Project Canterbury


The Bishop of Zanzibar has certainly succeeded in raising in an acute form the question of the coherence of the Church of England and of the Anglican communion generally. I cannot but think that, at least in this general sense, he has done us a great service. We church people have of recent years shown ourselves unmistakably anxious to avoid questions of principle. We have let ourselves drift, and have been even disposed to rely upon the alleged habit of the Church of England to avoid plain expressions of principle, and to "tumble along," trusting that somehow it will emerge intact from the chapter of accidents. I think, however, that this has not always been the habit of our Church. In the seventeenth century our great Churchmen were certainly busily occupied in making our principles intelligible to the world at large. Again, in more recent history, the Tractarian movement, which effected among us so profound a transformation, was based upon a constant examination and reiteration of principles. I believe that the zealous love of principles characterizes every period of real spiritual progress and power in the Church. And if it be true that of late years we have shrunk from the labour of examining and expounding principles, and if to shrink from this task is even characteristic of Englishmen and English Churchmen, we do well to remind ourselves that churches and states alike have been known to fail in human history simply through an excessive yielding to their characteristic weaknesses. I believe that no human organization, and especially no religious organization, can maintain itself unless it understands and lets other people understand what principles it stands for.

Now if we can detach our minds from present controversies and look at the Church of England as it has stood objectively in history, I apprehend that broadly there is no question what it has stood for amongst the religious communities of Europe since the Reformation. It has stood for what can, I think, be best described as a liberal or scriptural Catholicism: that is to say it has stood to maintain the ancient fundamental faith of the Catholic Church, as expressed in creeds and conciliar decisions of the undivided Church, and the ancient structure of the Church, as depending upon the successions of bishops, and the requirement of episcopal ordination for the ministry, and the ministration of the ancient sacraments and rites of the Church by the methods and on the principles which it believed to be primitive. On such a basis it has claimed to stand as part of the Catholic Church; and at the same time it has associated itself with the Protestants in what it believed to be their legitimate protest and appeal?their protest against the exaggerated claim of the mediaeval papacy and the mediaeval accumulation of dogma, and their appeal to the primitive Church, and especially to Scripture, as the sole final testing-ground of dogmatic requirement?"so that whatever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man that it should be believed as an article of the faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation"; [1] and even things "ordained by general councils as necessary to salvation have neither strength nor authority unless it may be declared that they be taken out of Holy Scripture." This scriptural test, frequently reiterated in our formulas, is the safeguard of liberty against the constant tendency to exaggerate ecclesiastical authority and to accumulate dogma. It is this appeal to Scripture constantly insisted upon which qualifies the Catholicism of the Anglican Church as scriptural or liberal.

Thus in this twofold affinity with Catholics and Protestants, on the basis of an intelligible principle, the Church of England has claimed comprehensiveness as its glory. It has given the utmost scope for liberty of opinion. But a comprehensive body means a body which can tolerate much difference of opinion and practice among its members because it is at the basis bound strongly together by principles held in common. Otherwise it is not a comprehensive body at all, but a mere consensus of jarring atoms, held together by some external bond. It is these common principles which are now imperilled amongst us in three directions?first, by the recent tendency of the critical movement which has resulted in what, I think, is an inordinate claim for licence of opinion among our clergy, threatening most fundamentally our basis of faith; secondly, by the Evangelical movement, especially strong in the mission-field, towards fellowship among Protestants, which has had its outcome in proposals which seem to threaten our Catholic basis in organization; and, lastly, by the tendency of the extremer members of the "Catholic" movement, which in its turn seems to ignore the appeal to antiquity and Scripture, as restricting the dogmatic authority of the Church, and to leave us without any reasonable basis for resistance to the claims of the Roman Church. These three movements appear to be facing straight away from one another with a markedly disruptive tendency; and the great body of the Church has meanwhile been strangely blind or indifferent to what has been going on. It has occupied itself in what are called practical matters, and has been markedly unwilling to think about its principles. Thus the common mind of the Church?the common perception of its principles?has been becoming singularly weak, and its power of holding divergent tendencies together on the basis of a common unity has become proportionately enfeebled. There is, therefore, at the present moment, in my opinion, nothing so essential, if the Church of England is to fulfil its special vocation, as that we should consider again what we stand for.

And when I speak of the special vocation of our part of the Church I speak of something which is at the present juncture real and manifest. The constant intensification of papal autocracy, the augmented stringency of dogmatic requirement, and the rapid development of modern devotions to extravagant lengths, in the Roman communion on the one hand, and on the other the amazingly rapid disintegration of the distinctive creeds of Protestantism, have produced a religious situation in which there is even a clamorous need, felt far beyond our own borders, and as much in the Far East as at home, for the special witness of our communion ?its witness, I mean, to a Catholicism which is stable and in undoubted continuity with the whole movement of the Church in history, while at the same time it allows its members and officers the greatest possible freedom to move and think and act for themselves. Here is our vocation; but, while the vocation is so evident, our capacity to correspond with it is weakened and vitiated by our feeble consciousness of our own principles.

There is, then, I believe, a peremptory need that we Anglican Churchmen, and in particular we clergymen?bishops and priests, who have specially accepted the responsibility for maintaining the faith and handing it on unimpaired to the generations that are to come?should undertake the painful duty of thinking; and in particular that we should direct our careful attention to the three disruptive tendencies which I have alluded to above, in the light of the common principles which are to hold us together, if indeed we are to continue to stand together. I have tried several times, as far as I know in vain, to awaken Churchmen to this urgent necessity. And I cannot but be thankful that the Bishop of Zanzibar has been apparently more successful than I have been in raising the right question.

In one sense the question is a very broad and large one. It is the whole question of what is really true, and can claim to be permanent in Christianity. This question concerns equally all churches and all men. I have tried at different times to make my contribution to this large question, but I am now concerned only with a narrower question, and one which belongs specially to our own communion. Sceptical or largely indifferent as our age is about dogmatic and doctrinal positions, it is exceedingly critical of the character of the clergy, and this applies to all the different classes of society. No church and no clergy can stand at any time without disaster, if it is convicted of insincerity. But this is quite pre-eminently true of the present time. Thus I address myself to the question?irksome, no doubt, but not for that reason the less necessary?to what in the way of doctrinal obligations is our part of the Church definitely committed?not according to the vague impression of society, but, according to its own considered standards, definitely and really? And inasmuch as our Church, between confirmation and the bed of death, makes no specific inquiry into the faith of its lay members; but leaves them, if they will, to approach the altar and take their full share in the Church's life simply at their own discretion; what I propose to consider is specifically the requirements which our Church makes upon its officers, the clergy; and I think we shall find in these specific requirements what we have the best right to consider the necessary principles for our communion as it stands to-day. And I will begin with bringing to the test of these specific requirements the claim which is being made by certain of our clergy in the name of Liberal Christianity.


An "advanced" school of biblical criticism, on grounds, however, rather philosophical than strictly critical, has reached the conclusion that certain miracles ?those which by contrast to the miracles of healing are called "nature-miracles," such as our Lord's feeding of the five thousand, or the stilling of the waves by His word, or the raising of the dead; or, again, the miracle of His own birth of a virgin mother, and the resurrection of His dead body from the grave?are for us to-day incredible, not chiefly on grounds of the evidence in each particular case, but on grounds of general scientific and historical principle. "From the standpoint of historical science, nature-miracles must be held to be incredible." A statement such as this is a commonplace among authors of the school I am considering. Accordingly, a considerable number of clergymen who share these views, or sympathize with those who hold them, are claiming passionately and insistently that they are not incompatible with the exercise of our ministry. Some of these critical scholars, again, find themselves drawn to the conclusion that, in the matter of His immediate coming as the Son of Man in the clouds of heaven, our Lord was the victim of a delusion induced by contemporary ideas which He shared, but which the course of events falsified; and that we cannot any longer think of Him as an infallible teacher. This, again, they claim, is no bar to the exercise of the ministry. I suppose that the existence of these views and claims among a considerable section of the learned clergy will not be denied. I do not want at present to consider the case of any individual writer. If I am challenged to make good my assertions, I shall be ready to justify myself by detailed evidence. For the moment I will only refer to two recent writings?to the Hulsean Lectures of last year, The Eschatology of Jesus, by Dr. Latimer Jackson, [2] and to the open letter addressed to me by the Lady Margaret's Professor at Cambridge. [3] In this letter, I am thankful to recognize, there is no explicit expression of the writer's own position. The reader may hope that he is only making a claim on behalf of others.

