FORTY-THIRD ANNIVERSARY OF E. C. U.
We are engaged as Members of this Union in a united effort to win back our Countrymen to the knowledge and practice of that Catholic Faith we profess in the Creeds, and which at his Coronation the King will be pledged to defend.
During the last fifty years important points of Doctrine and Ritual, together with the right of the Church of England to decide her own spiritual affairs, free from the interference of secular tribunals, have been vindicated. Scarcely anyone to-day ventures to appeal to decisions of the Privy Council as determining the law of the Church of England. No one is bold enough to dispute the explicit obligation imposed on Bishops and Clergy by the Ornaments Rubric to use the ancient vestments. The battle begun by Mr. Keble, and carried on by Bishop Gray, the great Bishop of Cape Town, has been fought and won, and we feel, as we look back upon the past, that the substantials of Catholic doctrine and ritual, and the essential liberties of the Church, are secure. The question that has now to be faced is that of the general relation of National Churches to the Church Universal. It is the question which lay at the root of the whole Oxford movement; it is the question upon the right solution of which the determination of present difficulties almost entirely depends, and which is itself inseparable from the wider question on which it rests--the question of what is the ultimate authority in matters of belief.
Allow me to draw your attention to that question to-day. "Whether we look upon the members of the Apostolic College as fountains of revelation, or as first-hand witnesses of the teaching of Christ," (and the question is one which, for practical [3/4] purposes, is perhaps a distinction without a difference,) "the sources of Christian revelation, as theologians are generally agreed, dried up with the death of St. John, the last of the Apostles, and thenceforward ecclesiastical decisions were confined to determining the content of what had already been delivered. Obviously, when the fountains of inspiration were still flowing, the principle of tradition would be more or less in abeyance, but when those sources were dried up the Church's whole care would be to conserve what she had gained.
"Authorities would be consulted as witnesses to and interpreters of primitive tradition, and if for ordinary matters, and under normal circumstances, the decision of a Bishop or a local Council would be considered of sufficient weight, for graver matters threatening the unity of Christendom, the verdict of the whole Church represented by its Bishops in Council would be felt to be a Court of Final Appeal. The need of this appeal to oecumenical tradition did much to emphasize the solidarity of the various Church communities, and would give rise to the more explicit condition of the Universal Church as a supreme, infallible authority, the final Court of Appeal against particular Churches and Bishops in all matters of oecumenical moment. Thus the full and adequate receptacle of the entire deposit of faith was not the mind of each individual Bishop, or any local synod of Bishops, but the mind of the Universal Church discerned, formulated, and declared in Oecumenical Council." ["Mind of the Church," in ''Faith of the Millions." 1st Series. Tyrrell.]
Two corollaries follow from this: (1) No new expression of the Christian idea can reveal more truth and fact than Christ intended to reveal to His Apostles, but it may give a clearer exposition and illustration of the same facts and truth; the germ may be developed, the seed sown may grow into the fruitful tree, but that which Christ showed in the beginning, that and that alone is the deposit of faith, and the recipient of the deposit is the collective mind of the Church. (2) Till we come to the collective mind of the Church as expressed by its Court of Final Appeal, no infallibility can be pleaded. St. Ignatius insists on obedience to the Bishop, on the ground that the Bishop symbolizes the unity of the Church, and the present Bishop of Salisbury in the "Ministry of Grace" remarks on the phrase "Episcopatus unus, cujus a singulis in solidum pars tenetur," "that it reminds each Bishop of his relation to the whole body, and acts as a stimulus to considerate and loyal self-restraint upon his own immediate proclivities and those of his community, and is an incentive to [4/5] common action." It follows then that the authority of the Bishop rises and falls with the unity of the Church; and that where the Episcopate is divided there will be a proportionate diminution in the authority of each individual Bishop.
Can anyone deny that the attitude of the Eastern Churches towards Rome and the opposition to Roman claims and to certain aspects of her general teaching in the West, are not a proportionable weakening in popular estimation of the authority of the Roman Church in regard to the matters in dispute? Will anyone assert, quite apart from the particular circumstances of the history of the Church of England since the sixteenth century, that in matters of doctrine and practice in regard to which the whole Latin Episcopate say one thing, (still more in regard to matters in which East and West are agreed,) and the Anglican Episcopate say another, that the authority attaching to Anglican teaching is not reduced to a minimum? Next it is to be observed that it is upon the fact of this consensus of opinion that the Church bases the exercise of her authority, and that it is to it that she looks as the ordinary ground of the belief of her members.
"In all matters save those very few in which we ourselves are competent to judge independently from the root, our beliefs, like those of children, are caused, not reasoned--that is to say, we necessarily and rationally accept those that are generally current in the society in which we are born," amongst the persons by whom we are surrounded. [See whole article here referred to on the "Mind of the Church" in "Faith of the Millions." 1st Series. Tyrrell.]
The capacity of reason as a sufficient guide in matters of religion, as Mr. Kidd has pointed out in his recent book on the Principles of Western Civilization, has been tried and found wanting. "Nor is this only true of religious beliefs; in all departments of knowledge and opinion, the beliefs of the many are not determined by reasoning from premises, but by the authority of reputed specialists, or the general consent of those amongst whom they dwell. Hence the Catholic ideal of an international divinely guided concensus exactly corresponds to the most imperative needs of the world in providing 'a cause' of right belief in religious and ethical matters for the uncritical multitudes whose necessary preoccupations forbid their engaging in theology and controversy." ["The Mind of the Church": "Faith of the Millions." 1st Series, p. 201.]
Such a general consensus is, in fact, the ordinary and general ground of belief. The weak and the dependent, the poor, the unlearned, are ever in the majority, and yet it is to [5/6] the fact that the Gospel is preached to the poor and the ignorant--a gospel which must ever come to such on authority --that our Lord appeals as one of the proofs of the Gospel. This will hardly be denied, yet what do we see around us? In point of fact this consensus of opinion in matters of religion, if not destroyed, is at all events greatly impaired. It will be said, perhaps, that there is a greater consensus than appears, and that though the East and West are divided, yet the teaching of the East and West as to the Priesthood, the Sacraments, the Real Presence, the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the Communion of Saints, is substantially the same or differenced only by the fact that in the West doctrines, and still more the supposed logical consequences of doctrines, have been systematized and formulated with a technical precision unknown to the East, and to antiquity.
This no doubt is true, but it remains no less true also "that there is no longer in regard to religion that general consensus of experts or of nations touching the broad and fundamental truths of Christianity which once existed, and the knowledge of the Babel-like confusion which exists on the subject has come down to the masses. When men only knew their own country 'and were less travelled it was possible to think their own religion the only one, but there are few regions in so-called Christendom where the least educated are not now quite aware that Christianity is but one of many religions, that the intellect of the modern world is largely hostile to its claims, that its defenders are infinitely at variance with each other, and that the modern world has ceased to be Christian in any real sense to any large extent." ["Faith of the Millions," 2nd Series, p. 145.] "The following passage from the recent volume of essays entitled, "Contentio Veritatis," by several Oxford tutors, only states the same fact from another side: "The twentieth century finds us face to face with urgent problems; what is called 'the Crisis in the Church' is perhaps the least really important. More pressing than any controversy about ritual is a problem or group of problems which touches not only the Anglican Communion but every Christian body. . . . The Victorian age has been the most revolutionary since the Reformation. A very considerable restatement and even reconstruction of parts of our religious teaching is inevitable. . . . Many seem to have a very inadequate appreciation of the changes which an acceptance of the principles of Biblical criticism necessarily involve, not only in regard to the Bible, but to the whole tone and temper of theology and religious teaching. Among younger men and women there is a widespread feeling of unsettlement and [6/7] uneasiness, a vague feeling that the old orthodoxy is impossible; they suspect much that they believe is untenable, but they do not know how much, and by what it is to be replaced." ["Contentio Veritatis." Preface.] What the critics have said has come down to the populace, and negation and unbelief have descended from the study to the street.
The disintegrating effect of such knowledge on the faith of the masses must be, and is, enormous. How is it to be met? The answer is plain. If the growth of unbelief and misbelief is presumably to be sought in the decay of any popular consensus in favour of belief, it can only be healed in the measure that the Catholic ideal of a general consensus in regard to matters of religion is once more realized, at least among Christians. There are some who rejoice that the progress of biblical criticism must inevitably sap the foundations on which religious Protestantism reposes. There are others who welcome the advance of historical and scientific knowledge as destructive of the claims of Catholicism. Such an attitude of mind is unworthy of Christians. "It is a blunder," says Dr. Fairbairn, the President of the Mansfield Hall, "and a blunder of the worst kind, to suppose any one form of Christianity can be served by any other form being discredited or made ridiculous. The Protestant ought to be as pleased to discover the reason in Catholicism as the Catholic to find truth in Protestantism." It is the enemy of Christianity alone who profits by the divisions amongst Christians, and those are his best allies who seek to perpetuate them. Let us at least, as Members of this Union, endeavour to cultivate an entirely different spirit, and in the interests of peace, and in the hope of correcting what has been amiss in the past, and of directing our steps aright in the future, let us strive to form a right judgment on some of those circumstances and events in the history of the Church of England in the sixteenth century and after, which are more directly responsible for our present isolation from the rest of Christendom, and which have a very distinct and definite bearing on existing controversies.
