BY THE RIGHT REV. C. H. TERROT, D.D., BISHOP.'
MINISTER OF ST. THOMAS' CHAPEL.
W.P. KENNEDY, 15, ST ANDREW STREET.
GLASGOW: DAVID BRUCE. PERTH: JAMES DEWAR.
ABERDEEN: D. WYLIE AND SON.
LONDON: SEELEY, BURNSIDE, AND SEELEY.
THE occasion of the opening of our new Chapel seems to furnish a very seasonable opportunity for an Address on my part in a somewhat more lasting form than can be effected in the ordinary ministrations to which I am called among you. Under existing circumstances, however, I should have shrunk from doing this, lest the tone of congratulation, which I could not but assume in reference to our present position, might have proved offensive to others--and that which is on our part nothing but the expression of gratitude to our Heavenly Father for the tender love and goodness he has manifested towards us--be construed into an unworthy exhibition of mere party triumph. Any delicacy or scruple, however, which I might have felt on this subject, has been removed by the publication of a Letter by the Right Reverend Bishop Terrot to the Lay Members of the Scottish Episcopal Church, which not only shields me, in now addressing you, from the charge of unnecessarily courting public attention,--but even seems to demand what I should otherwise have considered it inexpedient to do.
I at once, then, proceed to notice several of the statements in the Letter to which I refer, as this will afford me the opportunity of placing before you some particulars concerning our present position, which it is well should be clearly laid down.
I can truly affirm, that I am actuated by no unkind feeling [3/4] towards Bishop Terrot. Perhaps there might have been some expressions in his Letter spared; but I have ever regarded him as a frank and honourable opponent; and, though it may be he will not thank me for the conjecture, I have always considered his conduct towards myself, rather as the result of a pressure on the part of others, than as proceeding from the spontaneous acting of his own mind. In the course of the remarks I am about to make, I must write strongly, in order that there may be no misunderstanding; but I trust that Bishop Terrot will give me credit throughout, for the wish to avoid every expression which might be considered uncourteous to him as a gentleman, or not respectful towards him in the position he occupies in the Scottish Episcopal Church.
Were the Letter of Bishop Terrot taken up by one who was perfectly ignorant of the occurrences of the last twelve months in Edinburgh, I think the conclusion in his mind would inevitably be, that "Mr. Drummond, after having served for many years as a Presbyter in the Scottish Episcopal Church, had suddenly resolved to depart from it, and break up its peace, from some new light which had glanced into his mind, or some capricious falling out with doctrines or discipline to which he had hitherto cordially assented." But, us you are well aware, this would be a very erroneous impression of what actually took place. I was proceeding quietly and happily in the discharge of my duties--as little dreaming of disturbing the peace of the Scottish Episcopal Church as of the Church of England--when I was suddenly arrested by the authority of Bishop Terrot. In fact, I was not the party assailing, but the party assailed. And let it be carefully remembered, that I had made no alterations in the ordinary mode of fulfilling my duties. For nine years I had proceeded in the exercise of them in the same manner,--nearly two years of which time were passed under the Episcopal superintendence of Bishop Terrot himself.
But, besides this, it is important to call particular attention to the following fact. Prior to the year 1838, there existed in the Scottish Episcopal Church a Canon, which had exclusive reference to the conducting of public worship in the sanctuary. In 1838, [4/5] however, there was an addition made to that Canon. It is now admitted, that this addition had special reference to the prayer-meetings I had always been in the habit of holding. But not till October 1842 was I made aware that the Canon, which originally was intended to regulate the public services in the Congregation, had widened its range to include prayer-meetings! And it was not until I had resigned the charge of Trinity Chapel, that I discovered the close connection which my own ministerial actings had with its formation!
In 1832, then, I joined the Scottish Episcopal Church, when there was confessedly no law to prevent the holding of prayer-meetings--in 1838, such a law was introduced, though without a hint to me, regarding its real import--and, suddenly in 1842, it was used, without a moment's warning, against me! With these facts before you, I leave you to judge of the correctness of the following remark in Bishop Terrot's Letter:--"If the Episcopal Church of Scotland be indeed such as she is represented to you--such that you can be justified in deserting her communion, and seeking for spiritual safety in some newly-invented community--then you and your advisers ought to appear before the public as humble penitent sinners, deploring your participation in the unholy thing, and confessing, that after being so long misled by a palpable fallacy, you somewhat doubt your own perspicacity in spiritual things."
