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Visitation Charge: Delivered Monday, May 23, 1842, at St. Mary's Church, Oxford.

By the Rt. Rev. Richard Bagot, D.D.
Lord Bishop of the Diocese.

New-York: D. Appleton and Co., 1842.

THE Lord Bishop of Oxford having appointed Monday, the 23d ultimo, for the commencement of his Quadrennial Visitation, arrived at St. Mary's (the University) Church, about eleven o'clock. Prayers were read by the Vicar, the Rev. J. H. Newman, and after divine service his lordship proceeded, with his Chancellor, (Dr. Phillimore,) into the chancel, and there, surrounded by a numerous body of clergy and under- graduates, delivered the following Charge:--

My Reverend Brethren,--The serious inconvenience and embarrassment, to which at my last visitation I was exposed, in consequence of the unsettled state of the Berkshire jurisdiction, induced me, a year ago, to postpone the business on which we are now engaged to the present time, in the hope that during the interval these not unimportant matters, which have now for several years been waiting decision, would have been adjusted. In. this hope I have been disappointed; Berkshire, therefore, must remain unvisited, until such time as those [1/2] obstacles, which impede the due exercise of the bishop's authority, shall be removed, and a due arrangement shall be definitively ordered and completed; and I feel sure, that the clergy in Berkshire will not misconstrue this determination into any mark of inattention or want of interest or regard towards them on my part. I cannot, however, allow these circumstances to preclude me any longer from calling together the clergy of that part of my diocese to which the remarks I have just made do not apply; and you must yourselves feel, as I have long since felt, that of all dioceses, that of Oxford is perhaps the one which at the present time can least bear any interruption of intercourse between the bishop and his clergy.

Since I last addressed you collectively from this chair, four years have elapsed; and although it commonly happens that men are disposed to exaggerate the importance of events occurring in their own time, and in which they are themselves more or less actors, still I cannot but think that these four years will hereafter be looked upon as the commencement of one of the most eventful epochs in the history of the English Catholic Church. Would to God, that he who had been called to preside over you at so momentous a period, had been an abler and a better man! one more fitted by learning, clearsightedness, and experience, to cope with the emergencies of the time, and to guide you far better than I can hope to do, amid the daily increasing difficulties of our position. My trust, however, is in that strength, which is made perfect in weakness; my comfort is in the assurance of your prayers.

[3] But to proceed. The last four years have witnessed the rapid development of those principles which the world, though untruly, (for they are of no locality,) has identified with Oxford, and to which I felt it my duty to advert in my last visitation. Those principles have, during this short interval, spread and taken root, not merely in our own neighbourhood and in other parts of England, but have passed from shore to shore, east and west and north and south, wherever members of our Church are to be found; nay, are unquestionably the object to which, whether at home or abroad, the eyes of all are turned who have any interest or care for the concerns of religion. I am not now saying anything about the tendency of those principles; I am simply asserting the fact of their existence and development. There they are, whether for good or for evil; and they are forming at this moment the most remarkable movement which for three centuries at least has taken place among us.

And now, in the next place, I would advert to the manner of their growth. Certainly they have been fostered with no friendly hand; no adscititious aid of powerful patronage has helped them on; no gale of popular applause has urged them forward. On the contrary, they seem to have been the single exception, which an age of latitudinarianism could discover against the rule of tolerating any form of belief; and while many, whose motives are above all suspicion, and whose honoured names need no praise of mine, have unhesitatingly and utterly condemned them--while many more have looked on with caution and distrust--while many in authority (myself among the number) have felt it their duty to [3/4] warn those committed to their trust of the possible tendencies of the doctrines in question, they have likewise been exposed to a storm of abuse, as violent as it has been unceasing, to calumnies and misrepresentations of the most wanton and cruel description, and to attacks from the dissenting and democratic and infidel portions of the public press, clothed in language which I will not trust myself to characterize, but which, for the sake of our common humanity, (I say nothing of Christian charity,) it behoves us, as with one voice, to reprobate and condemn. I am not now saying whether these principles deserve the chilling reception they have met with; I am only stating now an admitted fact, that such has been their reception.

