Project Canterbury

On Eucharistical Adoration
by John Keble

second edition
Oxford: John Henry and James Parker, 1859.

NOTE on c. v. ยง 3, 10.

As an exemplification of the course here recommended, I subjoin, 1. a copy of a Protest and Appeal, occasioned by the Primate's Decision in the Court at Bath; 2. a letter written in explanation of that paper by some of those who signed it, but suppressed at the time in deference to the scruples of others, who considered themselves implicated in it in a way which they thought unadvisable.

1. Protest and Appeal. (1856.)

"WE, the undersigned, Priests of the one Catholic and Apostolic Church, called by God's Providence to minister in the Province of Canterbury, according to the Book of Common Prayer, do hereby, in the Presence of Almighty God, and in humble conformity with the tenor of our Ordination Vows, as we understand them, make known and declare as follows:--

1. We believe (in the words used in the Book of Homilies) that in the Holy Eucharist we "receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the form of bread and wine;" and with Bishop Cosin, "that upon the words of Consecration, the Body and Blood of Christ is really and substantially present, and so exhibited and given to all that receive it; and all this, not after a physical and sensual, but after an heavenly and incomprehensible manner;" of which statement, Bishop Cosin says, "it is confessed by all Divines."

2. We believe, in the words of Bishop Ridley, "that the partakinge of Christ's Bodie and of His Bloude unto the faithfull and godlie, is the partakinge and fellowship of life and of immortalitie. And again, of the bad and ungodlie receivers, St. Paul plainlie saieth thus: 'He that eateth of this breade and drinketh of this cuppe unworthilie, he is guilty of the Bodie and Bloude of the Lord. He that eateth and drinketh unworthilie, eatheth and drinketh his own damnation, because he esteemeth not the Lord's Bodie;' that [179/180] is, he receiveth not the Lord's Bodie with the honoure whiche is due unto Hym." Or with Bishop Poynet, "that the Eucharist, so far as appertains to the nature of the Sacrament, is truly the Body and Blood of Christ, is a truly divine and holy thing, even when it is taken by the unworthy; while, however, they are not partakers of its grace and holiness, but eat and drink their own death and condemnation."

3. We hold, with Bishop Andrewes, that "Christ Himself, the inward part of the Sacrament, in and with the Sacrament, apart from and without the Sacrament, wheresoever He is, is to be worshipped." With whom agrees Archbishop Bramhall: 'The Sacrament is to be adored, says the Council of Trent, that is, (formally,) 'the Body and Blood of Christ,' say some of your authors; we say the same: 'the Sacrament,' that is, 'the species of bread and wine,' say others; that we deny."

We therefore being convinced,

1. That the doctrine of the Real Presence of "the Body and Blood of our Saviour Christ under the form of Bread and Wine" has been uniformly held as a point of Faith in the Church from the Apostolic times; and was accepted by General Councils, as it is also embodied in our own formularies;--

2. That the interpretation of Scripture most commonly held in the Church has been, that the wicked, although they can "in no wise be partakers of Christ," nor "spiritually eat His Flesh and drink His Blood," yet do in the Sacrament not only take, but eat and drink unworthily to their own condemnation the Body and Blood of Christ, which they do not discern;--

3. That the practice of worshipping Christ then and there especially present, after Consecration and before communicating, has been common throughout the Church:--

And moreover that the Thirty-nine Articles were intended to be, and are, in harmony with the Faith and Teaching of the Ancient Undivided Church;--

Do hereby protest earnestly against so much of the opinion of his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, in the case of Ditcher v. Denison, as implies, directly or indirectly, that [180/181] such statements as we have cited above are repugnant to the doctrine of the Thirty-nine Articles;--

And we appeal from the said opinion, decision, or sentence of his Grace, in the first instance, to a free and lawful synod of the Bishops of the Province of Canterbury; and then, if need be, to a free and lawful synod of all the Churches of our communion, when such by God's mercy may be had."

2. Letter in explanation of the foregoing.

"IT having been given out that those who signed the Protest and Appeal against the recent decision on the Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist may probably end in forming a Nonjuring Church, will you allow us to state thyrough your paper, that we have no such intention or thought. The object of that declaration was to liberate our own consciences.

We believe, in their most literal and fullest sense, every word of the Articles, on the found of which Archdeacon Denison has been condemned. We cannot see how the doctrines for which he has been condemned can be fairly brought under the Articles. We are convinced, that they are points upon which the Church of England has not decided; and that those who have condemned him, have proceeded on grounds foreign to the Articles. They have brought meanings into the Articles, not out of them. Still, since we believe that which the Archbishop and his Assessors have condemned as contrary to the Articles, it became matter of honesty to avow it. We are in a place of sacred Trust. If we voluntarily retire from our place, we betray our trust; if we continue in our place, saying nothing, we seem to betray it. Either way there is grievous scandal. The only course open to us is, publicly to apprise those in authority over us, that we cannot obey them in this, and to go on as before, leaving it to them to interfere with us, or no, as they may think fit. It was on this view of our duty that we signed that Paper. Our subscription to the Articles is honest in itself, for we believe them in the only sense of which we can see them to be capable. But we did not feel [181/182] it honest to hold a belief which had been condemned as contrary to the Articles, and not to avow that we held it, and make ourselves liable to the consequences.

The being of the Church of England we believe to be perfectly unaffected by this decision, grievous as the result of it may be in respect to her well-being. The sentence of an Archbishop's Court may make an Act penal; but the sentence of one man cannot bind the conscience. Prosecution after prosecution can but deprive individuals. Nothing less than the voice of the Church can make any decision the judgment of the Church; and nothing but the judgment of the Church (in fact, a new "Article of Religion") can limit, as now proposed, the meaning of the present Articles. If the Church of England should will to condemn what hitherto she has not condemned, she must do it by a distinct Act.

We know there are some who wish us to be removed. But we do not, please God, intend to do their work for them by withdrawing. Even should we be deprived, we should hope not to be silenced, nor degraded, nor excommunicated. Meantime, in full conviction that we teach only what the Church sanctions, or at any rate allows, we shall go on teaching as long as we are permitted to do so. Through God's good Providence we have had our several spheres of duty assigned to us. If it be His Will, He will help us cheerfully to exchange them for others. But it will be His doing, not ours. We hope to know His Will best, by waiting for it."

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