Chapter X. 1867-1869.
Alexander H. Mackonochie under prosection--Testimony of friends and of the public--Indifference to public opinion--Sympathy from without--Unity within--Letters from Drs. Pusey and Liddon--Views on secession and disestablishment
FROM the March of 1867, when Mr. Martin first instituted legal proceedings against him, until 1882, the date of his resignation of St. Alban's, Mackonochie's ministerial life was thus, as we have seen, harassed and broken in upon by frequent prosecutions. There were, it is true, long intervals of peace, but there must always have been a sense of insecurity, since immunity from these troubles could only have been purchased by an almost unconditional surrender of the principles in whose defence he had first entered upon the contest.
In the eyes of the world he was somewhat in the position of a rebel leader at the head of a small and yet dangerous party. The purity of his motives was questioned; his conduct loudly condemned as at once rash and disloyal; some of his earlier adherents withdrew from him in disapproval or alarm; on every side and from every standpoint, it was easy for the dispassionate spectator to note some flaw in his argument, some weak point in his defences. Not even his own supporters could foretell the final issue, nor feel more than a general confidence in the ultimate success of what they believed to be a righteous cause; whilst from year to year the end of the struggle was indefinitely postponed.
Perhaps one of the most trying parts of the position was the consciousness that to the large majority of indifferent on-lookers the stakes appeared to be so small as to be hardly worth playing for; added to which there was a well-grounded fear that a religious controversy, even at its best, could hardly fail to have a bad effect upon those who held themselves altogether aloof from Christianity.
Mr. Mackonochie was by no means backward in vindicating his position, but it was difficult to make those who were only anxious to seize him at a disadvantage give any time or thought to the serious consideration of the doctrines or principles involved. It was easier for the 'Times' to stigmatise his teaching as 'outrageous' and his doctrines as 'the most obnoxious doctrines of Roman Catholicism,' than to define them more accurately; or enter into a theological discussion, which would not, indeed, have befitted the columns of a newspaper. But, unfortunately, it is from newspapers that many people take their opinions, especially upon subjects with which they are not altogether conversant, and it is not surprising that misrepresentations, arising either from ignorance or prejudice, should have been readily received and widely circulated.
When one correspondent wrote that the chorister boys all wore 'chasubles' over long gowns and that two of them 'carried thurifers,' the blunder, though somewhat funny, was of no moment; but the matter became more serious when persons unacquainted with the rudiments of theology delivered opinions upon articles of faith; and even Lord Westbury, one of the Privy Council Judges, spoke of one of the 'Inferior Persons of the Trinity.'
The personal attacks and unjustifiable accusations brought against the clergy were rarely noticed either by them or their adherents, although the most trifling matters were often distorted or magnified into causes of offence. There is hardly a letter from Mr. Mackonochie in reply, until he somewhat significantly broke the silence by the indignant repudiation of an assertion that one of his clergy had refused Communion to a dying man, because the sick man or his friends objected to lights at the Celebration.
It was only one amongst the many unfounded accusations which served to increase the accumulation of unsifted evidence. Embittered feeling was aggravated, and opposition justified, and yet, as we are told, nothing could disturb his equanimity nor tempt him to say an unkind or ungenerous word of those opposed to him. Nay, further, 'that his tone and manner of handling the whole subject were such as at once to allay expressions of anger or impatience in others.'
In an address to his parishioners, dated 1867, he says: I think that one of the greatest dangers in a case like the present is that people may lose charity by thinking evil of those who take a different side from themselves. It is quite natural, though not the less quite wrong that it should be so. We know that our object has been the honour of God, and our motive the love of God. Now when we find people reviling that which we do from such a motive and for such an object, it is often hard for us to believe that they are animated by the same motive as ourselves, and striving for the same object. Yet such is undoubtedly the case. With regard to many of our most strenuous opponents we know it to be so by all the tokens which we could desire; in few do we know anything to the contrary; and therefore with regard to the majority we are bound to believe in their entire sincerity. . . . We shall thus be kept from that most unchristian tendency to look out eagerly for faults in others and to rejoice in such faults when they appear; and moreover we shall know that on both sides the strife is for the same thing, the one object of our lives--the honour and glory of God. Hence, without abating in the very least our own efforts to advance that object, in the way which we conceive to be according to His Will, we shall the more rest assured that as both sides are seeking to forward the same objects, it must eventually by God's Help be attained. It will keep us certain of the ultimate result, and therefore comparatively indifferent to the intermediate steps.