Now, of course, the most important question raised by the school of critics to whom I have referred is the question of what, in fact, is true or credible. I have tried elsewhere to deal with this question. I have tried to show why I disagree profoundly with the critics in question?not because I deprecate the application of criticism to the New Testament, but because I do not think that their criticism is sound. It is based, it seems to me, on a mistaken view of natural law, and on something much less than a Christian belief in God. Thus I hold quite deliberately that it is those who reject these miracles, and not those who affirm them, who do violence to the evidence.

Also it seems to me to be as clear as day that the rejection of the nature-miracles?even if it were possible (which I do not think to be the case), on the principles implied in this rejection, still to retain the miracles of healing?cuts so deep into the historical character of the Gospel narrative, the record of the words as well as the works of our Lord, that nothing like the distinctive confidence of the Christian creed could be maintained. Christ would remain the name for a vaguely conceived ideal, but no longer the name of an historical person whose mind and will we can still plainly discern in the written Gospel. Again, I think that if we consider our Lord's eschatological predictions in the light of the customary language in which such predictions are expressed in the Bible, we shall see reason to hold that He was an absolutely true prophet of speedy divine judgement on Jerusalem, which alone He definitely predicted in the immediate future, though He threw it upon the background of a vaster catastrophe more dimly conceived; and we shall continue to believe His solemn assurance ?"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." But I cannot deal with these great questions now without lengthening this letter into a book. I prefer to refer you to the admirable treatment of the present critical problem in the new preface which the Bishop of Ely has recently issued to his essay on The Gospels in the Light of Historical Criticism.[4]

I am concerned here only with the subsidiary question of the compatibility of a certain "critical" position with the exercise of our ministry, and I must therefore consider more or less in detail what are the doctrinal obligations under which we clergymen lie. The conclusions which I shall express will be almost exactly those expressed by a man of most conspicuous justice, not himself a believer, the late Henry Sidgwick, [5] whose essays on "The Ethics of Religious Conformity" and on "Clerical Veracity" I must strenuously insist that all who care for our religious life should read.

What, then, are the clergy definitely committed to?

There is still a popular belief that the clergy of the Church of England are required to "sign the Articles." But this is an error. Up to the year 1865, indeed, they were required to do so, signing the proposition: "I, A. B., do willingly and from my heart subscribe to the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion and to the three articles in the Thirty-sixth Canon, and to all things therein contained." [6]

But in the year 1865, by the combined action of Church and State, this requirement was abolished, and there was substituted for it our present declaration: "I assent to the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion and to the Book of Common Prayer, and of Ordering of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. I believe the doctrine of the Church of England, as therein set forth, to be agreeable to the Word of God." This can be no longer described as a "signing of the Articles," partly because the Articles are dethroned from their solitary position, so far as this declaration is concerned, as a standard of conformity, and remain only as one of three formularies?the Articles, the Prayer Book, and the Ordinal; partly because for the specific assent to each of the articles is substituted a general assent to the three formularies, and a statement that the doctrine of the Church of England as therein contained is agreeable to the word of God. This is now the declaration signed by every one who is ordained deacon, priest, or bishop, and repeated whenever he changes his office or cure. In all justice it must be held not to bind him to particular single phrases of the Articles, or Prayer Book, or Ordinal. Rightly or wrongly, but at any rate in fact, it expresses only a general assent.

By far the most precise doctrinal obligation of the clergy to-day lies in their constant obligation to recite the creeds as leaders of the congregation, the creeds which occupy so very prominent a place in all our public services, and which begin, not as among the Easterns, with the phrase "We believe "?in which the minister may be held to express the mind of the Church?but with the Western form of personal assent "I believe." The creeds?perhaps we may say, unlike our articles?were intended to be as precise and simple as possible. In particular they require a personal expression of belief in the occurrence of certain events in history, and these in part strictly miraculous events: "I believe ... in Jesus Christ . . . who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried, He descended into hell; The third day he rose again from the dead, He ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead." And "I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ ... of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made: Who for us men, and for our salvation came down from heaven, And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, And was made man, And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, And ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of the Father. And He shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead."

There are various other passages in the Prayer Book in which the miraculous events recited above are further referred to, as in the collect for Christmas Day: "God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son ... as at this time to be born of a pure Virgin;" and in the Proper Preface, "who, by the operation of the Holy Ghost was made very man of the substance of the Virgin Mary his mother; and that without spot of sin, to make us clean from all sin." Here our Lord's birth of a virgin mother is brought into connection with His sinlessness and our redemption from sinfulness through Him. Again, the Proper Preface for Ascension Day and the Collect for S. Thomas' Day emphasize the historical facts of the appearances of our Lord after the resurrection. Thus the statements in the creeds do not stand alone. And there is no question what they mean or what the narratives in the Gospels mean in which they are interpreted. I believe these narratives to be really true and trustworthy. But that is not now the question. The question is, Is it consistent with the sincerity which ought to attach to public office, and especially to public office in the Christian Church, that a man should pledge himself to the constant recitation of these creeds, as an officer of the society which so strenuously holds them, if he personally does not believe that these miraculous events occurred, if he believes that our Lord was born as other men, or that His dead body did in fact "see corruption." The belief in the resurrection is more central to the Christian faith than the belief in our Lord's birth of a virgin. And I can not in the least admit that the belief in the resurrection the third day from the dead means anything else except the recovery of our Lord's dead body to a new and glorious life. [7] But some may think, with Sidgwick, that the phrases used about our Lord's birth are more free from any ambiguity than those used about the resurrection; and from our present point of view they stand obviously in exactly the same position. The minister is required to profess his belief that our Lord was born of a virgin, as also that He was raised the third day from the dead, every time he says the public service. [8] Now our Church has been, over a considerable period of years, publicly and repeatedly challenged by some very distinguished men to allow the recitation of the creeds by those who do not believe the miraculous events, and who in their books give their reasons for dissenting in mind from what they must affirm with their lips. The challenge has been so steadily and repeatedly made, without any formal expression of the Church's dissent, that we are as near as possible to official complicity. Under these circumstances I feel certain that unless without delay we as a Church, through our bishops, declare that we cannot regard as tolerable the proposed licence, we must be regarded as corporately committed to allow what we refuse explicitly to disown.

I would say, then?Let us be very tender and patient with scrupulous consciences, under the trial?what may be the purging and strengthening trial?of doubt. Let us give abundant time. Again, let us give any scholar or student the freest liberty to suggest questions and proposed tentative solutions. I thought, for instance, that some solutions of intellectual difficulties proposed in Foundations, which I could not regard as at all satisfactory, might be regarded as tentative proposals. And we want to give the fullest liberty for such tentative proposals and free discussion. But a man after a time must make up his mind; and when he has come to the conclusion that he does not believe that we have adequate grounds for asserting that our Lord was in fact born of a virgin, or rose again the third day from the dead, he cannot legitimately, or with due regard to public sincerity, retain his position as an officer in a Church which requires of its officers the constant recitation of the creeds.

