FORTY-SECOND ANNIVERSARY OF E. C. U.
Our Anniversary to-day inaugurates a new century. We are met at what seems to be in some sort a dividing point in the history of the Union. And it may be well to cast a glance back to the past in order to ascertain if possible what light it throws upon the present and future.
The Conflict of the last Sixty Years.
For the last sixty years the Church in England has been fighting a battle to reassert her old doctrine, to revive her ancient ritual in which doctrine is enshrined, and to vindicate her inherent and indefeasible rights as a spiritual body deriving her authority not from Kings or Parliaments, but from God. It has been a conflict in which the issues involved have not always been clearly seen, in which mistakes have been made, in which much has had to be learnt by experience, and in which there have been many apparent defeats, but it has also been a conflict in which positions won have never been abandoned, and through the whole course of which there has been an ever-increasing perception of what Church principles involve, together with an ever-widening and deepening determination to assert those principles in practice, and, at whatever cost, to bring the inner and outer life of the Church into harmony with them.
The conflict has been distinguished by two marked features throughout its course. One, that the battle has been fought and won, not by the rulers, but by the rank and file of the Church; it has been a soldiers' battle--a battle the glory of which rests with the priests, not with the Bishops and the rulers of the Church. The other, that the authorities of the Church, when the battle has been won, have accepted its [3/4] results with thankfulness. If they have not always resisted the stoning of the prophets, they have at least for the most part been eager to build their sepulchres. Dr. Newman, who was driven to repudiate the claims of the English Church by the action of the heads of the University of Oxford, and the attitude taken up by the then Episcopate--you will remember his words--"Our Bishop is our Pope ..."to have resisted my Bishop would have been to put myself in an utterly false position which I never could have recovered"--Dr. Pusey, who was suspended, Mr. Keble, who was left all his life in the obscurity of a country living which he owed to a private patron--are acknowledged by all to-day, with the exception of a few fanatics of no consequence, to have been the leaders of a movement which has renewed the face of the Church of England.
And as it was with the original leaders of the movement, so for the most part it has been with their followers. Mr. Bennett was driven from London, Mr. Mackonochie was prosecuted for ten years, and eventually driven from St. Alban's, men like Mr. Tooth and Mr. Green were shut up in prison in consequence of the attitude taken by their Bishops in regard to matters which have now the implicit sanction of all the Episcopate. Does anyone now venture to suggest a prosecution for the use of vestments, lights, and mixed chalice, the restoration of the cross and crucifix over the altar, to give instances of matters which at one time or another have all been declared contrary to the mind of the Church of England by the representatives of ecclesiastical authority, but which are now accepted by the same authority as being in accordance with the mind of the Church, and the rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer? Almost always what was condemned in the first instance has come to be accepted in the end. The lesson to be drawn from the fact as to present controversies is too obvious to be insisted on.
The "Extreme" Men.
Another feature which has distinguished the conflict has been the way in which those in the front of the battle have constantly been characterised and censured as extreme by those behind. We are none of us infallible, and it is probable that some in their ardour and enthusiasm have sometimes pressed on too far and too fast, just as others in their prudence and caution may have lagged too far behind. The van must keep touch with the rear if the advance is to succeed, but I think no one can doubt that if it had not been [4/5] for those who at various times in the course of the movement have been characterised as "extreme," the progress that has been made in the advance of the whole body would not have been what it has been. You must have enthusiasm, you must have imagination, with all its consequences, you must have what to some seems imprudence, if a cause is to succeed. And next, is there not need to remember that those who are thought "extreme" to-day are accounted among the "moderate" to-morrow?
Dr. Newman talked of "the extravagances as they at present practise them at Margaret Street Chapel." Those extravagances were two lighted candles. Dr. Hook very strongly objected to Dr. Pusey's teaching, and the practices at St. Saviour's, Leeds. He declared they were hindering his work. I am not sure that he did not delate the clergy of St. Saviour's to the Bishop of Ripon. Dr. Pusey was for some time practically inhibited by the Bishop of Oxford. Later on there were occasions, notably in 1874, when Dr. Pusey himself seemed to imply that the storm which broke upon the Church in the passing of the Public Worship Regulation Act was due to the imprudences of men who, by their extreme practices, were endangering what had been won by the early leaders of the movement.