Speaking at a meeting after his death, Sir Walter Phillimore said:
Others would speak of Mr. Mackonochie as the devoted parish priest; and many in that room did not need reminding of that striking element in his career. To him Mr. Mackonochie was the man who had suffered, and suffered severely, for the maintenance of the Faith. It had been his province to have frequent interviews with Mr. Mackonochie in those troublous days at St. Alban's. He had on these occasions to point out to him the full bearing of these questions both upon the Church and upon Mr. Mackonochie himself personally. The way in which he behaved struck him most forcibly. It was then that the saintliness of his life and character shone forth. . . . He never showed one atom of fear, and then again there was an entire absence of anger; he was purely and absolutely free from any sign of it. He had frequently heard him express his conviction of Mr. Martin's sincerity and conscientiousness in what he was doing, What did he not go through in those twenty years, quietly doing what he thought right without the slightest regard to consequences?
Although it is forestalling events, it is interesting to note, in corroboration of Sir Walter Phillimore's words, the anxiety which Mr. Mackonochie displayed to obliterate any embittered recollections, and do away with any possibility of sore feeling between himself and Mr. Martin, in whose name the prosecutions under which he had suffered had been so long conducted.
In 1880, hearing of Mr. Martin's serious illness, he had, through some mutual friends, expressed his sorrow and sympathy, together with a wish to be allowed to pay him a visit, and, though this was impossible, Mr. Martin wrote to him in the following terms:
I fully accept your assurance that you never entertained any ill feeling towards me; and I have no hesitation in saying, as indeed I have done on a former occasion, that I never entertained any unkindly feeling personally towards yourself. I thank you sincerely for your kind sympathy and for your prayers, but in reference to your proposal to pay me a visit, although much appreciating the feeling which prompted it, it strikes me that such an interview would under all the circumstances be undesirable. The fact would in all probability get into the newspapers, and be productive of all sorts of absurd rumours and misconstructions, which might prove embarrassing and unpleasant to me and possibly to yourself also.
I am, dear Sir, faithfully yours,
And to this Mr. Mackonochie replied:
Your reception of the expression of feeling which I had made to some mutual friends is a great satisfaction, and although it would have been gratifying to have said in person what I have written, had it seemed desirable, I fully realise the objections which you suggest and quite agree with them. I hope that nothing which has followed from my reply to kindly meant communications from your friends, has caused any addition to the anxieties of a sick bed. With the assurance of my continued prayers and sympathy with your illness,
Believe me yours faithfully,
A. H. M.
Sir Walter Phillimore's testimony, thus corroborated, is that of a man whose relations with Mr. Mackonochie were of a peculiarly intimate character; not the verdict merely of an enthusiastic partisan, but the calm, dispassionate judgment of a layman and a lawyer who had watched the case throughout with the closest attention. Self-interest may well urge a man to self-control in the immediate presence of his enemies, a higher motive is needed to keep him silent in the company of his friends; and yet again one of them writes:
Through all that most trying time, though his feelings were (as they must have been) intense, he never allowed himself to be swayed by them one way or the other, but only sought still the one thing, viz., what was the right step to take. I often wondered how much this decision in the choice of the right step from time to time must have cost him. But he never let me into that secret. How naturally he hated notoriety, and felt the lash of public misconception and abuse, and how by the grace of God he learnt to take it all with unruffled heart as in the day's work of his life, he did once let out to me. We were walking short cuts (as his manner was) through narrow slummy passages from one street to another, on the way to whatever next he had to do, when he told me he had been to some public meeting or other, and in reply I expressed a doubt as to whether much good was done by such platform efforts. He at once replied with the simplicity of a child: 'Oh! I go to all the meetings I can just now, and speak if I can, just in order to show people after all I have really not a cloven hoof and a tail.' Once it fell to my lot to warn him against some damage that was deliberately sought to be done against his spiritual influence in one department of his work by an individual who had boasted of what he was doing in my hearing. A. H. M. manifested, and I am sure felt, not the slightest shadow of resentment, but only seemed to be amused by the fact, that knowing the secret hostility of the man, he had imagined the attack was being carried on in some quite different manner. The idea of taking any notice of it evidently never entered his head.