Of the need of Reform in the 16th century there can be no question. "A clerical reformation, a reformation without meddling with the Catholic Faith, had been already attempted by the best sort of the Clergy throughout Europe. Three great Councils had been held to bring it about within the last hundred years. The defeat of this attempted reformation, effected by the action of Rome, is the most mournful event in modern history. It caused despair, it gave weight to the clamours that no reformation was to be expected from the Church.
 "Great was the contentment and joy," writes Bishop Fox of Winchester to Cardinal Wolsey, "when I received your letter which tells me your Grace is set upon reforming the whole body of the Clergy. This day I have longed for as Simeon desired the Messiah. I see before me a more entire and whole reformation of the ecclesiastical hierarchy than I could have hoped to see attempted. This great affair (in regard to his own diocese) has been the object of my travail till I found out what had hitherto escaped me, that everything belonging to the primitive integrity of the Clergy, and especially to the monastic state, is perverted either by dispensations or corruptions, or depraved owing to the iniquities of the times." [Rev. Ethelred Taunton's "Life of Wolsey."]
First among the causes largely responsible for this need of reform may be placed the fact that so large an amount of civil jurisdiction had gradually come to be exercised by the Church. The spiritual authority throughout Christendom had, by general consent, extended its control to all sorts of causes in civil suits. Large classes of persons not in the ordinary sense Ecclesiastical, being technically considered to come with Ecclesiastical jurisdiction, there had grown up an Imperium in imperio, not in regard to spiritual matters, but to others which were really secular, which in the long run could hardly fail to breed disorder. The development of the curial system at Rome still further increased this tendency and in the most aggravating way.
"When the Church of Rome became the Court of Rome, money for all its officials, hangers-on and employés was necessarily required. The result was the development of a mercenary spirit on the part of the Ecclesiastical authorities which could not fail to rouse opposition. At this point also the national spirit came in. Money raised by provisions to Bishoprics was a grievance everywhere; what may be called the Avignon System of Finance was responsible for much. Under it the Church at large was spoiled for the benefit of the Roman Court. Annates and first-fruits went out of the country whilst the actual duties of the Benefices thus taxed were performed by men who received only a small stipend, the rest of the income being spent abroad. Sometimes it happened that money received by means of contributions from one country was sent by the Pope to help another nation then at war with the country from whom the contributions had been received.
"Clement VI. lent enormous sums to the French Kings during the long wars between England and France, some of which certainly were derived from English sees. When [8/9] Wolsey was promoted to Lincoln the fees to Rome were so large that the King asked that they*should be remitted. The Consistory would not listen; the Church of Lincoln, they said, was very rich. The Pope added he had nothing but annates for his support, that he was greatly in debt, especially for his Coronation, and intolerable daily expenses. It ended in Wolsey having to pay something like £17,496 in modern value for the see of Lincoln, and shortly after another enormous sum when he became Archbishop of York." [Rev Ethelred Taunton's "Life of Wolsey."] It was, in fact, an aggravated system of ecclesiastical death duties in the interest of the Roman Court. Moreover, as the curial system got established, the tendency at Rome to develop a claim to universal theocratic government developed with it.
The action of Spanish Bishops at Trent prevented any authoritative statement on the subject, but there had been a great disposition, previous to that time, to look upon the Pope as the Universal Bishop, and other Bishops only as his Vicars. Nicholas V. admitted the Roman Pontiffs had extended their authority too far and had left no jurisdiction to the rest of the Episcopate. Nor was this theocratic spirit which invaded the Roman Church content with claiming jurisdiction in matters ecclesiastical. Paul IV. told the Venetian Ambassador that the Pope as Vicar of Christ was lord of all temporal princes. He claimed over-lordship everywhere. So late as under Sixtus V. the works of Bellarmine were put on the Index for allowing the Pope only an indirect authority in temporals. The attempt to combine the temporal and the spiritual supremacy of the Pope is, in fact, the turning-point in the problem of the Reformation.
When it was said the Church was at war with Perugia, non-Italians smiled and allowed that the Court of Rome was at war. The history of Henry VIII.'s divorce is but an illustration of the consequences resulting from the same: identification of spiritual and temporal interests. It is clear that Wolsey thought there were legal flaws in the dispensation for Henry's marriage with Catherine of Arragon, and that, in view of the practice of the Roman Court, those flaws were such as to enable the Pope to grant Henry VIII. a divorce, had he wished to do so. Nor must it be forgotten in this connection that Wolsey, Archbishop Warham, and four other Bishops, twenty-two Abbots, including the Abbots of Glastonbury, Reading, and Colchester, who afterwards gave their lives for conscience' sake, two Dukes, two Marquises, thirteen Earls, and twenty-seven Barons all begged the Pope to grant the divorce, a petition impossible unless there had been a strong opinion that the Pope, by [9/10] Canon Law, could declare the marriage null and void had he desired to do so. That the Pope did not wish to do so was owing to his fear of the Emperor. In consequence of recent events, the Curia said, to content the King would involve the certain ruin of the Apostolic See; the Church, they averred, could not escape utter ruin, as it was entirely in the power of the Emperor's servants.
What the Papacy had, then, come to mean was not so much a spiritual religion as a political system. To what an extent this had become the case may be seen by the conduct of Paul IV. to Mary Tudor. Whatever we may think of Mary's acts, and however strongly we may condemn the persecution in her reign for which she, a section of the laity, and the weakness of Cardinal Pole were mainly responsible, there can be no question of her own personal goodness and piety, or of her devotion to the Holy See. Yet how do we find Paul IV. speaking of Mary and her husband, Philip II.?
Speaking to the Venetian Ambassador, the Pope said "he loved the Queen for the sake of her grandfather, Ferdinand of Arragon, but could never have believed that his descendants would have degenerated so much as Charles V. and Philip." "The accursed soul of Charles V.," he went on to say, "never dreamed but of oppressing the Papal State. He made many attempts, but failed because God chose His Church to have her temporal state."
"Of the father it may be said that if he be in a manner a dead wasp (after his abdication), he has left his sting, which is his son. The accursed young fool," the Pope added, "and his iniquitous father, would God they had never been born. As to the Queen, he would have her attend to the government of her kingdom, and not let her be induced to do anything to our detriment, nor to that of our confederates, as, for example, the King of France, for we would spare neither relations nor friends, but include in our malediction and anathemas all those who shall desert the cause of God," that is the Pope's quarrels with his neighbours in Italy. As for Philip, whom the Pope calls "that individual," "we believe he will not reform, until his head has been soundly beaten."
Small wonder that Wolsey should have declared with reference to such and similar complications "that he did not see how it could stand with God's Will that the Pope should thus involve himself in war by joining with temporal Princes." "That the real interests of the Church had come to be sacrificed for the necessities of the passing hour was admitted indeed by Hadrian IV., who by the mouth of his nuncio in Germany said, ' We know that for many years there have existed many abominations in the Holy See--abuses in spiritual things, [10/11] excessive acts of power, all things changed and perverted, nor need we wonder, the Pope added, if the sickness has descended from the head to the members. We have all, prelates and ecclesiastics, turned aside each one to his own way, nor has there been one for a long time who has done well.'" [Rev. Ethelred Taunton's "Life of Wolsey."]
The state of the case is not ill summed up by Cranmer in one of his declarations at Oxford: "The Bishop of Rome beareth the room of Christ on earth and hath authority of God; but he hath received authority not to destroy, but to edify. He may be resisted if he commands anything against the precepts of God. I could not consent to the Bishop of Rome's usurped authority within this realm, it is against the laws and customs of this realm (he is referring to a claim to independent authority centred in Rome affecting the temporal right of individuals as of nations, and claiming to enforce itself within the whole domain of National life). That usurped authority would again as aforetime spoil and consume the riches of the realm by Reservations, Provisions, Annates, Dispensations, Pardons, &c.
"In times past the Church of Rome was as it were the Lady of the world, and was the mother of other Churches, and worthily so accounted. She bore them to Christ, she nourished them with pure doctrine, succoured the oppressed, and was a sanctuary for the miserable. Then by the example of the Bishop of Rome worldly pomp and pleasure was nothing regarded, then this frail and uncertain life was laughed to scorn, and men pressed forward to the life to come encouraged by the example of Roman martyrs, but afterwards damnable ambition, avarice, and the deformity of vices corrupted the Roman See. Reformation was not to be looked for from the Roman See. And therefore I appeal from him and his judges to a General Council." Of this declaration Canon Dixon says, "However incompatible it may seem with Cranmer's past career, it is perhaps not really inconsistent with the positions he had maintained in the past, that the Primacy of Rome was not in its own nature contrary to Catholic antiquity, and that the Holy See was not incapable of reducing what was complained of by going back to its own originals."
