Christ Church, Oxford, Sept. 19, 1878.
My Brethren of the Clergy and Laity,
The Conference of Bishops which brought its labours to a close two months ago at Lambeth will render this year one of the most memorable in the annals of our Church. Such an assemblage is with out parallel in England. Never before have a hundred Bishops of the Anglican Communion, gathered from all parts of the world, met together in council. Never have I attended a more solemn and impressive ceremony than the concluding Service held in St. Paul's Cathedral, where the Bishops who had taken part in the deliberations assembled for the last time, to join in the highest act of Christian brotherhood and united worship. We should be thankful that the Conference has met, not only for the valuable work that has been done, but also for the noble example of true Christian unity which has been presented by the Church of England and her daughter Churches; and for the eloquent and irrefragable proof which has been given to the world of the great magnitude, the expansive power, the deep vitality, and true Catholicity of the Anglican Communion. Representatives of Churches from every corner of the earth to which our race has spread, [5/6] owning allegiance to different civil powers, nurtured in different outward circumstances, variously situated and diversely administered, some being connected with the State, some altogether separate, were seen to be in perfect accord on questions which have long agitated the minds of Christians. This harmony which is known to have marked our deliberations can hardly fail to strengthen the bonds of peace, if here and there of late years the peace of the Church has been imperilled. The voice with which the Conference has spoken is an unanimous voice. And so, too, the testimony which the different Bishops have borne to the general growth of spiritual life in their several Dioceses must surely prove a powerful incentive to energy, if energy has anywhere been lacking, in the service of our great Lord and Saviour. The thought that in the most distant lands to which our countrymen have found their way are to be seen sons and daughters of our Church furthering the cause of righteousness and enlightenment, and proclaiming God's message of mercy to a fallen world, must encourage us in our efforts to correct what is amiss, and to supply what is still defective.
From some of the letters which have been addressed to me respecting the Chaplaincies of the Church of England on the Continent of Europe and elsewhere, I gather that the true nature of this Conference, and the objects for which it was summoned, have not been universally understood. The suggestions which these letters contained, and which I was asked to lay before the Bishops, were in themselves very valuable; but the subjects with which they dealt were not within [6/7] the province of the Conference. The Conference was not a Council convened to settle matters of doc trine. It was not even a Synod of all the Anglican Churches. It had no legislative power. It was purely a deliberative or consultative body. Its object was to make provision for certain practical needs, to suggest remedies for certain practical evils. It is true that recent events rendered it desirable that the position which the Church of England maintains in regard to other Communions should be re-affirmed, and that certain false doctrines should once more be repudiated. But this was not the real purpose of the Conference. It is true also that the letter which the Conference has issued contains suggestions which may be adopted by the Legislative Assemblies of Colonial Churches in framing their constitutions. But the Conference was not in itself a legislative body; it had neither the power nor the desire to force any society into an acceptance of those suggestions which it has published. Nevertheless, as these suggestions, which originally were the work of Committees appointed to consider certain definite subjects, were adopted ultimately by the unanimous voice of the assembled Bishops, and therefore possess the authority of the whole Conference, we can hardly doubt that they will receive the attention of the various Synods and other governing powers in the several Churches, and of all the faithful throughout the world, to whom they are commended. (Appendix, 1.) It is not my purpose in this letter to review the Address which the Conference has issued: it would be great presumption in me to attempt such a task. My purpose is simply to call your attention to certain [7/8] parts of it which especially affect ourselves in our work among members of our Church on the Continent. If you read the Address, you will see that, while with some portions of it we are only concerned so far as this, that whatever affects any part of the Anglican Communion, in a greater or less degree affects us all, other portions were intended for our selves directly and exclusively.
Before I speak on those parts of the Address with which we are exclusively concerned, I will say a word on one or two matters with which it deals, and which are of great interest to us all at the present time.
As you are aware, the peace of the Church has lately been much disturbed by diversities in the mode of conducting public worship. Though such diversities have been justly pronounced to be in significant in comparison with the eternal verities of our religion, yet as they have been found to cause disquiet and to endanger unity, they cannot be set aside as being of no account. As the Bishops were expected to speak some words of advice on this subject, great dissatisfaction would have been felt, and justly felt, if no reference had been made to it, and no kindly counsel given. The passages which bear upon the subject are the following:--
"Together with this unity, however, there has existed among these Churches that variety of custom, discipline, and form of worship which necessarily results from the exercise by each 'particular or national Church' of its right 'to ordain, change, and abolish ceremonies or rites of the Church ordained only by man's authority, so that all things be done to edifying.' We gladly acknowledge that there is at present a no real ground for anxiety on account of this [8/9] diversity; but the desire has of late been largely felt and expressed, that some practical and efficient methods should be adopted, in order to guard against possible sources of disunion in the future, and at the same time further to manifest and cherish that true and substantial agreement which exists among these increasingly numerous Churches."--(Pp. 10, 11.)
"Your Committee, believing that, next to oneness in 'the Faith once delivered to the saints,' communion in worship is the link which most firmly binds together bodies of Christian men, and remembering that the Book of Common Prayer, retained as it is, with some modifications, by all our Churches, has been one principal bond of union among them, desire to call attention to the fact that such communion in worship may be endangered by excessive diversities of ritual. They believe that the internal Unity of the several Churches will help greatly to the union of these one with another. And, while they consider that such large elasticity in the forms of worship is desirable as will give wide scope to all legitimate expressions of devotional feeling, they would appeal, on the other hand, to the Apostolic precept that 'all things be done unto edifying,' and to the Catholic principle that order and obedience, even at the sacrifice of personal preferences and tastes, lie at the foundation of Christian unity, and are even essential to the successful maintenance of the Faith."--(Pp. 17, 18.)
"They cannot leave this subject without expressing an earnest hope that Churchmen of all views, however varying, will recognise the duty of submitting themselves, for conscience sake, in matters ritual and ceremonial, to the authoritative judgments of that particular or national Church in which, by God's Providence, they may be placed; and that they will abstain from all that tends to estrangement or irritation; and will rather daily and fervently pray that the Holy Spirit may guide every member of the Church to 'think and do always such things as be rightful,' and that He may unite us all in that brotherly charity which is 'the very bond of peace and of all virtues.'"--(Pp. 18, 19.)
 "The principles on which the Church of England has reformed itself are well known. We proclaim the sufficiency and supremacy of the Holy Scriptures as the ultimate rule of faith, and commend to our people the diligent study of the same. We confess our faith in the words of the ancient Catholic creeds. We retain the Apostolic order of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. We assert the just liberties of particular or national Churches. We provide our people, in their own tongue, with a Book of Common Prayer and Offices for the administration of the Sacraments, in accordance with the best and most ancient types of Christian faith and worship. These documents are before the world, and can be known and read of all men. We gladly welcome every effort for reform upon the model of the Primitive Church. We do not demand a rigid uniformity; we deprecate needless divisions; but to those who are drawn to us in the endeavour to free themselves from the yoke of error and superstition we are ready to offer all help, and such privileges as may be acceptable to them and are consistent with the maintenance of our own principles as enunciated in our formularies."--(Pp. 35, 36.)
"Considering unhappy disputes on questions of ritual, whereby divers congregations in the Church of England and elsewhere have been seriously disquieted, your Committee desire to affirm the principle that no alteration from long-accustomed ritual should be made contrary to the admonition of the Bishop of the Diocese."--(P. 40.)
This last recommendation, as you will observe, is in agreement with the rubric concerning the services of the Church in the Book of Common Prayer:--
"And forasmuch as nothing can be so plainly set forth, but doubts may arise in the use and practice of the same; to appease all such diversity (if any arise) and for the resolution of all doubts, concerning the manner how to understand, do, and execute, the things contained in this Book; the parties that so doubt, or diversely take any [10/11] thing, shall alway "resort to the Bishop of the Diocese, who by his discretion shall take order for the quieting and appeasing of the same; so that the same order be not contrary to any thing contained in this Book. And if the Bishop of the Diocese be in doubt, then he may send for the resolution thereof to the Archbishop."
The recommendation is also in agreement with Resolutions passed by the Upper and the Lower Houses of the Convocation of the Province of Canterbury, and by the Convocation of the Province of York, 1867. (Appendix, 2.)
There is another matter which has of late caused much anxiety, and on which therefore it was deemed expedient to speak a word of advice and caution. On the subject of Confession the Address contains this passage:--
"Further, having in view certain novel practices and teachings on the subject of Confession, your Committee desire to affirm, that in the matter of Confession the Churches of the Anglican Communion hold fast those principles which are set forth in the Holy Scriptures, which were professed by the Primitive Church, and which were re-affirmed at the English Reformation; and it is their deliberate opinion that no minister of the Church is authorized to require from those who may resort to him to open their grief a particular or detailed enumeration of all their sins, or to require private confession, previous to receiving the Holy Communion, or to enjoin or even encourage the practice of habitual confession to a Priest, or to teach that such practice of habitual confession, or the being subject to what has been termed the direction of a Priest, is a condition of attaining to the highest spiritual life. At the same time, your Committee are not to be understood as desiring to limit in any way the provision made in the Book of Common Prayer for the relief of troubled consciences."--(P. 41.)