Again: let us look at the character of the doctrines brought before the public. What has been their attraction? What have they to recommend them to general adoption? The system in question, instead of being an easy, comfortable form of religion, adapting itself to modern habits and a prurient taste, is uncompromisingly stern and severe, laying the greatest stress on self-discipline and self-denial, encouraging fasting and alms deeds and prayer, to an extent of which the present generation knows nothing; and inculcating a deference to authority, which is wholly opposed to the spirit of the age, and uniformly affording that minute attention to external religion, which our formularies indeed prescribe, but which the world has mostly cast aside as superfluous, or as shackling and interfering with the freedom which it loves. Now such being the character of the religious movement, which has forced itself upon our notice, it [4/5] must be obvious to every one who thinks at all on the subject, that it has peculiarities about it which render it unlike anything which has hitherto been observed among us. And if this be the case, it is no less obvious, that a system which has grown up under such disadvantages, and which professes at least to be that of the ancient Catholic Church, deserves at any rate to be treated with as much of prudence and circumspection as Gamaliel prescribed in a not very dissimilar instance. But this is a sort of forbearance, of which I have seen no sign whatsoever. I do not mean, (God forbid!) that if the doctrines of which I am speaking are erroneous, they are not to be exposed and condemned; high and low, rich and poor, are not, in their several stations, to be warned against adopting them. But what I say is this: that error is to be met with argument, not with clamour; and to be answered with faithful care and grave reverence, and firm, though kind remonstrance, not to be made the subject of rancorous declamation, nor be treated with the rude, coarse abuse, which party spirit is sure to elicit from an ill-conditioned mind, and which is as opposite to the tone of Christian condemnation, as darkness is to light.

Persecution never has--never will answer its object. There is something in the very constitution of our common nature, which induces men to side with those whom they think unfairly treated. And such I am disposed to think has been the case, with respect to the opinions of which I am speaking. Whether those opinions are right or wrong, I verily believe that the temper in which their advocates have been assailed, has gained them more [5/6] adherents than perhaps any other cause. What can have been more lamentable than the tone which (of course I am speaking generally) has been adopted by those who have set themselves, 1 hope conscientiously, to oppose the opinions in question 1 What can be more offensive to Christian charity than to hear men of blameless lives held up to public execration in the newspapers of the day, as "the synagogue of Satan," and branded as heretic, by persons who yet hold back the ground on which they make their charges?

Above all (and I cannot notice without grave reprehension the conduct of these individuals), what can be more offensive than to see clergymen, ministers of the Gospel of peace, so far forgetting themselves, their duties and their position, as to appear at public meetings as speakers, and in daily journals as correspondents, whose tone is rather that of personal opposition, than of grave objection to error, and who thereby almost compel us to think that they are lamentably deficient in that spirit, which is "first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits," "thinking no evil, rejoicing not in iniquity, but rejoicing in the truth." I would that such would see themselves as they appear to others, and could think of themselves as all good men of whatever party must think of them. I would that they would reflect too with whom they are linking themselves; and whether some of those with whom they are allied, are not men, whose heart's desire and ulterior object is, the total destruction of our national Church. And more than this; I would they should [6/7] learn a lesson from the men whose doctrines they repudiate, and whoso persons they so bitterly assail.

