BELL AND DALDY, 186, FLEET STREET.
I VENTURE again to address the English public, and, more particularly, the Diocese of Oxford; perhaps this time in a somewhat graver tone than before. Idlers, as well as other men, have their variations of mental feeling. Gravity and mirth are yet, I hope, both of them consistent with a love of truth. The strain of banter in which I addressed an anonymous pamphleteer, becomes naturally modified when I encounter a reverend divine. My own indomitable genius is such, that perhaps a vein of merriment will now and then crop up and show itself amidst the green pasturage of more sober and, I trust, not unedifying reflection. Anonymous writing partakes of the wildness of nature. That which has a name demands more careful trimming; and even the flowers, much more than the thorns, must keep their place by rules of etiquette. Nature, however, possesses her own charms, her own luxuriance, her own fitness, and comeliness, and strength. It is well to go forth where the sheep brose undisturbed upon the mountain top, and drink sometimes of the invigorating breeze. Whether the late pamphlet which called me to reply has gained or lost by the addition of that majestic entity, a name, I leave its readers [3/4] to judge. I treated it as treasure trove upon the common laud of anonym, where I myself delight to roam. I indulged, accordingly, in. unrestrained induction respecting the personality of him who dropped this treasure. Now that the author has given us his name, I must assure him that no offence was intended. For his private friends there is, no doubt, a charm of association which invests his opinions with the lustre of his personal amiability. Though not to know him may argue myself unknown, I must confess that his statements do not strike my mind with any increase of logical conviction by reason of the discovery. My own name would, I am certain, be equally impotent to touch the sensibilities of all beyond the sphere of friendship. I am content to feel secure in the armour of truth and reason. My name I do not tell. My pages represent myself. I do not look out from beneath their invulnerable strength as a tortoise does, timidly, from its strong skeleton. Here I am; for my readers that is enough. I seek as readers not my own friends, but the friends of truth.
One thing it is, perhaps, right for me to say. I shall, perhaps, be consulting the feelings of others if I do so. I take for my sole circumscription the limit,--a limit which baffles philosophers in its ideal inconceivability, and will leave scope and verge enough for me to sport within its boundlessness,--the limits of a non infinitans. I am not any one who either hold or ever have held any official position in the College. I merely know it, as any one else in the diocese may know it, from without. No one connected with the College knows who I am, nor is responsible for what I say. I do not wish to involve them, nor any one else, in agreement or disagreement with my rambling observations. I stand alone, No one [4/5] is admitted to my confidence. I seek for aid from the counsels of none. I come, like Donati's comet, unexpected and unchronicled, to illuminate the heaven of truth. Truth is the much-loved home of my desires, and, amidst all my vagaries, I hope that I do not stray from the government of her harmonizing laws.
"Who builds a church to God, and not to Fame,
Will never mark the marble with his name
Go, search it there, where to be born and die
Of rich and poor makes all the history;
Enough, that Virtue fill'd the space between
Proved, by the ends of being, to have been."
POPE'S Moral Essays, iii. 285-290.
Candidly, it is in no such high spirit of devotion that I like to lie hid. I fear my secrecy is, perhaps, but a cloak for my timidity. I like to fire a gun from behind a good stout battlement. The ball will reach its point; it will strike without feebleness, though I retire from the touch-hole with a palpitating heart. The same poet tells us,--and perhaps it is a self-accusing con science which makes me shrink from sight,--
"Who combats bravely, is not therefore brave,
He dreads a death-bed, like the meanest slave;
Who reasons wisely, is not therefore wise,
His pride in Reas'ning, not in Acting, lies,"
Essays, i. 115-118.