Dr. Pusey was subsequently convinced that this opinion was unfounded, but in letters from Archdeacon Denison and Mr. Carter of that date I find both the Archdeacon and Mr. Carter protesting against arbitrary distinctions being drawn as to details of ritual, and insisting, in opposition to Dr. Bright and others at Oxford, that the use of incense was as much covered by the general principles and liturgical directions of the Church of England as the use of lights. The use of the one, they said, was just as much or just as little an "extreme practice" as the use of the other. It was all a question of what people were accustomed to, and in the neglect of all outward observance, and of much more than outward observance, which had characterised the past history of the Church of England and destroyed any continuous ecclesiastical tradition to which appeal could be made, the word "extreme," as applied to some particular point of doctrine or to some detail of practice, often meant no more than that the matter in question happened to be distasteful to the objector. Facts like these are not without their bearing on more recent controversies, and may be remembered with advantage by us all. We have need to be wise and prudent, but we have need also to be careful, lest we expose ourselves to the reproach of making the same accusations against those whom we may think "extreme" as those which were leveled [5/6] against Dr. Pusey himself, Bishop Forbes of Brechin, Mr. Mackonochie, Mr. Lowder, and others whose praise to-day is in all the Churches.
The Church's Spiritual Rights.
Another feature worth noticing in the conflict of the last fifty years is the way in which it has developed a sense of the rights of the Church as a spiritual society, and a determination not to allow those rights to be ignored. I can recollect when great doubt was entertained whether the decisions of the Privy Council did not bind the Church in spiritual matters, and whether it was not a duty to conform to them. When the Judicial Committee forbade the use of lights, Archdeacon Denison counselled submission. I remember giving some very bad advice myself in the same direction. It was Mr. Bennett Canon Carter, Mr. Lowder, and men like Canon Courtenay, who saved the situation. The difficulty in those days was to get men to see that the Judicial Committee could not declare the law of the Church. Some insisted that the alternative lay between obedience and resignation. Others said, "no doubt the decisions of the Judicial Committee must be disregarded if they touch doctrine, but in such matters as ceremonial, matters not essential in themselves, it is surely better to obey, than to risk a conflict with the State, with all the possible consequences which such a conflict involves. Mr. Keble has, no doubt, spoken strongly on the duty of 'protesting that the Church cannot, will not, be bound by such a Court'--but, then, it was with regard to doctrine, not in regard to ritual, that he so spoke. Let us submit, but protest." The same question was raised by the appointment of Lord Penzance under the P.W.R. Act. Again it will be remembered what differences of opinion there were as to the duty of obedience to the provisions of that Act. What settled the question was the imprisonment of Mr. Tooth. I shall never forget that Meeting of the Union in Freemasons' Tavern in 1877 when, after consultation with Dr. Pusey, it was solemnly affirmed that neither the Judicial Committee nor any Courts subject to its jurisdiction were competent to decide the doctrine and ritual of the Church of England. That Resolution was a turning-point in the history of the Church, for it was the formal declaration of war against the principle of Erastianism which Cardinal Newman in the year 1866, in a letter to Mr. Ambrose de Lisle, declared ever had been, and was, the fundamental principle of ecclesiastical organization of the Anglican Church.
 The Cardinal would, I think, have changed his opinion if he could speak now. Who is there at the present moment who pays any attention to the decisions of the Judicial Committee in spiritual matters? Not the Bishops, for the rulings of that Court on such a crucial matter as the use of the vestments are absolutely disregarded. Not even the Church Association, who dare not bring the matter again before the Courts. Is there a single Bishop at the present time who would venture on an attempt to enforce the decisions of the Privy Council on his clergy? I doubt if there is a single Bishop who would wish to do so. Does not such a fact cast something more than doubt on the wisdom of attempting to regulate the ritual of the Church of England at the present time by a reference to the supposed effect of the words of an Act for enforcing uniformity of religion upon the whole nation, passed some three centuries ago, the whole scope and object of which has long been repudiated by the nation at large? Someone, I think it was the Bishop of London, repeated the other day the story of the man who, on being asked how the Church was getting on in the East of London, wittily replied, "As well as Queen Elizabeth will let her"; and really that is what it comes to if the provisions of such Acts are to be insisted upon. What can Acts of Uniformity of Elizabeth's time or Charles II.'s time have to do with us now?