I cannot entertain a doubt that if this claim on the part of officers of the Church to affirm officially their belief in the occurrence of certain specific events which, in their plain and unmistakable meaning, are at heart not believed to have occurred?if this claim be allowed, so far from "commending itself to every man's conscience in the sight of God," the Church which tolerates this claim will be publicly convicted of insincerity, and will lose all moral weight with the mass of Englishmen. I have no doubt that, with few exceptions, the clergy do certainly and unhesitatingly believe the creeds which they profess. But we shall more and more lose both the reputation and the reality of sincerity unless we repudiate, solemnly and directly, the claim which, as I think, is inconsistent with the veracity required in all public professions.

Against this conclusion the following pleas are often advanced:

That it is in the highest degree perilous to interfere with liberty of inquiry or thought among the clergy, and that you cannot encourage them to free inquiry if you shackle them as to their conclusions. I venture to think that this is a palpable sophistry. Let us encourage all students to free inquiry, and refuse to impose any shackles on their conclusions. But it is manifest that a man can only be an officer of a society as long as he agrees with the society. Some inquirers into nature find a strange fascination in dualism. But supposing a clergyman to have arrived at the dualist position, he could not hold an office in which he is constantly required to profess his belief in one God the maker of all things visible and invisible. I suppose every one would admit this. But it is said that it is a question of degree. Well, I do not believe that anything is more essential to Christianity than the historical events recited in the creeds. But at any rate the creeds are plain and explicit. It is a question of fundamental moral principle. The liberty of an officer in any society is not the same, and cannot be the same, as the liberty of a citizen or a scholar. The officer of a society who finds himself unhappily brought to a conclusion the opposite of some fundamental principle of his society is bound to resign his office. This is common conscientiousness, not a violation of liberty.

Again, it is pleaded that all the clergy are substantially in the same position?they all say things in the public services which strictly they do not believe. The instances most commonly quoted are two. (1) There is the clause in the Quicunque Vult, "which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly." No clergyman, it is urged, says this clause, so sweeping and so universal, without a mental reservation which it does not really convey. I admit this, and, with Bishop Lightfoot, for this reason I desire to secure some change in the public recitation of this clause. I think with him that in the minds of many it "tends to throw a general discredit on the sincerity of dogmatic professions," and causes needless offence. Further, I could not say "I believe that every one who, having been brought up in the Catholic Faith as expressed in the Quicunque Vult, shall not have kept it whole and undefiled will without doubt perish everlastingly." I could not make that personal affirmation without a clause making exception. But there is a great difference between a personal affirmation of belief and the joining in the general proposition of a canticle.

I suppose that any general statement of consequences is understood to admit of exceptions. And in this case the Church of our province has explicitly "glossed" the clause with an interpretation which leaves, and is intended to leave, the sincere and conscientious doubter or sceptic uncondemned. [9] There is, as far as I know, unanimity in the whole Western Church in this intention.

(2) But it is pleaded also that the Church has already admitted the use of words by its ministers in less than their natural sense, even in a solemn personal profession, in the case of the question to which every one to be ordained deacon must give the solemn affirmative answer, expressing his own personal belief?"Do you unfeignedly believe all the Canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testament?" To this argument I would reply at once by saying that the bishops of our province, having in view the sense which this question has been commonly understood to bear, have determined?if they can?not to alter it, but to add to it words which shall define the scope of the "unfeigned belief." The words proposed to be added are "as conveying to us the revelation of God, brought to its fullness in Jesus Christ." If these words are added by authority, the future minister of our Church will still profess his unfeigned belief in all the Canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testament; but it will be evident that he believes them, not in the sense that he thinks all the narratives of the Old Testament are historically true, but in the sense that he believes that God did really and most certainly choose the Hebrew people, and especially their prophets, to be the special instruments of His self-revelation: that the Old Testament, therefore, conveys to us in its records this self-revelation or word of God in all the various stages of its delivery?in many parts and many manners?until it reaches its consummation, where idea and fact come for the first time into absolute coincidence in the "Word made flesh," in Jesus Christ our Lord. Now I contend that it is only prejudice or custom which hinders our seeing that this is a perfectly legitimate sense in which to believe all the Canonical Scriptures. For my own part I had considered this matter as carefully as I could after reading Ewald, Strauss, and Renan before my Ordination in 1876. I seemed to myself to see quite clearly, and still seem to myself to see quite clearly, the broad difference between the Old Testament as prophecy and the New Testament as fulfilment in fact. I seemed to see quite 'clearly then that the preparatory revelation can be given as well in myth and legend and poetry and quasi-philosophical inquiry and moral tale, as in the simple record of historical fact. I do not wish to define, or ask any one else to define, where history passes back into legend or myth. They are all alike capable of being used as instruments of divine revelation or the inspiration of the Spirit of God?just as poetry or allegory is. And it is in this sense that I do unfeignedly believe, and desire that we clergy should profess our unfeigned belief, in all the Canonical Scriptures?not because I believe the Book of Jonah to be history rather than allegory, but because I believe that the Book of Jonah and each one of the canonical writings conveys, with some distinctiveness of special function, the word of God, which was spoken in many manners, through divers really inspired men who were God's instruments for His self-disclosure under the old covenant.

But, once more, it is said, even in the creed, you admit that statements of fact are in part symbolical. You must admit that, when you say "He descended into hell," unless you believe that the dead are confined in a hollow place under the ground, you are using symbolical language about a historical event. So when you say "He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God," unless you believe that heaven is over our heads, and God the Father has there a throne where the Son literally sits on His right hand. Now, with the whole of this question of symbolical language I have just been dealing at length in another place, [10] and I will treat the matter here summarily. Human language is practically limited by what has fallen within present human experience. With regard, therefore, to what lies outside present human experience, we can only be taught, or formulate our beliefs, in symbolical language?language which is in a measure diverted from its original purpose. This is what S. Paul means when he says "We see through a glass, darkly," that is a blurred reflection of truth, as in a metal mirror, or as conveyed in a symbolic story. So it is about the being of God, or about the beginnings or endings of things ("Genesis" and "Apocalypse"), or about heaven and hell. When I say Christ ascended into heaven, I am first of all referring to a certain symbolical but actual and historical demonstration which our Lord gave to His disciples forty days after His resurrection. But when I say "He descended into hell," and also when in a more general sense I say "He ascended into heaven, and sitteth, etc.," I confess to the use of metaphor in a historical statement, because the historical statement carries me outside the world of present possible experience, and symbolical language is the only language that I can use. But the central glory of the religion of the Incarnation is that God has revealed Himself, distinctly, within human experience, in words and acts, some of them miraculous. Thus we have "seen with our eyes, and looked upon, and our hands have handled" divine things incarnate actually in human experience. Thus to apply the theory of symbolism to explain away the record of those events within human experience, in which the purpose of God has been manifested in Jesus Christ, is precisely to misapply the theory and to evacuate the Incarnation of its special and unique glory, which is the glory of literal fact.

