TO THE QUEEN'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY.
1. Since we made our First Report to Your Majesty in relation to the Vestments worn by the ministers of the United Church of England and Ireland at the time of their ministration, we have proceeded to consider the other part of the subject pointed out in Your Majesty's Commission as the most pressing.
2. The use of Lighted Candles in celebrating the Holy Communion, when they are not needed for the purpose of giving light, and the use of Incense in the public services of the Church, are the matters connected with this part of the subject to which our attention has been mainly directed.
3. We have taken evidence and have availed ourselves of the information furnished by the arguments in the recent suits before the Court of Arches of Martin v. Mackonochie and Flamank v. Simpson, both in respect of lights used at the celebration of the Holy Communion, and also in respect of the use of Incense as part of the public services of the Church.
4. The use of Lighted Candles at the celebration of the Holy Communion has been introduced into certain Churches within a period of about the last twenty-five years. It is true that there have been Candlesticks with Candles on the Lord's Table during a long period in many Cathedral and Collegiate Churches and Chapels, and also in the Chapels of some Colleges, and of some Royal and Episcopal Residences, but the instances that have been adduced to prove that Candles have been lighted, as accessories to the Holy Communion, are few and much contested.
5. With regard to Parish Churches, whatever evidence there nay be as to Candlesticks with Candles being on the Lord's Table, no sufficient evidence has been adduced before us to prove that at any time during the last three centuries Lighted Candles have been used in any of these Churches as accessories to the celebration of the Holy Communion until within about the last twenty-five years.
6. The use of Incense in the public services of the Church during the present century is very recent, and the instances of its introduction are very rare; and so far as we have any evidence before us, it is at variance with the Church's usage for 300 years.
7. Under these circumstances, and in conformity with the principles which guided us in our First Report, we are of opinion that it is expedient to restrain in the public services of the Church all variations from established usage in respect of' Lighted Candles and of Incense.
8. With regard, then, to Lights and Incense, as well as Vestments, we think that a speedy and inexpensive remedy should be provided for parishioners aggrieved by their introduction; and the remedy which we recommend is the following:First, that whensoever it shall be found necessary that order be taken concerning the same, the usage of the Church of England and Ireland as above stated to have prevailed for the last 300 years shall be deemed to be the rule of the Church, in respect of Vestments, Lights, and Incense; and, secondly, that parishioners may make formal application to the Bishop in camera, and the Bishop on such application shall be bound to enquire into the matter of the complaint, and if it shall thereby appear that there has been a variation from established usage, by the introduction of Vestments, Lights, or Incense in the public services of the Church, he shall take order forthwith for the discontinuance of such variation, and be enabled to enforce the same summarily. We also think that the determination of the Bishop on such application should be subject to appeal to the Archbishop of the Province in camera, whose decision thereon shall be final: Provided always that if it should appear to either party that the decision of the Bishop or Archbishop is open to question on any legal ground, a case nay be stated by the party dissatisfied, to be certified by the Bishop or Archbishop as correct, and then submitted by the said party for the decision of the Court of the Archbishop without pleading or evidence, with a right of appeal to Your Majesty in Council, and with power for the Court, if the statement of the case should appear to be in any way defective, to refer back such case to the Bishop or Archbishop for amendment.
9. Precautions should be taken against frivolous applications being brought before the Bishop; and with this view, we further recommend that the application should be made either by one or more of the Church or Chapel Wardens, or by at least five resident parishioners, who shall be householders and declare themselves to be members of the United Church, in places where the population exceeds l,000, and by at least three such persons where the population is less than that number.
10. Our intention, in making this recommendation, is simply to provide, for parishioners aggrieved by the introduction of variations from established usage in respect of Vestments, Lights, and Incense, a special facility for restraining such variations, without interfering in other respects with the general law of the Church as to Ornaments, or the ordinary remedies now in force.
11. In submitting these recommendations to Your Majesty, we desire to state that we are anxious in no degree to abridge or curtail any of the rightful liberties heretofore enjoyed by the Clergy and Laity of the United Church. The National Church may well include men of varying shades of opinion, so long as they can combine in a conscientious acceptance of her recognized formularies and appointed rites. But this large comprehension seems to us to render it most desirable that in the celebration of the Church's rites there shall be introduced no novel practices, which are welcome only to some, but are offensive to others. All members of the Church being expected to join devoutly in one common form and order of service are, as we conceive, entitled to expect that no unaccustomed form be used giving to the service a new tendency and significance by which the devotion of many is impeded.