I see it is being urged by those who were responsible for, and so largely manufactured, what it is the fashion to call "the recent crisis" in Church affairs, that if the Bishops will do nothing else, at least a rigid enforcement of the opinions of the two Archbishops, founded on those Acts of Uniformity, would be some pledge of their good intentions, and a consolation to Protestant principles. I am not in the secrets of the Episcopate, but somehow I cannot bring myself to think such an enforcement likely. The Bishops have been told by the Archbishop that the matter rests with them, and I should imagine, judging by the example of the late Bishop of London, that they were more likely to follow the Archbishop's example, when Bishop of London, than to endorse opinions he has since issued as Primate, which are open to such serious criticisms as those in question. If an Act of Uniformity, admitting that the words of the Act have the force attributed to them, passed against the consent of the Episcopate, can for all time bind the Church, what ground remains for our protest against the Public Worship Regulation Act, or against the interference of the Privy Council in spiritual matters?
It is here that a reference to past troubles will help to clear up ideas in respect to present difficulties. Do the rulings of an Act of Parliament acquire spiritual force by being endorsed [7/8] by the Episcopate? If in regard to such a matter as Reservation of the Blessed Sacrament for the use of the sick and dying, no appeal can safely be made to the practice and teaching of the whole Catholic Church, because from very early times the whole Church, as we have been told by a great ecclesiastical dignitary, was infected with superstition and erroneous doctrine on the subject of the Holy Eucharist, on what grounds can we be sure that the Church has rightly interpreted the words and mind of Holy Scripture in reference to any other point of Catholic doctrine and practice, as, for instance, in regard to infant baptism?
Will it be said that there is no doctrine about the Holy Eucharist which is of (Ecumenical obligation? Hardly, I think; but than, if there be such a doctrine, the Church of England as part of the Catholic Church is bound to that doctrine and to no other, and we have to inquire, not merely whether this or that doctrine or practice is expressly asserted or explicitly ordered in the later formularies of the Church of England, as if those formularies were meant to be exclusive of everything not explicitly mentioned and prescribed in them; not whether this or that doctrine or practice has always been admitted and recognized by divines of the Church of England--individual divines may and often do make mistakes, even the Caroline divines are not infallible--but whether the doctrine or practice in question is one which is compatible with the formularies of the Church of England interpreted by and read in the light of what is the belief and practice of the Catholic Church, submission to which we profess each time that we recite the Creed.
Relations of Local Churches with the Church Universal.
The root of the question is the relation of local and National Churches to the Church Universal. National Churches have their rights. No one disputes them. The question is, within what limits? Are those limits outstripped if a National Church, for example, should attempt to forbid Reservation of the Blessed Sacrament for the Sick and Dying? Can a National Church, can a local Episcopate in such a matter ignore the practice of the whole Church, and the necessities of the sick? If the Bishops of a National Church have liberty in a matter of such vital importance to ignore the rights of the faithful, what limits are there to their authority? It is the same question, I venture to think, as that which has to be addressed from an opposite side to the Anglo-Roman Bishops m regard to their recent Joint Pastoral. By what is the [8/9] authority of the Episcopate to insist upon this or to forbid that limited and controlled? I am convinced that the more the directions of the Prayer Book are studied, the more clearly it will be seen that they contain no such prohibition of the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament as has been asserted; but assuming for the moment the existence of such a prohibition, should we not be obliged to say that such a rule was more honoured in the breach than in the observance, that it was not within the competence of a National Church to interfere with and prohibit the universal custom and practice of the Catholic Church in such a matter, and that any claim to do so was in fact disallowed by the Church of England herself, as evidenced by the Proclamation of Elizabeth in 1569, repudiating "any right to change any ceremonies formerly adopted by the Catholic and Apostolic Church?" There are some, I know, who care little for such reasons, but what they may not be ready to concede outjof respect for Catholic doctrine and custom they may be willing to grant in view of the practical necessities of the case. Let me give an instance of what occurred only a short time ago within my own knowledge and experience.
An old man whom I had known for many years was attacked by a painful and lingering illness. After he had taken to his bed he was not always himself, and it was quite uncertain for various reasons at what moment he might be able to receive Communion, which he very earnestly desired to do. For the last ten days of his life he lay often in the greatest bodily distress--constantly wandering; for long periods apparently almost unconscious, and in a state which made any question of giving him Communion impossible. One day, however, he woke up when no one expected it, quite himself, and urgently asked that the Blessed Sacrament might be given him. He listened for the Priest who went to fetch It. He lifted himself up in bed when the Blessed Sacrament was brought into the room. He received it with the greatest devotion and joy, and almost immediately afterwards sunk back into a kind of stupor out of which he never rallied, dying a few hours afterwards in a great peace. Is there anyone who will say that it could be in accordance with our Lord's wish that such an one should not receive his last Communion on his death-bed--a man who when in health had never missed his Communion on Sunday--yet that must have been the case if it had not been the habit to reserve the Blessed Sacrament in the parish church of the village in which he lived. The parish is my own.