Whatever may have been the errors, whether of doctrine or of judgment (and of these I am not speaking at present), of which the authors of The Tracts for the Times have been guilty, I will say this for them: that the moderation and forbearance they have shown under insults the most galling and provoking that can be imagined, has been exemplary; and I am glad to avail myself of this public opportunity of expressing my admiration of the meek and Christian spirit they have invariably shown, not rendering railing for railing, and never tempted by the frequent ignorance and often immeasurable inferiority of their adversaries to retort upon them. You will observe, that what I have now said has no reference whatever to the question, how far the doctrines promulgated by the Tract writers are or are not erroneous; but I am desirous now to record my judgment, that granting them to be ever so erroneous, ever so heretical, ever so much to be condemned, they have been dealt with, for the most part, in that spirit of predetermined hostility, which is most apt to confound what is true with what is false, and which, from having so little of Christian charity in it (for charity, while it has no leaning to the error, is lenient to the erring), is on that very ground to be suspected.

I now proceed in the discharge of the heavy responsibilities of my office, to offer some remarks and advice on the subject of the opinions of which we have been speaking. Four years ago, when the principles in question were beginning to spread, men knew not how, and while [7/8] there was more doubt than at present whereunto they would grow--whether, like fire among the thorns, they would blaze up for the moment and then die away, or whether the flame was kindled among such materials as would give forth no mean light and not be readily extinguished, I took the opportunity to speak freely to you of the good which, in my opinion, had actually resulted from the publication of the Tracts for the Times, and of the tendencies in them which I considered dangerous; and I further stated to you that my fears arose, for the most part, rather from the disciple than the teacher. During the period which has intervened I have (speaking generally) seen no reason to alter my sentiments. The Tracts for the Times have, indeed, been brought to a close, and at my personal request; and I take this opportunity of repeating in public what I have never been backward to acknowledge in private, my deep sense of the dutifulness and submission which was then shown to the bishop of the diocese, and of the affection and kind feeling displayed towards myself personally, by the individuals most interested. With respect to the Ninetieth Tract, which was the immediate cause of my interference, I have already expressed my opinion that it was objectionable, and likely to disturb the peace of the Church. I thought so last year, and I think so still. I deeply regret its publication, though I am quite ready to allow, that the explanations by which it has been subsequently modified, or rather, I should say, by which the writer's original meaning has been made more clear, have in part relieved me from some of those most serious apprehensions with which the first perusal of it filled my mind. I am aware [8/9] that the articles of our Church were rather drawn up with the view of including, than of excluding, men of various shades of opinion; and I am further aware, that if a precedent were wanting for--I will not say stretching, but for contorting, the meaning of those formularies, nothing can exceed the license which has been assumed by Calvinistic interpreters of the articles--a license which has often gone beyond what is attempted by the Ninetieth Tract; still I cannot persuade myself that any but the plain, obvious meaning, is the meaning which, as members of the Church, we are bound to receive; and I cannot reconcile myself to a system of interpretation which is so subtle, that by it the articles may be made to mean anything or nothing. Nevertheless, if within certain limits the articles may be so construed as not to force persons of a Calvinistic bias to leave the Church, I do not see why a similar license within the same limits is not to be conceded to those whose opinions accord with those of our divines who resisted the puritanical temper of the 16th and 17th centuries, or why such persons should be forced into communion with Rome. And I say this the more, because I am satisfied that the Ninetieth Tract was written with the object of retaining persons within the bosom of our Church who might otherwise have seceded; and further, because I think that few living men have written more ably upon the errors of the Romish Church, and the sin of leaving our own Church for her communion, than the author of that tract.

With respect to the other numbers of the work in question, it is obviously impossible to speak otherwise than very generally. No doubt there are many [9/10] imperfections in them; the language often is painfully obscure, equivocal, capable of bearing several interpretations, and not rarely it is most unguarded; and all this in addition to there being many statements in them, on which good, men will hold conflicting opinions to the end of time. I feel also bound to say, that the authors of the tracts have seemed to me far too indifferent to the discord and distractions which their actions and their writings have caused; thereby hurrying on a crisis from the acceleration of which nothing is to be hoped, and everything to be feared. However, as public attention has been and is so strongly directed to the tracts, there seems no fear lest any errors in them should remain undetected. God grant that what there is of error in them may be rendered innocuous, that what is good may be yet further blessed to the Church of God, and that those who contributed to produce them may in all their future writings so benefit by past experience, as to keep ever before them the apostolic injunction, "not to let their good be evil spoken of," and to "abstain from all appearance of evil."

