invisibly in us." [St. Augustine says, 'the sacraments of the New Testament give salvation, whereas those of the Old Testament only promised a Saviour.' Upon which the present Bishop of Ely observes, 'Here we have the view of Evangelical Sacraments, which pervades all Christian antiquity, viz.: that they differ from the ordinances of the old law in this, the ordinances of the old law were but pledges of future blessings, not means to convey them, but the sacraments of the gospel not only promise Christ, but to those who receive them in faith they are means whereby God gives Christ to the soul.'--Browne on Art. xxv.] Such persons admit that prayer, and preaching, and the reading of God's word, are means through which spiritual blessings are conveyed to man, but, strange to say, they will not allow an equally high position to the special ordinances of the new covenant. If the latter are forms, so are the former, if the latter have been abused, so have the former. We may respect the feeling to which this jealousy of the use of ordinances may often be attributed, but we must not the less endeavor to remove those prejudices, and to shew to those who are in error the more excellent way. If the sacraments be in any way interposed between us and Christ, so as even in the least degree to obscure the view of the Saviour, they are misapplied; but if rightly regarded and employed, they are the means by which life is imparted, and union with Christ maintained, beyond all others. So far are they from clashing with the doctrine of the efficacy of faith that they imply it, and are only made effectual through its exercise. The cure of the woman who touched the border of the Lord's garment was attributed to her faith, but her faith would not have procured for her the blessing, if she had not used the means of communication whereby virtue was conveyed [39/40] to her. It is to the want of faith that the disparagement of the holy sacraments is to be attributed; we cannot perceive why they are appointed, or how they are rendered beneficial, and we have not faith to believe the promises. We declare, with our lips, our belief in Christ's presence with His Church, and the continual indwelling of the Holy Spirit, both in the congregation and in the individual members, but when we are called upon to believe that, through this operation, the divinely instituted rites and ordinances are replete with life and channels of grace, our faith fails. Be not afraid then of attaching too much importance to the sacraments, if you value them simply because our Lord hath appointed them, discerning Him in them, warning your people against all superstitious views of them, as if they were in themselves efficacious, but at the same time endeavoring to instil such correct opinions, that the full benefit may be derived from these sacred rites. In proportion to our own estimate of the importance of faith, should be our anxiety to have these channels of grace rightly understood and appreciated, for while we believe that many, whose notions are erroneous, and whose estimate of the value of these things is very inadequate, are truly children of God, we are persuaded that they who do not exercise clear and lively faith concerning them, lose some of the blessings, some measure of that grace, which they might have enjoyed according to the Lord's appointment.
And our lot appears to be cast in days, when we are likely to have need of all the strength that can by any means be secured. I have already referred to some of our peculiar difficulties; and I have detained you so long that I must omit much that I am tempted to say, but I cannot conclude without briefly directing your attention to the signs of the times. The spirit of lawlessness, of self-will, of hatred of control, of scepticism and infidelity, so evidently prevails throughout the world, that we cannot but regard its growth and power as a token that we are living in the last days. We have had premonitory notices of probable judgments, yea we cannot deny that God's judgments are already abroad in the earth. Our beloved mother country has suffered grievously within the last few years; God grant that she may be enabled to keep free from the deadly strife, in which some of the greatest nations of the old world are involved. We too have received warnings--the pestilence has been [40/41] very near to us, and is even now almost at our doors; those bands of marauders, who are for the moment discomfitted, are watching their opportunity, and if England should be involved in war would doubtless invade portions of her dominions, if not the United Kingdom, with the aid of powerful auxiliaries supplying them with the resources hitherto wanting. It is not for our righteousness that we have been thus far preserved, the Lord is our defence and our shield. If troubles are imminent, be it ours to stir up our people, that they may turn unto the Lord with penitence and prayer, that they may put away from them all evil. Let us lead them to be looking for the coming of the Lord, for "unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation." This work will not be in vain, whether we are literally in the last days, whether this is the beginning of the end or not. Far better is it to be mistaken, to be disappointed in our expectations a thousand times, than to run the risk of not being on the watch when the time cometh. The Lord has appointed us His servants, to give to His household "meat in due season." "Blessed is that servant whom his Lord when He cometh shall find so doing." If we apprehend that the time is short, so much the more are we called to be constantly on the watch, to be diligent in our vocation, to be crying, "awake thou that sleepest." Let it be our care to set before our people a very high standard, not being content to have them simply in a state of salvation, but urging them to aim at the highest degrees of holiness.
