BIRMINGHAM: Midland Educational Company.
HARBORNE: B. Edmonds, Heath Road.
"The great day of account will alone show what frightful loss may then be sustained by Christian men, who whether in trade or in the ministry, have stifled their convictions, or evaded the formation of any, by turning away from the consideration of subjects which they ought to have investigated, simply lest inconvenient conclusion should be forced upon them. Alas, there are yet too many ways in which the birthright may be sold for a mess of pottage."
"Schism is a sin by Apostolic authority. Separation from Schism is a duty by Apostolic example. Separation from his particular Schism is a sin according to each Canonist. The Greek Church denounces the Church of Rome as a Schism and claims the title ' Holy Orthodox.' The Church of Rome denounces all other Churches as Schisms and claims the title 'Catholic' The Pan-Anglican Church denounces all Churches which separate from her as Schisms, and assumes the Title of 'The Church.' Schism in a Church is a sin. Separation from Schism is a duty."
TO THE PARISHIONERS OF EAST HARBORNE AND THE CONGREGATION WORSHIPPING IN ST. JOHN'S CHURCH.
My Dear Friends,
Matters of importance respecting doctrine and ritual have, as you are aware, been recently decided in our Ecclesiastical Courts. (Bennett and Ridsdale Cases.)
As an Evangelical Clergyman I cannot now accept all the legislative enactments of the Church of England as by Law established. The only reason which I can assign is--For Conscience sake.
My recent Lectures on the Book of Common Prayer (delivered in St. John's Church) render details unnecessary. [See Appendix.]
While I desire to love all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, yet I have been, and am, a Churchman, not only by birth and training, but also by conviction, therefore the sacrifice in severing official connection with my flock is to me very great.
I respect the law. I cannot conscientiously accept its interpretation. I cannot honourably evade its decision. Hence there remains for me but one course--Separation.
 I shall abandon my position with pain, yet feel thankful that I have the courage to act according to the standard of my belief.
My affection for the Church is unabated. My desire for its welfare is sincere. And I earnestly pray that every effort which it puts forth for God's glory and man's salvation may be crowned with abundant success.
Many, as evangelical and as honest as I am, may not act as I do. It is not my wish that my conduct should unduly influence others. To our own Master we stand or fall. " Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind."
True Churchmanship I love and admire. Sacerdotalism or Priestcraft I hate and deplore. Against these by lip, by pen, and now by the sacrifice of much privilege, I must continue to raise my calm but solemn protest.
I have the honor to rank amongst my acquaintances, and, indeed I may say, my friends, members of all "schools of thought," both in, and out of, the Church of England, and for the kindness and courtesy which I have ever received at their hands I do indeed feel grateful. My associations with others have taught me at times perhaps to most respect some from whom I have most widely differed.
By experience I have learnt that it is possible to love, nay impossible not to love, some with whose opinions I can have little sympathy.
Amidst all the differences of nations and of race, there is in men a common something found alike in all. So [4/5] amidst all the conflicting theories of the brain there is a common life where Jesus Christ is known and loved--a life or love which breaks through all barriers and bursts all human limits--the life or love of God in Christ shed abroad in the soul by the power of the Holy Ghost--a life or love which knits together in one the whole family of Jehovah, and forms--
"A chain, without beginning without end,
Which, in eternity,
Bound all God's children to Himself,
In bonds so indissoluble,
That, to eternity, they 're safe in Him."
While holding and preaching old-fashioned Evangelical truths--a whole Bible, the Word of God--a whole Saviour, the Revealer of God, and the Refuge for men--the Gospel, a Laver to cleanse us and a Lever to raise us, yet I have endeavoured honestly and in no party spirit to be loyal to the Church of my birth and choice, and in which for about fourteen years (since my ordination by the late Bishop Hamilton of Salisbury in September, 1863), it has been my great privilege to minister. I have preferred, and still prefer, its ecclesiastical form of Government, and its evangelical forms of worship; and if amongst you, my dear Parishioners, my feeble efforts have in any way tended to promote in its highest sense the union of Christians, and to bring together under the one Banner of Christ's gospel those who labor for Him under different denominational Standards, to Him must be ascribed all the praise.