12. We have made some progress in the Revision of the Rubrics, Orders, and Directions contained in the Book of Common Prayer, and our recommendations on this subject will be presented to Your Majesty in our next Report. A Committee of the Commission has been for some time engaged in preparing materials for the Revision of the Lectionary.
13. In the Appendix to this Report will be found the Evidence taken before us, and the Arguments of Counsel as well as the Judgment of the Official Principal of the Court of Arches in the cases of Martin v. Mackonochie and Flamank v. Simpson.
C. T. CANTUAR. (L S.)
[t] IN appending our names to this Report, we the undersigned members of Your Majesty's Commission, are compelled to dissent from the recommendations contained in the paragraphs 8 and 9.
We are of opinion that continued usage in ordinary circumstances ought in matters ceremonial to be so far the rule as to protect unwilling parishioners. from arbitrary change, even though the change may seem to be within the letter of the law; but we cannot approve of any attempt to stereotype by legislation for perpetual observance any use not actually enjoined. Such legislation even thirty years ago would have prohibited much which is now generally adopted, and all but universally approved. We cannot advise the introduction of a new rule of Ornaments for the Established Church. We think such a rule unnecessary, and we believe that the attempt to introduce it would be dangerous. We deprecate particular enactments on these subjects; :and we are of' opinion that offence, whether. caused . by excess or defect in divine service, may be removed by strengthening the hands of the Bishop, with appeal to the Archbishop.
We are convinced that the Ritual of the Church must be regulated by living authority acting, as such authority always must act, under a strong sense of individual responsibility and under public observation, although the complete avoidance of offence must after all depend upon the prevalence of good sense and good feeling in each parish; even if all the greater circumstances of ceremonial could be distinctly fixed by law, there must still remain questions of gesture and posture which may involve much. offence, but which no law can completely regulate.
We the undersigned members of Your Majesty's Commission, concurring in the Opinions above expressed, feel ourselves thereby precluded from appending our signatures to the Report.
[*] We beg leave, in adding our names to the Report, to lay before Your Majesty the following considerations, which we think ought to be embodied in any recommendations on the subject to which the Report refers.
The Church of England has always contained within it two parties, one caring much for outward observance and ceremonial, the other careless about or even hostile to them; and these two historical parties represent two classes of minds which always have and probably always will exist, and proclaim their existence, in a free country. If, therefore, the Church of England is to remain the National Establishment of a free country, room for both must be found in it, as far as is consistent with general uniformity "in such Matters as may be deemed essential." Within such limits a variety and elasticity of outward observance appears to us to be desirable. We will not join in any recommendations which have for their single object the attainment in the services of the Church of a rigid uniformity in matters not essential.
The present Report to Your Majesty is concerned only with two matters,the use of Incense and of Lighted Candles. We venture to submit that we cannot consider either the retention or the suppression of these two articles amongst the matters to be deemed essential. They have in themselves, and in their origin, no doctrinal significance; and the interpretations put upon them, as well by those who adopt them as by those who object to them, are of the most uncertain and conflicting kinds. We therefore think that they should be restrained only when they give offence to the parishioners; and, so far as the recommendation proposed in the Report is intended to secure this object, we concur in it, and we believe the remedy suggested to be effectual and sufficient. Any further remarks on the mode of securing such other uniformity as may be deemed desirable appear to us best reserved for our next Report
Being unable to concur in the above Report, I beg leave humbly to lay before Your Majesty the reasons for my dissent therefrom.
In the terms of Your Royal Commission, Your Majesty was graciously pleased to direct us to make full and impartial inquiry, so as to secure general uniformity of practice in such matters as may be deemed essential.
These words appear to imply, as is indeed obviously the case, that it is not necessary, even if desirable, that absolute uniformity should prevail.
It must be remembered that all ceremonies, whether performed in an ornate or slovenly manner, must be the expression of doctrine; and that in the Church of England, as in other religious bodies, the two aspects of sacramental belief, briefly described as the objective and subjective, have always existed. Each of these aspects may be true, but, if exhibited so as to exclude the consideration of the other, the just proportions of the truth are obscured. It follows then that neither side should be excluded from view, but that the balance should be evenly held. An illustration is found in the two varying methods of delivery of the Holy Sacrament to communicants, adopted in the Prayer Books of 1549 and 1552 respectively.