I cannot but think that Bishop Terrot has most truly, though unwittingly, described the Scottish Episcopal Church in this sentence. Let it be compared with the facts I have stated, namely, that for six years there was no law against prayer-meetings;--for four years a law made for the purpose was allowed to slumber, and at the close of that period it was enforced; and then, surely, it must be admitted that the Church which has such a Canon Law can be nothing else than a "palpable fallacy" and that ministers of the Church of England can neither be charged with fickleness or schism when they refuse to abide in it, seeing it is one thing to-day, and may be another to-morrow, and that without any warning. The Canon Law of the Scottish Episcopal Church has [5/6] been materially changed on three several occasions since the commencement of the present century!
But Bishop Terrot says, that the services in St Thomas' Chapel will be "schismatical." This is a hard word, and the import of it, as used on the present occasion, is not to be misunderstood. I must be forgiven, then, if, in rebutting the charge, the language I use be very explicit. "It (schism) has almost become the word of a party, and to the great discredit of religion, it is frequently used with little discrimination by the several denominations of those who profess the name of Jesus. He who is not 'of themselves,' or who does not follow them, is in many instances branded as a schismatic. This term of reproach includes every thing that is base and dishonourable, and by its indiscriminate use, truth and holiness, error and iniquity, fall under the same censure; and men make themselves guilty of the very wickedness for which they censure and condemn others." So, in an able article in the Monthly Churchman, from the pen of the Rev. E. Bickersteth, it is remarked:--
"It would be well if those who seek to cast upon others the charge of schism, were first to inquire how far they themselves are guilty, remembering the instructive direction of our Lord, Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? The position of the Scotch Episcopal Church is at present, in this very point, most unsatisfactory. It might be well for this Episcopal Church to separate from the National Presbyterian Establishment of Scotland, in order to give a testimony to Episcopacy, and to meet the desires of Christians who feel the importance of this sacred institution. It was needful to separate from Rome, for God has commanded his people to come out of her. But the Scotch Episcopalians profess a real union with the National Episcopal Church of England, and yet they have, so lately as 1838, raised a barrier, making union impracticable, by a return to Roman principles, from which they also profess to have been separated. Thus they stand alone, and have separated themselves from full union with every Church, and multiplied needless divisions. The real schismatics in that Church, [6/7] then, are those who insisted on making the Scotch Communion Office of 'primary authority.'"
But, according to the statements of his own Letter, Bishop Terrot is too hasty in charging me with the guilt of schism. He urges the duty of investigation as to the causes which have led to the separation of which he complains. He puts it to the consciences of the individuals separating, whether they have had just grounds for so doing. "Consider," he says, "whether the Church of which you have hitherto been members has actually, and to your own certain knowledge, imposed upon you sinful terms of communion, or withheld from you means of grace committed to the Church by her Great Founder. If she has, then separation is not merely lawful, but imperative." Here the burden is distinctly laid where it ought to be, namely, on the consciences of individuals. If I in my heart believe that "sinful terms of communion are imposed," in connection with the Scottish Episcopal Church,--and that "means of grace" which Christ enjoined are denied,--then, by Bishop Terrot's own admission, I am not only permitted, but required imperatively to separate from her communion. I judge no man for not doing so. To his own Master he stands or falls. My convictions imperatively demand that I pursue the course which Bishop Terrot declares is both lawful and right, under these circumstances. And yet, in direct opposition to this expressed sentiment of his own, he does not hesitate to condemn me, as if he were able to judge of my heart and my conscience. "Consider," he says, "and then act accordingly. If you are convinced it is wrong to remain in the Scottish Episcopal Church, then it is not only 'lawful, but imperative for you to separate;' nevertheless, you are a 'schismatic!'" Has not Bishop Terrot thus exposed himself to the charge of "judging" his brother? And is not the following remark of Stillingfleet fully applicable?