 You will notice that these words, while they distinctly condemn certain views and practices, evince no desire to withhold or abridge any of those spiritual consolations which the Word of God and His Church allow, within prescribed limits, to distressed consciences. There is no interference with the direction in the Prayer-Book, that, whenever the Holy Communion is to be celebrated, proclamation should be made that any one who cannot quiet his own conscience by self-examination and prayer, should resort to a clergyman for ghostly counsel and advice, or with the direction in the Service for the Visitation of the Sick, that "the sick person should be moved to make a special confession of his sins, if he feel his conscience troubled with any weighty matter." With the provision made in our Prayer Book for persons who in these exceptional cases voluntarily seek relief the Conference had no wish, as it certainly had no authority, to interfere. The liberties of such persons are respected. The door of comfort remains open.
You will further observe that on this subject the mind of the Conference was entirely at one with the mind of the Bishops of the Province of Canterbury, as expressed in their Report, presented July 23, 1873; with which Report the Lower House of the Convocation of the Southern Province, and the Convocation of the Northern Province have expressed their general concurrence. (App. 3.)
Some of you, my reverend brethren, have from time to time applied to me for advice upon this most important subject. Persons who had been taught elsewhere the practice of habitual Confession had [12/13] asked you to hear their Confession before they at tended the Holy Communion. Such persons should, of course, be addressed kindly, tenderly, and affectionately: they should be shewn what the teaching of the Church of England really is in this matter. But, while you give them that assistance or comfort which they require, if they have any special and pressing burden on the conscience, you should endeavour so to help them, that your help may be less and less needed: you should teach them to lean blindly upon no man, but to think, resolve, and act for themselves; to apply the principles of their religion according as their own consciences, under the guidance of God's Holy Spirit, may direct; and gradually to acquire that manly intelligence, courage, strength, and self reliance, which are characteristic of Englishmen, and which our Church, when true to herself, has the privilege of fostering.
At the Conference of Bishops holden at Lambeth our attention was drawn more than once by the American and the Colonial Bishops to the importance of giving commendatory letters to members of our congregations who leave England to settle in other countries. We were told that many an Englishman, who had been received into our Church at his baptism, and had been trained at home as one of her members, on landing at some port in America or in the Colonies, would often fall into the hands of persons who would persuade him to leave the Church of his early days, and join some alien community. With the view of keeping such persons true to the Church of their childhood, the Committee made the following recommendation, to which I invite your attention, if [13/14] at any time, as seems to me not unlikely to be the case, members of your congregations should be leaving you for distant lands, and you should think them suitable persons to be furnished with such commendatory letters. The words of the Committee are:--
"They would urge yet more emphatically the importance of letters commendatory being given by their own clergy men to members of their flocks going from one country to another. And they consider it desirable that the clergy should urge on such persons the duty of promptly presenting these letters, and should carefully instruct them as to the oneness of the Church in its Apostolical constitution under its varying organization and conditions.
"It may not, perhaps, be considered foreign to this subject, to suggest here the importance of impressing upon our people the extent and geographical distribution of our Churches, and of reminding them, that there is now hardly any part of the world where members of our Communion may not find a Church one with our own in faith, order, and worship."--(P. 15.)
In regard to a Day of Intercession for Missions to the Heathen, the Conference adopted the following recommendation of the Committee which dealt with the subject:--
"Remembering the blessing promised to united intercession, and believing that such intercession ever tends to deepen and strengthen that unity of His Church for which our Lord earnestly pleaded in His great intercessory prayer, your Committee trust that this Conference will give the weight of its recommendation to the observance, throughout the Churches of this Communion, of a season of prayer for the unity of Christendom. This recommendation has been, to some extent, anticipated by the practice adopted of late years of setting apart a Day of Intercession for Missions. [14/15] Your Committee would by no means wish to interfere with an observance which appears to have been widely accepted, and signally blessed of God. But, as our Divine Lord has so closely connected the unity of His followers with the world's belief in His own Mission from the Father, it seems to us that intercessions for the enlargement of His Kingdom may well be joined with earnest prayer that all who profess faith in Him may be one flock under one Shepherd. With respect to the day, your Committee have been informed that the Festival of St. Andrew, hitherto observed as the Day of Intercession for Missions, is found to be unsuitable to the circumstances of the Church in many parts of the world. They, therefore, venture to suggest that, after the present year, the time selected should be the Tuesday before Ascension Day (being a Rogation Day), or any of the seven days after that Tuesday; and they hope that all the Bishops of the several Churches will commend this observance to their respective Dioceses."--(Pp. 16, 17.)
As the day here recommended by the Committee is now past, I hope that for this year one of the days recommended by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the following letter, may be observed in the churches under my superintendence:--
"It is generally known that the Bishops from all parts assembled in Conference at Lambeth agreed to recommend Tuesday before Ascension Day as on the whole the most suitable to be observed by all the branches of our Church as a Day of Intercession for Foreign Missions after the present year. A desire has been expressed in England that the present year should not be allowed to pass without a Day of Intercession; and I venture to suggest that, for this year only, Saturday, 30th November, or any of the following seven days, may be observed for that purpose.
"It will doubtless be remembered that the Church in Tinnevelly has already made the unprecedented accession [15/16] of 20,000 souls to the Church a subject of public thanks giving. Nor does this event stand alone as an indication that the hearts of the people of India are turning to God. We cannot but regard this as a special reason for our thanksgivings and prayers this year.
"I have reason to hope that the day will be generally observed in England; and it will greatly add to the solemnity of the occasion, as well as strengthen our unity in Christ, if our brethren throughout the world will unite in prayer with us."
Let me now turn to matters which more particularly concern yourselves, as Chaplains to congregations of the Church of England in foreign countries, or as members of such congregations. The position which our Chaplaincies occupy is full of anomalies. If all Christians belonged to the same communion, all worshipped according to the same forms, and all spake the same language, such Chaplaincies would not be needed; they are a necessary result of our divisions in doctrine, in ritual, and in language. You know their historical origin. The earliest were established very shortly after the Reformation in connection with our embassies and factories. Our ambassadors and merchants living in Roman Catholic countries found that, unless they renounced the Church to which, they belonged, they were debarred from the ordinances of religion. With the view of securing for these persons the free enjoyment of their religious advantages, our Government demanded of foreign Governments that British subjects abroad should be allowed the privilege of worshipping according to the forms of the Church of England in chapels attached to our embassies and to certain factories, such notably as those of the Levant Company. The [16/17] object which our Government had in view was two fold: first, it desired to affirm the general principle that British subjects on the Continent should have the free use of their religious rights and privileges; and secondly, it was anxious to prevent them from falling away to Romanism, or to any other foreign communion; for it wished that all British subjects, both at home and abroad, should conform loyally to the doctrines and discipline of the National Church as they had lately been settled by the Canons and by the rubrics of our Liturgy. These British congregations were placed under the Bishop of London as their Diocesan, by order of the King in Council in the reign of Charles I., during Laud's episcopate. This system lasted till 1825, when, the Levant Company, which had liberally maintained some of these Chaplaincies, such as that at Smyrna and Leghorn, having been recently dissolved, an Act of Parliament was passed making provision for the support of Chaplaincies in places where British Consuls were established. This Act caused a considerable increase in the number of our foreign Chaplaincies. Though some of the provisions of the Act are open to criticism, it has rendered good service to our Church by maintaining Chaplaincies in places where, but for the grant, Chaplaincies could not have been maintained. The Act was partially repealed four years ago. The Parliamentary Grant was thus lost by most of the Consular Chaplaincies, by five for example in this Diocese, namely, Oporto, Lisbon, Madeira, Nice, and Genoa. Naples and the Azores had forfeited the grant previously, in consequence of disputes between the congregations and [17/18] their Chaplains. The grant, though much diminished in amount, was continued for the present in a few places, such as Malaga, Marseilles, and Trieste, which contain a considerable number of British sailors, who are rightly regarded by Parliament as having exceptional claims for help; Corfu, which has special rights from the connection which it formerly enjoyed with this country; and Leghorn and Smyrna, which have also special rights bequeathed to them by the Levant Company. When the Consular Act was repealed, the vested interests of the Chaplains to some extent were respected; but in many places the tie which had long connected the Church abroad with our Government at home was abruptly broken, and our congregations found themselves suddenly left dependent upon their own resources. Various circumstances during late years have increased the number of British Chaplaincies abroad. The facilities which steam and railways give to Englishmen for gratifying the desire of travelling abroad, and to invalids for escaping, during winter and spring, from the fogs and cold winds of England to warmer and sunnier lands, have given birth to many a new Chaplaincy, and to many a pretty church, in which English tourists and English invalids may worship according to the forms of their Church at home. Wherever Englishmen go, they like to take their Church with them, as is known to every hotel keeper, who finds that if he would attract the English to his hotel, it is essential that he should provide them with a place of public worship. What ever may be the case with our countrymen at home, there can be no doubt that abroad they are a church [18/19] going people. The number of our Chaplaincies had so largely multiplied, that in 1842 it was thought desirable to withdraw a portion of them from the charge of the Bishop of London, and to establish a new Episcopal See. In that year, accordingly, the Bishopric of Gibraltar was created through Letters Patent. The spiritual superintendence originally as signed to the Bishop of Gibraltar was limited to English Churches in the islands of the Mediterranean and in the countries adjoining the Mediterranean; but in 1869, at the request of the Bishop, this superintendence was extended to the English Churches throughout Spain and Portugal, on the coast of Morocco, and in the Canary Islands, and also to those on the shores of the Black Sea, and on the Lower Danube.