 The Daily Mass.
A not dissimilar matter is the pressure that is being put on the Bishops in certain quarters to forbid celebrations of Holy Communion unless there are two or three to communicate with the priest. There are many whom I know, young as well as old, who are in the habit of attending morning by morning the offering of the Holy Sacrifice. It may be such persons are not in the habit of communicating oftener than on Sundays and Saints' days, and perhaps on Thursdays. Does such attendance lead them into the habit of substituting the practice of "hearing Mass" for receiving our Lord in Holy Communion? The only people who can think such a consequence likely are those who have no experience themselves of what such attendance at a daily Mass does for the soul. Those who have once learnt what that attendance means will not, cannot abandon the practice. The notion that such attendance makes them indifferent to Communion appears to them as ridiculous as the notions often entertained by those who never go to confession themselves of the dangers of habitual confession. To receive our Lord in the Sacrament of His love must ever be the supreme joy and privilege of those who love Him. To be in the habit of assisting at Mass with no desire of Communion, and no endeavour to participate, as far as our imperfection allows, in those sentiments of love for His Father, and of horror of human sin, which filled His heart when He offered Himself for us on the Cross, ill becomes those who bear His Name; but is the truth of this a reason for driving away from the altar those who desire, however imperfectly, to take such share as they may in the worship of the Church?
The antithesis is not between hearing Mass, and the privilege of receiving Holy Communion, but between taking or not taking part, morning by morning, in the Church's worship; between going to church and staying in bed. To suppose that attendance at church in the morning is likely to be continued if the celebration of Divine Service is to depend on the chance of there being always two or three communicants is childish. I say it sorrowfully, but I say it with conviction, that if any attempt is made to forbid what has for so long been lost, but is at last by God's goodness being recovered--I mean the daily Mass--such an attempt can only result, if successful, in driving elsewhere many who now worship at the altars of the Church of England. It is not pleasant to say such things, but they are true, and there is need to say them. Anyone who reads the very interesting life of Ambrose De Lisle, recently [10/11] published--and Mr. de Lisle is but one example among many --must see that what led Mr. de Lisle to make his submission to Rome was not distinctive Roman doctrine, I mean the claims of the Holy See in themselves, but those points of Catholic faith and practice which Rome has ever kept before her people--the Mass, Prayers for the Dead, Confession, the Communion of Saints, but which Anglican authorities have allowed so largely to fall into abeyance and neglect. If in such matters, as has too often been the case in the past, the authorities of the English Church are indifferent to, or reject what the Catholic Church has always believed and practised, Catholic truth and Catholic practice will have its revenges, and among such revenges will be the loss of many whom the Church of England can ill afford to lose. Cardinal Newman, Ambrose de Lisle himself, and many other well-known names besides, are examples of the losses that are due to our own neglect and unfaithfulness.
The Anglican Position.
The importance of all these questions, however, is by no means or even chiefly confined to the particular points of doctrine, ritual, or practice in themselves. They are important because they raise the whole question of the relation of the Church of England, and of all other local and National Churches to the Catholic Church. A priest in England, who in the years 1549, 1552, and 1559, however much he might dislike some of the changes, was willing to use the English Prayer Book, did not abandon on that account all the ideas of authority and submission to Catholic consent in regard both to doctrine and practice which had up to that time governed his beliefs and conduct. We know from the history of such a man as Bernard Gilpin that it was not so. Such men thought the Book of Common Prayer reconcileable with their former beliefs, and if the Prayer Book had been used and interpreted generally as we have seen it used this morning; if there had been no Puritanical visitation of the dioceses and illegal destruction of altars such as that for which Bishop Ridley and, later on, Archbishop Grindal were responsible; if, owing to the circumstances of the time, England had not been overrun by Calvinism, and if the religious question had not got hopelessly confused by the political necessities of Elizabeth's own position, and by the action of the Pope and the French and Spanish Courts, there might have been no schism.