It is worth pointing out in this connection, in reference to what has been urged against Cranmer for his inconsistencies, and for his alleged perjury in nulling his oath to the Pope at his consecration by a protestation that took away all that was prejudiced to the realm, that Pole and all the Bishops appointed by Mary equally nulled their oaths to the Pope by receiving the temporalities of their Sees under a new formula, [11/12] probably drawn up by Gardiner, which took away aught that might be prejudicial to the realm in the Papal Bulls and writings by which they were invested. It is also worth noting, in reference to the word "pretended," as applied to Bishops and others during the schism, that the Bull conferring the Pall on Archbishop Heath, under Mary, speaks of Henry VIII. and Edward VI. as pretended Kings of England, and of the Bishops, by whom he had been consecrated and instituted during the schism, "as lacking," in consequence of the schism, the "actuality of the Episcopal character." A similar phrase is used in the same sense by Archbishop Warham, to the effect "that a man is not made a Bishop by-consecration, but is pronounced so at Rome in Consistory"; and, later, Monluc, Bishop of Valence, one of the French Ambassadors to Elizabeth, is spoken of as a "pseudo Episcopus" for a not dissimilar reason. "A pretended Bishop," in fact, meant one who had not been consecrated nor received jurisdiction from Rome. [Dixon's "History of the Church of England."]
Claims such as those of Innocent III., Boniface VIII.. Paul IV., or of Pius V. have long since been abandoned, and the abuses against which English statutes have been directed have long ceased to exist; but it is obvious how likely men were in resisting excessive claims, whether temporal or spiritual, and in remedying obvious abuses which had grown up in connection with the existing system, to forget what was due to Catholic unity, and what might rightly be claimed by the Primate of Christendom. Obviously also, in the first blush of such attempts at reform, much which had need to be preserved was likely to be discarded. That this is precisely what occurred in England is what no candid person can deny; and what we have to do to-day, what has all along been one of the objects that has inspired the Oxford Movement, is to restore those things of which we should never have been deprived, Prayers for the dead for one example, Reservation of the Blessed Sacrament for the sick and dying, for another, and to vindicate again that principle of Catholic unity, and that standard of Catholic doctrine and ritual, to which the [12/13] Church of England makes her appeal in theory, but which her rulers have been so little careful, or so little able, to defend and preserve in practice.
First then, can it be said with truth, if we honestly look the facts of the case in the face, that many of the changes in regard to both doctrine and ritual which were effected in the 16th century were effected either with a due regard for the liberties of the Church, or for what was universally accepted as the doctrine and practice of the whole Church? The question, if we are honest, must be answered in the negative. The exercise in this country of the Pope's jurisdiction in temporals and semi-spiritual matters, had for long been deeply resented perhaps by the majority of Englishmen--Shakespear is not a bad witness in this respect, and the Bishops and Clergy were very willing to unite with the King in pushing back the Pope's authority into the sphere which belonged to him. Did they willingly sever the ancient spiritual connection which bound them to the Apostolic See and which had ever been recognised in England?
It will scarcely be maintained that this was the case. It will scarcely be maintained that all that was done in this respect under Henry VIII. or Elizabeth was the work of a willing Clergy carried out in an atmosphere of freedom, or that later, in repudiating the Pope's jurisdiction as an independent power in the realm, controlling secular matters irrespective of the Crown, and in rejecting such claims of the Holy See in more spiritual matters, as would make the Episcopate merely the Vicars of the Pope, due regard was maintained for what was due to the one Apostolic See of the West, and to the Bishop who, by Divine Providence, was regarded as the Head of Christendom, and who, like the Crown in our day in relation to our Colonies, supplied the personal link which preserved the unity of National Churches one with the other, and provided a centre for Christendom at large.
We might not express it in the same way, but it can hardly be denied, looking at it in the light of subsequent experience, that there was much truth in the speech made by Archbishop Heath in the House of Lords at the beginning of Elizabeth's reign on the introduction of the Act of Supremacy: "If you meant to withdraw obedience from the present Pope, Paul IV., who has shown himself a very austere Father to us ever since his entry into St. Peter's chair, then the cause were not of equal importance, but by relinquishing the see of Rome we must forsake all General Councils, all canonical and ecclesiastical law of the Church of Christ, and the unity or Christ's Church; by leaping out of Peter's ship we hazard ourselves to be drowned in the waters of schisms, sects, and [13/14] divisions." [Dixon's "History of the Church of England."] Who can say that the rise of Nonconformists in England, and the growth of the innumerable sects by which we are to-day surrounded, do not, to that extent at least, justify Archbishop Heath's words?
No doubt the Act of Supremacy, against which Archbishop Heath was speaking, professed only to restore to the Crown its ancient jurisdiction, and if that had been all, there had been no need to complain; the mischief has been that the Act of Supremacy came to mean a great deal more in practice, and has been responsible for an Erastian view of the Church of England which has been productive of incalculable mischief. It has also been largely responsible for the conception of the Church of England as an independent, self-governing body with no obligations to the rest of Christendom, which is at the root of so many of our present difficulties; and it has favoured the false conception, to be lamented, as Canon Dixon says, above all others, that the contest in the 16th century lay not between two parties in one Church, but between two Churches, the Communion which had been rejected by the English, and another Church which had rejected the Roman Communion in every nation. It has had another effect also, no less disastrous: it emphasized the idea of the Church as an organization and a government, to the detriment of the idea of the Church as a living body, with the result that, as with the Roman Church subjection to the Holy See determines the fact of membership in the Church, so with a section of Low Churchmen in England, if not the majority of them, subjection to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council determines the fact of membership in the Church of England. It was this contention, in fact, that determined the greater part of the opposition on the part of the Low Church party to Bishop Gray of Capetown in his action in regard to Bishop Colenso.
A disregard for what was due to the principles of unity and for the exigencies of Catholic doctrine and practice is no less conspicuous in the action taken on Elizabeth's accession in regard to the Liturgy. Unity of worship is almost as great a bond of union as unity of faith. How was the worship which had prevailed for centuries in the Catholic Church treated by the Elizabethan Reformers, and by Elizabeth herself and her Government?
It has been usual to say that Elizabeth notified her accession to the Pope, and that the Pope replied she was a bastard with no right to the throne, and that she must submit her claim to him, and that, in consequence, she had to fall back [14/15] on the Protestant interest. There does not seem to be any evidence for this. What does appear to be proved is "that the French Ambassador at Rome tried hard to persuade Paul IV. to declare Elizabeth illegitimate and the Scottish Queen, Mary Tudor, rightful successor, but failed in doing so." Again, it has been usual to say that Elizabeth, when she succeeded, wished to restore religion to the condition in which it had been on her father's death. No doubt she frequently assured the Spanish Ambassador that her opinions were similar to those of her father, that she was practically a Catholic, except for the acceptance of the Pope's supremacy, but that, in regard to the supremacy, it had been the occasion of so much money being taken out of the country that she must end it. But, on the other hand, whether it was Elizabeth's own doing, or that of Cecil's--more probably it was due to Cecil's action--the moment she succeeded, the exiles were not only allowed to come back from Geneva and elsewhere, but were consulted as to what should be done in regard to the settlement of religion. The scheme for the Reformation of the Church was largely inspired by them, nor is there any evidence to show that Elizabeth ever made any attempt, as it has been so often said was the case, to restore the First Prayer Book of Edward \'I. The Act of Uniformity establishing the English Service was not only opposed by the Clergy--it certainly had no sanction from Convocation--but it could not be carried in Parliament when first introduced, and it was eventually forced through reluctant Houses only by the authority of the Crown and the influence of Cecil. Nor can political reasons be alleged for Elizabeth's conduct. Archbishop Heath, the Chancellor, told the Commons on her accession that the whole Upper House, Bishops and Abbots included, "esteemed Elizabeth's right and title free from all quarrel, doubt, and question." The mass of the people, except in London and the Eastern Counties, the chief districts where the persecution had prevailed, were Catholics. The doctrines and practice of the Roman Church had not then crystallized^as they have since, and, except in the localities above mentioned, there was a more or less general conformity. What then could have determined the changes made, except the wish and, it may be, the fears of the Government itself?" Politically it would seem that Philip II., if he had not been so uncertain himself as to his own policy, might have turned the scale at the beginning of Elizabeth's reign and kept England at least as Catholic as she was at Henry VIII's. death; but though it was desirable for Philip that England should be sufficiently friendly to prevent her helping his rebellious subjects in Flanders, though it was an article of faith on both sides that there should be a close alliance in the [15/16] interests of both parties, between England and the possessor of the Flemish Sea-board, Spain with a friendly England could always keep France in check, and England, as long as Spain was friendly, was under no apprehension of France and Scotland, Philip much preferred England heretic and neutral to Catholic and in alliance with France." [See "Plot and Counterplot," and "The Great Lord Burleigh," by Martin Hume.] Hence he never supported Mary Stuart, and was never sure what were his real interests and wishes and intentions in regard to Elizabeth herself. The complete subordination of religion to politics is the key of his policy, and the necessity of playing one side against the other, together with the profound scepticism which animated all the politicians of the Renaissance Period, the explanation of the policy of Elizabeth. In regard to Trent, the story as told by Canon Dixon is not one which redounds to the credit of England. Pius IV., unlike his predecessor, was really anxious for the assembly of a Council which might promote the unity of Christendom. He wrote in friendly terms to the Queen, the case of England was put before him by the English in Rome, and in accordance with their representations he committed the question of his relations to England and Elizabeth to four Cardinals, including Cardinal Morone, the friend of Pole. When on their persuasion he determined to send a nuncio to England, he was not deterred by the representations of those about him, those who thought it beneath the dignity of the Holy See to send a nuncio to "schismatics." To their objections he replied nobly that it became him to humble himself for the good of souls. He wrote to the Spanish Ambassador, to the Emperor, to the King of Spain, and to the Queen; and he despatched Parpalia, Abbot of St. Salute, who had formerly been in Cardinal Pole's suite, to England.