It was not that he did not feel the attacks, which, often insignificant in themselves, yet, like little pin-pricks of pain, were perpetual reminders of the existence of the evil; but he accepted them simply as part of an anticipated trial He would have said with Frederic Robertson:
It seems to me a pitiful thing for any man to aspire to be true and to speak the truth, and then complain in astonishment 'truth has not crowns to give but thorns.'
He had never with youthful assurance looked upon happiness as a right, nor offered up to it in vain propitiatory sacrifice the claims of duty or of conscience. Referring to temporal anxiety, he writes:
The only way to escape from that anxiety and be calm, is to be as the captain at the helm in a tempest. We all know that our course in life is beset with stormy winds and waves and sunken rocks which may in one form or another make shipwreck of our dearest interests in a moment (I do not mean spiritual interests, which can never be wrecked except by our own consent), but we can steer on, making as sure as we can by God's help of the rightness of our course, using to the utmost the skill and energy which He gives, and then, 'having done all to stand.'
The metaphor is somewhat characteristic. lie was emphatically the captain of his own ship, never anxious to shift a responsibility which was rightfully his own on to other people's shoulders.
Through all the worries and anxieties by which his life was beset (writes one of his friends), at times too when all the world around him was feeling and saying how much depended on what Mackonochie should do, he never for a moment lost his head, or did anything but what he saw clearly to be the right thing for him to do, and because it was the right thing, without any regard to consequences whatever. I was a good deal with him at the critical time when he finally resigned his benefice, and it became my duty to summon a number of priests from all parts of the country to confer with him upon the subject, and I remember how when we got him upon his legs, all he had to say was--very courteously but very firmly--that while he should be thankful to hear whatever his brethren had to say, that it was he himself that had to decide what was right for him to do, and he should do it.
It was the determination of a man who had, as a matter of course, brought each difficulty and perplexity to be solved at the bar of conscience, and saw no possibility of reversing its decisions. The 'Saturday Review,' though it might not form an altogether just estimate of his character, no less truly than graphically described one side of it, when it said of Mr. Mackonochie that he had a strong power of will and a still stronger power of spirit. He was like a hard rower who grasps his oars more firmly and pulls the harder as he feels the force of the current. And yet few men put a higher value upon the sympathy of those whom he cared for or respected. It was very dear to him. Every evidence of it was treasured up, from the warm commendation and generous encouragement of distinguished theologians like Dr. Pusey or Canon Carter, to the indignant wonder of his poor parishioners that any one should want to do any harm to 'dear Father Mackonochie.'
Injustice, as ever, defeated its own ends, and in a natural revolt against it, people who in many instances dissented from his teaching ranged themselves upon his side. Gradually it began to be understood that, rightly or wrongly, he was contending for a principle which the integrity of his purpose forbade him to relinquish, and that his so-called contumacy was due to pure conscientiousness; whilst those who were brought into personal contact with him found their preconceived prejudices and half-formulated ideas disturbed or altogether removed under the influence of his unmistakable sincerity. Mr. Dorling, of the 'Christian World,' who made his acquaintance on a railway journey, writes:
Since then I have taken much pains to speak the best words of him of which I am capable. Opinions, creeds, formularies, seem almost vanity when a pure Christian soul is in clear view before us.
'It is lamentable,' writes Lord Shaftesbury, referring to Mr, Mackonochie, 'to see a high self-denying and self-sacrificing spirit in such a quandary of conflicting duties.' Even in the days when the clamour was loudest and party spirit at its height, a noted Nonconformist lecturer could be found to declare that he who supposed that the leaders in the ritualistic movement were men to whom outward forms were matters of interest except as indicating a doctrine or setting forth some great truth, must have ill read the lives and the doings of these men, in whose ranks he found some of the choicest scholars, the most hard working men, and men of the purest lives and tenderest consciences.