Elizabeth was not excommunicated for ten years, and when the excommunication did take place it was in connexion with [11/12] the Rising in the North, and the political plots and complications of the day. As things "were, the whole tradition of the English Church got obscured and lost, with the result, amongst others, that in popular estimation the Church of England has come to be looked upon as an absolutely independent body, responsible to no one, and with no necessary relation and obligations to the rest of Christendom--a Church, so to speak, inheriting all the rights of a defunct ancestor. It is the tradition, it is the mind of the Reformers, of divines like Cranmer and Ridley, and of the authorities of the Church of England since 1549, if so early a date as even that of the First English Prayer Book may be taken, which alone have to be considered. The Prayer Book is to be interpreted exclusively by itself, not by Catholic doctrine and practice, and all this is insisted upon by persons and authorities who themselves are not only entirely indifferent to Catholic doctrine and practice, but who do not even attempt to conform to the plainest requirements of the Prayer Book. Is there any doubt, for example, what the law of the Church of England, as evidenced by the Prayer Book, and the practice of the Ecclesiastical Courts up to 1857, is as to marriage and divorce? Yet what Bishop speaks in regard to divorce as the Archbishops have spoken in regard to Reservation and the use of incense? Surely, if obedience on the grounds alleged is a duty in one case, it is also a duty in the other.
The same remark applies to matters of doctrine. Both the Archbishops discuss the doctrine of the Holy Eucharist as if Anglican Formularies were all that had to be considered. And the result is that a position is assumed as--e.g., by the Archbishop of York when he said the other day, in answer to those asking for a greater measure of autonomy for the Church, that it must be an autonomy and power of adaptation in regard to doctrine and practice limited by the doctrine and practice of the last 300 years. Such a reply implies a position which is entirely inconsistent with what must have been the attitude of the clergy who conformed in 1549 and later, is utterly inconsistent with the fundamental principle of the Tractarian Revival, and, I may add, is also inconsistent with the continued enjoyment of the Church's ancient endowments. And yet what opportunities are being offered to the Church of England at the present time, if, in the persons of her rulers, she would be true to first principles? It is hardly possible to exaggerate what possibilities there might be for the whole of Christendom, if the authorities of the English Church would but face the question of what their character of Bishops of the one Catholic Church imposes upon them. A Roman Priest said to me not long ago, "My [12/13] daily prayer is that the Church of England may be so true to herself and to Sacramental doctrine, as to be ready to recognize what is due to the Holy See, and what is not, in order that she may be in a position to obtain for herself terms she can honourably accept, and for us those reforms which are indispensable both for us, and for Rome herself."
I have ventured to express the opinion that the more these matters are considered, the more clearly it will be seen, in regard to the question which is new more particularly in discussion, that the Church of England had not forbidden Reservation for the Sick. There is, however, something more to be added. Regulation is not prohibition, and if a Bishop thinks it right to make regulations under what conditions and how the Blessed Sacrament shall be reserved in the parish church for the use of the sick and dying, I think most emphatically that he ought to be obeyed. As to the use of incense, Dr. Wace the other day, at a meeting of the Ladies' Protestant League, said it was absurd to suppose the question of incense or of any ritual adjunct was of any importance whatever. What really signified, he said, was the doctrinal question, and the matter of Confession. I entirely agree with Dr. Wace, so far as the doctrinal question is concerned, and I should have thought, therefore, the whole matter had better have been allowed to drop; but here, again, regulation by the Bishop, because he wishes a certain practice adopted, is one thing, and prohibition on grounds which cut at the roots of the Church of England's claim to authority, is another.
Who are the Laity?
Allow me to say a few words on two other matters pressing more especially on the minds of Churchmen at the present time, and which are dealt with in the resolutions to be proposed to you to-day. First there is the question of Church Reform. Well-considered reforms we must all be in favour of. None, I think, can deny that there is much need for the adoption of prudent measures by which the Church should be relieved from the consequences of a state of things long since passed away when Parliament did, in truth, represent the laity of the Church of England. Parliament has ceased in any sense to do this, yet the Church is hampered by the consequences of a theory which has no relation to fact. As things are, both Parliament and the Parochial Vestry, the members of which were formerly all members of the Church, have been thrown open to all persons, irrespective of their religious belief. There is nothing to regret in the change. The days [13/14] of tests are gone, and the Church need ask for nothing but a fair field and no favour; but liberty she must have, and she is denied what is essential to liberty if those outside her pale are allowed to control her affairs.
Is there anyone, of any shade of opinion, except it be Mr. Samuel Smith, who thinks the House of Commons a suitable place for the discussion of matters touching the internal affairs of the Church? Bveryone feels that Mr. Smith, who is, I believe, a devout Presbyterian, in interfering in such matters, is interfering in matters that are no concern of his. What applies to Mr. Smith applies also to many others besides, and I ask, therefore, how it is possible to suppose that the present deadlock produced by the claim of such persons to interfere in the internal affairs of the Church can be met by calling into existence new bodies to represent the laity open to all the objections which attach to Parliament and the present Vestry?