Parpalia got as far as Louvain, where, because he was supposed to be in the French interest, he was met by discouraging letters from the Spanish Ambassador in London. Lady Dormer, the mother of the Countess de Feria, wife of the Count de Feria, Spanish Ambassador at one time in London, refused even to speak to him. The Queen said she was not unwilling to send Ambassadors to Trent, but she would not have Parpalia making mischief with the Roman party in England. The Spaniards objected that they would rather have any envoy than this envoy, who was a staunch Frenchman. Eventually, through Spanish influence, Parpalia was stopped at Brussels. Of the goodwill of the Pope, and his desire to keep England reconciled, of his zeal for the salvation of souls, there can be no question. His efforts to [16/17] make the Council oecumenical were extraordinary, and for a moment it almost seemed as if he would have succeeded. The Earl of Bedford, the same who in Mary's reign, when there had been a question of restoring the Church lands, had broken into a violent passion, and breaking the rosary beads from his girdle, had flung them into the fire, declaring that he valued his sweet Abbey of Woburn more than any fatherly council which should come from Rome, announced by the Queen's instructions that it was her intention to settle religious differences in England by sending theologians to Trent, but that the Council must be this side of the mountains, and the matter entered into in alliance with the most Christian King.
The Pope sent a new envoy in the person of the Abbé Martinengo. It was discussed in the Privy Council whether the Nuncio should be allowed to come. It was agreed leave should not be given; the troubles in Ireland were made the excuse. The Nuncio explained that his object was to invite the Queen to send Ambassadors to Trent, like the other Christian princes. Throckmorton, the English Ambassador in France, "the most bitter enemy of the Catholic religion in that kingdom," says the Venetian Ambassador, promised to write to further his reception in England; in reality, he did all he could to prevent even the French King from sending Ambassadors to the Council.
An interview took place between Cecil and Bishop de Quadra, the Spanish envoy in London. Cecil suggested other ways. Would Roman theologians come to England to confer on Christian doctrine; would de Quadra himself meet the Archbishop of Canterbury to open negotiations for reconciliation, de Quadra assented. Next day Cecil told de Quadra that the Archbishop feared to meet him lest it should be noted as suspicious by the other Bishops.
Parker himself told Cecil he would be willing to confer with de Quadra in writing, but dreaded lest, if he undertook such a business, he should work a lack to his promoters a shame to himself; in fact, he admitted he was afraid, begged Cecil to forgive his cowardice, and to shield him from such an encounter.
Later, de Quadra asked, if the Council fell through, could a reconciliation take place by means of a national council under the presidency of a Papal legate. Cecil replied that matters of faith should be settled by all. Then, said de Quadra, you have done wrong in altering them alone.
It is possible perhaps to make excuses for Elizabeth and her counsellors, in view of the political circumstances of the time; it is less easy to justify their conduct if Christian principles and the real interests of religion are alone taken into [17/18] consideration. Neither Philip, nor Elizabeth, nor the French, were honest. Religion was a pretext, and a convenient instrument in playing the political game. For the Christian Church as a whole, and before other things, none seem to have cared, at least not in comparison with their individual temporal interest, and, as it was in politics, so it was in affairs more directly concerned with religion.
Can it seriously be maintained that the destruction wrought in the churches, the changes in the Prayer Book, the way in which it was used, the doctrinal attitude of the Reformers towards the Sacrament of the Altar, the neglect of all Catholic ceremonies, even those explicitly ordered, can be justified by any Catholic principles? Is it possible to say that the changes in doctrine and discipline were effected with any due regard to the unity of the Church? So far as the Reformers desired to exclude gross and carnal ideas about the Sacrament, so far as they desired to emphasize the duty and privilege of Communion, and to restore the proportion which had been obscured in popular teaching and practice between the Sacrifice and Communion, they must have our sympathy.
That the Reforming party in the Church of England were advocating a return to true Catholic principles, in desiring to increase the frequency of Communion, there can surely be no question. To refuse them credit in this respect would be to give the lie to the convictions and experience of the best and holiest souls throughout the whole Church, and that there was need for reform in this respect not only in practice, but in regard to current and popular views of the Mass in the sixteenth century, can hardly be denied.
To feel that the duty of a Christian was adequately performed, or that his love for our Lord could be sufficiently contended by hearing Mass day after day, Sunday after Sunday, month after month, with no thought of, or desire for, Communion, argues little knowledge and less love. Yet one of the requests of the Devonshire Insurgents, on the introduction of the First Prayer Book of Edward VI., was that the Blessed Sacrament should be hung up, as aforetime in the Church, and the people only make their Communion once a year. Mankind is always on the look-out for easier ways of satisfying its conscience than through the one door of self-denial, and, were it not for the exigencies of controversy, I think it would be admitted that it is not impossible, perhaps not very difficult, so to divorce in practice the duty of hearing Mass from the strictness felt to be involved by the obligation of Communion, as to reconcile a not too exacting view of Christian life with what professes to be a sufficient discharge of Christian duty. The danger of such a compromise is obvious, but, though it is [18/19] a danger to be guarded against, experience emphatically shows that it is not one which can be met as the Reforming party tried to meet it. "Abusus non tollit usum," yet it was most emphatically this, in regard to both Communion and the Mass, that resulted from the action of the Reforming party.
They saw, and saw rightly, the dangers which arise from such an insistence of the sacrifice as in practice ignored Communion. They saw, and desired to guard against, the misconceptions inseparable from language as that forced by the Pope on Berengarius, language referred to as to its consequences by Father Ryder of the Oratory, in a recent article in the Dublin Review on the Bishop of Worcester's book on the Eucharist, "as a telling example of the penalty that may attach to the precipitate exercise of the highest authority," but in the steps they took to secure those ends it is impossible to maintain that they showed a due regard for Catholic principles, or that they did not by the measures they adopted very much aggravate the very evil they wished to cure. The result of their action was not to increase Communions, but to prevent the saying of Mass, not to reform the Church of England on a primitive model, but to confer upon the Church of England the unenviable distinction of celebrating the Holy Eucharist less frequently than any other Church in Christendom, and to develop within the Church a view of the Holy Eucharist, and a neglect of Holy Communion quite inconsistent with anything approaching to Catholic doctrine and practice. What can be a greater scandal, even now, than the practice of English Cathedrals, and the majority of Churches in England, in this respect? Contrast that practice with what you sec abroad. In any French Cathedral you will find every day of the week a Mass being said every half-hour, beginning at 5.30 a.m., up to 8, with Communicants at each of them. A stranger may always rely on finding Mass at 7 a.m. in every Parish Church. In England the reverse is the case. What excuse can be made for a Cathedral like Christ Church, Oxford, with many clergy attached to it, engaged in the education of youth, and yet with no daily Mass? Why is it that in a town like Derby, on the Bank Holiday last summer, the only church throughout the day in the town not locked up was the Roman Catholic Church, and that there, but nowhere else, there were persons engaged in their prayers?
We have been accused of disloyalty for ignoring Anglican [19/20] tradition. There is no Anglican tradition in this matter, or such tradition as there is is one to be emphatically repudiated.
In the sixth volume of Canon Dixon's "History of the Church of England," just published, under the very able and impartial editorship of Dr. Gee, there is printed for the first time from the papers in the Record Office the answers made to interrogatories as to the state of the various dioceses after Elizabeth had been on the throne six or seven years. These answers state that "Archbishop Parker has in his house three or four chaplains, preachers, and other students; that there were daily prayers, quarterly Communions, and frequent sermons in the chapel 'ad quas non veniunt Dr. Thirlby, Dr. Boxall, nee servi eoru, ad communionem.'" Dr. Thirlby was the deprived Bishop of Ely detained in Parker's Home.
In regard to the diocese of Canterbury, under the head of Deaneries, in answer to the query "an plebs communicant?" Canterbury Deanery has "nomina per annum" 16, Westbere 4, Bridge 25, Sandwich 11, Dover 2, Sittingbourne 20, and so on. How such a deplorable state of things had been produced is not far to seek. Under the provisions of the Prayer Book, every one was to communicate, under penalties, at least three times a year; but Holy Communion was not to be celebrated unless a certain proportion of the parishioners were prepared to communicate with the priest. What proportion was insisted upon is given in the visitation articles of Bishop Bentham, of Coventry and Lichfield, of the year 1565. By those articles the altars were to be taken away and tables put in their place, the tables to be covered with a fair carpet and a fine linen cloth, in as fair a manner as the altar had been. The Commandments to be put up where the Sacrament had hung, daily prayers to be said. The Communion not to be made into a mass of requiem for lucre and gain, and Holy Communion to be celebrated the first Sunday of every month, the sixth part of the parishioners of the parish is great to receive that day, and if the parish be not above four hundred houseling people, the fourth part of the parish to receive orderley; in order that by so doing they shall receive four times in the year according to the order set forth.