However, I have said enough by way of preface. I must now proceed with my remarks: and it is right to say at starting, that I have great personal respect for Mr. Twopeny. This must not interfere with my examination of his attack on Cuddesdon College. He has attacked a great institution, whose object is the public good. Will he let none seek to advance the public well-being, because they differ from himself? He seems to have made no personal inquiry before commencing [5/6] his assault. The charges are just the old ones served up again. After they had appeared in the Quarterly, they were followed by something very like an apology; by that dignified Review, for having made them. They pass into other hands. Do they gain in dignity, as they are echoed on by the minor pamphleteering press? First comes Mr. Golightly. He meets the three Archdeacons at the College, and the Archdeacons are satisfied. Is not this enough? No! Forth comes the document of the magistrate. Yet there was nothing new to say. The Idler rose as a meet champion against the hidden foe. Now we have Mr. Twopeny. The old charges do not get stronger by the mere, fact of repetition. What purpose does all this printing serve, but just to poison and inflame the public mind?
It is to be regretted that a name deserving of so much esteem as Mr. Twopeny's, should have lent its dignity to what else were nothing worth.
A non-entity springs into value by the creative power of a name. This power is inherent in our personality. Our inner selves find a new being in the shrine of our words, and consecrate the tenement of which they take possession with a majesty proportionate to their original. Hereby perceive we the responsibility of speech. Will a clergyman then bear with and forgive the remonstrances of an idler? I ask if the purposes of eternal truth can be really forwarded by the onslaught of a popular cry? It is an easy thing for the name of a clergyman to gather round itself whatever may be disaffected in the feelings of a diocese, or even of a nation. It is not so easy for that which is thus consolidated to be dispersed again into the floating vapour of its first subsistence. It is [6/7] easy to awaken suspicion against any who may lead the battle of Christ against the world. It is not so easy to win the raging multitude back to docility and obedience in those parts of the campaign where it may seem to us they should submit. If the clergy who come out of Cuddesdon College are proved to be unsatisfactory,--which no one yet has dared to say,--can it be supposed that a clamour from without will strengthen its energies with a more healthy tone? Is an appeal to the people a likely mode of engendering a wholesome discipline in a nascent institution? Is the publishing of pamphlets and the declamation of partisanship a likely means of shaving away such excrescences as may be displeasing to ourselves? To use such means is rather like shooting arrows at our child to save it from the supposed deadliness of a lurking disease. Yes! and the arrows of religious opposition are formed of so marvellous a substance that they gather poison from the very atmosphere they pass through, and nothing but the immortality of Divine life within can enable any holy work to escape the canker which the accumulated venom must produce. I address myself to those who sincerely care for truth--that blessed truth whose heart throbs with a living love beneath the perishable, many-coloured coat of human opinion and changing fancy. I appeal to these; and surely no name is needed but the name of truth to win for such appeal a solemn hearing and a conscientious answer. I appeal to them, and ask if they really think the final victory of truth will be hastened by any temporary advantage which they may gait by the casualty of worldly auxiliaries, over a Diocesan so enlightened with the experience of men, glowing so intensely with the fervour of Divine love, as Samuel Wilberforce?
 There must always be moments in the life of every great man, when his greatness has to be tested by the withdrawal of that support on whose arms he has been borne to triumph. A weak man may be at the head of a mere tumultuous movement. It is as easy to be at the head of it as at the tail. The masses of the people have no vanguard and ho rear. They sway hither and thither. That which is now foremost is now behind. They have no definite point to which they are advancing. The possession of such an object is the criterion of greatness. To press on in isolation, even though others may be hurrying elsewhere,--to press on in peaceful consciousness of truth, even amid the shower of arrows which followers, like a Scythian host, shoot backward when they retire in temporary alienation--this is an evidence of the greatness of will wherewith truth is held, and of that being truth which can uphold the soul, replenishing it with joy, even though the excitement of a troop of followers change thus violently into the animosity of an impetuous opposition. Then is seen the greatness of the man. Then is seen the sublimity of the truth. Siren voices may be heard on one side with their amiable enchantment. Gentle spirits may be nigh at hand calling to repose in the bowers of expediency. Some there may be, following truth with lagging footsteps, who love to gaze upon the hopes of the future in the fancied security of a present compromise. Others, doubtless, in the bewilderment of controversial uproar, will be calling this way and that, mistaking meteor lights for truth, and thinking the beacon of truth to be a deceptive blaze. The man of steady purpose and conversant with great things, will meanwhile go upon his way rejoicing. He never feels himself so little alone as when, being left alone by the scornful desertion of an antagonistic world, [8/9] he realizes the identity of the cause in which he is engaged with the cause of universal truth. The time will come when the ebbing tide will change, and the world will honour those who have been content to bear its contumely.