Some other qualification than that of paying rates is surely needed for the possession of the ecclesiastical franchise. What possible right can a man have to be represented in the councils of the Church who refuses to discharge his elementary obligations as a member of the Church by complying with her rule of making his Communion three times a year? Why should such a man, through representatives whom he elects, be able to mould and control the measures which it may be thought desirable to propose at any time in the interests of the Church? I can see none whatever, and till it is clearly recognised (1) that Church authority comes from above and not from below, and (2) that whatever the rights of the laity may be, their exercise is strictly dependent upon the discharge by each individual layman of his duties as a Churchman, we had better pause before making changes which may only have the effect of adding to our difficulties, and of increasing the anomalies of our present condition.
Reform of Convocation.
Again; we should be very sorry, I think, to see any change by which the ancient Provinces of Canterbury and York lost their separate organizations, and were merged into one. What would be gained by such a change? A greater power to concentrate Church opinion in a particular focus? A greater power of making changes and rules affecting the whole of the Church at once? But surely such advantages, if they be advantages, may be bought at too great a price? Nor can I see the need of referring such questions to [14/15] Parliament by means even of a declaratory Bill. A former Archbishop of York increased the representation of the Clergy in the Northern Province on his own responsibility. What is to prevent the Archbishop of Canterbury from doing the same thing in the Southern Province? What is to prevent both Primates from summoning their Synods when they please, or from summoning both Synods to sit together as a National Synod of the Church of England, whenever such a joint session is thought desirable? Of course if the Archbishops ask the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown they will be told it is impossible--but, for all that, it is just one of those things that have only got to be done for everyone to wonder why such a simple solution of the question was not attempted before. There are many knots which it is much simpler to cut.
We live in a state of abject and ridiculous superstition as to the Act of Submission and as to the consequences of the Act of Uniformity. The Clergy promised not to put in use or enforce any new Canons without the consent of the Crown; but to begin with, the Crown is not Parliament; and, in the next place, what were the Canons the Clergy promised not to make and try to enforce? They were Canons claiming legal and coercive authority over the whole nation. What has such a promise to do, under our altered conditions, with rules, regulations, Canons?--for Canons are only rules, claiming no legal force and appealing only to moral sanctions. Difficulties in regard to such matters, and other similar difficulties, would vanish if the members of the English Episcopate, instead of going cap in hand to Parliament and lawyers to help them to do what they ought to do for themselves, would just for once make up their minds to govern and direct the Church of England on principles recognised by the whole Catholic Episcopate, and which, as such, have a force and a sanction behind them very different from that which attach to obsolete Acts of Parliament.
What has the Church to appeal to except moral force? Why should she wish to appeal to anything else? Is not moral force the strongest force there is? Take, for example, the case of Mr. Beeby. If Mr. Beeby has said what is reported of him; if he denies the Incarnation, the Virgin Birth, and the fact of our Lord's Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven, what is to prevent the Bishop of Worcester, if Mr. Beeby obstinately refuses to listen to the remonstrances which the Bishop in the first instance, and which the Bishop with the Clergy of the diocese assembled together in Synod in the second instance may make to him--what, I say, is to prevent the Bishop of Worcester from solemnly warning Mr. [15/16] Beeby's parishioners against Mr. Beeby's teaching, and sending someone to administer the Sacraments, and celebrate Divine Service in some temporary building in the parish?
Mr. Beeby might very likely, as things are, keep possession of the Church and vicarage; but Mr. Beeby is not eternal, whereas nullium tempus occurrit Ecclesiae. Mr. Beeby's possession could only be temporary, and meanwhile the scandal in the Church would be removed, nor would our mouths be shut when the enemies of the Church of England point out, as they are quick to do, that so far as the public knows, the Bishop has taken no step to protect the souls--souls for whom he is ultimately responsible--in Mr. Beeby's parish from such teaching as Mr. Beeby's, though he has thought it necessary in the greater portion of a recent Charge to condemn the errors of those who believe as the Church has always believed about the Sacraments, and to inhibit a priest from officiating in his diocese whose only offence was the use of a ceremony common to the whole Catholic Church.