But there is one more objection made to my arguments which I cannot, without affectation, ignore. It is purely personal, and of the nature of a tu quoque. It has been expressed in what I thought a rather savage spirit in two letters to the Times, and I have reason to believe that it is very common. It is to the effect that I am not the person to complain of heresy in others, for I am a heretic myself. This I totally deny. It is quite true that like any other divine of our communion I do not wholly conform to the standard of the later mediaeval or modern Roman Church. But I must challenge any one to show at what point I fail in orthodoxy as judged by our standard, the standard which I have already endeavoured to state, the standard, that is, of the ancient and undivided Church as interpreting the message of the Bible. I would only ask not to be condemned unheard and unread. One of the writers in the Times, whom I have just referred to, Dr. F. C. Conybeare, impugned the orthodoxy of what he described as my "famous" sermon on the Quicunque Vult and other writings of mine. [11] I did not know my sermon was famous, but it was published among the Oxford House Papers, and can be read by any one. [12] I remember that it was warmly commended by Dr. Bright. It is quite true that I have always been jealous on behalf of the freedom of literary and historical criticism, strictly so-called, in its application to the Bible, both the Old and the New Testament. There is a criticism, falsely so-called, which is bound by its presuppositions to explain away anything miraculous in the Bible. This sort of criticism is no doubt destructive. But there is a criticism which is really open-minded and really historical. It has largely reconstructed for us our ideas of the literature of the Old Testament and thrown a vast amount of valuable light upon the New Testament. It has, I think, shown us that there is one pseudonymous book in the New Testament, the "Second Epistle of S. Peter," and that there are discrepancies and errors of detail in the narratives of the New Testament, [13] but it has not weakened our right to regard the New Testament narratives as strictly trustworthy historical narratives, and it has shed a vast amount of light and confirmation upon them. It has shown us, I think, that a great part of the historical narratives of the Old Testament is not strict history, but gives us what S. Gregory of Nyssa admirably calls "ideas in the form of a narrative," and, in my judgement, it has made the Old Testament incomparably better suited for spiritual edification. The writers of the early Church, and not only the Alexandrians, were fully alive to the "allegorical" character of the early narratives of Genesis, and I have always contended that we are entitled to apply a similar principle today, and to recognize that myth and legend and story have been instruments in the divine education of man, as well as strict history. Where the element of fact becomes of supreme significance, in the region of the Incarnation, there also the historical evidence is adequate and, to my mind, convincing. Again in another region, I have always contended that the dogmatic decisions of the undivided Church about the person of Christ, which I believe to have been truly inspired by the Spirit of truth, are to be regarded as primarily negative, that is, as excluding certain fundamentally misleading and un-Christian lines of thought, Arian, Nestorian, Apollinarian, and Eutychian; and that those decisions leave us always in the position of men who go back for their positive information about the person of our Lord chiefly to the picture in the Gospels, and the interpretation of the Apostles. Thus I have been always jealous to insist that the limitations of our Lord's incarnate state as they are exhibited in the Gospels should be frankly accepted and recognized: and I have called attention to those phrases of the New Testament which have been called "Kenotic," which seem to me to show us a line of thought which may render more intelligible the limitations of our Lord's incarnate state. But I have never dreamed of questioning His infallibility. It is one thing to be temporarily limited in knowledge by human conditions, and it is quite another thing to be fallible as a teacher. That, it has always seemed to me, is quite inconsistent with the whole tone of absolute assurance in everything that our Lord taught.

Nor is it true, as is sometimes suggested, that I used to be liberal in theology and have become conservative?that in fact I am an instance of "Milestones." The first writing which I published was in 1879, and it was called The Clergy and the Creeds, and it said exactly what I am saying now. I have always claimed that we in the Church of England represent a liberal Catholicism?that our basis of fact and dogma, as it is represented in the creeds and conciliar decrees, must remain firm and unimpaired: but that we should minimize and not maximize dogma; and on the basis of the central faith should leave men's minds the largest possible room to move and to assimilate the teachings of criticism and science. I submit myself?I have always submitted myself?not to popular clamour nor to the opinion of any individuals, but to the considered judgement of my own part of the Church; and if the Church of England were to find in my teaching anything which deserves silencing, I would consent to be silenced?that is, I would cease to exercise my ministry. But I do not in the least anticipate any such condemnation. I repudiate utterly the charge of unorthodoxy; and I claim that, if I have suffered as a Liberal, that gives a little weight which would otherwise be lacking to what is my deliberate and constant claim, all my life through?that the clergy must in their hearts believe, not what any members of the British public may choose to require of them, but precisely that to which they really commit themselves.

Now I resume from the point where I stopped to consider the various pleas advanced to justify what I hold to be unjustifiable. I think it is totally unjustifiable that one who has come finally and seriously to disbelieve that certain miraculous events really occurred should continue to exercise a ministry which involves his constant personal profession of belief that they did occur, and that in a creed which is intended to sum up the central and most essential elements of the belief of the Church of which he is a minister?a Church, moreover, which has always laid the utmost stress on the real occurrence of these events, as among the divine credentials on which its whole commission depends.

I know very well that in history able and admirable groups of men, dominated by the special atmosphere in which they live, have before now been found to adopt positions as morally untenable as that now occupied by this group of critical scholars. I think the Jesuit casuists, to whom Pascal devoted his attention in the Lettres Provinciales, are a striking instance of such a group. Under the pressure of the system of an obligatory confessional, with the laudable motive of making the yoke as easy and the burden as light as possible, and in the dominant atmosphere of a special profession and society, they came to adopt a totally unjustifiable method?a method which by its subtlety and cleverness threatened the foundations of common morality. Pascal may not have been just in detail to the Jesuits, but I am sure he was just on the whole. He let in the common light of conscience, and the position which he attacked was shown to be untenable. I am sure we need now another Pascal to do a similar service to another group of men, no less good and great than the Jesuits, no less zealous in a good cause?but like them led on in a special atmosphere to adopt a position and maintain a claim which, looked at in the light of common morality, proves utterly unjustifiable.

This claim?the claim of the particular school of "critical" clergymen which I am considering?is distinctly a challenge to the Church. They recognize?they have for the last twenty years been recognizing?that their claim of liberty to recite the Creeds without believing the miracles, requires in some sense the assent or connivance of the bishops and the public opinion of the Church. Yet for all these years the Church, corporately and officially, has been almost silent under the challenge. True the House of Bishops of our province did twice in 1905 affirm?

"That this House is resolved to maintain unimpaired the Catholic Faith in the Holy Trinity and the Incarnation, as contained in the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds and in the Quicunque Vult, and regards the faith there presented, both in statements of doctrine and in statements of fact, as the necessary basis on which the teaching of the Church reposes."

But the affirmation was not made in direct answer to the challenge that I have spoken of, nor did it excite much attention. Individuals like myself have tried from time to time to call attention to the situation, but in vain. Now, the challenge has been made so emphatic that I am bound to admit that if the Church does not now, formally and officially, break silence and repudiate the suggested "interpretation" (which I affirm is denial and not interpretation) of the creeds, it must be regarded as tacitly sanctioning the claim and allowing the challenge. And to recognize that this is so would carry for some of us consequences of the utmost seriousness.

But I hope that the Church will do its duty. What I desire, what I think absolutely necessary, is that the bishops, as the official guardians of the Church, should solemnly and directly affirm that they can give no kind of countenance to the claim that a man who has come finally not to believe the miraculous events recited so seriously and with such simple emphasis in the central creeds, can continue legitimately to exercise his ministry in the Church. I do not desire the prosecution of individuals. Apart from other strong grounds of objection to prosecutions, it is, I think, impossible in the present condition of our ecclesiastical courts to contemplate any prosecution for heresy. But I hold that such a repudiation as I have suggested would purge us, as a body, from complicity in the claim made by some of our clergy, and would enable the bishops to secure the Church from any real peril that in the future men should be led to enter our ministry without the necessary fundamental belief. Let us continue to leave the individual members of our ministry to their own consciences. I at least think that we should rest satisfied with such a solemn repudiation as I have suggested. 1 believe such a declaration would tend to produce a wholesome and necessary crisis, not only in the ranks of the ministry, but in the larger intellectual world of men and women, which at present seems to me to be in danger of a demoralizing unreality. There is a widespread tendency to refuse to recognize that one is obliged, intellectually as well as morally, to decide whether or no he believes the Christian creed, which after all is a profoundly distinctive creed, and essentially a creed of historical facts.