"Virtua repulsae nescia sordidae
Intaminatis fulget honoribus:
Nec sumit aut ponit secures
Arbitrio popularis aurae."
The name of Wilberforce has not hitherto been associated with repulse, for it has not hitherto been associated with timidity. May it never be! It has not yet been made the tool of a party. God grant that it never may become so! Those who refuse their co-operation, because they cannot bind the son of William Wilberforce in slavery to their party views, will find to their cost, that as they have rejected the heritage of courtesy which would have welcomed them in its embrace, they have yet to learn the fulness of that inherited vigour which will do and dare everything upon an independent footing, secure in the consciousness of truth. If we are earnest in the love of truth, it is painful to break away from those who do love truth, however feebly, however falteringly, however faultily. When men break away from us and thwart the dearest efforts of our lives, because of some outward form, or because of the puny polemics of the day, we learn to measure their co-operation at its true worth; and though we cease not to respect them in their isolated spheres, we have our eyes opened, as it were by force, to the singleness of supremacy in which truth requires to be loved and served, and which must be recognised by us in its integrity, if the truth is really to make us free. When those who are dear to us resolve that there shall be a gulf between us and them, they break not the permanence of [9/10] our affections, but they leave us free to act without the fetters of obsequiousness or conciliatory compromise. Our hearts beat all the more truly in response to the inspirations of truth. Dead to all else, we learn the might of right, the liberty of duty.
"Marzia piacque tanto agli occhi miei,
Mentre ch' io vivo fui, diss' egli allora,
Che quante grazie volle da me, fei.
Or che di la dal mal fiume dimora,
Più muover non mi'può, per quella legge
Che fatta fu qoando me n' uscii fuora."--Purg. Canto I.
It is a sad and grievous thing, when those who are one with us in heart refuse to be one with us in execution. Suspicion and crimination and jealous party-spirit, though they are often found festering in the hearts of the children of God, cannot, I am sure, be the work of God.
But I have got rather into the tone of a moralist than of an idler. It is the beginning of the week, and perhaps this vein of thought has been caught from a stirring sermon by my clergyman, who is, I believe, a friend of the Bishop of Oxford. If he is not intimate with him in personal relations, I know he loves him for the devotedness of his life, and seems to grow (for I am speaking now of a young curate) by a quickening sympathy with his untiring zeal. When great truths are thus forcibly brought before the mind, we are roused out of ourselves, and I seem to myself in writing down these thoughts to have stepped out of my privacy into the busy "crowd, the hum, the shock of men." Strange indeed are the workings of the mind! No form of idleness is so subtle as that which absorbs the soul in dramatising fancy. The silent chamber rocks with the whirl of an imaginary fray. Men and their doings come up before the sight. For them, indeed, "life is real, life is earnest." What is it for such as me?