"Our assertion, say you, is; but, it is not what you assert, but what you prove. It were an easy matter for us to draw up a far larger Bill against your CHURCH, and tell you our assertion is that you are the greatest schismatics in the world. Would you look on [7/8] it as sufficiently proved because we asserted it? I pray think the same of us, for we are not apt to think ourselves guilty of schism at all the more because you tell us what your assertion is: if this be your way of dealing with us, your first assertion had need be that you are infallible; but still that had need be more than asserted, for unless it be infallibly proved, we shall not believe it."--Vindication, p. 312.
In his remarks on the subject of schism, Bishop Terrot alludes to the Litany of the Church of England, iu which we pray to be delivered from "all sedition, privy conspiracy, and rebellion; from all false doctrine, heresy, and schism; from hardness of heart, and contempt of God's Word and Commandment." "From the general style and character of the Litany," he says, "it is to be presumed that there is some characteristic affinity between the evils thus deprecated in the same petition; and that if rebellion and heresy are sins, so also must schism; and the affinity manifestly lies in this, that all the sins here enumerated spring from the indulgence of self-will and self-conceit."
I perfectly assent to Bishop Terrot's remark, that schism is sinful, but as to the affinity of these petitions, I must be permitted to differ from him. What sin is there under the sun, that has not sprung from "self-will and self-conceit?" This was the origin of our first parents' transgression, and it continues fatally effectual in all their offspring. "Self-will and self-conceit," doubtless, have to do with the particular sins enumerated in the above passage in the Litany; but then they have as much to do with "pride, vainglory, and hypocrisy," in a former part of the Litany. The truth is, a real affinity lies in the separate paragraphs of the prayer. "Sedition, privy conspiracy, and rebellion," are as one sin in the sight of God. So also are "false doctrine, heresy, and schism." He who plans sedition, though it be secretly in his own breast, is a rebel in the sight of God, so also, he who cherishes "false doctrine" in his heart is, in reality, a schismatic in the sight of God.
It is here that the real difference of opinion between Bishop Terrot and myself exists. We both agree that schism is sinful. [8/9] But Bishop Terrot chiefly looks at the uniformity of the Church, and therefore he affirms, that "complete schism is separation from communion." On the other hand, I look first at the unity of the Church, and assert, that "complete schism" is the holding of "false doctrine." I do not deny that "separation from communion" is complete schism; but I likewise hold, that where there is "false doctrine," there must be "complete schism" also, since the "one faith" is thus broken, and the "unity of the Spirit" is not "kept." And the sin of "separation from communion" rests upon those who are unsound in doctrine, whether they be the party who remain in, or who leave a communion.
Bishop Terrot confirms my view by the reference he makes to Scripture. The only instances which he adduces from thence are, he says, "cases of separation in the Church." Schism, then, as far as Scripture goes, was something within the communion. Uniformity was not broken,--unity was. And whether the members of that communion eulogized one teacher, and disparaged another, or were disorderly at the feast of the Lord's Supper, this equally showed that they were "carnal," and not "spiritual;"--that they were unsound in the faith;--that they had not "learned Christ;"--in fact, their doctrine was false, and their schism was complete; and, therefore, Paul "denounced it as a great evil--as an evidence of their carnality--of their deficiency in that spiritual temper which ought to animate the Christian."--(Bishop Terrot's Letter.)
Yet, after all, Bishop Terrot says, "these were cases of incipient schism." Does the Apostle calls them incipient? He calls them "schisms." By what rule are we permitted to say they are only "incipient schisms?" He charges the separation within the Church at Corinth with the sin of schism. What authority have we for concluding that it is only the beginning of schism? When I part from a friend, I may go farther and farther from him, but my separation is as complete at one mile's distance as at two. So schism may be carried out to the rending of outward communions, and to much worse; but the diversity of doctrine within the Church, or, rather, [9/10] the false doctrine which makes that diversity, is complete and guilty schism, nevertheless.