That, in spite of their faults, the Tracts for the Times have, from their commencement, exerted a beneficial influence among us in many respects, must, I should think, even their enemies being their judges, be admitted. Their effect, even upon those who are not in communion with our Church, the dissenters and Romanists, has not been immaterial; and within the Church, it is impossible to mark the revival of Church principles which has taken place among us, the increasing desire for unity, the increasing sense of the guilt of schism, the yearning after that discipline which we have so much lost, the more [10/11] ready and willing obedience to ecclesiastical authority, the greater anxiety to live by the Prayer-Book, the better observance of the festivals and fasts of the Church, the more decent administration and deeper reverence of her sacraments, growing habits of devotion and self-sacrifice .--it is impossible, I say, to see these things and their growth within the last ten years, and not acknowledge that, under God, the authors of the tracts have been the humble instruments of at least bringing them before men's minds, and of exhibiting in their own lives their practical fruits.

And now, since nothing can be more unfair than to make the teachers responsible for the proceedings of the disciples, where the latter are now wholly beyond their control, I would say a few words with respect to those who (as you know) excited my fears heretofore, and have since in some instances verified them. I am happy to say that, so far as the parochial clergy are concerned, the caution which I felt it my duty to give at my last visitation with respect to the revival of obsolete practices, which were calculated to give offence without any adequate advantage resulting, has been, so far as I have been able to ascertain, attended to. Of course, questions about vestments, and matters of a similar description, cannot be raised without much higher principles being involved. It was not a contest whether the red rose or the white were the fairer flower, which, in a former age, deluged our land with blood; these were but the outward badges of the strife of political opinions within. Still, in the present age of the church (and there are already such miserable divisions among us with respect to the [11/12] essentials of religion), it does seem to me worse than folly in those who so far allow their zeal to master their discretion as to go out of their way to create fresh causes of dissension, by giving undue importance to things indifferent, and even of questionable value. And besides, those who profess to be guided by catholic principles should remember, that one of the first principles of catholicism is--[the reporter was unable to catch the original Greek]--to do nothing without episcopal sanction. Generally speaking, indiscretions such as I have alluded to, emanate only from very young men; and such persons may be quite sure, that whatever may be their talents, or how sincere soever their zeal, there can but be great defects of character in them. They can hardly be otherwise than self-confident, or vain, or deficient in humility, or far from having disciplined minds.

And here I must further observe, that there has appeared to be a lamentable want of judgment, and I cannot but say, of charity and humility too, in the writings of some who of late have come forward as the advocates of Catholic principles. When a man anathematizes Protestantism he may very possibly mean nothing more than that he refers Dissenters to the judgment of God! No doubt it was so in the case to which I allude. But not one man in a thousand will understand this. To the world, who receive the words in their common acceptation, he will seem to be invoking judgment on whatever is not popish; and I do say, that men ought to pause and consider what they are about, before they use language which is sure to be misinterpreted. Really, the recklessness of the mischief which arises from [12/13] expressions of this description is quite inexcusable. Further, I must take leave to tell those persons, whoever they may be, that they are doing no good service to the Church of England by their recent publication of manuals of private devotion, extracted from the Breviary and similar sources; by inserting in them no small portion of highly objectionable matter, and tacitly, if not openly, encouraging young persons to be dissatisfied with what God has given them, and to look on the contents of our admirable Liturgy as insufficient to meet the wants of a Catholic mind. Be it ours, my Reverend Brethren, to remind the young and ardent in these days, that it is a most dangerous delusion to wander from anything so definite and tangible as the Prayer-book, in search of what is so indefinite and delusive as that shadowy Catholicism which, under the aspect represented by them, has never existed, except in their own imaginations.