It is not only in the War Office that we want to get rid of red tape. What is wanted has to be done; and if it cannot, as things are, be done in one way, it must be done in another. Take the Act of Uniformity again. The Act of Uniformity was passed to protect the Church against the Puritans, and to enforce the worship of the Church on the whole nation. It was very largely a persecuting Act, an Act contrary to the now universally accepted principles of civil and religious liberty. We have welcomed its relaxation as against others; we rejoice that all religious bodies without exception are free to worship as they choose, that all disabilities have been taken away in the case of the Roman Church, and all the Nonconformist bodies, and, at the same time, we hug the Act of Uniformity to our own bosoms, and rejoice at its supposed restrictions only in regard to ourselves. Can anything be more truly unreasonable and ridiculous? The Acts of Uniformity, for all practical purposes, have ceased to exist. They are obsolete; they are defunct; it is only their ghosts that remain; and we have only to recognize the fact, and to do boldly for ourselves, without going to Parliament, all that it is supposed a recourse to Parliament and a modification of the Acts of Uniformity would obtain for us, to secure all we want.
I would make exactly the same remark in regard to the marriage laws. The law of the Church is not affected by the Divorce Act of 1857. The indissolubility of Christian marriage remains just where it was. The law as to the relationships which prevent marriage cannot be affected by any change in the civil law as to what unions may be legally contracted [16/17] between persons within the prohibited degrees whether of affinity or consanguinity. The authorities of the Church have it in their power to insist on the observance of the law of the Christian Church by members of that Church. They can refuse Communion to those who disregard that law. They can make the remarriage of those who have been divorced in the Civil Courts, after having contracted a valid marriage, impossible in church. They can practically prevent the marriage of a deceased wife's sister in the case of members of the Church of England, and if they do not do so, it is not so much the present state of the marriage law, or any future change in that law that is to be blamed, as their own want of faithfulness to the obligations imposed on them as the guardians of the morals of the nation.
We have heard lately of preferment being refused, and other acts of what may be called spiritual boycotting being employed against those who do not conform to certain ritual regulations. Might not the same methods be more legitimately adopted for the sake of enforcing the moral law, and the sanctity and indissolubility of Christian marriage?
The New Century.
It remains for me to say something as to the future prospects, the hopes and the fears which may be supposed to attend the progress of the Catholic Revival. Prophecies are dangerous things, and yet I cannot help looking forward to the future with confidence and hope.
The century which is opening before us opens under very different circumstances, so far as religious questions are concerned, from those which marked the beginnings and course of the Oxford Movement. The last fifty years have been years of recovery and revival. In the sphere of doctrine, ritual, discipline, organization, it has been a period of seeking out the old ways, and bringing back truths always held, but often forgotten. They have also been years in which religious divisions and religious strife have had a prominent place. It could hardly have been otherwise. Recovered truth comes as a shock, and shock often spells collision. Truth is bound to be opposed, and often because it is the truth; but in the case of the Catholic Revival, opposition has often proceeded from what was, in reality, a Catholic instinct and a Catholic principle--from the principle of conservatism in religious matters, from a dislike to change, from the conviction that any change in reference to subjects and practices which have appealed to our religious instincts and emotions must necessarily be a change for the worse.
 We know that it is not really so, and that in due time changes that are good in themselves will commend themselves to the instincts of good people. Such persons will come to appreciate, apart from prejudice, and in the light of experience, the real merits of the questions at issue, and the result will be that what had begun by being a disintegrating influence will in the end prove itself a motive for and incentive to union. The period of shock and disintegration, I believe, is past; a period of unification has come. On all sides there are symptoms of a wish for reunion--of a desire to come together, and to understand one another better. In Scotland the evidences of such a desire are most apparent. Have we not reason to hope much from such a movement as that which is being promoted by the United Presbyterians on the one side, and the Bishop of St. Andrews on the other? Is not the fact of the adoption of a single Catechism for the great Nonconformist bodies in England a sign of happiest augury?
Is it not a thing to be thankful for that so leading a Nonconformist as Dr. Parker should have spoken as he has of the unhappy Declaration exacted from the King at his accession? --a Declaration which is an offence to Christian ears, and absolutely useless except to provoke ill-will and distrust amongst different sections of the Empire. Of course, very real differences exist amongst us. I am not here to deny them, but I do say, as I said a short time ago at the London Diocesan Conference, that those differences are much less than is sometimes supposed, and that the spirit in which men on all sides are ready to approach them is a spirit which inspires the happiest hopes for the future.