And again, in 1877, we find Lord Shaftesbury writing: 'All zeal for Christ seems to have passed away. The Ritualists have more of it than the Evangelicals.' Such evidences of Christian charity did much to soften the sense of injustice, but they were but as dust in the balance to the deeper sense of thankfulness for the unshaken loyalty of his friends.
I have cause specially to thank God that He still continues to me the help of those other priests with whom in His Goodness He has so long joined me (wrote Mr. Mackonochie in his annual address in 1869). Under God, nothing seems more to help the work of the Church than the continuous united help of the clergy, one in heart and mind and intention to co-operate fully for the glory of their Lord in His work. It is just such a little band, as you know, that He has given to be with me here.
It was thus that at the time of the prosecutions the garrison had the surest clement of success in unity within; and nevertheless it would have been difficult to find men who, in temperament, in personal characteristics and predilections, differed more widely than the four men who were then living and working together at St. Alban's. They had many interests besides those to which they were primarily pledged, in the political, intellectual, and scientific world; but they were fighting for a cause which united them in a bond even closer than that of personal friendship--the old cause of liberty, though under a new flag; the cause which under so many different leaders had many times before been lost or won. As Lord Halifax said, in a speech at an English Church Union meeting soon after Mr. Mackonochie's death:
It was a battle to vindicate for the Church of England in regard to her ritual, her doctrine, and her jurisdiction, not only the historical and constitutional rights recognised and secured to her by prescription and statutes, but also her inherent and indefeasible rights as a portion of the one Holy Catholic Church.
It was no wonder to any of those engaged in that vindication that the struggle should be severe and protracted. They were well aware that freedom's banner torn though flying, Streams like a thunderstorm against the wind, and had never reckoned upon an easy victory. It was enough that a common danger but served to deepen their sense of the importance and justice of their cause, gave cohesion to their plan of action, and gained them fresh supporters, who strengthened and extended the lines of their defence.
Mr. Mackonochie had had some correspondence with Dr. Pusey upon doctrinal questions, and it was in 1866 that he wrote:
My dear Mackonochie,--.... In the theological statement which you have sent me my only theological misgiving relates to the comparison of the Presence of our Lord in the Holy Eucharist in regard to space, with that of His Godhead in his Manhood. And that in regard to ubiquitism. For you are comparing the local Presence of His Godhead, with the local Presence of His Godhead and Manhood. This I should think would be confusing. I do not understand a Presence which is not local. Still De Lugo (who is a high authority. I have quoted him somewhere) denies that the Presence of our Lord in the Holy Eucharist is local. And this satisfies people that the Presence which we believe is not a carnal corporal, i.e. an unspiritual Presence of His Natural Body and Blood which is denied in the 'black rubric' I should think it then charitable to deny this. I do not see how the passage is to be altered without destroying the whole antithesis. However, I have written something (such as I should write it) embodying a sentence of yours, for the words, 'so T believe in Ascension in the Flesh;' saying always, that what I say about 'locally' I say simply on the authority of De Lugo, who is regarded as a very accurate and primary authority.
I do not myself think that anything depends on the word 'faithful' in the Catechism. For since it is speaking of the H. Eucharist as a means of Grace, even if the word 'faithful' were taken m the more popular sense, it would not deny its reception by the unfaithful not as a means of grace. For the assertion of the saving gift to the one (of which this whole section of the Catechism is treating) does not involve either doubt or denial of the condemning reception to the other. I mean if you take faithful as fideles, this asserts the reception by all; if 'faithful' is taken in the narrower meaning, the reception by the wicked to their hurt is not indeed asserted, but it is involved in the other.