I hope it is not necessary to urge any of you, my reverend brethren, to beware of giving your people anything resembling the moral essays that were in vogue some fifty years ago: that would be to substitute husks for nourishing food--to give a stone when they ask bread. Preach Christ, Christ crucified, Christ in all His offices; Christ, as the way, the truth, and the life; Christ, the alpha and omega--the beginning and end of our spiritual life, the one object of all our hopes and desires for time and eternity. Shew that nothing is of any value except as it is viewed in connection with Him; that the most holy things become unclean when regarded apart from Him. But we cannot do this to any purpose unless we can speak from our own experience. We cannot make men understand how precious He is unless we have found him precious to our own souls.
 Jesu, the hope of souls forlorn,
How good to them for sin that mourn!
To them that seek Thee, O how kind!
But what art Thou to them that find!
No tongue of mortal can express,
No pen can write the blessedness;
He only who hath proved it knows
What bliss from love of Jesus flows.
God grant, my dear brethren, that you and I may day by day feel more of this love, and be more conformed to His image. May He grant unto each of us the spirit of prayer and supplication, without which we cannot hope to attain our object or to grow in grace. Though "we have this treasure in earthen vessels," yet we are privileged to say, with holy confidence, "I can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me." "The sword of the spirit" is "the word of God:" let us "search the Scriptures," making them our constant study, the subject of our meditation by day and by night; for only by this means can "the man of God be made perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." May we so believe and so love and so labour that we may have a part in the fulfilment of that cheering promise: "They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever."
THE following summary of the conclusions of the committee on ritual, appointed by the Lower House of Convocation, is printed here, for the benefit of those who have not access to their report.
They lay down the general principle, "that the most important thing to be done is to ascertain whether any given practice is, or is not, agreeable to the mind of the Church of England," and they draw attention to the direction in the Prayer Book, that in all cases of doubt, "concerning the manner how to understand, do, and execute the things contaiued" therein, the parties who doubt or differ in opinion are to resort to the Bishop of the Diocese, who is to decide the question.
They then give their opinion upon the six following points of detail:
I. Vestments.--They remark "that it had been the custom of the Church from very early times, down to the period of the Reformation, to mark the superior dignity of the Holy Eucharist, by the use of special vestments, and that under the first Book of King Edward VI , those which had been used in this country for many ages before were retained." They notice the changes in the rubric, with the interpretation of that which is now in force, together with the 24th and 58th Canons, and thus conclude:
"On the whole, the committee are of opinion, that the use of the vestments in Parish Churches cannot be regarded as binding upon the consciences of the clergy, and that the use of the surplice by the parochial clergy, at all times of their ministration, is a sufficient compliance with the rule of the Church of England."
II. Altar Lights.--They quote the injunction of Edward VI., that two lights were to be left upon the high altar, but observe, that the use of them has not been generally adopted at any period since the Reformation.
III. Incense.--They observe that the censing of ministers or ornaments is inadmissible, but that the burning of incense in a standing vessel had been practised, in some churches and chapels, down to the middle of the last century.
IV. Elevation of the Elements after Consecration.--This practice is declared to be inadmissible.
V. Encouragement of non-communicants to remain during the celebration.--Such attendance is not distinctly forbidden, but is "contrary to the spirit and usage of the Church of England, and should not be encouraged as an ordinary practice."
 VI. Use of Wafer-Bread.--This is certainly discouraged, if not actually forbidden.
The report concludes thus: "They are further of opinion, that some advance in ritual is the natural sequel to the restoration and adornment of churches, which has so remarkably prevailed during the last twenty-five years, and which is itself closely connected with the revival and growth of religious life during the present century, and although, by the terms of their appointment, the inquiries of the committee have been confined to the subject of excess in matters of ritual, yet they must remark, that there are errors of defect widely prevailing amongst us, (such as neglect of plain rules of the Prayer Book and curtailment of its offices,) which are no less repugnant to the spirit and order of the Church of England, than the addition of unsanctioned ceremonial. Excess of ritualism is, in fact, the natural reaction from unseemly neglect of solemn orders."
This report having been adopted, and presented to the Upper House, the following answer was returned by the Bishops:
"The thanks of this House are given for the care and attention bestowed on the said report and judgment; and they shall receive from his Grace, the President of this House, the most careful consideration."