And now, my dear Friends--all you who have so kindly assisted me in so many ways--who have laboured [5/6] with me in the Gospel: for all your services, so freely, so fully, and so liberally given--from my inmost heart I thank you; from my deepest soul I say, GOD bless you; and be assured, beloved Friends, that for everything done for Him He will bestow an abundant reward.
Your kindness for more than seven years leads me at once to let you know my resolve (arrived at after great searchings of heart) to return to the hands of the Bishop of this Diocese that solemn trust which, on the 15th December, 1869, he committed to me as Vicar of this Parish.
May our gracious God, not weighing our merits, but pardoning our offences, for His dear Son's sake, bless the good seed of His Word, which I have been permitted to sow, that it may bring forth much fruit to His praise and glory.
May Israel's Jehovah abide with you for ever. May heaven's richest blessing descend upon you all. And may "the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ."
So prays your faithful friend,
T. Huband Gregg, D.D., M.D.,
Vicar of East Harborne.
12th May, 1877.
 P.S.--Since the foregoing was written I have had the honor to receive (quite unexpectedly and altogether unsought for by me) a "cordial and unanimous invitation" to become the Incumbent of a Church and Congregation, the members of which have recently in a body ceased to worship in the Church of England as by Law Established.
That invitation I have cordially accepted (subject to the termination of my Ministry here). It is our intention to build, as soon as possible, a church where we shall have the privilege of using the old Liturgy which all Church people love, but without the Sacerdotalism which all Evangelical Church people deplore.
It is intended also to adopt a Revised Book of Common Prayer, differing from the present Book (in use in the Church of England), only in having everything of a Sacerdotal tendency carefully excluded. Thus, we shall not have either a new Book or a new Church, but we shall retain the old Book revised, and still belong to the DEAR OLD CHURCH reformed.
On Thursday Evening the Rev. T. Huband Gregg, D.D., M.D., Vicar of East Harborne, completed a series of ten lectures, which he has been giving weekly in his church, on "The Prayer Book: its Sources, Revisions, and Teachings." These lectures have been largely attended by members of different congregations and denominations. Although Dr. Gregg's liberal and Evangelical sentiments are well known, yet his object in his recent lectures has not been controversial but practical, namely--to let his hearers know not so much his own [7/8] opinions as those of the Church of England as taught in her official documents. He dwelt upon the changes in the various revisions in 1552, 1559, 1604, and 1662, showing that of these the Prayer Book of 1552 was the most Protestant and the present book the least so. He spoke fully and freely on the legal decisions which have been given both in matters of doctrine and of ritual; and he gave the Church's teaching on Baptismal Regeneration, Transelementation, Tactual Succession, Transmitted Grace, the "Real and Essential" Presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper, the Eucharistic Vestments, Altar Lights, the "Ornaments" Rubric, Ecclesiastical Colours, Auricular Confession, Priestly Absolution, &c. He explained that "Catholic" and Sacrificial doctrines are the aim of the so-called "Catholic party;" that they use all their external symbols, whether of dress or of ritual, for the purpose of teaching by the eye as well as by the ear; and he left upon the minds of his hearers the definite impression that, painful as it was for him to acknowledge it, yet endeavouring to view the subject fairly, Sacerdotalism and Ritualism are not, in his opinion, parasites attaching themselves as adjuncts to the Church, but the logical development or outgrowth of the teaching contained in the Church's formularies; that the Book of Common Prayer has ever been, and is, a compromise; that there are in it many elements of an anti-Protestant character; that having been revised to suit and include "Catholics," they ("Catholics") are now only using it for the very purpose for which its authors and revisers framed it; that so long as it is retained in its present form, Ritualism, Tractarianism, and Sacerdotalism cannot be "stamped out," but will continue to grow as surely as a seed produces a plant sui generis; and that while the Prayer Book remains as it is, the victory of Sacerdotalism, with the consequent downfall of Protestantism in the Church of England, is only a question of time. As an instance of the development of Ritualism, he mentioned the startling facts (taken from ''Guide to London Churches,") that in London alone Incense is burned in 18 churches, Eucharistic Vestments are used in 37, Candles on the Altar in 56, and in 139 the Eastward position is adopted--and all this under the eye of Archbishops, Bishops, Convocation, Lord Penzance, and the Church Association.