What impossibility of agreement can there be upon what, alas, has so often proved an occasion of division, the Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, when a theologian of the school of Mr. Dimock can say that "the change effected in Consecration in regard to the elements is a Divine change" . . . . "by virtue of which the Things signified (i.e., the Body and Blood of Christ) are made really present for the manducation of faith," faith having been defined to be not imagination but the belief in what is really and objectively true, and those who confess, in submission to the teaching of the whole Church, that the Bread and Wine by virtue of Consecration become, are made, are changed into, the Body and Blood of Christ, yet confess also with the whole Church that such change is sacramental, in a sphere outside the cognizance of sense, to be accepted and therefore to be apprehended by faith?
Surely a large measure of agreement is not only possible, but easy in face of such statements; nay, I will go further, [18/19] and I will ask what incompatibility there is between such statements and those of accredited theologians of the Roman Communion, Cardinal Newman, for example, when they teach that Christ is present in the Holy Eucharist, not in a corporal or natural manner, not locally, as if He descended from Heaven, but sacramentally only, spiritwise; that the outward sign and part of the Sacrament continues to exist uninterruptedly in all its objective reality, and that the change affirmed by the word Transubstantiation occurs in a sphere wholly outside the range and cognizance of sense, the word itself being only used to safeguard and make real the objective Presence.
Consider the possibilities in the direction of agreement involved in such a statement as the following proceeding from a writer in the position occupied by Mr. Wilfrid Ward:-- "The defined dogmas of the past have been regarded by the Church as irreformable and incapable of repeal. But this does not mean that the Church has 'decreed the infallibility of Aristotle's logic and of Plato's philosophy.' The dogmatic definitions remain each as a past expression of Christian truth in view of the controversies of a special time. But it is the Christian truth and not the philosophy which is the infallible dogma.....Hence the Catholic view regards formulated dogma as Divine and permanent, although the incidental philosophy whereby it has been elaborated is human." [Review by Wilfrid Ward of Sabatier's "Vitality of Christian Dogmas, etc.," in the Fortnightly Review for May, 1901.]
When so distinguished a writer as Father Tyrrell can write as he did a short time ago, in the Month, the Jesuit organ, in an article on "The Relation of Theology to Devotion," "'This is My Body.' What did these words mean for Peter and Andrew and the rest? That is all the Church enquires about. What does she care about the metaphysics of Transubstantiation, except so far as metaphysicians have to be answered in their own language and on their own assumptions"--is it not abundantly clear that all real differences are at an end between us, and that such difference as remains is a difference about words, not about things, a matter in the face of such substantial agreement of no consequence whatever, and one which might be arranged with a little good will on both sides to-morrow.
Let us pray God to pour down on us such a measure of love for one another as shall merit at His hands the blessing of peace. That peace we, the Members of this Union, shall do our best to promote. It will not be promoted by refusing to look our difficulties in the face, but it will [19/20] make the whole difference in what spirit we approach them. Members of the Union have on two recent occasions declared emphatically their convictions as to the rights of the Church in relation to the civil power, and their belief as to the adoration due to our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Sacrament of the altar. From those declarations we have not, nor shall we swerve one inch. They embody principles and statements of belief which are not ours to surrender; hut in maintaining them we shall do our best to show, in the words of Archbishop Benson, that Pectus facit theologum, and that salvis principiis there are no lengths we are not prepared to go, and no efforts we are not ready to make by explanations, by every possible method of-conciliation, to meet halfway, and more than half way, those who imagine--often quite mistakably--that they are opposed to us and our principles.
Of the members of this Society I believe it can be said with truth, that amid much that has been left undone, amid many mistakes, with the recollection of some things said and done in the heat of conflict which we may afterwards have had occasion to regret, all our poor endeavours, such as they are, have been directed to only one end, the end of making the Church of England a joy and a praise upon the earth--the end of building again the wall of Jerusalem, of healing the schism of the sixteenth century, and of bringing again into one the several portions of a divided Christendom.
Let us indeed labour for the rebuilding of Jerusalem, not expecting to see the results of our labours, but content if God "shows us His work that He should reveal to our children His glory"; not discouraged because one sows and another reaps; not tempted to despair if things go wrong and all the world seems against us. Failure and disappointment in the Christian dispensation are the necessary steps to success. They are sent, not to dishearten, but to encourage us to fresh exertion.
Let us remember that the greater the difficulties, the greater the glory of overcoming them, and the greater the joy, if by the mercy of God we attain to the rest of Paradise, of looking back upon them from that place where the dead do rest from their labours and their works do follow them. Great indeed will be our joy in that day, when everything small and great is brought up for die judgment of God, if we are given a place amongst those who, amid all their struggles for the Truth, have in their several generations striven to promote the peace of the Church, and shall be counted worthy to hear those words addressed to ourselves, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God."