By the wisdom of the rulers of the Church in the early days of the reign of Queen Elizabeth these two forms were combined into one harmonious whole; and while an ornate ceremonial, corresponding to high doctrinal views of the Holy Communion, prevailed in Cathedral and Collegiate Churches, and in the Chapels of certain Colleges, and of some Royal and Episcopal Houses, it is true that in most parish churches the standard of ritual conformed to the Prayer Book of 1552, rather than to those forms which, though neglected in practice by the people, were prescribed by the wisdom of Queen Elizabeth and her counsellors.
Disregard of ceremonial in our services continued almost down to the present day; and the alienation of the population, especially among the lower orders, from regular attendance at religious worship, may be fairly attributed to the want of life and heartiness which well ordered services promote.
The Arches Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury has recently declared the ceremonial use of Incense unlawful. It will not be necessary, therefore, to express an opinion upon a practice which, though largely enjoined under the dispensation of the Old Testament, and forming no insignificant feature of the worship of Heaven as set forth in the Revelation of St. John the Divine, has been disused among us for many years.
The use of Lights as accessory to the Holy Communion has been declared lawful by the same high authority; and if the innocent and edifying reason alleged for this usage by the Royal Injunctions of King Edward VI. be borne in mind, together with the fact that the Church as well of the East as of the West, and some Protestant bodies, have invariably followed this custom, the danger of superstition appears so remote, that I cannot recommend restraint in a matter upon which an authoritative judgment has been now pronounced.
A time when wide latitude in matters of high doctrine is tolerated if not encouraged within the Church does not appear suitable for curtailing a ceremonial observance to which no superstitious meaning is attached. The only accusation brought against Lights is that their use prevails in the Church of Rome; but if the custom be in itself harmless, that circumstance affords no more reason for proscribing it than the three Creeds, or the Surplice.
In this matter I cannot persuade myself to bring into the category of things in which uniformity must be deemed essential a practice which has so largely prevailed in Christian communities, and which is judicially declared to be not only innocent in itself, but also not contrary to law.
If then in this respect uniformity is found to be not essential, I humbly conceive that by the terms of Your Majesty's gracious Commission I am precluded from recommending legislation tending to prohibition.
It may be added that many customs now generally accepted have occasioned far greater disturbance than has attended the practices to which exception is now taken; and it has been found that a declaration of the law has greatly tended to allay the dissatisfaction which was felt when the state of the law and the reason of the customs had not been fully considered.
The machinery proposed in the Report to give effect to the grief of parishioners in the cases of Vestments and Lights appears calculated to promote disturbance rather than peace, and to be incapable of adaptation to the varying circumstances of parishes and congregations of a widely different character.
The Commissioners unanimously recommended in their First Report that, to secure the peace of congregations, and to prevent breaches of Christian charity, parishioners aggrieved by the use of unusual vesture on the part of the ministering clergy should have an easy and effectual process of complaint and redress. But assenting to the reasonable proposition of the First Report, that the use of Vestments that have been long disused should be restrained (by which term I do not understand prohibition) where distasteful to parishioners, whether the actual legality of the practice be established or not, I am not prepared to recommend so serious a curtailment of liberty of many devout congregations as would follow if the recommendations of my brother Commissioners were adopted in their integrity.
IT is with much regret that I find myself unable to concur in this Second Report, agreed to by the majority of the Commissioners, and therefore I humbly beg leave to lay before Your Majesty my reasons for not signing the same.
The 4th, 5th, and 6th Clauses (though containing a correct summary of the conclusions arrived at by most of the Commissioners as to the absence of "sufficient evidence" to prove the use, during the last 300 years, of Lighted Candles on the Lord's Table " as Accessories to the Holy Communion," and also with regard to "the use of Incense in the Public Services of the Church") do not afford a complete view of the subject. It is important, therefore, to observe that insufficient evidence of usage is no adequate proof of non-usage; and, further, that in this case the sources of information known to the Commissioners are too few to warrant any positive statement as to the extent of use or disuse in the long period of three centuries; nor is it probable, from the nature of the case, that any more explicit records should have been kept than those already produced. Moreover it would be quite as difficult to prove usage in respect of other Ornaments and Practices which the Judicial Committee of Your Majesty's Privy Council in 1857 decided to be lawful, viz., Altar or other Crosses employed as internal decorations of Churches, the use of various coloured Altar Cloths in the same Church, a moveable Ledge on the Lord's Table, and the bringing of the Bread and Wine from a Credence Table to the Altar at the time of the Offertory.