Before, then, I can be justly charged with the guilt of schism in separating from the Scottish Episcopal Church, it must be proved that the sentiments I held in that Church, and which forced me to leave it, are false, erroneous, and unscriptural. I have not separated because "it has too many or too few vestments,--too many or too few lights,--because its sermons are too short, or its prayers too long," (Letter, p. 5;)--but because "its restrictions are too severe;" it has, since I joined it, laid its hand upon the Christian liberty of my people and myself--it has imposed "terms of communion" which we hold to be sinful; and I continue separate, ministering as an English, and not a Scottish Episcopal Clergyman, because, over and above these restrictions," which are in themselves unreasonable and unscriptural, the Scottish Episcopal Church demands from all Presbyters an absolute assent and consent to a Communion Office,--which I believe to be radically corrupt, and vitally opposed to that service which at my ordination I solemnly recognised.
But it very often happens, that in controversy, when argument fails, recourse is had to names. And, assuredly, the present discussion is no exception to the general rule. Continued efforts have been made to screen the lack of argument under the wide folds of a harsh epithet. I have asked for Scripture warrant for putting down my prayer-meeting; the answer is, "You are a schismatic." I have expressed my willingness to modify these meetings, so that none but members of my own congregation should attend, and have declared my readiness to use any means pointed out for this purpose; "still you are a schismatic." [It will be recollected that, at a meeting of the Clergy of the Episcopal Church, belonging to the Diocese of Edinburgh, held November 1, 1842, it was formally resolved that my separation from the Scottish Episcopal Church was "totally without cause," and they proceeded to state that my "liberty to invite my own people in any private room, wheresoever and whensoever I pleased, without being compelled to use the Liturgy," was not interfered will, by the Canons. To a deputation from the above mentioned meeting, composed of the Rev. the Dean, Mr Yorke, Mr Bagot, and Mr Boyle, which subsequently waited upon me, I declared my readiness to admit to my prayer-meetings. none but members of my Congregation, although I could net recede from my private opinion, that uch, limitation was neither prudent nor necessary. The deputation considered this proposal so satisfactory, that they voluntarily waited upon the Bishop as mediators, in order to get matters adjusted. The Bishop, however, took a diametrically opposite view of the question, and pronounced that the Canons sanctioned no such prayer-meetings; and in effect declared, that, were they held in my own house, they could be uncanonical, if I announced them to my congregation. Here, then, was the Bishop opposed to all the clergy of his diocese, in the interpretation of a Canon reconstructed so recently as 1838!] I have shown that my orders are not [10/11] Scottish but English, and that, with English orders in my hand, I had as much right to retire from a charge in the Scottish Episcopal Church as to undertake it; "still you are a schismatic." [You have an absolute right to return to the service of the particular church into which you were ordained."--(Bishop Tenet in Correspondence.) This church into which I was ordained has never authoritatively declared that a return to her service from that of the Scottish Episcopal Church necessarily involves a removal from Scotland.] I have demonstrated that I have done nothing to vitiate my status as an English Minister, that I have committed no overt act against the discipline, nor impeached any of the doctrines of my Church; "still you are a schismatic." I have, since my separation, preached in English pulpits, and English Clergymen have preached in mine; "still you are schismatic." I have shown that the Canon law of England protects me in what I have done; "still you are a schismatic." [An English Bishop has very recently affirmed, that there exists no barrier to my being inducted to any living in England, to which I might be presented, and which I might choose to accept.] My opponents have taken care, by every means within their power, to procure a sentence against me from England, and have signally failed; "still you are a schismatic." Twelve months ago, I understood from Bishop Terrot himself, that he intended to write to England, in order to discover what effect a sentence of excommunication, pronounced by a Scottish Bishop against me, would have in England, and he now knows that it must go for nothing; "but still you are a schismatic." I have proved the Doctrines of the Scottish Communion Office to be antiscriptural,--I have shown them to be opposed to the Doctrines of the Church of England, and that, as an ordained minister of that Church, I cannot hold both; "still, no matter you are a schismatic." But this outcry, as monstrous as it is without foundation, defeats the end my opponents have in view, for it forces public attention to the fact, that whereas a Church, from which I never received my orders, pronounces me in schism--the Church to which [11/12] I have ever belonged,--whose orders I now hold,--has, notwithstanding, pronounced no sentence of the kind.