That even this rule was not observed there is only too much evidence. [Son of Sir Bevil Grenville, killed at the battle of Lansdowne. 1643, and brother of John Grenville, created Earl of Bath at the Restoration.] Archdeacon Grenville, afterwards Dean of Durham, in his visitation articles of 1675, remarks in regard to the diocese of Durham: "The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper which is to be administered so many times in every parish that every parishioner may have an opportunity to [20/21] receive at least three or four times in the year, is not administered in most places above three or four times in the whole year, which renders it impossible for people soe to doe."
The Celebration of the Eucharist, even in official parlance, came to be called "the after service," and when Archdeacon Grenville, who was zealous in restoring weekly Communion, sent round in 1684 the following "Queries":
1. How long the Daily Communion in Cathedrals and other places (established instead of the Mass by Edward VI., vide First Common Prayer Book, Edward VI.) did continue?
2. Whether it did obtain in all Cathedrals?
3. In what Archbishop's time that holy practice began to be neglected?
4. Whether weekly Communions on Sundays and Holy-days in Cathedrals were not observed after the daily Communion fell into disuse?
5. Whether some Cathedrals did not (down to our late rebellion) still keep up this holy practice in celebrating the Holy Communion at least weekly, and which they were?
6. Whether there were not in the Cathedrals, at least in the Metropolitical Churches, Communions on the Festivals as well as Sundays after the daily Communion fell into disuse?
It appeared that there were only three Cathedrals in which there was a Celebration on Sundays, while in regard to York Dr. Comber writes: "I have found in our old books (at York) a very mortifying record for your design (the restoration of a Celebration on Sundays), for on searching them I find no footsteps of any weekly Sacrament at York, and not so much as a monthly Sacrament till Dean Meriton's time, for it is registered that for the future from the 7th Sept., 1617, there should lie a Sacrament at the Cathedral on the first Sunday of every month, and so it continued until the wars, and was restored with the King, and now continues. Whence it is clear that before that year 1617 there were no Sacraments but only at the great Festivals, and it should be considered whether this age will bear greater height of duty than was required in King James' his time."
The Anglican tradition, then, if there was anything that could be called a tradition at all on the subject, goes to make the Eucharist an occasional and exceptional service. In fact, we know that in all country parishes Holy Communion came [21/22] to be celebrated as a general rule only four times a year, and for this the Rubrics inserted in the Prayer Book, and the defective Eucharistic teaching of the Reformers, are almost entirely responsible. No devout Christian can think that such a tradition is to be followed, and he will say that to insist on the observance of Rubrics which have had so unhappy a result is to insist on the letter rather than the spirit, and to sacrifice the ends the Reformers professed to have in view, to the means by which they sought to secure them. We are bound, if we would do our duty as loyal English Churchmen, to put the Mass back into its proper place as the one Service of obligation on Sundays and Saints' Days, not to forego its celebration because there should happen to be none to communicate with the priest, but to teach men more and more the blessing of frequent and devout Communion. On this subject we must agree with Dorman, in his controversy with Bishop Jewel, rather than with Bishop Jewel himself, when he says in regard to the sacrament, "that the oblation whereunto the priest is bound may not so depend on the people communicating, that without their devotion serve them to receive it, he may not do his duty, that is to offer it," and again, "although for lack of company the priest do receive alone, the Sacrifice is never yet the more private or less common, for as no man is so mad as to say that a great rich man keeping a common table for his poorer neighbours hath left his own accustomed wont and maketh now his table private, if the gates standing open, his table furnished, and all things in readiness, his guests forbear to come; even so in this case, when the good man of the house, the priest, supplying the place of Christ, abideth looking for his guests, who may refrain to come, is this table private, is he a niggard?"
I venture to allude to this subject because there have been indications that some in authority, who seem incapable o f learning from the past, and indifferent to what are the real shortcomings of the Church of England, have been trying to forbid the daily Mass, so happily revived amongst us, unless there should always be some to communicate with the priest. We all desire to see frequent Communions, but the laity, who have learnt the happiness and the help of attending Mass morning by morning, are not going to be deprived of that privilege because they are not able to communicate on every occasion.
The same thing must be said about Reservation for the sick and dying. The whole Church enjoins such Reservation lest any of her children should run the risk of departing this life without the Viaticum, that sacred food for their last journey, in the strength of which they shall reach the Mount of God.
 It has been shown that the Rubrics relied on to prove that such Reservation has been forbidden do not apply, and even if it were otherwise, that such a prohibition is not one which it is within the competence of any local Church or individual Bishop to make.
Any order for the better custody of the Blessed Sacrament, any order to guard against irreverence or profanity, any order to guard against what the Church has deemed a superstitious and unauthorised use of the Blessed Sacrament must be cheerfully complied with; but an order not to reserve the Blessed Sacrament is one which no Bishop, who claims to be the Guardian of the Catholic Faith and the protector of the sacred canons, has a right to give. We hear a great deal of the rights of the laity at this present time, the right of the laity to have the Blessed Sacrament reserved for their needs is one of them, it is one they value most deeply, and it is one now that it has been regained they are quite determined to maintain.
It is unbecoming in a layman to say such things? It is surely more unbecoming for any layman to acquiesce in silence in what has been the fruitful source of so much mischief in the Church of England in the past--I mean that way of looking at the Church of England as a body independent of the rest of the Catholic Church, free to extemporize a doctrine, a ritual, and a discipline of her own, and under no obligations to the rest of the Church of which the Church of England is but a part, and a small part. It is a way of looking at the Church of England dear to Anglican authorities at the present moment, but the evil it has wrought is not the less on that account. Look at the dislocation of our Liturgy. To accentuate the fact, if the fact required accentuating, that the Sacrifice of the Cross is the one all-sufficient Sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, to make it clear that our Lord's Offering of Himself in the Holy Eucharist in propitiation for our sins, is an offering of Himself in commemoration of that all-atoning and abiding Sacrifice, might be well, but could it be well so to dislocate the different portions of our. English liturgy as to obscure in popular estimation the pleading of that one great Sacrifice which is the work of the Church on earth?
We all know that where there is a valid consecration there of necessity is the Mass in the plenitude of its power, but why dissociate that offering from the liturgical form and order which had developed under the guiding hand of the Church from the earliest times, the abandonment of which has been proved by the experience of three hundred years to have been so disastrous to the faith of our countrymen? Such dislocation would have been impossible had a due regard and respect for the teaching and mind of the whole Church been kept in [23/24] view. Are we in our own day to acquiesce in a similar1 disregard of the mind and practice of the whole Church, remembering the mischief which such disregard has worked in the past? It is impossible to justify either the principles or actions of the Reformers in much that they did; and, instead of attempting to do so, it is our duty and our wisdom, just as they desired in their day to mend what they thought amiss, to correct what we see was erroneous in their principles and action, and revert to a better and happier practice. Consider the enormous possibilities opening out before the Church of England if her members would only be true to Catholic principles--nothing less than those of being allowed by the good providence of God to be the means of reuniting Christendom. Even our imperfections and shortcomings should be made to minister to that end.
Father Tyrrell, the author of the admirable series of essays entitled "Faith of the Millions," to which I have already referred, and Mr. Green, the author of the "History of the English People," both point out that to influence and convince others we must not be too far removed from their intellectual standard, and be in a position to appeal to arguments which, if we stood on a higher level ourselves, we might be barred from using. "Perhaps," says Mr. Green, "the narrow type of Evangelicalism has its use, it sweeps up the narrower, more limited minds into Christ's net, and gathers up the crumbs that remain, that nothing be lost." "God," he adds, "is a great economist," and so it may be, as M. de Maistre long ago pointed out, that the very imperfections of the English Church have their uses, and may enable us to influence some to whom otherwise we should have no access. Let us then turn our very faults and imperfections to account, in order to win back our separated brethren to the faith, and to strengthen our own confidence in the future reserved in the Providence of God for the Church of England. The very faults and shortcomings we have to confess to in the past give value to and enhance the wonders of that great revival of Church life in our midst on behalf of which we have been called to work.
Has any previous age of the Church witnessed so remarkable a revival as that which has marked the history of the Church of England during the last sixty years? Can it be supposed that that Revival is due to anything but the working of God the Holy Ghost? If it is His work, who shall gainsay it or hinder its course? "My Word shall not return unto Me empty, but shall accomplish all My Will," and it is His Will that Christ's servants should again be so visible and externally one that the world may be assured the truth of their Master's Mission. Let us rejoice at the desire for a greater unity that [24/25] is showing itself on all sides. Is there not reason to welcome as a step to returning unity the adoption of a single Catechism by the Nonconformist bodies? Are there not signs amongst the members of the Established Church in Scotland which may well encourage similar hopes?