If any of you are particularly interested in this subject, you will find a more minute account in the "Church Quarterly Review" of January last. The short sketch which I have here given shews that, if our presence in foreign Dioceses be an intrusion, it is one which, the exigencies of the case fully justify. The Church of England has established these Chaplaincies, because without them our countrymen abroad would be destitute of the Sacraments and other ordinances of religion. They are established in an Episcopal form, because at home we are Episcopalians, and not Congregationalists or Independents. It is not the way of our Church to leave each congregation free to do exactly what seems good in its own eyes. Our congregations in England are subject to episcopal supervision; and it has been deemed desirable by the Church of England that the same system [19/20] should be extended to her congregations abroad. All who are acquainted with the history of the Church Catholic are aware that from early times it has been a recognised principle, that a Church may provide for its own members in foreign parts, by supplying them with places in which they can worship according to rites in use at home, and in a language which they understand; and, moreover, may commission a bishop or bishops to superintend such churches. The Russian, Greek, Armenian, and Roman Churches, have long acted upon this universally acknowledged principle. Even if all Christian people were in communion with one another, so long as we spake different languages, and used different rites, we should form ourselves into separate congregations, and should require separate places of worship. The existence of such separate congregations is no breach of ecclesiastical usage, so long as they are under duly-constituted authority. The only change in this matter which the union of Christendom would produce, would be that, before establishing any such congregation in a foreign country, we should put ourselves in communication with the ecclesiastical authorities of that country, in place of following the independent course which our unhappy divisions at present necessitate. It should be remembered that the Chaplaincies which the Church of England maintains abroad are not for the purpose of making converts among the members of other Christian communities. Our work is strictly confined to our own people. It involves no interference with other national Churches, whether Greek, or Roman, or Protestant. If British Chaplains under take any duties among members of other Christian [20/21] Societies, they undertake such work as individuals, on their own personal responsibility, and not in their capacity as Chaplains, holding an episcopal licence.
In saying this, I am passing no judgment upon the lawfulness or the duty of maintaining missions of this nature. The usurpations and corruptions of the Church of Rome, and the novel doctrines promulgated by its authority, may make such missions not only lawful, but obligatory. They certainly, as it seems to me, would justify us in giving sympathy, counsel, and help, to such persons as are forced by them to forsake the Church of their childhood for a Communion possessing a purer, and more reasonable faith and worship. All that I mean by the foregoing observation is this, that such duties form no part of that particular work for which Chaplaincies have been established by the Church of England in foreign lands.
One of the subjects referred to a Committee by the Conference held at Lambeth, was "the position of Anglican Chaplains and Chaplaincies on the continent of Europe and elsewhere." The Committee carefully considered the matter, and agreed to certain recommendations, which were unanimously adopted by the Conference. The first of these is on the subject of episcopal licences. It runs thus:--
"It is highly desirable that Anglican congregations, on the Continent of Europe and elsewhere, should be distinctly urged not to admit the stated ministrations of any clergyman without the written licence or permission of the Bi shop of the Anglican Communion who is duly authorized to grant it; and that the occasional assistance of strangers should not be invited or permitted without some satisfactory [21/22] evidence of their ordination and character as clergymen."--(P. 31.)
During the Episcopate of my predecessors there occurred cases which shewed the necessity of this, or some such regulation. Clergymen who from loss of character were unable to obtain ministerial duty at home were found to be in the habit of establishing Chaplaincies abroad. To prevent this scandal, a circular was issued from the Foreign Office, at the instance of the authorities of our Church, in 1866, to Her Majesty's Diplomatic Representatives, authorizing them to request the Governments of those countries to which they were accredited, not to allow any person to officiate as a Chaplain of the Church of England unless he could produce the licence of the Bishop of London, or of the Bishop of Gibraltar. The vast improvement which has taken place of late years in our Chaplaincies abroad is due, in some measure, to the observance of this regulation respecting licences. It has raised the character of these Chaplaincies from that state of inefficiency and dead ness into which many had fallen during the wars which afflicted Europe in the last and at the beginning of the present century.
But this regulation serves other purposes besides that of protecting congregations from the intrusion of Chaplains whose characters are doubtful, or are beyond the reach of congregations to test. It is a principle of every Episcopal Church, that whenever one of its Ministers is appointed to a cure of souls, before he enters upon the duties of his office, he should obtain Episcopal sanction. A clergyman is not authorised by the general Commission given to [22/23] him at his Ordination to form a congregation, and to perform the public duties of his office wherever he pleases. For every separate charge which he under takes, he requires a special licence from that Bishop who is duly authorised to superintend the congregation to which he seeks to be accredited. As I have already stated, one of the reasons why these Chaplaincies were originally established and placed under Episcopal supervision, was to keep English congregations abroad in conformity with the doctrine and ceremonial of our Church at home. Now, the only way in which a Bishop of our Church in a foreign country can maintain such conformity, if it be neglected in any congregation under his supervision, is through the licence which he grants to Chaplains on their appointment, and through the promise of Canonical obedience which that licence involves. Anglican Bishops on the Continent have no coercive jurisdiction. My predecessors, indeed, had such jurisdiction over the clergy of the Church of England in the colonies of Gibraltar and Malta conferred on them through their letters patent. But these letters patent have been revoked. The authority which the Bishop of this See now possesses is purely of a moral, voluntary, or consensual character. It cannot be enforced by law. But you must not suppose that, if I regret for any reason the revocation of these letters patent, I desire a change in the character of the authority possessed by Anglican Bishops abroad. No loyal Churchman will pay less regard to the authority which the Church of England has given to her Bishops on the Continent, because such authority cannot be enforced in a court of law. It should be [23/24] remembered, also, that the licence entails responsibilities on the Bishop who grants it, no less than on the Chaplain who receives it at his hands. When a Bishop gives his licence to a clergyman, he becomes in a manner responsible for the character of the Services which the clergyman holds. It is an important function of a Bishop's office to secure that the laws and discipline of the Church be observed in the congregations under his supervision. While he should in no way curtail the liberty which our Church so wisely allows to her Clergy and people, it is his duty to see that this liberty be restricted within the bounds of such principles and rules as the Church has prescribed. Even if he had the desire, he certainly has not the power, to sanction usages abroad which are not sanctioned at home.
But the licence serves one further purpose. Not only is it a protection to the congregations, it is also a protection to the Chaplains. It lessens that dependence which makes the position of a Chaplain in foreign parts contrast so unfavourably with the permanent and independent position of an Incumbent in England. It is a guarantee to the Chaplain who has received it, that the Chaplaincy which he holds is secure so long as he retains his licence. It is also a pledge to him, that while the temporal affairs of the Chaplaincy which he serves may be conducted by a Committee of the congregation, or of some Society in England, all spiritual matters are his province; and that, though he would be wise never to make changes in the mode of conducting public worship without the approval of his congregation, his Diocesan is the person to whom, in all such matters, he [24/25] is responsible; and that, in case of any improper interference with him in this part of his duty, he may look to the Bishop, from whom he received his licence, as the upholder of his rights.
The other two recommendations made by this Committee in regard to Anglican Chaplaincies abroad concern our relation to American Episcopalians. The recommendations are,--
"That it is desirable, as a general rule, that two chapels should not be established where one is sufficient for the members of both Churches, American and English; also that where there is only one church or chapel the members of both Churches should be represented on the Committee, if any.
"That it be suggested to the Societies which partly support Continental Chaplaincies, that, in places where English and American Churchmen reside or visit, and especially where Americans outnumber the English, it may be desirable to appoint a properly accredited clergyman of the American Church."--(Pp. 31, 32.)
You will remember, perhaps, that on two previous occasions I have addressed you on this subject. The American Episcopal Church has six chapels on the continent of Europe at the present moment, namely, in Paris, Rome, Florence, Geneva, Dresden, and Nice. In these places separate Churches are probably required; but the erection of separate churches by Englishmen and Americans where they are not really needed is to be deprecated; they involve an unnecessary expenditure; they lessen the funds available for the support of Chaplaincies, and for the maintenance of suitable services and comely places of worship; and, as you are all aware, the funds which we have [25/26] at command cannot bear to be lessened. If, as I am afraid sometimes has been the case, English churches on the Continent have not been always as freely opened to Americans as to ourselves; if Americans have not always enjoyed the same privileges, or met with the same courtesy and attention as have been accorded to Englishmen; I hope that, for the future, the members of the two countries will be treated alike, and that we shall all, both Clergy and laity, endeavour to make Americans feel that when they worship in our English churches, they enjoy this advantage, not as a favour or indulgence, but as a matter of right. The Conference just closed at Lambeth has elicited many signs of the deep love and veneration which American Episcopalians entertain for their mother country and their mother Church. All who attended the conference must feel that, irrespective of any practical and useful counsels which it may have issued, it has done good service to the cause of religion and of our common brotherhood, by knitting the two Churches more closely together in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity. The American Bishops assure us that they carry back with them to their own country many a treasured memory of kindness received, new friendships formed, lessons of wisdom and zeal taught them by their English brethren. We of the old country can assure them in return, that whatever boons they may have received at our hands, they have amply repaid us by what we have gained from them. They have thrilled us by their eloquence, quickened us by their activity, emboldened us by their courage, widened our sympathies [26/27] by their large and tolerant charity. Now if it be our desire that these feelings of mutual affection and respect at present animating the hearts of the two sister countries should last, we have special opportunities of promoting this end through those Services of public and united worship at which Englishmen and Americans are accustomed to meet together in our churches abroad; and I hope that these opportunities may not be neglected.