Finally, I want the clergy, and indeed the laity also, to recognize that, if they assent generally to what has been said above, they must bestir themselves, and not leave the matter to the bishops alone. Past experience has given us bishops a horror of declarations. That horror is in general, perhaps, well-grounded. But there are occasions when it must be overcome. And what is necessary to overcome it, what, perhaps, the bishops have a right to ask for, is the sense that there is a general pressure of the believing Church behind them, justifying and, indeed, requiring their breaking silence.


I suppose that Evangelicals will not wholly agree with High Churchmen as to the basis of doctrinal authority in the Church, though truly I do not know what to-day is the conception of the basis of authority among those Evangelicals who cannot stand any longer upon the bare idea of the infallibility of the Bible; and I venture to say that they greatly need to think out their principles and express them. Yet I suppose that Evangelicals will agree with High Churchmen as to the necessity for the Church of England to-day letting it be clearly understood that it stands for unflinching maintenance of the ancient creeds in their historical sense, and of the infallibility of our Lord. The difference between Evangelicals and High Churchmen lies not here, but in the region of sacramental questions, and especially in the question "whether episcopacy is of the esse of the Church." Those who believe that what are called "questions of organization" are only questions of expediency, and that all the variously organized churches?episcopal and non-episcopal?have an equal right to be regarded as really constituted branches of the one Church of Christ, administering sacraments of equal validity, naturally, especially under the urgent pressure of expediency in the mission-field, seek for some kind of federation of all the Protestant bodies, such as has recently been proposed by the conference at Kikuyu. I do not intend to consider the proposals of this conference in detail, because they are to be judged by the Archbishop, advised by the Advisory Council of the Lambeth Conference, probably with ultimate reference to that conference itself. And I suppose, therefore, that it would be impertinent for another bishop to pass judgement on them on his own account. But these particular proposals are only specimens of a very wide-spread tendency, and any bishop may rightly enter into the question of principles and the results of principles, as affecting all similar proposals.

I am very well aware that in saying what I have got to say I have against me an extraordinarily weighty body of sentiment among English-speaking people. They do not resent the fact that the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches adopt an uncompromising attitude about episcopacy and the conditions of a valid eucharist. But there is a very widespread and intense resentment?irrational, I think, in its intensity?against any similar insistence on the part of the Anglican Church. I suppose that this is due to the fact that the Anglican communion is nearer to the average English-speaking man and woman than the Roman or Orthodox Churches, and has confessedly so much of Protestantism in its composition that the discovery that really at the bottom it retains the ancient Catholic claim provokes and irritates. At any rate the existence of this irritation makes it necessary to attempt a short general statement of the Anglican position in the matter, such as may help to make our zeal intelligible and not merely fanatical.

If we consent to look away from matters of present controversy altogether, and look back to our origins, I venture to say that nothing is more certain than that in the New Testament as it stands, and, I believe, in the strict truth of history, the Founder of our religion instituted a visible Church in such sense that membership of the new covenant in Christ coincided simply with membership of this one visible Church. I think careful reading of the New Testament will show how much of the moral discipline of Christians was meant to lie in the obligation of all Christians to submit to the authority?the "binding" and "loosing"?of the one body. I think also that the more the nature of the sacraments is studied the more it will appear that they are in their essence both covenanted instruments of the spiritual gifts of Christ to the individual, the means of communion with Christ, and also social ceremonies, ceremonies of a society, so that the institution of sacraments served to emphasize through the Christian's whole life the fact that communion with Christ, under the new covenant, was not otherwise to be looked for than in the communion of the one visible Church. Further, in this visible society, inasmuch as it was in intention and principle catholic, and therefore lacking in all bonds of fellowship, such as common blood and language and unity of place, which bind nations into one, the continuous ministry was from the first accepted as one main principle of cohesion: that is to say that there was to be a recognized ministry in each local church, representing the authority of the whole body, and the obligation to accept the ministry was to be the bond of cohesion in each local church, while the communion of the local ministries one with another was to secure the general catholic unity, and the continuity of the ministry by succession or transmission of authority was to secure the continuity of the society down the generations. I have sought elsewhere to vindicate these principles at length. I cannot, of course, go over this argumentative ground here. But I totally disagree with those who say that modern historical criticism has tended to weaken the distinctive Catholic position about the apostolic succession of the ministry or the place of the episcopate. Really I think its effect has been the opposite.

The following propositions seem to me to be established:

1. The religion of Jesus Christ was from the first, and in accordance with His expressed intention, embodied in a visible society, the Church, in such sense that there was no other way to become a member of Christ than by becoming a member of the Church.

2. The Church was held together from the first, inwardly by the Holy Spirit and outwardly by a ministry of divine authority, entrusted by Jesus Christ to His twelve apostles, with others, perhaps, who were not of the number of the twelve, and by them transmitted, with the laying-on of hands and prayer, to other men, as need arose, in different grades of office, and by these in turn to their successors; so that in each generation there have been men in the Church who have received in due succession from the apostolic founders of the Church the ministry of the word and sacraments, and amongst them men holding a ministry in chief, which carried with it authority to impart the ministry to others. This ministerial succession rests upon the original institution of Christ in principle, but was developed at each step under the "binding" and "loosing" authority of the Church, to which He gave a divine sanction.

3. Beside the apostles there were inspired prophets who ranked as founders of the Church, and there was a wide diffusion of spiritual gifts, such as prophecy, tongues, and miracles, in the earliest Church; but exactly so far as the Church had to face an uncertain future, it was guided not to trust to these extraordinary gifts, but to perpetuate in due succession a pastoral office such as requires for its exercise only normal human qualities, and such a gift of the Holy Ghost as the Church from the first believed to accompany the laying-on of hands.

4. The ministry in the Church, perpetuated in accordance with this principle of devolution, has taken one form, viz. that in each church there has been a bishop with presbyters and deacons; and the bishops only have held the authority to ordain others to the ministry. This particular form of ministry (mon-episcopal) undoubtedly comes from apostolic days. Its establishment as the one form of church ministry may be regarded as due to the authority of the Church, but it has been as deeply and universally established in Christendom as the creed or the canon of Scripture.

This threefold ministry was recognized as of the esse of the Church from sub-apostolic days. "Without these three orders no church has a title to the name," says Ignatius of Antioch. "Let that be held a valid eucharist which is under the bishop or one to whom he shall have committed it." It is hardly possible, I think, to overstate the degree to which these principles or arrangements obtained, as the indisputable principles and orders of the Church, from the beginning of her history down to the sixteenth century. I know that the very idea of any conditions of a valid eucharist or a valid ordination exasperates people. But I think this is totally unreasonable.

It is desirable to explain exactly what it means. It does not mean that the Church can claim any restrictive authority over divine gifts, or need deny the bestowal of the fullest gifts of Christ anywhere where their fruits are evident. God?let us be thankful for it?has not abandoned His liberty to give freely where He sees either desert or need. He is not tied to His sacraments. But every ordered society, sacred or secular, must have for its operations conditions of validity. It must say: Only such an officer can do such an act; done by any one else it will not be valid?that is, the society will not recognize it or be responsible for it or ratify it. [14] Now the Church received, according to the New Testament, authority to bind and loose, not merely like any ordinary society, but with divine sanction in those matters entrusted to her; and with an overwhelming unanimity from the first it has bound in the matter of the administration of some of the sacraments?that is, it has said that no ordination to holy orders but one conferred by a bishop, and no eucharist but one administered by a presbyter ordained by a bishop, is to be regarded as valid. There can be no good case made out against the universal dominance of these principles and rules in the Church as a fixed law of its being down to the sixteenth century; and?not the details but?the principle of an authoritative ministry, and the principle of delegation to minister from the apostles, and the principle of different classes of ministers with differentiation of functions, appear already in the New Testament.