Again: I most strongly deprecate the tone which some, mistaking their position and their duty, have thought fit to adopt, with respect to the Reformation and the Reformers. No doubt that in some, and these not unimportant respects, as in loss of Church discipline, we suffered in that great convulsion; there was much fearful crime, much iniquitous sacrilege, much done that had better been left undone. So likewise the Reformers were but frail, feeble men, compassed about with many infirmities; sometimes halting (how could it be otherwise?) between two opinions, and sometimes, of course, erring in judgment. Still, we are their debtors to an incalculable amount; and if perhaps we have lost some little through them, or rather in spite of their wishes to [13/14] the contrary, we have lost far less than our sins deserve; we have even now, through their instrumentality, more blessings within our reach than we care to avail ourselves of; and (I must say it once more,) if we were not deficient in humility, we should be so grateful for what they have done, that we might almost perhaps begin to hope, that, in his good time, God would make up to us what hitherto we have been without. Further: the rude, unthinking, and unjustifiable manner in which some have allowed themselves to speak of the Reformation has a direct tendency to produce that frame of mind which under-estimates the intolerable evils and errors of the Romish system; which slurs over its defects, conceals its guilt, and thereby inclines the doubting, the thoughtless, the self-willed, the half-educated, to listen to the suggestions of those who would offer them in communion with the Roman Church the unity which they long for, and the support, of a guide which claims to be infallible.

And let no one think that this is an imaginary evil, or that there is no danger at the present time of a secession from our ranks to those of Rome. There is very great danger, very imminent danger: one that it behoves us to look steadily in the face, and be prepared for. I do not mean that I anticipate any defection, my Reverend Brethren, from those of our own profession; I trust and believe that the Clergy generally are too "fully persuaded in their own minds," that the Church in which they exercise their ministry has all the marks of a branch of the true Church, to make them have a thought or wish beyond it. And I see nothing in a few sad cases which have occurred of late, to make me change my opinion. [14/15] When persons of not very strong minds find that extreme opinions on one side are erroneous, they commonly run into those of an opposite description; when they have made the discovery that Calvinism is unsafe ground to stand upon, they conclude that Romanism is the only thing which can afford them the sure footing they require. The Puritans believed, that the contradictory of popery was purity of faith; this of course was a great error, and has been refuted; but error is multiform, and the danger now is, lest persons who have originally been leavened with puritanical tenets, should, on finding their error, rush to the other extreme, and take it for granted that what is nearest to popery is nearest to truth. My fears, however, as I have already observed, are not with respect to the Clergy, but to the rising generation. The religious movement of the last ten years has been gradual; those who have most contributed to it, seem rather to have been led on from one opinion to another, than to have seen from the first whither they would advance, or to have started with any definite system. We, therefore, my Reverend Brethren, have had more opportunity to view things calmly and dispassionately. But with respect to young persons, this can hardly be said to be the case. With all the impetuosity and self-confidence of youth about them, reckless of consequences, and full of exaggerated notions of the right of private judgment, they find themselves in the midst of a controversy, which has brought many older persons, persons of the highest talents and deepest religious feelings, into a miserable state of doubt and disquietude. They see on all sides a spirit at work which nothing human can quell; there [15/16] is a desire for unity and Catholic privileges which interests them; and they observe the persecuting and unchristian spirit in which many act and write who oppose themselves to the present movement. With the generosity which is natural to their time of life, they are disposed to take part with those whom they think hardly treated; and then, perhaps, in place of giving themselves up to the Church system, and so becoming practically better than they were before--humble, diffident, self-disciplined, thankful for the blessings they possess, they become mere talkers, perhaps even irreverent declaimers, on subjects which are too hard for them, or which at any rate they are too ignorant, if not too shallow, to view in all their bearings. Meanwhile Rome has her eye upon them, and adapting herself to their tone of mind, represents her creed, not as it is, but as they wish it to be; she keeps what is essentially popish as much as possible in the back ground, brings what is Catholic prominently forward, and so in the end wins them over to her side, because they are too impatient to learn that the "middle way" of truth, the way of the English Church, is as far removed from popery on the one side, as from Puritanism on the other.