The last subject with which this Committee dealt is of an entirely different nature from the preceding, and has no real connection with the work of Anglican Chaplains on the Continent. As those of you who have charge of British congregations in Spain and Portugal are aware, a considerable number of Priests and laymen in these countries, having been awakened to the corruptions of the Roman Catholic Church, and being convinced that an internal reformation of that Church in the Peninsula is impossible, have formed themselves into an independent Society, to which they have given the name of the "Spanish and Portuguese Reformed Episcopal Church." Though they call themselves Episcopal, they are such, as yet, only in name, principle, and desire. They have seen the evils of Congregationalism, and are anxious for reform on a primitive and Episcopal model. This movement has been in existence for ten years, and is conducted under the direction of a Society in England, called the "Spanish and Portuguese Church Missions." There exist in the Peninsula at present nine congregations, with four ordained, and five lay Ministers. The ordained Ministers were formerly Priests of the Roman Catholic Church. All the [27/28] congregations have schools in connection with them; they have adopted our parochial system of church wardens and vestries; and they use the Prayer-Book of the Church of England in their Services of Public Worship. In the Declaration which they have issued of their principles they express their belief that a Church framed, as regards both doctrine and discipline, upon the model of the Church of England is the best fitted for them, and the most likely to meet with wide and permanent success. They state, also, that the possession of the Episcopate would give them a far better position in relation to the Roman Catholic Church, and would draw into their ranks many who would, while alive to the corruptions of Rome, feel a strong objection to union with a Church which is not Episcopal. As is known to many of you, these Priests and congregations have more than once desired me to take them under my charge. Deeply as I sympathise with them in their work, and anxious as I am that the work may prosper, I have felt that I have neither that acquaintance with the Spanish and Portuguese character and language, nor that amount of time at my disposal, for making myself conversant with the circumstances of such Priests as have applied to me, or as may here after apply, which would justify me in taking upon myself so heavy a responsibility. But above all, in accepting this new charge I should be trespassing upon ground beyond my province, and entering upon work which might involve me in difficulties not unlikely to hamper me in the discharge of my own proper duties. My commission is very clearly and strictly defined, being limited to "British Churches, [28/29] Congregations, and Clergy of the Church of England." In the spring of this year these Spanish and Portuguese congregations addressed a memorial to the Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of England, praying them to consecrate a Bishop to preside over this reformed community, and expressing a desire that the person whom they might select should, if possible, be a clergyman of the Church of England, acquainted with the character of the people of the Peninsula, and able to speak both Spanish and Portuguese. The English Bishops, feeling the subject to be one of serious gravity, submitted it to the Conference of Anglican Bishops sitting at Lambeth, by whom it was referred to a Committee, which made the following recommendation:--
"Your Committee, having carefully considered a Memorial addressed to the Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of England by four Priests and certain other members of 'the Spanish and Portuguese Reformed Episcopal Church,' praying for the consecration of a Bishop, cannot but express their hearty sympathy with the Memorialists in the difficulties of their position; and, having heard a statement on the subject of the proposed extension of the Episcopate to Mexico by the American Church, they ven ture to suggest that, when a Bishop shall have been consecrated by the American Church for Mexico, he might be induced to visit Spain and Portugal, and render such assistance, at this stage of the movement, as may seem to him practicable and advisable."--(P. 32.)
Two years ago, I issued a Circular Letter to you, my brethren of the Clergy, in which I asked for information respecting various matters affecting the Chaplaincies which you serve. Most of you have [29/30] supplied me with the information which I sought, and for your answers I return you my sincere thanks. As a reminder to the few members of your body who have not as yet replied, a copy of the questions is appended to this Letter. (App. 4.) It is gratifying to find from the answers which I have received from you that our Chaplaincies abroad share that revival of spiritual life which has marked our Church at home during late years. Scandals have been removed; defects remedied; new Chaplaincies established; new and better churches built. If in some of the great cities on the Continent the edifices in which English men meet for Public Worship are still very unsightly, and deficient in all the external features of a church, it should be remembered that only during late years have Englishmen been allowed to erect in Roman Catholic countries places of worship having an ecclesiastical character. But I hope that before long the structures which at present provoke the unfriendly comments of travellers may give place to more suitable and more dignified edifices, such as those which I have lately had the privilege of consecrating in France, Greece, and Italy. In all the permanent Chaplaincies of the Diocese, I find, the Holy Communion is celebrated at least once a month and on the great Festivals; in most of them it is celebrated on every Sunday; and in a few there is on every Sunday an early celebration, besides the mid-day celebration, a celebration on other Holy Days, and a celebration, mainly for invalids, on some week-day, either every week, or every alternate week; in many of the winter Chaplaincies there is also daily Public Prayer. It is a rule in all the Chaplaincies connected with the [30/31] Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts that "the Holy Communion be celebrated every Sunday, either early in the morning or after the Morning Service, as may be found most convenient to the majority of persons desirous of communicating." Chaplains appointed by the Committee of the Colonial and Continental Society are informed that it is the desire of that Society, "that the Lord's Supper should be administered at least twice a month, on the first and third Sundays, and in the larger and more important stations weekly." Both these Societies are rendering important service in multi plying Chaplaincies, in maintaining order and discipline, in promoting decorum and reverence in the mode of conducting Public Worship, and in raising the general tone and character of ministerial work on the Continent. If in some of our churches the music or any other accessory of Public Worship falls short of the standard reached in our churches at home, we must remember that many of our Chaplaincies abroad are without the funds requisite for providing these accessories. English travellers are hardly aware of the serious difficulties and discouragements under which the ministrations of our Church are conducted in many foreign Chaplaincies; nor are they always alive to the obligations which they owe to the English residents, on whom principally devolves the expense of maintaining the services. If blemishes and defects are here and there observable, it is probably not zeal on the part of the Chaplains, nor zeal on the part of the English residents, that are at fault. If travellers really desire improvement, the remedy lies in their hands. They have only [31/32] to contribute more liberally to the offertory, and then their desire will be fulfilled. But though the difficulties which many of you have to meet in providing a decorous service are very great, I hope that none of you will allow these difficulties to damp your zeal, or prevent you from effecting improvements where such are wanted and are practicable.
It has been suggested to me that an attempt should be made to raise the position of the permanent Chaplaincies, and to render them more attractive. The withdrawal of the pecuniary help, until lately given by Parliament to the Consular Chaplaincies, makes this a suitable time for considering such a plan. The voluntary system, which now prevails, is felt to be by itself unsatisfactory. It renders the position of a Chaplain very dependent. The incomes which it provides are at once scanty and precarious. The plan suggested is to create a sustentation fund by means of subscriptions from persons interested in the work of the Church of England on the Continent, for the purpose of endowing such Chaplaincies as formerly enjoyed an income from the Foreign Office, together with others of a similar character. Such a fund would not be intended to relieve English residents abroad, or English travellers, from the duty of contributing to the support of the Chaplaincies in the places which they visit or in which they reside, but to supplement their contributions. The income which at present is at the disposal of the Societies is not sufficient to meet the outlay which this plan would involve. Whether the plan is feasible I leave it to you, my brethren of the laity, to consider. Anxious we must all be to render the position of Chaplains [32/33] more independent and more secure, and to relieve them from temporal anxieties which, in many cases, must severely try their spirits and deaden their enthusiasm; but I am afraid that in the circumstances they must unavoidably in a large measure depend on the voluntary system.
It appears from the returns which you have made to the Circular Letter that, owing to the peculiar conditions required by the law of some countries in regard to Trusts, the site, building, and other property of a considerable number of our churches abroad, are not as yet legally secured; and that in the case of those churches which have been legally conveyed, the trusts are of a very various and not always very satisfactory nature. To my question, "What is the legal tenure of the Church?" I have received the following answers, declaring the nature of the property, or the individuals or bodies in whom it is vested: "private property;" "freehold property registered at the British Consulate;" "a Corporation of British Merchants;" "the British Consul;" "the Consul and Church Committee for the time being;" "the English Government;" "the Church of England, Chaplain, and Church-Committee;" "the Church Committee for the time being;" "the Community of the Anglican Culte;" "the British Public who are members of the Church of England;" "Two Trustees;" "Five Trustees succeeding by election;" "One Trustee, with power to appoint his successor;" "the Colonial and Continental Society;" "the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts;" "the Lord Bishop of London." It is [33/34] possible that in all these cases the property, for practical purposes, may be secure; but in some, I believe that it is secure only so far as it is no person's interest to interfere.