I do not quite understand the antithesis in the last clause, viz. how the faith is to be taken away. In the first clause, 'Take from me my faith in God's Word, &c.'--you mean that you could not believe in one, if you did not believe in the other, because the truth of 'God's Word Incarnate Present in the Sacrament' is so embodied in 'God's Word written,' that if you did not believe It, neither could you believe anything else to be written in It. Do you mean in the same way, that the same truth is so clearly expressed in the Prayer Book and Articles of the Church of England, that if you ceased to believe in the one as part of the teaching of the Church of England, you must cease to believe nil the rest. If so I think you must bring it out more clearly. For people talk of throwing away the P. B., &c, in a very different sense. I have suggested B. to bring out this.
All joys of the season. Yours affectionately in Christ.
E. B. Pusey. V. of S. Stephen.
A. The Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist is not of His Godhead only, but of the Manhood also which lie vouchsafed to take without confusion of substance into His Godhead, but not making it ubiquitous like his Godhead. Christ is present in the Eucharist supernaturally, but (it has been said by most thoughtful theologians) not locally. I believe Him to be locally present only in Heaven, which He has localised by His Ascension in the Flesh. This in no wise interferes with the Divine, ineffable, sacramental, supernatural Presence of His Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist, which He has promised by virtue of His Words, 'This is My Body,' which is spoken of also in the Book of Homilies in the terms 'The receiving of the Body and Blood of Christ under the Form of Bread and Wine.'
B. Both rest on the same authority. If I did not believe my Redeemer's word, 'This is My Body,' on what ground could T so detach It from His other teaching, that, while refusing to believe one word of His, I should believe the rest? If I held that the Church of England taught me untruly that the Inward Part, the res, the reality of the Sacrament is the Body and Blood of Christ, on what ground could I trust any of her other teaching?
It was in this year also that Mr. Mackonochie received many letters of approval and sympathy from those whose opinion he most valued.
It is quite true (wrote Dr, Pusey again) that I should not have taken the line of the ritualists; but it is utterly untrue that I do not most heartily sympathise with them for our common faith and for their work.
God be with you and uphold you.
Yours affectionately in Jesus Christ.
E. B. Pusey.
I will not take up time with vain regrets and needless expressions of sympathy (said Archdeacon Denison at the end of one of the many notes which Mackonochie had carefully preserved). All this is fully understood between us. God help and guide us all in this great strait.
Your ever affectionate
G. A. Denison.
Bishop Forbes of Brechin, too, writes to wish him 'all success and the aid of God in his great cause.' Dr. Liddon, in reference to the Defence Fund, writes:
If you think that it will help your subscription list, pray print my name. I wish I could have given more when so much more is needed. You will, I hope, not be run down by your many anxieties.
In December 1866 Canon Carter wrote:
My very dear friend and brother,--... I fear the anxiety and trial it must be to you to decide, and I pray you may be guided for the glory of God and good of our distracted Church. Whatever you decide, you will be the same you have ever been to me, our thoughts of affection and admiration cannot alter.
And Mr. Skinner of Newland, the Rev. T. C. Chambers, his old friend Father Lowdcr, and numberless others, were all in various ways strengthening his hands and working for him. This sympathy, felt and expressed, was no doubt one result of the interest which he himself took in what others were doing. lie might be holding an important position against the enemy, but it was not from one side alone that attacks were to be apprehended. He was not only very sure of his own ground, but anxious to encourage and establish those who, beset by difficulties and doubts, were inclined to seek a refuge in another communion.
At the end of an address in 1867, in which he had put his position with regard to doctrine and ritual before his parishioners, he said:
People will tell you all this must end in your becoming members of the Roman Communion. In answer to this I honestly tell you that if a man has no stronger ground against Rome than some contest about what he calls 'Catholic and Protestant,' or some isolated doctrines however important, I can easily imagine his going to Rome in these days of convulsion in the spiritual world. Indeed, if he be an earnest man it is difficult to see where else he can find a rest. But I thank God that He has given to the Church of England a very different position. She takes her stand not on Acts of Parliament or a Royal Injunction, or even a purer faith or greater manifestations of the spiritual life--all this might one day fail her. She is the one Christian body having mission from Christ in this land, and on this she founds her claim to your allegiance. She is the only Church in the world which can claim the joint British and Saxon succession. ... It is on this footing we may rest secure. So long as by the grace of God she shall be enabled to hold fast the deposit of truth which she has received and kept, she alone can claim to have stewardship from God towards us. ... In her we shall rejoice to be joined to Christ; separation from her will be separation from the Church Catholic which is His Body, in her and for her we shall strive to live; with her if God so will we shall be content to suffer; and with God's blessing bestowed upon us by her, we shall hope to close our eyes in death.