The 7th Clause proposes to apply to "Lighted Candles" and "Incense" the same "principles" of restraint "which guided us in our First Report as to Vestments. But the case of Lighted Candles during the Celebration of the Eucharist is not parallel with the other two practices. The Lawfulness of this use of Lighted Candles has just been decided in the Arches Court of Canterbury, (though, indeed, an Appeal has since been lodged with the Privy Council,) and this Second Report states that "The use of Lighted Candles at the Celebration of the Holy Communion has been introduced into certain Churches within a period of about the last twenty-five years;" whereas one ground for complaint of the Vestments is their very recent introduction: while it is also alleged that they are of doubtful Legality, because they were not specifically in question when the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council declared, in 1857, "that the same Dresses and the same Utensils, or Articles, which were used under the First Prayer Book of Edward the Sixth, may still be used." This latter objection appears to be of small importance, for it was necessary that their Lordships should (as they did) interpret the Rubric on the "Ornaments of the Church, and of the Ministers thereof," in order to adjudicate upon those Ornaments which were actually under their consideration. Incense, at present, stands in a different position from both the Vestments and the Lighted Candles; for the Arches Court has decided it to be unlawful "to bring in Incense at the beginning" or during the Celebration, and remove it at the close of the Celebration of the Eucharist." It is requisite also to consider that the Vestments, the Lighted Candles, and the incense are not by any means equally disliked, though it is no doubt true that by very many persons the whole three are alike the subject of complaint.
The 8th Clause provides the mode of restraint, and is objectionable on the following grounds:
1. Because it makes the practice of a period of very general indifference and even of opposition to the plainest and most positive Laws of the Church of England and Ireland "the rule of the Church for the future," whensoever it shall be found necessary that "order be taken concerning" the use of "Vestments, Lights, and Incense;" whereas no such expedient was resorted to. Then the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, only eleven years ago, declared the Lawfulness of Ornaments, which, to say the least, had been quite as much opposed as these, and, among other reasons, on the same ground of long continued and general disuse.
2. Because it leaves no discretion whatever to the Bishop, if Parishioners complain to him of "a variation from established usage, by the introduction of Vestments, Lights, or Incense in the Public Services of the Church;" but compels him, without any regard to the circumstances of the case, to "take order forthwith for the discontinuance of such variation;" thus introducing a novel and most arbitrary rule, entirely contradictory of the two important principles, upon which the Order in the Book of Common Prayer, for appeasing diversity and resolving doubts "concerning the Service of the Church," is founded, viz., First, the inherent discretion of the Episcopate; and, Secondly, the recognized subjection of that discretion to every Law which binds alike the Bishop and his Clergy, in many cases the Laity also.
3. Because it might, and probably would, deprive entire Congregations of their liberty, or rather right, to have their Services conducted according to the Laws of the Church of England; notwithstanding that the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council said, in 1857, "Although their Lordships are not disposed in any case to restrict within narrower limits than the Law has imposed the discretion which, within those limits, is "justly allowed to Congregations, by the rules, both of the Ecclesiastical and the Common Law Courts, the directions of the Rubric must be complied with; ....." Cases already exist, and will probably increase, of a Parish containing several Consecrated or Licensed Churches or Chapels, the Ministers of which have no Legally assigned Cure of Souls; these places of Divine Worship are more or less available for all the Inhabitants; and the Services, varying as they do in their simplicity or ornateness, are adapted to different classes of Parishioners, while not disturbing general Parochial Unity. But this Clause, construed as it must be with the next following, would put it in the power of any three or five resident Householder Parishioners, who shall "declare themselves to be Members of the United Church," to prevent the use of Vestments, Lights, and Incense (however lawful) in any such Church or Chapel in their Parish; and this, too, wholly irrespective of the fact of their own habitual attendance at, and preference for, the Services of the Mother Church of the Parish, or of some other Church or Chapel in their own or even in another Parish.