The greatest difficulties in the way of legally se curing the property of our English churches abroad are encountered in France, where the law forbids Societies which have no trading qualification to hold property in trust. Trusts such as exist in England are not recognised by French law. Now it happens that the National Society fulfils the necessary condition, as being by its Charter of Incorporation a trading body. The question of its competence to undertake these trusts has been carefully considered by eminent lawyers, who have reported that there is no bar of any kind. But the terms of the Society's Charter, and the intentions of the subscribers, who have given their money solely to promote education in England, preclude the Society from incurring any pecuniary risk in accepting such a trust. The Society, therefore, requires that it should be relieved from all legal or other expenses connected with the conveyance; it requires, also, that it should be freed from all future liabilities in regard to repairs and taxes. It may not be probable, but it is not in conceivable, that a place in which a church had been erected might cease to be frequented by Englishmen, and so the church might be disused, and fall into disrepair. In such a case, the Society might be compelled to make good any defects in the edifice, or to pay certain local taxes. With the view of meeting this difficulty, a repair-fund might be set apart, and a clause inserted in the deed of conveyance, giving [34/35] the Society a right of sale in certain contingencies; or a body of trustees might be formed in England, which would enter into a contract with the Society, binding in English law, to defray the charges of repair and other necessary expenses. The property would be vested in a Society which fulfils the requirements of the French law, while this body of trustees would be formed in conformity with the requirements of English law; they would be persons interested in the particular church, and might have the disposal of the patronage, or at any rate a voice in its disposal. (App. 5.)
There are other Societies which hold in trust the property of English churches in France at the present moment; and these Societies are assured by their legal advisers that the property is safe in their hands. But as, in return for the trouble and liabilities which the management of trusts involves, these Societies claim the patronage, which, in some cases, it may be thought undesirable to place at their disposal, you may find it convenient to know that the National Society, whose legal competency to hold these trusts is indisputable, is willing to receive them; and, moreover, that it makes no claim in regard to patronage. The persons who built the church conveyed to the Society, would be left free to make any disposal of the patronage which they might think good.
The difficulties of finding legal and secure means of vesting in public hands the site and other property of English churches are fewer in Italy than in France. All that the Italian law requires is that the trust should be held by a corporation legally constituted [35/36] according either to Italian or to English law. The National Society, and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, having each a Charter, fulfil all the conditions required. And such formerly was the case with the occupants of my see, who, until the letters patent by which the see was created were revoked, constituted a Corporation Sole, or, in Italian phraseology, an Ente Morale,--a Corporation for religious or moral purposes.
It was the wish of the British congregations at Genoa and Palermo that their churches should be conveyed to the Bishop of Gibraltar, who, as being their Diocesan, seemed to be a suitable person to hold such property in trust; but owing to the revocation of the letters patent, I had no legal authority to undertake such a trust. The Bishop of London has kindly consented to hold in trust the English church at Genoa, after proper legal security had been given to save him and his successors from pecuniary liabilities. The patronage was left with the Bishop of Gibraltar. The conveyance has been recognised by Italian royal decree. The question as to the trust in the case of the English church at Palermo is not yet settled.
When the property of a church is vested in private trustees, as is the case with some of our churches in Italy, though the tenure may be practically secure, there is this inconvenience, that it becomes necessary to appoint a fresh trustee, and to pay a considerable fee, whenever a vacancy occurs.
From the returns which you have made to my enquiry respecting the registration of baptisms, marriages, and burials, I find that some of you have [36/37] not kept any register, and that in one or two cases baptisms solemnised abroad have been entered in some parish register in England. This course I believe to be illegal. It is of very grave moment that all English churches abroad should have proper registers; and that these registers should be carefully kept in an iron safe, either in the church, or in the Chaplain's house, if those places be secure, or, if the Consul will receive them, at the British consulate. When a baptism is performed in any remote place, it is desirable that, besides making an entry of it in the baptismal register, you should give a certified copy of the entry to the parents or other relatives of the child baptised, immediately after the Service. Neglect in keeping a proper register of baptisms may lead to serious embarrassment and loss. A certificate of Christian baptism, for example, is necessary to Ordination. No one can be admitted to Holy Orders in our Church, unless he produce such a certificate. And so, too, relatives might desire a certificate of a marriage having been ecclesiastically, as well as legally, solemnised. The certificate of the legal or civil ceremony would be obtained at the British Consulate, or at the General Registry at Somerset House. Relatives, again, might wish to have a certificate of Christian burial, as well as of decease. Every Minister performing the Burial Service ought to demand, just as in England, a certificate that the death has been registered, before he reads the Service. If in France a Minister performs the Service without such certificate, he is liable to a fine, Her Majesty's Consuls send registers of births, marriages, and deaths, to the General Registrar [37/38] at Somerset House. The Foreign Office sends to the London Registry at Doctors' Commons records of marriages solemnised at British Embassies. The registers kept at these places can be inspected, and certified copies of entries obtained. Many of the Chaplains under the superintendence of the Bishop of London are accustomed to send registers of baptisms, marriages, and burials to the London Registry at Doctors' Commons, where also, of course, they can be examined, and official copies or extracts procured. We ought to have some uniform system in this Diocese; and to this end I would ask such of you as have not a register in your churches to procure one without delay from Messrs. Day and Hassard, the Registrars of the Diocese, who kindly offer to supply registers and forms at cost price: and all of you I would ask to send copies of your registers year by year to the same quarter, 28, Great George-street, Westminster, whence they will be transmitted to the London Registry at Doctors' Commons. Most of you, on reading these suggestions, may consider them to be superfluous, as you already do all that can be required. You will pardon me for having made them, when you find that they are not superfluous in all cases.
In two Pastoral Letters which I have addressed to you I have dealt at considerable length with the work of the Church of England among sailors in the mercantile service. Since I drew your attention to this important subject, the Committee appointed by the Lower House of the Convocation of Canterbury to report upon the spiritual provision made for English seamen at home and in foreign [38/39] ports, has issued a very valuable Report, which I commend to your careful attention; this Report treats mainly of the work which is being done, or which ought to be done, at home. The Committee is now preparing a further Report on the subject of "our seamen in foreign ports, with a view of providing them with adequate spiritual ministrations when abroad." The Bishop Suffragan of Nottingham, who is Chairman of this Committee, has asked me to supply him with any such information on the subject as I may think likely to be of service to the Committee in preparing their further Report. Would those of you who have work among British sailors in foreign ports kindly enable me to comply with the request of the Bishop of Nottingham? He asks for information on the following points:--
"1. As to the spiritual needs of English Seamen frequenting any ports abroad with which you are acquainted.
"2. As to any efforts that are being made to promote spiritual life among our Seamen on ship-board, when in foreign ports.
"3. As to any work tending to encourage them to attend Divine Service when on shore.
"4. As to any other means adopted, or requiring adoption, to help our English Seamen in things spiritual, when on duty abroad."
If, as soon as you have time at your disposal, you will give me information on these or any other cognate matters, I shall be greatly obliged; and I will at once forward your communications to the Bishop of Nottingham, to be laid by him before this Committee of Convocation.
The improvement of the moral and religious condition of British sailors is one of the most urgent [39/40] that could enlist our sympathies, and employ our energies at the present time. Hitherto our sailors, who have made England the greatest naval power in the world, have hardly received the thought and interest due to them from the National Church of this country. Whatever work has been taken in hand to further their welfare, has been done by individuals or by Societies such as the Society for Missions to Seamen, the St. Andrew's Waterside Mission, and the Naval Church Society. But now that the cause of British seamen is being fully and carefully considered by Convocation, we may hope that attention will be generally awakened to the special and pressing claims which they have upon the Church of England, and that active steps will be soon taken to recover the influence which she may have lost among her sailor sons. (App. 6.)
The English community at Cannes, which shews a hearty and active interest in this as in all other good works, has been in the habit of subscribing very liberally for some years towards the maintenance of a Sailors' Club at Marseilles. Some months ago, I suggested that in a similar manner the English church at San Remo should contribute towards the work that is being done among British sailors at Genoa, and that the English churches at Rome and Florence should aid like work at Naples and Leghorn. The suggestions were adopted, and I hope that the system may be continued; and moreover, that if there be other English communities living near a sea-port where help is needed towards the support of Sailors' Homes, they too may aid such institutions by their interest, sympathy, and bounty.
The contributions which you have kindly made [40/41] to the Gibraltar Diocesan Spiritual Aid Fund, and the liberal help which has been given by the St. Andrew's Waterside Church Mission, have enabled me to establish Chaplaincies at Kadikeui, the ancient Chalcedon, and at Barcelona. The Chaplains at these places, besides performing the duties of their office on behalf of the British residents, minister to British seamen: the Chaplain at Kadikeui has under his charge the numerous sailors who visit the port of Constantinople. Two years ago I expressed the hope that a Chaplain might be appointed to our church at Sulina, with a commission to provide for the spiritual wants of the British sailors who enter the Danube, and from time to time to visit the small British communities at Galatz, Rustchuck, Kustendji, and other places on the Lower Danube. The immediate fulfilment of this hope was hindered by the war. You will be glad to learn that the pretty little English Church at Sulina suffered in no way during the late troubles and perils, but was fostered with most loving care by the few Englishmen there, and that portions of our Liturgy were read in the church every Sunday morning by the good Christian layman whom I had appointed to the office of Lay-reader. The English colony is very anxious to receive the regular ministrations of a clergyman; and I trust that you will help me to comply with this application, and also to promote work which elsewhere is needed among British sailors, through offertories given to the Diocesan Fund, and to the two excellent Societies, the St. Andrew's Waterside Church Mission, and the Society for Missions to Seamen. The St. Andrew's Waterside Mission is providing all the Levant [41/42] ports with books before the winter season begins. In addition to assistance liberally given in many other parts of the Diocese, it promises help at Malta and Cyprus; the Editor of "Church Bells" offers to support, through contributions from its readers, a Mediterranean Station of this Society. For this help I return my grateful acknowledgments.