I must therefore exhort you, my Rev. Brethren, that as on all other accounts, so especially on this, you extend at the present time a double measure of care and watchfulness towards the younger members of your flock. If, with me, you believe that there is an almost incalculable amount of error and superstition in the Church of Rome; if, with me, you believe that she has not altered one jot or tittle of her ancient character; if, with [16/17] me, you believe her to be as subtle, as dangerous, and as false as she has ever been, as shameless a perverter of the truth, and as cruel a persecuter; if, with me, you feel that any attempt at union with her, while she is what she is, to be deprecated utterly, and that all concession must come from her, and not from us; if, with me, you have (because you know her real character) a deep and increasing dread of her workings and artifices; if, with me, you look upon her as schismatical and anti-christian; if, with me, you feel that our own Church is pure in doctrine, apostolical in ministry, and that, if a man will live as our Prayer-book would have him live, he will not miss his salvation; you will be more than ever zealous to keep those who have been baptized among us within our pale. You will leave nothing undone, which a sense of your tremendous responsibility, which your feelings of devotedness and affectionateness can suggest, towards preserving those of your flocks who are most exposed to them from the perils of those dangerous days.

With this view you will take care that so far as in you lies, none shall have it in their power to say, that they sought Rome because their own mother withheld from them the spiritual sustenance which they needed, or because they were discouraged from living (instead of being encouraged to live) according to the system prescribed in the Prayer-book. Let the slovenly method, in which Divine offices have perhaps in some places been performed heretofore, cease at once and forever in all. Let our Churches be no longer left to damp or dilapidation, but meet as far as we can make them so, for the presence of him [17/18] who promised to come among us there and bless us. Above all, let the ministration of the blessed sacraments be duly and reverently performed; the one no longer solemnized out of its proper place in the service, the other more frequently administered. I well know that we have been so long neglectful, that our people have ceased to value much that we could restore to them; and it will only be when we have taught them to look on attendance upon the ordinances of religion as a blessing and a privilege, as well as a duty, that we can bring them back to the habits and feelings of a better day; and this can only be done gradually--most gradually, and in the exercises of that sound discretion, which prefers slow, but sure advance, to that more rapid and excited movement, which is sure ere long to halt and linger, and is not rarely forced to retrace its steps. Two services on the Sunday where hitherto there has been but one, the observance of the festivals Lent and Passion week, and, as opportunity may offer, of Ember and Rogation days, may, in due time, bring us back to the restoration of the daily service. The Church fasts kept will accustom men to habits of self-denial; and we may hope that luxury will diminish and alms-giving increase. The Offertory will not then as now, be almost a mockery of offering; not, as now, rarely read, but regularly and largely contributed to. In a word, let the teaching of the Church and her holy practices as a Church be systematically brought forward, taking care, of course, all the while, that an exaggerated and undue importance is not given to externals, that to use the language of a popular writer, the Church be not set in the place of the Saviour; such a nearer [18/19] approximation, in short, year by year, to the system prescribed by our Prayer-book will, I am confident, produce a vast increase of piety, devotion and charity among us; and those Catholic aspirations and longings, which we hear of as now seeking relief irregularly and inadequately, are looking towards other communions, will find safe and sufficient vent in our own.

Be sure there is at this time an expansive principle within us which can no longer be pent up with safety. If you attempt to repress it, an explosion, the limits of whose destructive force none can tell, will inevitably follow. But we have a safety valve ready provided in the Church system, which, if only properly used, will yet bear us harmless. As for those, the success of whose system would be to drive their brethren into secession, it seems to me that they little know "of what spirit they are." The opinions they dislike may or may not be true; that is a point on which men may differ to the end of time; but it cannot be well to condemn rashly and rancorously what has been held, in whole or in part, by such men as Bull, and Beveridge, and Andrews, and Hooker, and Taylor, and Jackson, and a host besides of those who in their days were, and are still, the soundest divines of the Church of England. It cannot be wise to seek to expel from the bosom of that Church men who love her with no common love, and seek to serve her with no ordinary devotion.