Can anyone read such a book as Dr. Fairbairn's "Roman and Anglo Catholicism" without seeing amidst all we must dissent from, and the misunderstandings which it reveals, how entirely the old Nonconformist position is altering, and what possibilities there are of better understanding and a drawing together in the future, not by confusing issues at stake, not by endeavouring to cover opposite meanings under similar sounds, but by the honest striving to understand ever more exactly and to express ever more faithfully our own position, and that of those who for the moment are our opponents?
Who can read without emotion the noble address on Christian Mysticism by Dr. Alexander Maclaren at Edinburgh, on October 9th of last year, and not feel as he reads that Dr. Maclaren is one who should be entirely ours, one from whose teaching we have all much to learn, and whose devotion we have great need to imitate? Let anyone compare the contents of Dr. Maclaren's address with such passages as the following from Dr. Moberly's recent book on "Personality and Atonement," and from Father Tyrrell's "Faith of the Millions," and he will surely recognise how great the hope for the future reunion of Christendom must be when three such men can be found in such substantial agreement about what is the heart and core of Christianity.
"The substance of mysticism," says Father Tyrrell, "is that love of God without which no soul can put forth the blossom of its highest perfection. The union between the Creator and the created soul is not the privilege of a few elect souls, but an obligation binding on all."
So Dr. Moberly: "Mysticism is the realisation of that converse of the soul with God which is the great central inspiration and meaning of Christian life. Christianity which is not mystical is impoverished at the centre of its being. Had all Christians lived up to their belief they would all have been mystics--in other words, there would have been no mysticism."
And so Father Tyrrell again: "Those who understand our times are not perhaps wrong when they say that if the Church is ever to get hold of the man of goodwill outside her pale, it will be through the satisfaction she offers to the uneradical mystical appetite of the human soul, that thirst for God which rationalism starves but cannot kill."
In what do such statements differ from the opening words [25/26] of Dr. Maclaren's address: "There is a sane and wholesome mysticism which is at the very heart of Christianity--the reciprocal indwelling of Christ in the Christian, and the Christian in Christ. ... So long as the "insight of a pure heart leads into a region far above that to which ethics and reasoning carry, so long will the mystical element enter into all living Christian experience and be a fundamental part of Christian belief."
Let us try to learn the lessons which the fact of such words suggest, by labouring incessantly, regardless of every discouragement, for the peace of the Church, and the reunion of Christian souls, and as a step towards that great consummation, as we see in the past the mischief that has been worked by a disregard of what is due to Catholic unity, let us see to it that in all we say or do now we do not forget the obligations which bind us to the rest of the Catholic Church.
"The Church of England," I must repeat again, in the sense those words are often used, is not an independent self-governing organization with no responsibilities other than those she chooses to impose upon herself; she is, in fact, but two provinces of the Western Church isolated unhappily by circumstances for which she is by no means solely responsible from the rest of Christendom, but which cannot, consistently with the position they claim as an integral part of the Catholic Church, relieve themselves from the obligations which the part owes to the whole. Some things those provinces can do, and some things they cannot do, without forfeiting their own claim to authority, and among the things they cannot do is so far to abandon their ancient constitution as to confer upon the laity a concurrent and equal voice with the clergy in the determination of doctrinal matters.
I allude to this matter because it touches a point of real vital importance, and of pressing present interest to the Church. Dr. Fairbairn points out, in his volume on Anglo and Roman Catholicism recently published, "that the Acts which emancipated Catholics and abolished tests having in fact declared that for the State Dissent, whether Catholic or Protestant, has ceased to exist, the categories of conformist or nonconformist are no longer applicable to any man as a citizen." "Nor does this change," Dr. Fairbairn goes on to say, "stand alone--it involved another even more radical-- Dissenters, Catholics, and Protestants could sit in Parliament, and perform all the functions of legislators, and as Parliament did in fact legislate for the Church as well as for the State, it has come about that men whose distinctive note was dissent from the Church were invested with legislative authority over a Church they dissented from, with the result that men whom [26/27] the Church could not recognise as fully and adequately Christian became by civil action law-givers for the very Church that refused them recognition."
We might not state the case in that way, but with due allowance, the statement is not far from the fact, and it indicates a state of things which only remains tolerable by being tacitly ignored. Parliament has no real desire to interfere in Church matters; it is conscious of the incongruity of its attempting to do so, and if the authorities of the Church would but realize the fact, acknowledge that the Acts of Uniformity are to all intents and purposes dead, and have the courage to take, on their own initiative, such steps as the needs of the Church may require, and for which they dream of obtaining Parliamentary sanction, they would adopt a far wiser and safer course in the interests of the Church, and one far more likely to secure the objects in view, than if they wait till Parliament is willing by a definite Act to give legislative sanction to their action.
One other word in regard to recent proposals for the creation of Synods, Diocesan, Provincial, and National, including authority, greater knowledge of the subject, "to give the faithful laity (i.e., those making their Communions three times a year, and not excommunicate) a recognised channel through which to bring their influence to bear as an integral order in the Church, on all her interests and all her work. Their influence is, and ought to be, very great indeed, but influence is not authority; authority in the Church is lodged in the Apostles and in their successors.....To claim for the laity, as of right inherent, a place in the Synods of the Church is virtually to make a change in the Church's Constitution; the history of the early Councils utterly subverts the notion of a co-ordinate lay authority." "The great principle," Mr. John Walter Lea adds, "that underlies the facts of Conciliar history, say up to A.D. 550, is that the laity were not members of Councils because they were needless to the spiritual authority of those Councils .....Placed in Synod they could have no real authority, though their influence might be so far deferred to as to paralyse the action of authority without their concurrence."
In regard to such schemes all that is demanded would be supplied by Diocesan Conferences, in which the clergy and laity should meet, discuss, and vote on absolutely equal terms under the presidency of the Bishop, auxiliary to the Diocesan Synod; Provincial Conferences in which Bishops, clergy, and laity should meet auxiliary to the Provincial Synod, and, if necessary, National Conferences auxiliary in the same way to [27/28] a National Synod, whenever it was deemed well to call such a National Synod together.
Proposals involving what the Archbishop of Canterbury has recently characterised as a revolutionary change in the position of the laity, and which must be, if carried out, entirely destructive of the ancient authority of the Convocations of Canterbury and York, may be made by those in high places, but if carried out the assemblies constituted under them could not speak in the name of the Church of England in the only sense in which the Church of England has authority from God to exact obedience in the forum of conscience.
It is not reforms such as these that we want. It is a much simpler, it is a much easier reform that we require; the reform which will inspire every priest with such a love for souls that he will be strenuous and urgent in the celebration of the Sacrament, and stir up every layman to be regular in his religious duties, and to endeavour truly to follow in the steps of His Lord and Master Jesus Christ. And here let me suggest some thoughts in regard to the difficulties which we must all feel beset at the present moment the cause of religion in general, and our own position as members of the Church of England in particular. They have to be faced, and it is far wiser not to shut our eyes to them.
Among those difficulties none are so great as those which are caused by ignorance of Church doctrine and the prejudices which are due to defective teaching. That such ignorance should exist is the one great reproach that can be brought against the Church of England. A Church's business is to teach the truth, to proclaim the Gospel, to form devout Christians, to breed up saints. Can it be denied that there are many within the pale of the Church of England who live and die in almost complete ignorance of their elementary duties as Catholic Christians, but who yet, so far as any teaching they may have received is concerned, have no special reason to suppose that they fall short of what is expected of them?
We sometimes ask why so great a majority of working men everywhere do not go to church or chapel, and, as they grow in knowledge and self-respect, that they still stay away. Is it, so far as the Church of England is concerned, where the Holy Eucharist as the one Service of obligation is neglected, "that the formalism of a Liturgical Service centred round no soul-stirring mystery of Divine Love fails to attract the masses or to stir the soul." Is the answer to be found in the following words of the Rev. W. R. Inge in his essay on the "Person of Christ" in the volume of essays entitled "Contentio Veritatis." "It is 'The lifting up of the Son of Man'--the [28/29] Crucifixion, not the Ascension, which has drawn men to Him. It is His surrender, His humiliation; it was not His method nor His doctrine, but His Person--'Come unto Me.' It is His Person which has overcome the world."
"The extraordinary prevalence," writes Dr. Moberly, "of a life without Communion, not on the part of those who are anti-Christian, or in any agony of self-penitence," is a terrible sign of how remiss the Church of England has been in delivering the message entrusted to her. The same remark applies to the way in which the Sacrament of Penance has come to be ignored amongst us. A general admission of sinful-ness, a passing resolution to amend has come to be considered all that is required for admission to Communion, even in regard to the gravest sins. Can it be said, again, that the Church as represented by her authorities is blameless here; men have ceased to know how to repent, and the fact is largely due to the teaching which has been allowed to become current amongst us.
Have we not reason to suspect that we all of us approach this subject of Confession too little from the side of God, too much from our own? Knowing how apt we all are to deceive ourselves, ought we not to be anxious to get the help of another in order to see ourselves as we really are; ought we not for God's sake to adopt every means open to us for the purification of our conscience. What is the difference between preparation for Communion and preparation for death? In the light of such thoughts, and are they not thoughts befitting every Christian, is it not idle to deprecate the use of private confession because public confession was the practice in primitive times? Are we prepared to advocate a return to such public confession; are we likely to see any general return to the practice even if we had the courage to adopt it ourselves? If not, are we quite-honest in making a return to what we know is impossible, an excuse for condemning its only possible substitute?