Let me ask such of you as have charge of congregations in the large cities or towns on the Continent of Europe, to give your support to an Association called the Girls' Friendly Society. This Association has been formed for the benefit of girls of "the working classes." It consists of ladies as associates, and girls as members. The endeavour of the Association is to help young women when they leave home, by commending them to the notice of an associate in the place to which they are going, who would bring them into relation with the Clergy man, visit them when they are in sickness or in any special need, provide them with suitable books, hold classes for them where this is possible, watch over them, and befriend them in other ways as opportunity offered; taking care, in all cases, "not to interfere with the duty and privilege of their mistress to be their best friend, but, on the contrary, endeavouring to promote a feeling of unity between employers and employed." The Society, which has the sanction of the Archbishops and Bishops at home, aims at forming branch Associations in every Rural Deanery and in every large town in England. It appears to me that the work which the Society has in hand is especially wanted in the towns and cities of the Continent, where is to be found many a lonely [42/43] English girl who sorely needs that sisterly help and sympathy, which the Society seeks to provide. At Rome, Cannes, Nice, Genoa, and Marseilles, branch Associations have already been formed, under the direction of the English Chaplains in these places; and I hope that the work may spread. (App. 7.)
By the addition of Cyprus to the dependencies of the British Crown a new field has been opened to the enterprise, civilizing institutions, and beneficent influence of Englishmen. And I trust that in the work of improving the condition of the inhabitants the Church of England may take an early and active part. With great pleasure I find that the Church of England Temperance Society is addressing the Governor of Cyprus, on the introduction of intoxicating drinks into the island. In the Memorial which has been sent to me, the Society very rightly calls the attention of his Excellency to "the reproach which has been too often, and too justly, cast against England; that while with one hand she has carried to her new dependencies the blessings of Christianity and civilization, and of just and equal government, with the other she has introduced among the native populations her own prominent vices, and chiefly, and at the root of all, her intemperance." The Society expresses the hope that steps of precaution may be taken to discourage the traffic in strong drink; and that among the earliest measures which the Governor may adopt to make Cyprus a model to the Asiatic countries may be found one to promote temperance, both among natives and foreigners, and "to arrest at its fountain-head this prolific source of sin, misery, and death." It is gratifying to learn that the [43/44] wishes of this Society are being anticipated, and that steps are already being taken to promote the cause of temperance in the island.
As the field of duty which was assigned to me when I was consecrated to the Bishopric of Gibraltar included all congregations of the Church of England in the islands of the Mediterranean, whatever congregations of our Church may be formed in Cyprus will be under my superintendence. If a considerable number of Englishmen should settle in the island, it will be necessary to provide for their wants by the appointment of one or more Chaplains, and by the erection of a church which I trust may be worthy in all respects of our Church and country. The English clergyman who is now in the island to perform the duties of his office, as Chaplain to Her Majesty's Forces, has kindly undertaken, at my request, to extend his services to the few English civilians who have arrived, until a Civil Chaplain be appointed. Besides providing for the religious wants of our own countrymen in Cyprus, you will all feel with me that it is our duty to raise the level of education among the native inhabitants. But we must be careful, in any work which we may undertake, not to interfere with the Christian Churches now existing in the island. We should shew to the authorities of those Churches that we come as their allies, and not as their rivals.
The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts asks to be supplied with a special fund for Cyprus, with a view to the establishment of a Chaplaincy for English civilians, the erection of a church, and the maintenance of a school for the [44/45] education of boys and girls, both English and Greek. As I have already stated in a letter which has been published by the Society, this appeal has my hearty approval. We have passed securely through a great crisis of suspense and danger. The war-cloud which for two years has been hanging over us has melted. A new era of promise is now dawning in the East. While the war lasted, prayers were offered in all the churches of this diocese, that God would soon bring it to a close, and that England might continue to enjoy the blessing of peace. We prayed also that God would keep under His Fatherly care those members of our nation who, at the call of duty, were sojourning in the lands afflicted by the war, or were ministering to the sick and the dying. All honour to those brave and noble English ladies, who at Constantinople, undaunted by fever or other peril, devoted themselves to this work of self denying charity, nursing the wounded soldiers in the hospitals, or relieving the destitute fugitives, who flocked from all quarters into the plague-stricken city. No more suitable thank-offering for the answer given to our prayers could well be rendered than this, for which an appeal is made by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. (App. 8.)
It will be felt by all Christian Englishmen that on arriving in this new land, which our Queen and country have just taken under their charge, we should bring with us the ordinances of our religion; and that an English church should soon be seen rising on the shores which were the first to be hallowed by the steps of the great Apostle of the Gentiles, when he had embarked on his earliest missionary journey. [45/46] The St. Andrew's Waterside Church Mission offers to help in establishing a Chaplaincy for work among British seamen in port. The Colonial and Continental Society also purposes to send a Chaplain. Eventually, I have no doubt that, if Englishmen can bear the climate, the aid of all these societies will be needed: and as the administration of the island becomes more settled, some work of a missionary character, and some work of female education, such as that now conducted by Christian ladies at Athens, Cairo, and Constantinople, ought to be taken in hand.
In promoting some of these objects we may doubt less count upon the support of Englishmen who are not actually members of our own communion. In fact, such support has been already offered. A few days ago, I was asked to make arrangements for the distribution in Cyprus of a thousand copies of the New Testament in modern Greek, which, at the invitation of its Pastor, a congregation, not of our Church, had contributed. From all that I have seen of the Bishops of the Greek Church, I believe that no objection would be raised against the distribution of these books among their flocks.
One of the objects for which the Bishopric which I hold was established was the promotion of friendly relations between the Church of England and the ancient Oriental Churches. A warm and hearty welcome has always been accorded to my predecessors and to myself, when we have been visiting British congregations in the East, by the Patriarchs, Bishops, and Clergy of the Greek and Armenian communities, who have expressed a great desire for closer intercourse with the sister Church of England. [46/47] The eyes of the Christian world in Eastern Europe, and in Asia Minor, have been directed for some time to England, as the quarter whence help and sympathy, deliverance from misrule, instruction, and enlightenment, would one day come. The opportunity of fulfilling these hopes has, by God's Providence, been most unexpectedly placed in our hands, and I trust that we may turn it to a wise and good ac count. In Cyprus, we shall be brought into very near relations with the Greek Church: we shall have means, such as we have never enjoyed before, of becoming acquainted with our Eastern brethren, and of making ourselves known to them; and I hope that the principles which we profess and the lives which we lead may be seen to be in accord; and that men may be taught to value our English institutions, and the benefits of our Church, by the good fruits which they are found to produce in English hearts and characters.
A well-known name has lately been withdrawn from the list of British Chaplains. The Ven. Archdeacon Cleugh has been compelled by sickness and the infirmities of old age to resign the Chaplaincy which he had long and faithfully served in Malta. He was appointed to his office as Chaplain to the Government in the island during the days of Bishop Tomlinson, the first Bishop of Gibraltar; and was promoted to the Archdeaconry by Bishop Trower, Bishop Tomlinson's successor. His great experience, good sense, manly honesty, and calm judgment, rendered him a valuable adviser to the Bishops of this see; the kind, prompt, and efficient assistance which he has often given to myself will be always gratefully [47/48] remembered; while the firm, upright, and consistent manner in which he has maintained the dignity of his office have made him respected by all residents in the island, Englishmen and Maltese, members of our own Church, and Roman Catholics. He carries with him upon his retirement the esteem and affection of all for whose good he has laboured for half a-century.
We have also lately lost the services of those two members of your body whom, in recognition of their long and fruitful labours in the Diocese, I have asked to accept that one and only distinction which I have at my disposal to mark my appreciation of a Chaplain's merits. The Rev. E. F. Neville Rolfe, Canon of Gibraltar, having held the Chaplaincy of Christ Church, Cannes, for seventeen years, has been obliged by illness to resign his office. Every one who has visited the sunny shores of the Riviera, or who is acquainted with the work of the Church of England on the Continent, has heard of the good which Mr. Rolfe has effected by his kindly, self-denying, and unwearied labours. The assiduity which he has always shewn in ministering to the sick, in comforting the afflicted, in visiting all who attended the services of his church, and in welcoming them week after week to his bright and pretty chalet du Ministre, in catechising the younger members of his flock, or in preparing them for confirmation, has endeared him to the hearts of us all, and especially to the hearts of the young, the sick, and the mourners. If no word of controversy or party strife has ever of late years disturbed the peace of the English colony at Cannes, this rare and peerless blessing is due, in a large [48/49] measure, to his tact and judgment, kindliness, and large-hearted charity. While he devoted his best energies to the more important duties of his ministry, the less important were never allowed to pass into other hands. If the church was to be decorated, the choir instructed, the books of the library to be dispensed, gladly as he accepted the services of those who offered their help, he was always at his post to superintend; everything was done under his own eye. On revisiting the scenes of his faithful pastorate, we shall sorely miss his hearty welcome, his genial and elevating influence. He leaves behind him a name, a memory, an example, a spirit, which will long live in many a loving English heart at Cannes. All who have been brightened by the sun shine of his presence, all who have been comforted and strengthened by his ministrations, will join with me in praying that, if it be God's will to prolong his days upon earth, he may have health to enjoy in the quiet of his home circle the rest which has been forced upon him, but which, however sorely needed, he would never take while there was work to be done for Christ and Christ's people.