The Church of the Middle Ages became fearfully corrupt. The relation between the ecclesiastical state and personal holiness of life or spirituality became disastrously obscured. Where such an awful anomaly occurs, reaction against the Church idea is not only inevitable in proportion to men's moral enlightenment, but we must say that it becomes the method of divine judgement. Such a reaction was the Reformation. It struck hard at the idea of ecclesiastical succession. The root principle of the Reformation movement on the Continent was the repudiation of the principle of any necessary succession in the ministry. It was not the assertion of the principle of a succession through the presbyters. It was the total repudiation of the necessity for any succession. "The priesthood belongs to all believers, and essentially all have equal powers. All special ministries exist by delegation from the body of believers." Sohm, Lindsay, and Lowrie have made this indisputably clear, so far as the original position of all the Protestant bodies is concerned. There were differences between Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin on questions arising about the ministry among the Protestants, but not on this fundamental point. Calvin is emphatic in repudiating any succession to the ancient ministry. He claims that God has sent a new order of evangelists to found a new ministry in place of one that had utterly ceased to be a ministry of the true Church.

But the Church of England took a totally different line. This is fundamental to its constitution. In the preface to the Ordinal it claims that the orders of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons have been in the Church from the Apostles' time, and it asserts its intention that they should be "continued" in the Church of England; and it admits to its ministry all persons who have "had formerly episcopal consecration or ordination" without any further ordination, but ordains de novo all others; and within the threefold ministry it restricts to bishops ordinations and confirmations, with other minor functions, and it restricts to priests the ministry of the eucharist and of absolution.

It is quite true that the Church of England imposes upon the clergy no obligation to hold the dogma that only episcopal ordinations are valid, and only priestly consecrations of the eucharist, and that bishops are of the esse of the Church, but it has acted, so far as concerns its corporate action, always in such a way as to satisfy those who hold these doctrines, and to impose a severe restriction on the action which those who do not hold them would naturally wish to take. This, I think, is indisputable. If you hold the Lutheran or the Calvinist theory of the ministry, you naturally desire to recognize practically the essential indifference of all forms of ministry; but the Church of England, by its requirements for ministry, most severely restricts such inclination. Also the whole coherence of the Church of England depends on the maintenance of those severe but Catholic principles. At the Church Congress at Cambridge in 1910 I felt bound to say

"that the Anglican communion would certainly be rent in twain on the day on which any non-episcopally ordained minister was formally allowed within our communion to celebrate the eucharist, and any Colonial Church of our communion which recognized in this way the validity of non-episcopal orders, would either be disowned by other parts of the Anglican communion or, if that were not the case, would cause what I have just described as a division within our communion at home."

And those who most resent that so it should be have not been able to deny that so it is.

These, then, are the contentious positions which have to be maintained if the Anglican communion is to hold together, whether in the mission-field or at home?(1) the requirement of episcopal ordination for the regular ministry; (2) the requirement of an episcopally ordained priest to celebrate the eucharist; (3) the requirement of episcopal confirmation by laying-on of hands, or at least of the readiness to receive it where it can be had, before admission to communion.

About this a few words must be said. The famous "Lambeth Quadrilateral," i.e. the statement of the four principles on the basis of which Home Reunion might be contemplated, viz. the Scriptures, the two creeds, the two sacraments, and the historic episcopate, was proposed by the Lambeth Conference in 1888. I have always thought that this proposal was sufficient as a bare minimum only if baptism was taken to include its complement in the laying-on of hands. Down to about thirty years ago the rite of confirmation was taken to be, more than anything else, a renewal of vows. About such renewal of vows, followed though it was by an episcopal blessing, there was nothing sacramental or necessary, though there might be something edifying. But a very thorough revolution has taken place in our idea of confirmation. We have reverted?as we were bound to do?behind this inadequate tradition, and behind the mediaeval tradition, also inadequate, back to the primitive and Scriptural idea, according to which the laying-on of hands is the sacramental means for the bestowal of the full gift of the Holy Spirit, which constitutes the recipient a fully-equipped member of the Church: it is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual gift thereby given to us. This is what it has meant since the apostles first taught its use and significance in the Church. "Baptisms and the laying-on of hands" have been thenceforward coupled together as two indispensable parts of the ceremony of Christian initiation. To this primitive idea we have reverted, so that the bishops of our province to-day desire to replace the dry "preface" of our present Confirmation Order by a simple and emphatic statement of the sacramental meaning of the rite. If this is so?if apostolic authority pledges us to this view?how can we dispense with what comes to us on such authority, and what carries so mighty a gift? It was all very well to dispense with confirmation when we thought of it as a renewal of vows, but now that we know that the renewal of vows is only the prelude to a sacramental ordinance which was given its place in the Church by the apostles, how can we dispense with it? Must we not recognize that the peremptory rubric, "There shall none be admitted to the Holy Communion until such time as he be confirmed, or be ready and desirous to be confirmed," is justified by the highest authority and reason? I know that individual bishops have presumed to dispense from the observance of this requirement. But I cannot say that I think they have the right to do so?not it the teaching of the apostles and the Church really is that this is the appointed means for the conveyance to the baptized Christian of the full endowment of the Holy Ghost.

Now let us turn from these considerations to the situation in the mission - field, where our miserable divisions are seen at their worst. Leaving out of sight for the moment the Orthodox Church, which is an exceedingly efficient missionary Church, but appears on the field in only a few regions outside its own special territories, you find the Roman Church, uncompromising and alone, over against (as it is commonly supposed) a great variety of Protestant bodies. Must not these Protestant bodies federate into at least a working unity? By arrangement, or in some regions by the severe hand of government, the territory is portioned out between the Christian bodies, who, where there is so large a field uncovered, can undertake, provisionally at least, not to invade one another's territory. And "the comity of missions" suggests not only such partition of territory, but also mutual disciplinary arrangements and regulations with regard to the receiving of converts from one another. But further questions arise. The Christians of one communion travel into the region of another, e.g. Methodists into the Anglican region. Must they not be welcomed to communion? Must not our communicants be advised to go to the Methodist communion when they are in the Methodist region? And, more broadly, must not "comity" pass into federation? To the mass of the Evangelical missionaries, who hold that no particular organization is essential, it is obvious to assent to this. Many of our own clergy, belonging to that school of our Church which has been foremost in missionary zeal, are of this mind. The situation presses for federation, as a step to fuller unity, and there is nothing in their principles repugnant to it. But there is one consideration of paramount importance. Such federation, if it violates the Catholic principles which I have sketched, or if it is of such a nature as inevitably to lead on to their violation, involves the consequence of disruption amongst ourselves. It is true that no confession of faith in the necessity of episcopacy, etc., is required of Evangelicals. But action is required of them which to me seems only justifiable if episcopacy is really of the esse of the Church?at any rate, action which is satisfactory to those who hold this view. This is the price that must be paid for the coherence of our communion.

Do not let us underrate the difficulty or the urgency of the situation which has led to the proposals for federation. Do not let us forget how the situation presents itself to those who are on the field and who see the abundant and splendid fruits of frankly Protestant missions. But I think the first thing to be done is to have a frank conference between members of our communion as to what measures?what amount of comity?what amount of federation ?we can agree to with some approach to unanimity. Many High Churchmen nowadays are ready to go a long way. Is not the first step to have conference amongst ourselves? For my own part, I am sure we ought to go as far as we can, consistently with the uncompromising maintenance of the three principles which I have enumerated above. But these three principles do seem to me to mean that the Anglican communion can never recognize federation with other Protestant bodies on equal terms, nor celebrate "open communions," nor send its members to the communions of other bodies. And if this is so we must be left standing apart from any general Protestant federation. For I think we cannot reasonably ask those great Protestant bodies to go far with us unless we are prepared to reciprocate on equal terms.