In this year it would seem he had heard some rumours of Dr. Pusey being unsettled in the Church of England, and in answer to a letter from him Dr. Pusey wrote:
Christchurch, Oxford, August 5, 1867.
My dear Mackonochie,--I am altogether puzzled how Mr. E----- could have got the notion. My friend Dr. Newman knows very well that I have no misgivings about the Church of England as it is. He knows equally that if (which Cod avert) she were formally to reject the Faith, I could not remain in an heretical body. He knows too that I wish and pray for the reunion of Christendom (as indeed everybody knows). But while I should be thankful for a healthy reunion, I have seen these 23 years the great evil of individual secessions. But for them we should not have had this rampant rationalism. The Church of England held it at bay or converted the rationalists until the secessions. Even lately those Balliol secessions checked the tide of conversions. But for the secessions England would have been Catholic by this time.
I have no idea what the 'one point' can be. I suppose it must be my faith as to the Church of England. If I believed the Church of Rome to be alone the Catholic Church, I could only go as a little child; but while I do not, I have no temptation to leave the Church of England, in which I have seen these many years God is working so marvellously. I have often said, 'Where God the Holy Ghost is, it is safe to be,' the more as He is working sacramentally.
You may show this letter to any one. God be with you.
Yours affectionately, E. B. Pusey.
Again, it was in the spring of this year that his active mind, ever seeking for fresh means to enlarge the sphere of the Church's work, had given special consideration to the claims of educated men, who, though making some outward profession of religion, were yet at heart doubtful or unbelieving, and he appears (in a letter which has not been preserved) to have made some suggestions, in reply to which Dr. Liddon wrote:
Men of the class for whom apologetic conferences would be designed would never put their foot within a church on a weekday, and the preacher would address a few good people who had no doubts about the Faith. I think that any such lectures could only be given on Sunday if they are to succeed. . . . People who do not believe, or who believe only in bits of Christianity, will go to church on Sunday from sheer ennui, and then they might by God's grace be got hold of. But a week-day has Parliament, the Clubs, Rotten Row, and plenty of business--serious and the reverse.
Yet the suggestion, though at the time rejected, was a strong proof of Mr. Mackonochie's clearsightedness. It is a curious commentary upon Dr. Liddon's words, and surely a most encouraging sign of progress, to note the hundreds of men who on week-days assemble at this present time under the dome of St. Paul's, to hear not only the great preacher who twenty years ago doubted the possibility of attracting them, but many other special preachers less well-known to fame.
It was inevitable that the prosecutions should raise complex questions and open out wide issues on every side. In the revolt of a violent partisanship against 'the merciful compromises of the Church' there was the desire to drive out from her pale those who claimed an equal right with their opponents to interpret her formularies and give expression to her spirit.
We could wish indeed (writes Matthew Arnold) that the Church had shown the same largeness in consenting to relax ceremonies, which she showed in refusing to lighten dogma or to spoil diction. Worse still, the angry wish to drive by violence when the other party will not move by reason finally no doubt appears, and the Church has much to blame herself for in the Act of Uniformity.
It was an Act which the party to which Mr. Mackonochie belonged never desired to enforce. The liberty which they claimed for themselves they freely allowed to others. In a letter to the 'Church Times,' dated January 1869, Mr. Mackonochie wrote:
I did not suggest that we should move for the repeal of the Act of Uniformity, but the omission was of less consequence as it is no original idea, and others have put it forward. Surely we ought to get a large measure of support for such a petition. I suppose it was never obeyed from the second year of Edward VI. downwards. Certainly the Puritans never kept it. They knew quite well that its provisions were aimed at them, and they eluded it in every way. Catholics I imagine were beset by these same Puritans whenever they tried to obey it, so that it fell practically into disuse. From time to time some unhappy being (like myself) has been spitted upon it; but for securing uniformity of worship it has done nothing. Is not King Log dangerous to all his subjects when he is found to be a box of fireworks ready to spit out a rocket or a squib at any unlooked-for moment and on any side?