The Rev. C. B. Gribble, Canon of Gibraltar, had held the post as Chaplain to the Embassy at Constantinople for a little more than twenty-one years, when he died in July last. His life had been one of change, adventure, hardship, and peril, as an officer in India, a missionary in the wilds of Canada, a parish clergyman in Glasgow, a "sailor parson" on the Thames, a zealous astronomer, and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. It is recorded of him that, while he was incumbent of a church attached [49/50] to the Sailors' Home in the Port of London, he built and kept at his own expense a small schooner yacht, which he provided with the appliances needed for Divine Service, and in which he used to make constant excursions among the densely-crowded shipping of the river. Similarly, while he was at Constantinople, he lived for months with his family in a small cutter, which he used for visiting the British seamen gathered in the port from all quarters of the world. Besides fulfilling his duties as Chaplain to the Embassy, he laboured to promote the welfare of British sailors at Constantinople, and in the ports of the Levant, by supplying them with homes and hospitals. Once and again he has had to brave the dangers of cholera and of fire. During the alarms and horrors of which Constantinople has lately been the scene, though his frame was broken by illness and old age, he took an active part in alleviating distress and ministering to the sick and dying. Only when the clouds had lifted, and peace was assured, would he be persuaded to think of seeking rest and health in England; and when he started, he still spoke of returning once more to the field of his labours. But God had willed otherwise. Within a few hours' sail of Malta, where his body now rests, his gentle and affectionate spirit passed away.
The missionary cause has lost this year an experienced, zealous, and learned labourer, in the Rev. S. B. Burtchaell, who had charge for some time of a mission to the Jews in Rome, and afterwards of like missions in Florence and in Jerusalem, in which last place he died of fever in June of this year. If any of you have ever visited the Roman Ghetto under [50/51] his guidance, you will call to mind the strange and unattractive scenes amid which he laboured, the zeal and sanguine spirit with which, though he expected no immediate results, he delivered his message. At Florence also, where, in addition to his regular duties, more than once he temporarily discharged the office of Chaplain in the English church, he will be remembered by many of our countrymen for his kindness, good judgment, and high Christian character.
In this letter, my brethren of the Clergy, I have alluded to some of the disadvantages which attach to the office of a Chaplain abroad. But the picture has another and a brighter side. To compensate for the anomalies and trials of your position, you have special encouragements, special means of influence, special opportunities of furthering the cause of Christ, and special and very abiding rewards. If, for example, the field of labour to which you have been appointed is one of those quiet resorts where our countrymen, in ever-increasing numbers, now pass the months of winter and early spring, you are secure, for the most part, from all those distractions of worldly business and worldly pleasure which elsewhere so seriously thwart pastoral influence. As your work consists, in a great measure, in ministering to those who are in sickness or in sorrow, no effort is needed to win attention to your message. You address hearts that are impressible, and crave for succour and comfort. You have intelligent, cultivated, and appreciative congregations. If you spend labour in the composition of your sermons, you feel sure that no such labour is ever thrown away. Among those who attend the [51/52] Services of jour church are often found persons who be long to other Communions, and whom you have the opportunity of instructing in the special doctrines and principles of our own Church. Sometimes, also, you are asked for help and counsel by men who are troubled by the doubts and difficulties of these modern times. If your experience accords with my own, you have discovered that it is from no evil heart of unbelief that these doubts generally spring in the present day, but that the minds which are perplexed by them are looking anxiously for guidance, longing earnestly to believe, and praying passionately for light. If you are fulfilling the duties of your high and important office faithfully, you have the happiness of feeling that your labours are valued; you are giving real comfort to the afflicted, support to the weak, and light to those who are in darkness, and are winning souls for Christ.
You, my Brethren of the Laity, I have to thank for the effective and liberal help which you have rendered to the cause of Christ's people, by erecting churches, by providing clubs and homes for British seamen, and by aiding many other works of Christian goodness in the Diocese. Some of you I have also to thank for your assistance in framing new constitutions for the congregations which have lately been thrown on the voluntary system, and in serving as members of Church-Committees, and as Church wardens. If here and there the property of the churches which you have built is not as yet legally secured, if here and there rules of ecclesiastical order are neglected, if here and there the character of public worship requires to be improved, I look [52/53] to you for zealous co-operation in supplying omissions, in discountenancing and discouraging irregularities, in rendering our services more hearty, more attractive, more provocative of reverence, and in supporting the Clergy in the efforts which they are making to render English churches abroad, so far as circumstances admit, faithful representatives of our Church at home.
It is my purpose to resume in a few days the work of visiting the distant and scattered congregations of the diocese, which sickness has compelled me to discontinue for a while; and I hope that in the performance of this duty I shall be accompanied by your good wishes and your prayers.
May God's Holy Spirit be with you all in every good work which you have in hand, to promote His glory and the welfare of those for whom our Redeemer died.
Believe me to be, my dear Brethren,
Your sincere Friend and Brother,
C. W. GIBRALTAR.
(1.) "Conference of Bishops of the Anglican Communion, holden at Lambeth Palace, July, 1878. Letter from the Bishops, including the Reports adopted by the Conference." Published under Authority, by Cassell, Petter, and Galpin, London, Paris, and New York, 1878.
(2.) Resolution of the Upper House of the Convocation of the Province of Canterbury, February 13, 1867:--
"Resolved--That, having taken into consideration the report made to this House by the Lower House concerning certain ritual observances, we have concluded that, having regard to the dangers (1) of favouring errors deliberately rejected by the Church of England, and fostering a tendency to desert her communion; (2) of offending, even in things in different, devout worshippers in our churches, who have been long used to other modes of service, and thus of estranging many of the faithful laity; (3) of unnecessarily departing from uniformity; (4) of increasing the difficulties which prevent the return of the separatists to our communion,--we convey to the Lower House our unanimous decision that, having respect to the considerations here recorded, and to the rubric concerning the service of the Church in our Book of Common Prayer, to wit--
"'Forasmuch as nothing can be so plainly set forth, but doubts may arise in the use and practice of the same, to appease all such diversity (if any arise), and for the resolution of all doubts concerning the manner how to understand, do, and execute the things contained in this book, the parties that so doubt or diversely take anything shall alway resort to the Bishop of the diocese, who, by his discretion, shall take order for the quieting and appeasing of the same, so that the same order be not contrary to anything contained in this book; and if the Bishop of the diocese be in doubt, then he may send for the resolution thereof to the Archbishop;' [54/55] our judgment is that no alterations from long-sanctioned and usual ritual ought to be made in our churches, until the sanction of the Bishop of the diocese has been obtained thereto."
Resolution of the Lower House of the Convocation of the Province of Canterbury, February 15, 1867:--
"That this House concurs in the judgment of the Upper House, viz.: 'That no alteration from the long-sanctioned and usual ritual ought to be made in our churches until the sanction of the Bishop of the diocese has been obtained thereto.'"
Resolution of the Convocation of the Province of York, in full Synod, March 20, 1867:--
"Whereas certain vestments and Ritual observances have recently been introduced into the services of the Church of England, this House desires to place on record its deliberate opinion that these innovations are to be deprecated, as tending to favour errors rejected by that Church, and as being repugnant to the feelings of a large number both of the laity and clergy; and this House is further of opinion, that it is desirable that the minister in public prayer and the administration of the Sacraments and other rites of the Church should continue to use the surplice, academical hood, or tippet for non-graduates, and the scarf or stole, these having received the sanction of long-continued usage."
(3.) Declaration of the Bishops of the Province of Canter bury on the subject of Confession, contained in a Report presented July 23, 1873:--
"In the matter of Confession the Church of England holds fast those principles which are set forth in Holy Scriptures, which were professed by the Primitive Church, and which were re-affirmed at the English Reformation.
"The Church of England, in the 25th Article, affirms that Penance is not to be counted for a Sacrament of the Gospel, and, as judged by her formularies, knows no such words as 'Sacramental Confession.'
 "Grounding her doctrine on Holy Scriptures, she distinctly declares the full and entire forgiveness of sins, through the Blood of Jesus Christ, to all who bewail their own sinfulness, confess themselves to Almighty God with full purpose of amendment of life, and turn with true faith unto Him.
"It is the desire of the Church that by this way and means all her children should find peace. In this spirit the forms of Confession and Absolution are set forth in her pub lic Services, yet, for the relief of troubled consciences, she has made special provision in two exceptional cases.
"1. In the case of those who cannot quiet their own consciences previously to receiving the Hoi} 7 Communion, but require further comfort or counsel, the Minister is directed to say, 'Let him come to me, or to some other discreet and learned Minister of God's Word, and open his grief, that by the ministry of God's Holy Word he may receive the benefit of Absolution, together with ghostly counsel and advice.'