And do you say this is intolerable?at least in the mission-field? I say?painful indeed, but not intolerable; not if you believe in the permanence of the great Catholic principles?not if you believe that it is only on the basis of these principles that we can even hope that the Church can come together again. If we do believe this, and if we believe that the Anglican communion is specially responsible among the churches of Christendom for keeping alive the type of liberal and scriptural Catholicism, then we shall feel that, even at the price of much isolation and much limitation in the area of our work, it is our duty to deliver our special message and maintain our type of Christian life, as much in Asia and Africa as in America and Europe. The days may be beginning when African and Asiatic Christians will be numerous and strong enough to manage their own affairs?and then they must be responsible to God for what occurs. It may be that the new churches of these countries will be neither Romanist nor Anglican nor Protestant, but something not yet realized. What we have to do is to exhibit before their eyes, in as catholic and as little specially English a form as possible, the principles which we are set to maintain or to recover, which are indeed the principles of the undivided Church and (we believe) of the Bible.

And I would earnestly ask my Evangelical friends before they commit themselves freely to Protestant federation not only to consider what will be its effect on the cohesion of our communion, but also to consider carefully on what principle they are going to federate. For instance, with regard to the validity of ministries and the validity of eucharists, on what principle are they going to act? There are High-Church Presbyterians who hold the doctrine of apostolical succession, but maintain that the succession may be and has been continued through presbyters. This principle would include, I suppose (on their own showing), some Presbyterians and Moravians and Methodists, but would leave out the majority of modern Protestants. Do they accept this principle? or the Zwinglian principle that any organized Church can create its own ministry? or the Lutheran principle that any two or three Christians can do so? or do they, with many Nonconformists and with the Friends and the Salvation Army, repudiate the necessity or even the desirability of any organized ministry? (For my own part, I may say in passing, if I am to judge by the fruits of religion as I see them in life, I should be disposed to rank the Friends among the highest in the kingdom of God, and they have no ministry and no sacraments.) I do not think that my Evangelical friends will find it easy to formulate a theory of the essentials of a Christian ministry other than the Catholic theory. But surely, before they can pass without disaster into the welter of Christian bodies, they need a firm and intelligible theory. S. Paul was a bold evangelist, but he never moved a step without a theory?without looking before and after, and knowing whither he was going.

I am afraid that what I have written will not please my Nonconformist friends in England. The longer I live the more I value their friendship and depend on their co-operation in many directions. But also the more I know of the movements of religious thought and organization among Protestants, at home or overseas, the more convinced I am that our special Anglican witness is worth maintaining, and I am sure that nothing less than I have just endeavoured to put into words is necessary in order to maintain it.


There is no doubt that the "Catholic movement" amongst us has shared the common tendency to shrink from the trouble of clear thinking and examination of principles, and has been drifting into a position which makes it very difficult for its extremer representatives to give an intelligible reason why they are not Roman Catholics. It is a great moral peril to any body of men not to have clear principles; but, apart from this peril to themselves, this tendency imperils the whole movement which the Tractarians inaugurated. We have to convert a Protestant-minded country?a country which is strongly prejudiced against what it vaguely thinks and speaks of as sacerdotalism and Romanism: we have "to commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God": and we fail to do this if we can be convicted of playing fast and loose with positive obligations which we have voluntarily contracted.

I purpose, then, to examine precisely what we clergy are really committed to, in doctrine and practice, as against the present Roman theory and practice.

As regards the claim of the Papacy, we abandoned in 1865 the requirement upon the clergy to sign the proposition that "no foreign prince, person, prelate, state, or potentate hath or ought to have any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, within His Majesty's said realms, dominions, and countries," which in its application to the Bishop of Rome was a very sweeping and exact declaration; and there remains nothing except the vague statements of the Articles that "the Church of Rome hath erred ... in matters of faith" (Art. 19), which, I suppose, without further definition, a Roman Catholic could admit; and that "the Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this realm of England," which, coming under the head of "the civil magistrates," appears to refer to secular jurisdiction. Whether we regret the absence of more specific requirement in this particular or no, men must be judged by what they have really committed themselves to, and not by a vague prejudice.

Further, I have contended above that, since 1865, we have committed ourselves to no more than a general assent to the doctrine of the Church of England as contained in Articles, Prayer Book, and Ordinal, and are not to be judged by single phrases ot the Articles.

Thus I am sure that we had better cease to throw these single phrases at one another, especially if we cannot be confident that there is no single phrase which can be thrown at us. But also, strictly construed, the anti-Roman phrases of the Articles are confessedly vague, and partly by reason of date, do not touch the precise statements of Trent, which were themselves reforming statements; still less do they touch the statements of the Orthodox Church, which are akin to those of Rome, but not identical. I believe the vagueness of these Articles was deliberate. At any rate it is a fact. Dr. Hort claimed that the repudiation of the "Romish doctrine concerning purgatory" did not exclude all belief in purgatory; and the same must be said about the invocation of saints. Certainly the Orthodox doctrine of invocation is not thereby excluded. If those responsible for the Anglican formulary intended to exclude all positive doctrine on such subjects, they certainly did not know, as Rome and Geneva knew, how to do their business in the way of definition. I shall have something to say directly about the great Anglican requirement which keeps any belief or teaching of ours on these subjects in its proper place: but I am sure that we do not exclude, for instance, all invocation of saints.

In this region I think a most severe indictment can be made against us English Churchmen for having suffered ourselves, by way of reaction, to lose the proper attitude of living members of the Church towards the blessed dead altogether, and towards the heroes of our faith?the saints?in particular; to lose what Charles Kingsley beautifully speaks of as the "help" we ought to receive "from our blessed dead, who surely will not use their power?the augmented spiritual power of their present state?for themselves; but as Christ uses His, for those they love." I believe that what we chiefly need is the recovery in private devotion, and in public also by proper authority, of the ancient practice of "comprecation" ?the practice, that is, of commemorating the blessed dead, generally or by name, before God our Father, asking Him that we may be allowed to receive the benefit of their prayers and help, so far as seems in His wisdom good for us. But, undoubtedly, the sense of nearness to their dead has led Christians from very early times to ask directly for the help of their prayers. Such direct addresses to the saints have run to much excess, and involved something like deification of particular saints, especially the Blessed Virgin Mother. The abuse in this direction is not, I think, more culpable or regrettable than the neglect of the saints on our part; and I would affirm that there is no justification for a condemnation by us of all invocation of the saints as such. For myself, if I may make an acknowledgement, I would say that I was taught to invoke the saints as long ago as 1870, and I have never felt called upon wholly to renounce a practice which has behind it such a vast weight of consent.

I wish also in this connection to repeat a protest which I made after the publication of the Report of the Royal Commission on Ecclesiastical Discipline in 1906 against a phrase used by them when they spoke (p. 53) of certain practices as lying "on the Rome ward side of a line of deep cleavage between the Church of England and that of Rome." I am speaking without reference to the particular practices in question; I am speaking only of the idea embodied in the phrase they use. As to this I should like to repeat what I then said:

"It is quite true that if we take a typical Anglican teacher and a typical Roman we may find 'a line of deep cleavage' between them. But if we take the least Protestant types of Anglican teaching and the most moderate Roman types, the line is hardly apparent; and if we take the doctrinal requirement of Rome at its minimum, and at the same time recognize how vague are the limits of Anglican eucharistic theology, we shall come to the conclusion that no such line of deep cleavage exists at all."

So far, then, I have been pleading that the extremer representatives of the "Catholic movement" (I use the phrase simply to be intelligible) should be judged justly, like the Liberals and the Evangelicals, not by the prejudices of their opponents, but by the statements to which they have in fact committed themselves. But there are certain great principles, and certain definite obligations which Anglicans whose inclinations {are Romewards or towards mediaeval theology have to respect.