 I must ask also, what it is for Mr. Twopeny? That it is real--that it is earnest--for him, I do not doubt. I know whose judgment he would accept in this matter: not that of man, but of God. What is the maxim of his ministry if it be not this:--"Do it heartily, as unto the Lord and not unto men"? If this is the standard of his own conduct, he ought, however, not to tie down others to a lower. This is the unfairness of his pamphlet. It starts with the assumption of evil in Cuddesdon College, because forsooth "the public mind has not received that satisfaction to which it was justly entitled." In what gradation of moral being does the Principal of Cuddesdon College stand--I suppose it must be somewhere between an Apostle and a Country Vicar--that St. Paul and Mr. Twopeny are to count it a little thing to be censured of man's judgment, but Mr. Pott is to feel himself excluded from all the shelter of conscientious convictions? Why is the public mind "justly entitled" to be satisfied with Cuddesdon College? Did the public mind build it? I do not see that the public mind has any right to seek for satisfaction in the matter. As I said in my last pamphlet, the Bishops are satisfied with the young men who are taught there. If they are satisfied, who can complain? The result is satisfactory, and so we may infer the process is satisfactory too. I do not worship. theories of education, but I delight in a good result of anybody's theory. Perhaps Mr. Twopeny may start a College upon a different theory. If the result is as good, everybody, I am sure, will be pleased. As far as my inconsiderable self goes--a little drop in the ocean--towards forming that unfruitful totality, the public mind, I will promise to be satisfied. Try, however, to satisfy the public mind in its totality: your efforts will but be drowned in its unfruitful bulk. Ripple after ripple passes [11/12] Over its surface, "the many twinkling smile of ocean," and the sunshine of theory seems to sprinkle it with diamonds and gold. The public mind looks bright and gay, majestic and omnipotent, when its voice is heard with glittering eloquence in large assemblies, such as it appeared in the social-science Congress of Liverpool philanthropists. It is not there nor thus that work is done. The stream at which the cows are drinking in the shade is compassed with more fertility and blessing. It is individual efforts separated from the public mind which really tend to the diffusion of vigorous life. Truly "the individual withers" as "the world" becomes "more and more." When the public mind absorbs individual energy by its levelling control, the individual cannot expand into the colossal dimensions of a world personified, but withers by the annihilation of its inward principle of strength. A man of public deeds cannot satisfy the public mind. To think of satisfying the public mind as a preliminary of success in any undertaking of importance, is like putting on a court dress when beginning to superintend a farm or a colliery.
When was the public mind satisfied? Is it satisfied with Eton? Is it satisfied with Oxford, or with Cambridge, or even with what was expressly devised for its gratification, the A. A. examination? Echo answers, "Eh? eh?" The public mind will roll on in inexhaustible talk, and find fault with everything. Meanwhile, Rusticus expectat. Rusticus in this case must be the Vicar of North Stoke.
It is plain that if any educational establishment is to succeed, it must be by the heartiness with which those who manage it throw their whole selves into the work. Everything must be directed to the one great end. No bye-Thoughts must hamper, no timidity paralyse the effort. [12/13] There must be no time-serving: no hiding-up of what the managers think right, as if they were ashamed of their convictions. There must be love towards all that is outside of the College in proportion as it is outspoken and genuine, and a determination to be loved, if loved at all, for the sake of genuineness and transparent individuality. Love must be welcomed with thankfulness when it does come with the refreshment of its quickening breeze; Public confidence must not be dreamed of; for though the storm be hard to weather, it is better than the deadness of perfect calm.
Mr. Twopeny speaks quite truly--"In order that an institution of this kind should obtain the public confidence, all sectarian teaching, be it on which side it may; all external badges of party; all peculiarities which distinguish one section of the Church from another; all those little petty marks of division which are more readily felt than easily described, and tend rather to create prejudice than to call forth open opposition; all such things should be sedulously avoided, not because they would necessarily impede the thriving of the College as an institution,--for the support of a party is often more active and effectual than the general support of the public,--but they should be avoided, if the respect and confidence of the public are the things sought for" (p. 4). In this I thoroughly agree, but I must add that I believe a College realizing such an ideal, and having such an object, in which, therefore, not the single glory of God, but "the respect and confidence of the public are the things sought for," would be a national curse. A College which should be the product of such a theory might be large in its bulk, but it would be a still-born child, and imperil the life of the Church of its nativity.
 Mr. Twopeny says, the authorities of Cuddesdon "are solemnly pledged by their own public declaration that the College should be conducted, on these principles." I can only say I hope they are not.