Are our lives better and purer, less worldly, more honest: are there fewer grave scandals than was the case when the practice of public confession prevailed? Have we not reason to suspect ourselves of a little hypocrisy in the matter, and that this fear of confession really means a failure on our part to see sin as it really is, fear of something disagreeable, and a greater love of ourselves than of God? Mr. Keble, in a public letter to Sir John Coleridge, stated it as his deliberate opinion "that a revival of systematic confession was the great need of the Church of England." Do we hold with Mr. Keble and the leaders of the Oxford Movement in this matter or do we not? It is for considerations such as these that I welcome the result of the Fulham Conference on the subject. In the [29/30] words of our Report: "The immediate results of the Conference concerned may be thought to be small, but indirectly the Conference has done much, by clearing the ground of extraneous matter and revealing what are the real points of difference, to prepare the way for a much greater measure of agreement in the future than is possible at the present time. Those who recognise the authority bestowed upon the Church to bind and to loose in Christ's Name, who acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins, and the power of the Bishop, or Priest, in the Person of Christ, to absolve the penitent on his public confession, have admitted in principle all that is required to justify the practice of private confession and absolution. The Report of the recent Conference is clear on these points, and the result is one which in the future can hardly fail to remove existing misconceptions as to the exercise of the Sacrament of Penance, and to promote the cause of peace." I believe that to be a perfectly true account of the Conference about Confession, and much the same thing may be said about the previous Conference in regard to Holy Communion. To understand our differences is the first step to remove them.
No one who believes that the Christian life is a life of real union with our Lord, that we really dwell in Him and He in us, can maintain that because He is in heaven He is not in the Eucharist. Yet how often do we hear that said? It will be replied "Yes, He is present, but in a different manner." "Quite so," we answer, "but who has denied it?" Do we believe that we show forth His Death and Passion before heaven and earth each time we celebrate the Holy Eucharist? Then where is the controversy about the Eucharistic Sacrifice? Is it said His Presence is sacramental, not an object of sense but an object of faith, and to be assimilated by faith? Where, again, is the controversy if faith be, as the Rev. N. Dimock said at the Fulham Conference, "not imagination but the belief in what is really and objectively true." Surely, with a desire to be at one, agreement ought not to be so difficult on these matters as some like to think, and, despite all that may be said to the contrary, I shall persist in thinking that the principle of holding such conferences is a right one (why should not similar conferences for the purposes of explanation be held with members of the Roman Church and with members of the Nonconformist bodies?), and that if it is persevered in it will end in bringing about such a measure of agreement throughout the whole Church, and that without any sacrifice of principle, as shall surprise the world and rejoice the saints.
The proof of the Church's mission is that the blind see, the [30/31] deaf hear, the lame walk, and to the poor the Gospel is preached. In so far as the Church of England has failed to bring those for whom she was responsible to the Altar, has not taught them how to repent, has acquiesced in a standard of doctrine and practice quite inconsistent with Catholic Christianity, she exposes herself to the just nemesis of seeing her claims rejected, her mission denied, and her very attempts to reform misunderstood and opposed by her own children.
What explains the possibility of such an agitation as we have seen during the last few years in regard to Church doctrine and practice except the astonishing ignorance which prevails on the subject amongst the members of the Church? It is curious how history repeats itself in regard to some of the features of that agitation. Nothing is more insisted on in certain quarters at meetings of Protestant associations, for example, at Ladies' Leagues, even in Parliament, than the supineness of the Bishops in proceeding against their "erring and disloyal Clergy." We find exactly the same complaint made under Philip and Mary, only with a curious reversal of the parts. Under Mary complaint was frequent that when the Justices had done their duty in searching out members of the Reforming party, and those accused of false teaching had been brought before the Bishops and Ordinaries, "the Bishops and Ordinaries refused to proceed against them, and suffered them to continue still in their errors to the dishonour of Almighty God and the dangerous example of others." "A man can go to no place," is the supplication of some of the Reforming party addressed to the Commission sent to visit Norfolk and Suffolk, "but malicious busybodies curiously search out his deeds, mark his words, and if he agrees not with them they call it error and heresy, with other odious names, such as traitors, disloyal (charges very similar to those we have heard in our own day) to the Queen." It is to the credit of the Bishops that despite the presentments of Justices and Sheriffs, despite commissions issued in the name of the King and Queen to create central tribunals in London, not unlike the Judge under the Public Worship Regulation Act, to which Diocesans might send up cases of heresy, no Bishop is known to have sent up a single case to be so dealt with.
In Elizabeth's time the persons exposed to attack were different, but the methods of proceeding were much the same; while in the Long Parliament and under the Commonwealth the likeness to the methods some would apparently wish to see adopted now is still more striking. We read of a grand Committee of Religion appointed by the House of Commons to receive petitions against scandalous ministers. Lecturers were intruded against the will of Incumbents to preach in the [31/32] Parish Churches. One Incumbent, on a certain Sunday, preached from three till six to keep such a lecturer out of his Church, while, as an instance of the interference which was attempted in regard to individuals, a sub-committee in the Parish of St. Stephen's, Coleman Street, agreed that "Mr. Alderman Pennington and twelve others should be joined to Mr. Taylor the Minister, and that they and any four of them should have power to judge of persons whether they should be admitted to the Sacrament or no, that all who intended to come to the Sacrament should come before the said twelve persons, who should meet between the hours of two and five on Tuesdays and Thursdays, to receive a token whether they should be admitted to the Sacrament or not"; and a little later it was proposed and carried in Parliament "that congregations should set about the work of catechising all persons above twenty-one for whom they might think such discipline useful, and that such persons do submit themselves to being so catechised." The consequences of such methods of proceeding might have been foreseen. History tells us not only of the failure of all such methods for controlling belief, but it shows us that all such attempts have in the long run had precisely the opposite effect to that which their promoters intended. A most striking instance of this may be found in the story of one Julius Palmer, given by Canon Dixon in his fourth volume, and may be quoted for its tragic interest.
Julius Palmer was a Fellow of Magdalen College, who, being zealous for the old learning, had never shrunk from avowing himself in Edward's reign. Refusing to come to Common Prayer and to hear sermons, he was punished at first by loss of commons and fines, but was at last expelled from the College. On Mary's accession he regained his Fellowship. The story goes on how the first martyrdom staggered him, he having shared the expectation that none of the Gospellers would be found to stand to the death for their opinions, how at his own charges he sent a bachelor, a pupil of the house, to Gloucester to gather the minutes of the burning of Hooper, and how himself, witnessing the burning of Ridley and Latimer, came away exclaiming, "O raging cruelty; O tyranny tragical." How, thus revoked, he grew troublesome, became suspect, lost his Fellowship a second time, and eventually, betrayed by sonic false Gospellers at Reading into the hands of the Mayor, was examined at Newbury. His answer on the Eucharist, which was not accepted, might, it was thought, have saved his life. "If the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper be ministered as Christ did ordain it, the faithful receivers do indeed spiritually eat and drink Christ's very natural Body and Blood."
 He refused all entreaties to spare his youth, and accept livings and emoluments, and led the way accompanied with two others who were tried with him to a place outside the town, where he was burnt, dying in a grave and dauntless manner at the age of twenty-four. One may suspect that Julius Palmer's troubles under Edward, and the circumstances which led to his death under Mary, were perhaps partly due to his own fault. He seems to have been a man born to be in opposition, but the fact, if it be one, in no way detracts from the lesson which such executions as his, and that of such men as the Jesuit Campion, in succeeding reigns, teach, that persecution always defeats its own object. God did not endow us with free will in order to permit the exercise of methods for the compulsion of that will which He does not see fit to employ Himself. [Within five years fifty-eight death sentences and seventy-six banishments were carried out amongst the inhabitants of Geneva, who numbered about 30,000, under the auspices of the Swiss Reformers. The persecutions for which the New England settlers were responsible are no less notorious]
The history of the past is indeed one which shows how much allowance has to be made on all sides if we would form an equitable judgment with respect to those who were actors in it. There is indeed much in that past for which we have great cause to be ashamed; we have to admit many inconsistencies, much that is indefensible, even on the laxest view of what is involved by Church principles, but the greater the scandals in the past, the greater is the wonder of the present revival and restoration of Church doctrine and practice which we see going on around us.
Let me quote the witness of one, not a member of the Church of England, whose testimony is the more independent on that account: "I cannot see," writes Mr. Ambrose de Lisle, "why my believing that the Church of England in the sixteenth century made herself the bond-slave of the State, so that for the most part since that period she has identified herself with Acts of Parliament rather than with decrees of Oecumenical Councils, I cannot see why, admitting this deplorable fact, it should withhold me from a truthful acknowledgment of what I see more and more--that this great Church, identified as she is with the greatest Empire on earth, is daily, hourly arising from the depths. Surely the more I believe the Church of England to have sinned, the more I rejoice, and shall rejoice when I see that noble Church returning to a sense of her duty.