1. First there is the constantly reiterated and emphatic principle to which they have definitely committed themselves: the acceptance of Scripture as limiting the dogmatic requirement?the holding and preaching of anything as an article of faith, for which the acceptance of others can be claimed. I believe this appeal to Scripture to be thoroughly justified, and I have elsewhere sought to justify it. But here I only press the point that the requirement is made and solemnly accepted by every clergyman again and again, and it carries certain important consequences. A whole body of mediaeval or modern Roman doctrine is thereby ruled out of the articles of the necessary faith. Purgatory may be, as I think, in some sense an irresistible doctrine, but there is no doctrine of a purgatory for the souls of the dead in Christ in the New Testament or in Scripture. Again, invocation, if it is to be a rational practice, must involve in some sense the doctrine that the dead can hear our petitions, and this again can plead no scriptural basis. So of the immaculate conception of the Blessed Virgin.

The logic on which this doctrine professes to rest makes to me, I admit, no appeal; and to proclaim an event in history without any tolerable historical evidence, is to play into the hands of rationalism. But whatever may be said for the doctrine, at any rate it can plead no Scriptural authority. I think that we are bound to recognize all this quite definitely. These and the like doctrines may in various ways commend themselves to us by intrinsic probability, or their devotional appeal, or the weight of authority and use behind them. But they must remain for us pious opinions, not articles of faith, and I will draw the practical conclusion, that as the public services of the Church should be such as all can use, so, for instance, the invocation of saints, cannot be, with us any more than with the ancient Church, a feature of our public worship. I would also draw the conclusion that we can never allow any devotional practice to occupy a large place in our prayers unless it rests upon the certainty of revelation.

2. The other great principle to which I would appeal is the principle of consistency.

The centralization of authority in the Pope has been the centre and key to mediaeval and modern Roman developments. Romanism without the practical recognition of the Pope is an extraordinarily irrational and inconsequential system of ideas. I am quite sure that an Anglican Churchman who wants his beliefs to be rational must not think that he can borrow the system of Roman belief or practice, either leaving out in theory or ignoring in fact the authority of the Pope. To accept the Anglican position as valid, in any sense, is to appeal behind the Pope and the authority of the mediaeval Church which developed the Papacy, to the undivided Church, and with the undivided Church to Scripture, as limiting for ever the articles of faith to the original creed.

Father Tyrrell was quite justified in saying, "I assume, with the Fathers, that the revelation given through Christ by His apostles, apart from any subsequent theological reflection, contained all that was needful for the fullest life of faith, hope, and charity. ... I find no difficulty whatever in accepting literal (not merely implicit) apostolicity, in the patristic sense, as the criterion of faith, and I cannot but regret that confusion of revelation with theology which seems to allow a development in the deposit of faith."

3. And there is a third point?the definite practical requirement which we clergy undertake as a rule for our ministry?as definite as any doctrinal requirement of the creed and binding us as strictly to honest conformity?the requirement that "in public prayer and administration of the Sacraments, we will use the form in the said (Prayer) Book prescribed and none other, except so far as shall be ordered by lawful authority." This last phrase is vague, and I dare say that, when it was added in 1865 to the earlier declaration, it was taken by different parties concerned in different senses. I agree, like almost all my episcopal brethren, to take it thankfully as allowing the bishop a liturgical power, not to substitute anything for the Prayer Book services, or to dispense from definite Prayer Book requirements, but to sanction services for occasions and purposes ignored in the Prayer Book. But apart from such episcopal provision, the requirement is strict and should be taken seriously, like all strict requirements solemnly undertaken and acted upon in willing obedience. And I am quite sure that there is great necessity in many places that we should revise our ideas and practices in the light of this strict requirement. And I wish to say to the clergy who desire to let the worship of the Church have its maximum, rather than its minimum of ceremonial, that besides having due regard to the conscience of their people, they should resolve in all respects to exhibit and render, without obscuring, the Prayer Book order, which they are bound to accept not as an ideal but as sufficient, and which alone they are solemnly pledged to use. I cannot help saying that in my opinion Dr. Frere and Dr. Percy Dearmer, and those who have worked on their lines, have rendered the greatest service by letting us understand how to make the best of the Prayer Book

What I am appealing for is a return to principle all round. We need a great act of corporate thinking by which we shall recognize again what our Anglican Church really stands for, and by what sort of loyalty it can maintain its cohesion and its power to grow and fulfil its mission in the world. I am well aware that this reconsideration will involve some painful sacrifices alike from Liberals, Evangelicals, and Catholics. I would insist that we cannot ask others for sacrifices unless we show ourselves a like willingness.

I have written this letter under all the disadvantages of a very busy time of the year. But it could not be delayed if I was to fulfil what came to present itself to me as a pressing obligation.

I cannot resist the impression that the Church of England, in particular, has a bad time ahead of it. I think its perils are largely due to its refusal of recent years ?a refusal manifested in all classes, movements, and grades of office amongst us?to think clearly about principles. As you know, I have grieved almost all of you by refusing to join in the opposition to Disestablishment, whether in Wales or England. I think that Disestablishment, more than anything else, would throw us upon our principles. I doubt whether anything else will do so effectively. But I should hope that those who do not agree with me about this will agree with me on the necessity, which is urgent in other fields than those which I have been treating above?in the region, for example, of the marriage question?that we should reflect upon and stand by and insist upon those fundamentals of faith and practice by which alone we can hope to hold together, and within those limits exercise the largest toleration of one another?"endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace," and believing that, through whatever purging trials, our part of the Church has its special vocation for the future and in the whole world.

Believe me to be,
My dear brethren in Christ,
Your faithful friend and pastor,

Easter, 1914.

[1] Art. 6: of. Arts. 20, 21, and the questions in the Ordinal addressed to those to be ordained priests or bishops.

[2] Especially chapters vi, vii, viii. (Macmillan, 1913.)

[3] The Miracle of Christianity, by Dr. Bethune Baker. (Longmans, 1914.)

[4] Macmillan, 1914.

[5] See Practical Ethics (Sonnenschein, 1898): Essay V, "The Ethics of Religious Conformity," and VI "Clerical Veracity."

[6] This was the form generally used: see Gibson's Thirty-nine Articles (Methuen), vol. i, p. 62. The "three articles" contained, among other things, the proposition "that he acknowledged all and every the articles, being in number nine-and-thirty, besides the ratification, to be agreeable to the word of God."

[7] St. Peter (Acts ii. 31) interprets "the resurrection of the Christ" as meaning "neither was he left in Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption," and so St. Paul (Acts xiii. 37) "David . . . saw corruption, but he whom God raised up saw no corruption." This at least expresses the unanimous mind of the apostolic church.

[8] And when he baptizes any one, to question him or his Godparents as to whether he "steadfastly believes all this."

[9] That is, the Convocation of Canterbury wished a note to be appended to the Quicunque to the effect that "the warnings of this confession of faith are to be understood no otherwise than the like warnings of Holy Scripture. . . . The Church does not herein pronounce judgement on any particular person or persons, God alone being the judge of all." This note satisfied few; but it justified interpreting these "warnings" with serious qualification. It was meant to do this.

[10] The Constructive Quarterly, March, 1914.

[11] Times, January 15, 1914.

[12] Third series, Longmans, 1897.

[13] I think with St. Chrysostom that these smaller errors do not deprive the narratives of historical truth and are a positive advantage, as evidence that there was no collusion between the compilers. See in Matt, hom 1. P. G. lvii. 16, 18.

[14] Thus the Church has said "only a marriage celebrated between Christians is valid." In regard to marriages, validity means the same thing as in regard to the eucharist. We do not deny that persons who have rejected the rules of the Church may be in God's sight man and wife. What we say is that the Church cannot so regard them. This is all a visible human society can say.

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