Individuality of character is indispensable to living success. It is also of great social value as a stimulus to kindred attempts. Those whose type of mind is more congenial to Mr. Twopeny may be stirred up by an holy emulation to show the world what they can do. Let them organize an institution bearing the full impress of their own individuality, and they will have done a real, and, I feel sure,--however different in its appearance from Cuddesdon,--a very useful because a living work,--a work embodying the energetic individuality of living, working, Christian men. There is a kindred institution, I believe, at Islington. Does that avoid "all sectarian teaching"? Does that seek and does it obtain "the confidence of the public"? If I were asked for a motto to inscribe over the gateway of a College as a warning to be borne in mind by the minister of Christ in every portion of his career, I almost think it would be this:--"Woe unto you when all men speak well of you."
There is plenty of room in the Church of England for many Colleges of every shade of opinion. All sections of the Church require the infusion of learning and thoughtfulness which such institutions are likely to promote. I feel sure, that as the various sections of the Church advance in real knowledge and the habit of meditation, they will shake off much that keeps them now apart. The Church will be built up in unity, not by stifling the individuality of her members, but by leading them all closer to the truth. An idler should scarcely venture to comment upon Scripture, but I have fallen in my lucubrations into a [14/15] somewhat sermonising tone, and I would ask Mr. Twopeny if this is not pretty much what St. Paul meant when he said that he rejoiced that every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ was preached. If Error think to hinder Gospel-truth by going arm-in-arm, Gospel-truth will prove the strongest, and will walk Error out of the field. These are days of such shallow, ignorant, effervescent talk, that I do most cordially rejoice in anything which can establish the Church in theological knowledge. I fear that now-a-days a great many controversial notorieties are neither learning nor coming to a knowledge of the truth.
If Mr. Twopeny were to establish a College, I dare say many students, especially of his own way of thinking, would go to it. And yet, I think I can see tokens in the correspondence, that all the students even at Cuddesdon did not belong to one and the same school. He exclaims: "Let us remember that only nine out of thirty-nine answers have been published. What a great proportion of young men with Romanizing tendencies do they show to have gone to Cuddesdon." The questions which elicited these answers had special reference to Romanizing tendencies amongst the students. Romanizing would, therefore, naturally be mentioned in the answers wherever it could be mentioned, and those answers naturally would be selected in which mention was made of Romanizing. My inference therefore would be this:--If thirty clergy out of thirty-nine had no knowledge of Romanizing in the institution, and consequently could say nothing about it, how very small the element of Romanizing amongst the students must have been! Mr. Twopeny, however, quotes from three letters, in which it is said that "one student"--"one student and several others"--"one student and [15/16] some others"--had their doubts tending to Rome removed by the lectures and training of Cuddesdon. He clearly has fallen into what I will call the fallacy of repetition. I do not know if Archbishop Whately recognises such a fallacy in his Treatise on Logic, but I mean that he has added together in his own mind the instances referred to in all of these letters, whereas it was really the same little knot of persons who were intended by all the writers. This little knot of persons having been mentioned by three writers, has the appearance of being three times as numerous as it really was. Now I see nothing wonderful in the present state of the religious mind in England, that out of so large a number of students--fifty-four ordained, besides a College-full not then gone up for ordination--there should be "some," and even "several"--it may be perhaps only four after all--who had doubts of such a kind. Who so likely to go to a place of theological study as a sincere person, who has controversial doubts, whether in the Roman, or the Socinian, or the Baptist, or any other direction? He would naturally go where he would have the best opportunities of investigating his difficulty under proper care. By the way, in so doing, he would show the instincts of nature telling him that a theological College was the very place where theological study could be best pursued. Would he be likely to have his doubts satisfied as thoroughly if he remained at the University? It was amidst those associations that they began. He requires a fresh atmosphere, a calmer retreat, a more continual supervision. What a blessed result if these few souls have been saved from the corrupt snares of that bewitching superstition! How can Mr. Twopeny bring himself even to repeat a charge, which I am sure would never have originated in his own mind, that the College was evidently to blame [16/17] because it had attracted these young men and rescued, them from their danger! One might as well charge a hospital with promoting infection, because its fever-ward was full. Ignorance is the parent of all error: and they who wish to be cured of error will go where they can obtain theological learning.