"If I read history aright, all movements of decay begin from above, those for regeneration and restoration from men of [33/34] inferior position. In this respect the great movement for the restoration of the English Church is the counterpart of what took place in the sixteenth century." And he adds, "I am sure of its ultimate triumph, it is the work of the inferior Clergy and of zealous laity who understand what the word 'Church' means. My object is to save the Anglican Church, not to undermine her, to save her by recatholicising her, and by restoring her to that blessed unity from which three centuries ago she was so cruelly torn." Elsewhere he writes, "I look for the return and reconciliation of the Anglican Church as a whole, not to her dismemberment. Catholicism is leavening the old Church of England. The restoration of the dry bones is proceeding, the skeleton is clothed with sinews, nerves, and flesh; what the Spirit has begun the Spirit will finish. 'It is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes.' If any man had foretold forty years ago what we now see in the old Anglican Church more or less all over the land, and throughout the remotest colonies of the worldwide Empire, he would have been taken as a maniac. Who can doubt that God will bring it to its predestined end?"
If Ambrose de Lisle could so write thirty years ago, what would he say now? Meanwhile, in regard to that corporate reunion, the hope of which, his biographer says, never left his breast, we must all endorse the truth of Ambrose de Lisle's words when he writes, "Before such a consummation could be brought about it was, before all things, necessary that the hearts of men should be won, that Catholics and Anglicans alike should abate their prejudices, misrepresentations, ignorances, suspicions, until each side should understand one another a little better."
I find these words repeated to-day in an article by the Rev. Joseph McSorley, one of the Paulist Fathers in America, in the Catholic World of June 2nd: "It is the fair promise of the future, this dream of a Christendom reunited and rejuvenated with strength sustained as an eagle's. What can be done to further the realization of the blessed vision? No one dare point out in detail; but this is certain, the first great need is to concede all that principles will allow. The indefinite possibilities of adaptation, when things are viewed in this spirit, almost persuades us to speculate upon what might be done .... History honestly studied .... will encourage a dream of wonder-working developments, but before beginning to dream there is another detail to be attended to--namely, the creation of an atmosphere in which dreams will possess a strong likelihood of being reproduced by reality later on. It is indifference, inertia, a narrow or an unwilling spirit that must baffle attempts at reconciliation. Call [34/35] them Anglo-Saxon, what you will, the principles of Western civilization have come to stay and to dominate. The English-speaking races give unmistakable promise of playing a leading part in the future moulding of humanity."
There is indeed a form of civilization and of so-called progress, a mere rush of life with no sense of proportion, with no perception of those higher things which give life its real value, from which modern civilization in England and America is by no means free; it needs to be corrected by high ideals and an abiding sense of those eternal and invisible realities which abide behind the world of time and sense. It is here that the devotion and the realization of the Unseen which are such marked features of the Latin Races and the idealism of the East have their part to play. "Can anyone doubt," continues Father McSorley in view of such a combination, "that the reunion of England with the Holy See would go far toward evolving a condition of Catholicism adjusted to the needs and aspirations of the coming age; were England Catholic again as of old, and America as Catholic as there is hope of making her, then we should hear no more of the popular calumny that the Church was a thing of the past, and built in conformity to conditions that have disappeared for ever."
Does not such an ideal attract our hearts? Ideals, great ideals, are the powers that move the world. "Nothing," says Dr. Moberly, "can compare in practical effectiveness with a great ideal generally held. . . . Ideals once held are practically omnipotent."
"The great force," says Mr. Green, the author of the history of the English people, in the volume of his letters recently published, "which has transformed Europe, and the secret of her history since 1815, has been political sentiment," and what is true of politics is true of religion. Imagination, great ideals, are the real powers which appeal to the hearts and minds of men. What was the secret of Mr. Rhodes's influence? The possession of a great ideal. No party, no man can do anything great without an ideal, for it is the enthusiasms which are begotten of great ideals which transform the world.
It was this gift of imagination, this pursuit of a great ideal, that was the secret of the power of the leaders of the Oxford Movement. "It was a movement," says Dr. Fairbairn, in his book on Anglo and Roman Catholicism, to which I have already referred, "for the recovery of the long-forgotten ideal of the Anglican Church, the belief that that Church was one of Apostolic descent, of continuous life, of supernatural endowment, of Divine authority. They studied how to make again significant and symbolic her homes and temples of worship, [35/36] how to deepen the mystery of her sacraments, how to make her live to the eye of imagination arrayed in all the grace of her Lord clothed in all the dignity of loveliness of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church."
"We must force on the public mind," wrote Dr. Newman, "I believe in one Catholic Apostolic Church, not two, three or four, not insular or national, founded and inspired by Apostles." And not less acutely Dr. Fairbairn remarks how the spirit of the elder Tractarians has developed; how their successors are less Anglican and more Catholic, and how the idea of the living Church has superseded that of a mere appeal to the Fathers. "Though Apostolic and Patristic voices are still heard with reverence, it is less as independent authorities and more as organs through which the Society has spoken."
It is for ideals such as these, culminating in a reunited Christendom, that we struggle and fight; and in fighting for them let every Member of the Union remember those words of one from whom I have already quoted, Mr. Green, the author of the history of the English people, "That the world moves along not only by the gigantic shoves of its hero workers, but by the aggregate tiny pushes of every honest worker whatsoever. All may give some tiny push or other, and feel they are doing something." "I see people," he adds, "striving after power, longing to be able to influence. I long to tell them in my whole life, amongst the thousands I have met, I have met one person, and one only, who has influenced me, and she was the quiet wife of an East-end parson, who would have laughed at the thought of influencing anyone."
Let us take this lesson to ourselves. Each in our own place we may do something to help on the cause, and if we can do nothing else we may at least try to live the lives of good consistent Catholics. May I presume upon my age and your indulgence and say in conclusion something which perhaps it is hardly within my province to say, but the importance of which I feel to be so great that I would ask your leave to say it: "The responsibility of not debasing Christian ideals, of not allowing Christian life to become a mere theory devoid of power, is a great responsibility laid upon us all. If we exhibit a conception of Christian life in which there is little or no supernatural relation to Christ, we are doing what in us lies to make the true understanding of Christ impossible." [Dr. Moberly's "Personality and Atonement," p. 300.]
I have spoken of Communion and of the Holy Eucharist, of the privilege of being able to attend Mass every day, of the duty of Confession. I have done so because these things, not ritual or any mere external observances, are the key to the [36/37] Catholic Revival and the secret of its success. I would only entreat you to remember, in the words of Dr. Moberly, "that the communicant life is not to be conceived of as if it could continue a thing of joy or of value apart from its proper effect of so identifying Christ with the communicant, and the communicant with Christ, that the presence of Christ in the communicant should be progressively manifested in his temper, character, and life there must be a real seeking after and finding Christ Himself." And then do not let us forget that unity of worship is almost as important a bond of union as unity of faith; this bond was rudely broken in the sixteenth century, the Catholic Revival of to-day is an attempt to restore it.
What attracts in ritual is the satisfaction it gives to the historical instinct. This we say is how the Church of England formerly celebrated the Divine Mysteries, this is how she would have celebrated them all along the course of her history had it not been for the incursions of Protestantism and misbelief. And, lastly, let us never forget in all the intellectual difficulties of the present time that our faith in Christ can not be dissociated from our personal relation to Him. It is, as Father Tyrrell well says, "an act of trust on no mere argument or chain of reasoning but on all three backed by and confirmed by personal experience." "He," says Dr. Alexander Maclaren, "who lives in Christ and has Christ living in him may well possess his soul in patience amid the dust of present critical controversies. . . . The springs of his faith and of his life are too deep to be frozen or evaporated. Such believers do not rest their faith on the Book, for they have verified it by experience."
Dr. Maclaren's words are reechoed by the Rev. W. R. Inge when he says, "Christians are Christians, not on account of historical evidence, but because they have found Christ, or rather because Christ has found them. . . . Christ was nothing then, 'when He was on earth,' that He is not now." ["Contentio Veritatis." Essay on the Person of Christ.] And it is the same thought which is expressed by Mother Juliana of Norwich, when she writes, "For the same thirst which He had upon the rood tree, the same hath He yet, and shall have unto the time that the last soul that shall be saved is come up to His bliss." ["The Revelations of Mother Juliana." Methuen.]
"Man at his best," says Father Tyrrell, "is most at home where at his worst he is at least at home, in those super-realities which are touched and felt by the soul but refuse to be pictured or spoken in the language of the rive senses"...." a hard common-sense religion consonant [37/38] with the utilitarianism of a commercial civilization can never appeal to certain temperaments. . . . Perhaps one of the commonest subjective assurances of faith is the fact that our faith grows and declines with what we know intuitively to be our better moods, that when lax we are sceptical and believing when conscientious."
The struggle in which we are engaged, the battle we have to fight, requires all our arms; let us be quite sure that amongst them none is so necessary, none so indispensable as that personal love for, and trust in, our Lord Jesus Christ which is indeed a shield and buckler against all doubt, the consolation in all trials and disappointments, the pledge of victory here and the assurance of complete and final triumph hereafter.