4. Because (while it would rightly protect a minority or a majority of Parishioners from having Vestments, Lights, or Incense introduced, contrary to their wishes, into those Services in their own Churches or Chapels which they wish to or do frequent) it affords no security whatever to any minority or majority who (being loyal and earnest in their desire to have those Services of the Church which they are accustomed to attend conducted in conformity with the Rules of the Prayer Book,) would, for the sake of others, so far forego their own wishes as to be content with the use of such Ornaments in Services held at times and in places which could not interfere with those Services which others have been accustomed or desire to attend.
The object of the 9th Clause is to prevent "frivolous applications being brought before the Bishop;" but it seems inadequate for its purpose, on two grounds:
1. Because it does not require that the Church or Chapel Warden or Wardens should act only at the authorized instigation of Parishioners: this is an important consideration, in proposing to clothe them with a new power of Official complaint, in addition to their present authority to make Presentments.
2. Because as this Report deals chiefly, though not entirely, with Ornaments which are accessory to the Celebration of the Holy Communion, so it appears to me to be of primary importance that the recognized complainants against such accessories should not merely "declare themselves to be Members of the Church of England," but should also be known to be bona fide Members and Communicants of the said Church.
The 10th Clause purports to be explanatory of the three previous Clauses, and declares that their object "is simply to provide . . . . . a special facility for restraining such variations" as they refer to, "without interfering in other respects with the general Law of the Church as to Ornaments, or the ordinary remedies now in force." This, however, is a proposal much to be deprecated for the following reason:
Because, on the one hand, it involves the hitherto unapplied and objectionable principle of exceptional and repressive Legislation in reference to the observance of particular points in the Church's Law of Ornaments, which Law nevertheless it is not proposed to repeal; while, on the other hand, it leaves all non-observance of the same Law to the unaided power of existing remedies.
The 11th Clause, while professing great toleration, is likely, if acted upon, to prove seriously detrimental to the best interests of the Church, by being a bar to all real improvement in the conduct of her Services. Hitherto "the rightful liberties" which are here recognized as having been "heretofore enjoyed by the Clergy and Laity of the Church of England," have at various times, and especially during the last thirty years, broken through stereotyped forms of neglect and disobedience, which custom, or ignorance, or prejudice had maintained; and thus most material changes have been effected which are now commonly allowed to be generally beneficial, though at the time when they were first attempted, and even long after, they encountered precisely the same objections which this Clause sustains, sometimes, too, in the form of such unreasoning and violent, not to say lawless, opposition as it may be hoped will not again be manifested.
But this Clause, though reasonably advocating the inclusion in the "National Church" of "men of varying shades of opinion," (a subject, however, which seems scarcely within the terms of Your Majesty's Commission,) inconsistently opposes those varieties of Ceremonial which are the natural accompaniments of opinions thus allowed to have a free development. The condition of "this large comprehension" of "opinion" is stated to be, "a conscientious acceptance of" the "recognized formularies and appointed rites" of the Church of England. The advocates of a revived Ceremonial themselves claim to act upon this very principle in ordering the Public Services. Therefore the conclusion would appear to be, either that, as Your Majesty's Commission indicates, "general uniformity of practice must be limited to such matters as may be deemed essential," or it must be extended to the fullest details of all that is required by the Ecclesiastical Laws. It is obvious that so rigid a compliance is neither possible nor desirable in the existing condition of the Church of England; nor indeed has it ever been maintained since the passing of the First Statute of Uniformity in 1549. To "secure," as our Commission suggests, "essential" Uniformity, it does not appear to me necessary to insist upon that strictness of practice, as opposed to liberty of opinion, which this Clause of the Report seems to urge. Unquestionably it is "most desirable that in the celebration of the Church's Rites there shall be introduced no novel practices, which are welcome only to some, but offensive to others;" yet, while it may be hoped that charity alone will generally prevent changes calculated to lead to such a result, it cannot be concealed that quite as great, perhaps greater, scandal is caused by disregard of positive rules in conducting the Services of the Church; and still more, it must be feared, by notoriously contradictory teaching, which is complained of as being irreconcileable with her "recognized formularies."
For these reasons, and because I fear that the proposals now made, so far from promoting peace, tend towards provoking a strife which may seriously risk a disruption in the Church of England, I humbly think I shall best discharge my duty to Your Majesty by withholding my signature from this Second Report.
W. F. KEMP, Secretary,