But if the questions had had reference to something else than Roman controversy, is it not probable that the answers would have been proportionately diversified? Supposing that neology had been the thing to be dreaded, is it not probable that three out of thirty-nine answers would have told us something of curates who but for Cuddesdon would have been denying the inspiration of Scripture, and speak hesitatingly upon the doctrine of the Trinity? Or again, if the fear had been that men went there to be "whitewashed" because of moral evil in their College course, is it not probable that some of the letters would have told us of real conversions of heart to God, which the devotion inculcated at Cuddesdon had by God's mercy accomplished? Because the letters happen to speak to one point, we must not think that the writers associate the name of Cuddesdon with nothing else. They spoke to that point only about which they were interrogated.
However, curiously enough, the anti-Roman element was so strong amongst the students, that two of the thirty-nine incumbents cannot help letting out a hint of difficulties on that side also. The satisfaction which the curates ordained from Cuddesdon have given generally, has a slight qualification. I quote the explanation at length from p. 10 of the published correspondence.
"The exceptions alluded to are in the answers of two out of thirty-nine answers received. In the first instance, the vicar states that on one point he has found [17/18] difference of view, but not on any point of Roman Ritual. He adds, 'It is only fair to say that on many points he (his curate) was Protestant enough to satisfy any one.' In the other case, the incumbent (who describes himself as not a Low Churchman, though belonging to what is called the Evangelical school), after enumerating some points in which he is dissatisfied, none of which, however, has any reference to Roman teaching or practice, says, 'At the same time there are many to whom Mr.------would be a valuable acquisition.' In the case of the remaining forty-four curates the testimony is most favourable."
Judge then of Cuddesdon College by its real results! by what it has done, not by what some people may think it ought to have done! One of the young curates who has gone out from thence is not in all points satisfactory to his vicar, but is acquitted of all suspicion of Romanizing; and another seems to have jumbled up with notions of an ultra-Protestant character just one incongruous crotchet stolen from Rome! When we know what young men commonly are upon leaving the University, is not this well-nigh unqualified approbation of the Cuddesdon curates a most convincing proof of the real earnestness of the work of spiritual life which is being done within the College walls. Could anything have been devised more completely to rebut the newspaper sneer against "Cuddesdon neophytes"? It shows how true an estimate of the College lecturers the Bishop had formed when he wrote to them in these words:--"Your object, I well know, as well as mine, is to foster no party-spirit, but to nourish in young men going into orders habits of self-denial and true earnest piety, on the simplest Church of England model."
Having these highly satisfactory results before us, I [18/19] think we may fully agree with the' Archdeacons, even though we may not quite like some of the things said to be done in chapel, in saying nevertheless that we "see no reason for imputing a party meaning to any of their decorations." We have no right to attribute a party meaning to what has evidently not been used for a party purpose.
It seems to me perfectly natural that a College chapel should have decorations of a higher order than a common village church. It is so at the Universities in many cases. If Oxford feels a holy joy in the contemplation of her costly chapels, although most of her students are intended for secular callings, à fortiori is it to be expected that a theological College would enrich, as far as possible, with such efforts of art as could be made, the sanctuary of her candidates for orders. Many things would surely be permitted here, which no one would wish to reproduce amidst a rustic congregation, who would gaze on them as on a gewgaw, without attaching value or meaning to the symbol. The Archdeacons think that a lavish display of ornament "has a tendency to strengthen a prejudice which already exists in some minds against theological Colleges." Prejudices are states of mind so full of anomaly that one cannot tell what will strengthen them: nothing will remove them. One thing, however, is likely to be strengthened by a warmth of tone about the College devotions. No one who has been at a public school will hesitate about what I am alluding to. Affection to the College throughout all succeeding life must undoubtedly be nourished by such circumstantials as these, that affection which will cheer many a heart amidst parochial labours, and embodying itself in the memory by little details, will stimulate the will to mighty struggles. I am sure that a theological College is of incalculable benefit to its students, not merely [19/20] at the time of their training by its opportunities of learning, but in life for ever after as a place to be much remembered,--remembered for its holy counsels, remembered for its earnest prayers, remembered for its heroic resolutions, and remembered by the little adjuncts of external beauty, which, trifling as they are to the casual inspector, tell upon the heart of the daily worshipper and the mind of the anxious student, so as to invigorate his lonely endeavours with the consciousness of brotherhood and sympathy. There is a value in the remembrance of the past which makes it important to attend even to trifles which may supply the memory with harmonious resting-places. In ho idle mood did Wordsworth strive to recall the details of early life:--
"My hope has been that I might fetch
Invigorating thoughts from former years;
Might fix the wavering balance of my mind,
And haply meet reproaches, too, whose power
May spur me on in manhood, now mature,
To honourable toil."--Prelude, Book I.