And while I thus warn you of the manner in which, without doing anything hastily, unadvisedly, or without due intimation of your intentions to myself, you may, each in his own sphere, render our Church system more [19/20] accordant in practice with what she is in theory, I trust it is unnecessary to remind you how needful it has become that your studies should be directed to the subjects which agitate the public mind; and I am confident that whatever views you espouse, you will not condemn without reading and making yourselves acquainted with the real opinions of those from whom you differ. Still less, I trust, is it needful that I should remind you to arm yourselves with sound weapons of defence against the assaults of Rome. If ever there was a case in which weak arguments, illogical conclusions, incorrect statements, and a "little knowledge," were dangerous, it is in that contest. Our opponents are no unskilful controversialists; and they desire nothing better than an antagonist whose notions of Popery are gathered from the declamation of popular orators at the public meetings of the day.

Nor, while I speak of your studies, must I omit one caution with respect to yourselves; namely, that if the Church is ever to be what all confess she might be among us, and all declare they wish her to be, her priesthood must be examples in prayer, in holiness, in devotedness, in self-denial, in taking up the cross of Christ crucified. They must live as men who, in the words of St. Paul, "though troubled on every side, are yet not distressed; though perplexed, yet not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the LORD JESUS, that the life also of Jesus may be manifest in their bodies."

In conclusion: I have little hope that what I have now said will escape misrepresentation. And to this, so far [20/21] as the world is concerned, I am quite prepared to submit. But you, my reverend brethren, who can appreciate and sympathise in the difficulties which it has pleased God to lay on those who hold high office in the Church, will know that what has been spoken has not been uttered with the view of either supporting or depressing any man or set of men. But the same vows which bind me with all faithful diligence to banish and drive away all erroneous doctrines, and to encourage others to do the same, bind me likewise to maintain and set forward quietness, peace, and love among all men, and to restrain the unquiet and disobedient.

And seeing the grievous want of charity which has prevailed among us, I have felt it my duty to condemn those who have set themselves forward as gratuitous agitators and unbidden accusers of their brethren. I am no lover of error, and would show it no favour; but while the world stands there must be points on which good men will differ; and so long as those points and differences do not contravene our Prayer-book and the formularies of the Church, it seems to me that one set of opinions has the right to expect toleration as the other. Believe me, that what we most need is peace--peace, in order that the Church may "lengthen her cords and strengthen her stakes," and provide spiritual sustenance for her population, rapidly heathenising through want of religious instruction--peace, in order that her parochial system may be once more made adequate to the wants of her people--peace, in order that she may calmly prepare, not merely for any crisis of opinions among her own children, but [21/22] for that tremendous final contest between good and evil, to which all things seem hastening with rapidity.

Let us, therefore, avoiding the strifes of men, and "keeping ourselves pure," seek the Church's peace, "and ensure it." And let our daily prayer be, that of one who died a martyr in her cause, and whose blood was not shed in vain, "that God would fill her with all truth, in all truth with all peace; that where she is corrupt, our Heavenly Father would vouchsafe to purify her--where in error, to direct her--where superstitious, to rectify her--where anything is amiss in her, to reform it--where it is right, to strengthen and confirm it--where she is in want of anything, to furnish it--where she is divided and rent asunder, to make up the breaches of it." And then, my brethren, let the end be what it may, we shall not be unprepared to meet it. We shall perhaps even be made worthy to suffer for His sake who is the Church's Head and Lord, and when the strifes of this present world are ended, shall, through His merits alone, be admitted to those mansions which have been prepared from the foundations of the world for the peacemaker, the poor in spirit, the meek, the merciful, the pure in heart.

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