Upon the question of disestablishment his views were no less pronounced. In a letter to the 'Daily News,' January 1869, upon the Privy Council judgment, he wrote:
If I may judge from the reception which was given to a few words of mine at the meeting of Tuesday in Freemasons' Tavern, the conviction is gaining ground that the time has come for the Church to claim deliverance from the yoke of State control. I do not believe it to be a question belonging to any political school, for I constantly find myself at one on this point with men of views differing as widely as possible from one another and myself on political questions. Even if we look at the matter from a State point of view, the principle for which I contend lies deeper than any differences of modern politics; for thus regarded, an equitable union of Church and State is only possible where the two terms are co-extensive. In any other case one of two difficulties will arise--either the influence of the Church in the affairs of State will be a burden to those subjects of the State who do not belong to her pale, or else (which is the more probable alternative) the yoke of the State will press heavily upon the conscience of the Church. The English establishment dates from a time when the two were co-extensive, and a continuance of this condition was assumed at the Reformation, but has not been realised, nor will any one dare to predict that it is likely to be realised; so that even from this point of view the union of Church and State is an anachronism and ought to be swept away. But it is in the interest of religion solely, not in that of politics, that the question has to be viewed by us. . . Once free from State control, we shall begin, I trust, to feel as abody, and not merely as individuals) that we belong to the Kingdom which is not of this world.
These utterances belong to the period between March 1867, when proceedings were first instituted against him, and the January of 1869. But later he wrote an article upon Disestablishment, which attracted a good deal of attention, in the 'Nineteenth Century,' and it was apparently in answer to some letter from him upon the reform of Convocation that in 1874 Dr. Pusey wrote:
I am very much afraid of any question of the reform of Convocation, because the question of the laity would be sure to come up (as the Archbishop of Canterbury threw out the other day), and I would rather have an imperfect instrument than a wrong one. T think that the less we ask for now the better. The rest will come by-and-by: the less we have to settle, the less pleas there will be for a great measure and change to effect it. If we are able to make our ground good as to those things which bear upon the Holy Eucharist when people are accustomed to these, they will not [stumble?] at the rest. I remember when stained glass began to revive, and of this there were only small medallions, unintelligible except by explanation. If in those days the Exeter reredos had been attempted, instead of commanding general sympathy people would have been afraid of it as against the second Canon. . . . Your strength is, and will be, in the hearts of your people. These you have won wonderfully. Courts cannot really move you while you have them. They will be just as much your strength, being lifted out of their sphere, or more so. If the younger clergy will but win their people first as you have. Mr. Hilliard in his speech the other night, when speaking of his ultimate success, owned that he had driven away a certain number at first, for he said that they came back afterwards, some sooner, some later. This may have been no great evil in a town so full of churches as Norwich, but it was a bad precedent. It was a grand Roman boast: volentes per populos dat jura.
The tone of the St. James's meeting was delightful. If we could but remain as one as we were that evening.
The action of the laity in the United States can do the less harm because they are a separate house. They are much like our Parliament, only Churchmen. Still, it is a bad principle. For a body, as you say, must find something to do, else there is no good in its existence. And a general necessity of finding something to do would very probably end in doing mischief, like children who break things for something to do.
I am very sorry for Lord Selborne's line. The ex-Chancellor has been too strong for the Churchman. But people have been more provoking in their random speeches than their acts. As for the 'Guardian' I gave it up long ago. It always deserted us at a pinch. God guide us safe. Your very affectionate
E. B. P. June 28, 1874.
Briefly recapitulating the chief incidents of the various prosecutions (from which there was no real freedom until 1871), we shall proceed to give some account of Mr. Mackonochie's ministerial work during the five years from 1869 to 1874, both in his own parish and elsewhere.