Any one conversant with human nature must be at once awake to the importance of giving durability and loveliness to all the impressions stamped upon the mind at a season such as that which candidates for orders spend at Cuddesdon. It is to them the ante-chamber of a new life. Here they must learn the loveliness of that which they are about to undertake; here they must gather up the impulses by which their whole subsequent life in the ministry of Christ should be stimulated. I see, then, little force in the first objection raised by the Archdeacons. I see as little in the second, namely, that such things tend "to encourage in the students a disproportionate regard for the mere accessories of public worship, and to invest them with an over-prominent importance." If [20/21] prayers or study were neglected because of painting or music, that might well be said. But this has not even been suggested. What can be so calculated to place the decoration of a College chapel in a right position as the employment of recreation time in works of sacred art? In such holy objects there is joy, or there could be no recreation in executing them. They are attended to in the hours of recreation; therefore they are not the chief business of life, but subordinate and auxiliary. I have no doubt that it is with feelings pretty much akin to those which I have expressed, that the College authorities encouraged their students in the ornamentation of their prayer room.
Mr. Twopeny becomes somewhat archaeological in his discussion of the arrangements of the altar. In his learning I am unable to follow him. He says that the raised shelf above the altar, which is described by the Archdeacons, is the same which Ritualists call a Predella. I never heard this name. I have generally heard it called by an appellation more approaching to the vulgar tongue,--a super-altar. Its purpose is to elevate the candlesticks, and it certainly makes the appearance more seemly, to have the candlesticks thus removed a little from the level board on which the Holy Communion is to be celebrated. A reason, however, is alleged why this appendage is "not only foreign, but actually opposed to our Ritual; for our Rubric and Canons imply, if they do not direct, the table to stand in the body of the church or chancel. And it is evident that this raised shelf is inconsistent with such position." (P. 7.)
The vicar of North Stoke has the advantage over me in archaeological book-learning; but I happen to have "seen, and therefore ought to know" something of present [21/22] arrangements at the altar. Now, although Mr. Twopeny seems never to have seen a super-altar in an English church, I have seen a good many: and again, although he says that such an appendage is inconsistent with the altar being placed in the body of the church, I have been in several of the large churches of Italy where the altar stands out in the body of the church, with rails all round it, and where the super-altar is, nevertheless, always to be found.
Mr. Twopeny revives the charges against Cuddesdon College apparently without much investigation. As he had such "great unwillingness to write upon this distressing subject," and such "consciousness of his own inefficiency," I should have thought he would have spent some of the time he has been "waiting" in making inquiries about the substance of the charges. Instead of that he seems content to republish them seriatim. "I have not seen the Cuddesdon Service-book," he says (p. 11), "but the designation of the Roman hours is as follows:--Matins (including Nocturns and Lauds), Primes, Nones, Vespers, and Compline."
In this little paragraph there is much to surprise me.
1. That he did not care to see the Service-book before he began to attack it.
2. That one who displays such learning about the Predella should be so ignorant about the designation of the Roman hours. The reader of Milton would probably have been able to correct the press, so as not to let the hour of Prime be mis-spelt. The hours of Terce and Sext are either unknown to Mr. Twopeny or forgotten by him.