"Nevertheless, it is to be noted that for such a case no form of Absolution has been prescribed in the Book of common Prayer, and, further, that the Rubric in the first Prayer Book of 1549, which sanctioned a particular form of Absolution, has been withdrawn from all subsequent editions of the said book.
"2. In the order for the Visitation of the Sick it is directed that the sick man be moved to make a special Confession of his sins, if he feel his conscience troubled with any weighty matter, but in such case Absolution is only to be given when the sick man shall humbly and heartily desire it.
"This special provision, however, does not authorise the ministers of the Church to require from any who may resort to them to open their grief, a particular or detailed enumeration of all their sins, or to require private Confession previous to receiving the Holy Communion, or to enjoin or even encourage any practice of habitual Confession, to a Priest, or to teach that such practice of habitual Confession, or the being subject to what has been termed the direction of [56/57] a Priest, is a condition of attaining to the highest spiritual life."
Resolution of the Lower House of Convocation of the Province of Canterbury, July 4, 1877:--
"That this House desires to express its general concurrence, but not as a Synodical act, in the Declaration on the subject of Confession sent down to it from the Upper House for consideration."
Resolution of the Convocation of the Province of York in full Synod, February 21, 1878:--
"That this Convocation expresses its general concurrence in the Declaration on the subject of Confession agreed on by the Upper House of the Convocation of Canterbury, and generally concurred in by the Lower House of the same."
(4.) Circular Letter, issued Oct. 1876.
I. What is the name of your Chaplaincy? When was it established? What is the date of your appointment?
II. If there be a Church, when was it built? Has it been dedicated by a special religious Service?
III. If there be no Church, where are the Services held?
IV. What is the legal tenure of the Church? Are there any other buildings connected with the Church? What is their legal tenure?
V. Under what authority, if any, from the Government of the Country are your meetings for Divine Worship held?
VI. Who has the patronage of the Chaplaincy? Has it always been in the same hands?
VII. Is there a Church-Committee? What is the constitution of the Chaplaincy? If you have a printed copy of the constitution, would you kindly forward it with your answers?
VIII. How is the Chaplaincy supported? Is there any fixed endowment? What has been the average income during the last five years?
 IX. Is the Chaplain responsible for the expenses of Divine Worship?
X. If the Chaplaincy was ever in connection with the Foreign Office, when, and under what circumstances, was the connection broken?
XI. If the Chaplaincy be still in connection with the Foreign Office, what salary is given to the Chaplain?
XII. What is the present number of British residents? Has there been any marked change in the number of late years?
XIII. What has been the average number of British visitors of late years? Are they on the increase or decrease?
XIV. What are the Services in your Church on Sundays and on Week-days? How often is the Holy Communion administered? What is the average number of Communicants? What is the average number of the ordinary Congregation?
XV. Is there a British Cemetery? Has it been dedicated by a special religious Service? If not, what is the reason? Is it kept in good order? In whose hands is the management?
XVI. Have you ever been called to baptise? Have you ever been called to marry? Have you ever been called to bury? Has a Register been kept? and where?
XVII. If any Clergyman assists you for more than three consecutive Sundays, are you accustomed to notify the fact to your Diocesan?
XVIII. How often, in your opinion, is it desirable that your people should have an opportunity for Confirmation?
XIX. Are there any English of the labouring class in your neighbourhood? Do they attend your Church? Have you any School for the poor?
XX. Are there any English Boys or Girls of the Upper Classes at School in your neighbourhood? Have you a Sunday School? Is any provision made for the religious instruction of the younger members of your flock?
XXI. If your Chaplaincy be a seaport, and be visited by British merchant ships, what provision is made for the [58/59] spiritual wants of the sailors? Are they in the habit of coming to your Church? Is a Missionary Curate, or a Scripture Reader, working among them? If so, is his salary derived, either in whole or in part, from any Society? Is he under your supervision?
XXII. Is any work of an exceptional character needed among any Class of our countrymen in your Chaplaincy?
XXIII. Has the British community of the place where you are Chaplain been connected with any events of historical interest? If so, would you specify them?
(5.) Extract of Standing Committee of the National Society for the Education of the Poor, Minutes of February 6, 1878.
"The Committee, having considered the correspondence which has passed with the Bishop of Gibraltar and the Bishop of Meath on his behalf, as to the Society's acceptance of the Trusteeship of churches abroad, resolves, that in every case where the Society accepts such Trusteeship, there must be a Guarantee Fund of such amount, invested on such security, and vested in such Trustees as the Society shall in the circumstances of each case decide; keeping in view the general object of such a Fund, which must be to provide a regular income adequate to the discharge of all local claims for taxation or otherwise, and the cost of annual repairs, the balance of such income being either accumulated or expended for salaries, &c, according to the amount of the Fund, and the agreement with the Society in each case.
"The Trusts of the Guarantee Fund must be declared by a Deed of Trust, the Draft of which must be approved by the Society."
(6.) St. Andrew's Waterside Church Mission, for Sailors, Fishermen, and Emigrants.
Patrons--The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Rochester, and the Bishop of Gibraltar.
Hon. Secretary and Treasurer--Rev. John Scarth, Vicar of Holy Trinity, Gravesend.
 Society for Missions to Seamen.
Patron--The Duke of Edinburgh, R.N.
Vice-Patrons--The four Archbishops, and thirty-three Bishops.
Office--11, Buckingham-street, Strand, London.
General Secretary--Commander W. Dawson, R.N.
(7.) The Girls' Friendly Society.
Sanctioned by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Arch bishop of York, and by the Bishops of London, Winchester, Bath and Wells, Carlisle, Chester, Chichester, Ely, Exeter, Gloucester and Bristol, Lichfield, Lincoln, Manchester, Peter borough, Rochester, Salisbury, St. Alban's, St. Asaph, Truro, Worcester, and Gibraltar.
Patrons--His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, His Grace the Archbishop of York.
President of Council--Mrs. Townsend, Honington-hall, Shipston-on-Stour.
General Secretary--Miss Noyes, the Girls' Friendly Lodge and Central Office, 245, Vauxhall-bridge-road, London.
Hon. Auditor--Lord Brabazon.
OBJECTS AND MACHINERY OF THE SOCIETY.
The object of the Girls' Friendly Society is to bind together in one Society ladies as Associates, and working girls and young women as Members, for mutual help and assistance in leading pure and useful lives.
The machinery of the Girls' Friendly Society is extremely simple. Each lady who joins it receives an Associate's card, and a list of Associates' names and addresses, published and forwarded half-yearly, by which she can at once see if there be any Associate to whom a Member can be commended in the parish to which she may be going: she also receives every year a printed form for filling up Members' names and addresses.
 (8.) Cyprus.
The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel appeals for a Fund for Cyprus--(1.) For support, in part at least, of a Clergyman for the English--not a rival, but a friend, of the local ministry; (2.) For aid in the erection of a Church for the English; (3.) For a School.
Contributions for the Cyprus Fund will be thankfully received by the Treasurers of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.
W. T. Bullock, Secretary.
19, Delahay-street, Westminster, S.W.
(9.) Gibraltar Diocesan Spiritual Aid Fund.
There are at present under the supervision of the Bishop of Gibraltar seventy-eight Congregations, exclusive of those under the Military and Naval Chaplains at Gibraltar, Malta, and Cyprus, which are not under his supervision.
Nine of these Congregations are in connection with the Foreign Office, which aids them by a small grant. The remainder have to provide for their Chaplain from their own resources, a few receiving help from one of the Church Societies. The Diocese contains many small, and yet not unimportant, Communities, which from their limited numbers and means, are unable without assistance to maintain a Chaplain. It is chiefly for the benefit of Communities of this class that the "Gibraltar Diocesan Spiritual Aid Fund" has been established grants of from £20 to £50 might often be the means of preventing the abandonment of Chaplaincies suffering under temporary difficulties from political troubles, or from vicissitudes of seasons or of commerce; while they might call into existence others, by rendering available contributions otherwise inadequate to the support of a Chaplain.
The withdrawal of the Grants made until lately by [61/62] the Foreign Office to the Consular Chaplains has increased the difficulties with which the work of our Church has to contend in Foreign Countries. But I trust that funds may be raised to replace the sum withdrawn, and prevent any part of our work from being abandoned.
All moneys should be paid through a local Banker or Merchant to the account of the G. D. S. A. F., with Messrs. Hoare, 37, Fleet-street, London, E.C.
Grants are given for the current year only: if, therefore, their renewal is desired, a fresh application should be made, by letter addressed to the Bishop of Gibraltar at 28, Great George-street, Westminster, London.
It will be noticed that, owing to the new grants made this year in aid of the Chaplaincy at Madrid, and of the Chaplaincy for British Seamen at Constantinople, the expenditure has exceeded the income by £83 11s. 10d. Where as by the last Report there was a balance in hand of £289 12s. 7d., in this Report there is a balance of £206 0s. 9d. only. Still further grants are promised for next year. With the view of raising a sum adequate to meet the different wants of the Church in the Diocese, the Bishop of Gibraltar ventures to ask for an offertory from those congregations which have not as yet contributed, as well as for the continued support of those which have, and for a subscription from such benevolent persons as feel disposed to promote the objects for which the Fund was established.