3. What surprises me perhaps most of all, is, that he seems unaware of the Church of England having still retained the offices of Matins, and Vespers, or Evensong. Had he remembered this, he would perhaps have been less [22/23] outraged by the discovery of the Archdeacons, that parts of the Service-book used in the chapel are "cast in a form which bears an unfortunate resemblance to the Breviary of the Church of Rome." Our Prayer-book bears the same resemblance; and if the Cuddesdon Service-book is to be like one, it must be a good deal like the other.
I, however, have taken the trouble to get a copy lent to me of the now disused Office-book. With grief I write the word "disused." The resemblance to the Breviary consists altogether in the arrangement of Psalms and Texts of Scripture, gathered appropriately for the various seasons of the year; and considerable deference has been shown in this arrangement to the judgment of ancient piety, which has culled so many a text of Scripture, and given it prominence in worship, that but for this would have been doomed, in the way of reading Scripture common at this time, to be passed over unheeded.
I sympathise with Mr. Twopeny in his wonder at the Archdeacon's calling such a coincidence "unfortunate." There can be no doubt the texts of Scripture were intentionally adopted from those stores of devotional research. If the resemblance is unfortunate, it must be because persons now-a-days will condemn anything which is to be found in a Roman Service-book. What would have been valuable in itself is unfortunate by reason of its historical use. What has been perfected by the growth of ages is more likely to be valuable than the extemporaneous compilation of any one, however learned and devout. When Bishop Jeremy Taylor drew up offices to be used in the English Church, at a time when the Prayer-book was discountenanced, he acted upon this very principle. He is pt ashamed to say from what sources he gathered his devotions. The title-page of his book describes the offices [23/24] as "taken out of the Scriptures and the Ancient Liturgies of several Churches, especially the Greek."
If Mr. Twopeny had really examined the Cuddesdon book of prayers, I think he would have been inclined to adopt it for his own family devotions.
I now bring my paper to a close. I have been forced into a graver tone even than at the outset I intended.
I fully agree with Mr. Twopeny, that probably "at no former time in this, at no time in any other Church, has there ever been, such a body of men as we have still the happiness to claim for our own" as the laity of the Church of England (p. 20). Feeble as I am, I feel it a matter of pride to be connected with such a class. But I cannot think it right to say of them that they are "suspicious, dissatisfied, and alienated." Prejudiced persons always will be suspicious; the public mind always will be dissatisfied; the worldly heart is naturally alienated. But however these attributes may display themselves in occasional agricultural meetings and inflammatory newspaper articles, it is not fair to say that they characterise the laity of the Church of England. Large masses of the population were lost to the Church of England in times of sloth, before Cuddesdon College was built: and every effort to uphold the Church of Christ will be opposed, whether after the Cuddesdon fashion or any other. It is to be lamented that good and quiet men lend their names, as they look on with a momentary fear, and fancy to soothe the enemy by saying a kind word for him. Mr. Twopeny says truly: "This is certainly not a state of things which we should have been led to expect in our diocese. Our Bishop is a man of undoubted piety, of considerable eloquence,--which has been frequently and effectively exerted in the cause of religion and morality--very impressive in his preaching, and most assiduous in the [24/25] performance of that important duty--of great readiness to give the clergy the benefit of his advice and assistance whenever they apply to him--of great tolerance to their opinions when different from his own--of great affability and courtesy to all; so that he undoubtedly and deservedly possesses the regard of all who have any knowledge of him. And such is his activity and diligence in the discharge of his episcopal office, that there are few places in his diocese where he is not known" (p. 22).
Why, then, is there still opposition,--not so much as timid hearts conceive, but still considerable? Is it not because of the working of that latent principle which led Plato to say, that if virtue could be personified on earth, the world would crucify it? The world will love its own. Let the Bishop of Oxford, with his faithful clergy and laity, go on and never fear. By times of sloth were the masses of the people lost to the Church. By endurance and struggle they must be won back. I may not live to see the victory, but stout hearts will gain the day in spite of abusive tongues.
Wenn dich die Läster-Zunge sticht,
So lass dir dies zum Troste sagen:
Es Bind die schlecht'aten Früchte nicht
Woran die Wespen nagen.