I think I have just grounds for complaining of the manner in which Bishop Terrot expresses himself in reference to the ministrations in our new Chapel. He says, the minister "may, if he chooses, use the English Liturgy,"--and "I consider that the services * * * will probably be, to all external appearance the same as those to which you have been accustomed," &c. Again, "if you retain the English Litany in the formularies of your new Church," &c. Surely Bishop Terrot must know, that such insinuations are without a shadow of foundation. My letters of orders would be immediately forfeited by such a procedure, as that of changing the prescribed formularies of the Church of England; and I think he could not, at the moment, have perceived the dishonesty which he was thus in reality attributing to me. No; as long as my letters of orders are in my possession, I adhere strictly to the engagements they attest, and if I had ever purposed to shrink from these, I should have been the first to put them in the fire. It by no means follows, that because I do not feel myself at liberty to acknowledge a Scottish Bishop, I must, therefore, consider my English ordination as a dead letter.
But Bishop Terrot affirms, that I have been, since last autumn, "officiating in a hired room, on my own authority and commission." I meet this assertion by a simple denial. If any one is anxious upon the subject, I shall be very happy to show both the authority and commission under which I officiate. My letters of orders supply both. At my ordination, I had authority given to me to preach the Word and to administer the Sacraments, and this authority is visibly signed and sealed in the letters to which I refer. Who has withdrawn that authority? The Church which gave it, and which alone has the power? Certainly not. These letters are the open credentials that I am an Episcopal Minister of the Church of England, and qualified to exercise a full ministry in connection with that Church. This is very clearly laid down in an able article in the Monthly Churchman for July 1843:--"With respect to what constitutes a license to preach, there can be little [12/13] question. Every Presbyter is such a licensed preacher for, at his ordination, he receives, at the same time that the Bible is put into his hands, 'authority to preach the Word of God,' and this abides with him, being certified by his letter of orders, WHEREVER HE GOES." [It is a well-known fact, that even in England there are many clergymen who are now officiating without any other license than their letters of order. Some of them are known to myself.]
This lays the axe at the root of the reiterated objection, that because I have not a specific Episcopal license for the Chapel of St Thomas, I am therefore to officiate there without any authority whatever. I am not in England; therefore, such license is not required. There, these licenses are needful to preserve the jurisdiction of one Diocese separate from that of another. But in Scotland, no English Bishop claims jurisdiction, as I am triumphantly told, and yet this in reality explains the whole of my position. "You must have an Episcopal license for St. Thomas." From an English Bishop? That cannot be, for you have just said, that no English Bishop exercises jurisdiction in Scotland. "Then you must get one from a Scottish Bishop." But I reply, where is the law in the Church of England for this? When she professes to have no jurisdiction in Scotland, does she charge her Presbyters there to consider her authority as delegated to the Scottish Bishops? Most assuredly she does not! Are the Church of England and the Scottish Episcopal Church so completely one as that the Presbyter of the first, who submits to his own Church in England, must likewise submit to the latter, if he be in Scotland? Impossible. The one is a Church established by law, the other is a voluntary Church. The one has laws which cannot be changed but by act of Parliament, the other may change her laws every year if she wills it. And whatever private opinion individuals, either among the Clergy or Laity in England, may entertain respecting the Scottish Episcopal Church, however much some individuals may be disposed to praise her orthodoxy, or eulogize her apostolical character, that is nothing to the present purpose. For all practical purposes, the law is, that the Church of England and the Scottish Episcopal Church are two [13/14] Churches, not one Church--and, therefore, that the Presbyter of the one is not bound by the laws of the other. Bishop Terrot strengthens this view very much by the following remark:--"The English Bishops, generally, only three years ago, virtually introduced, and actually sanctioned, a bill whereby the Scottish Bishops and Clergy were empowered to officiate in England, thereby rendering the most explicit testimony to the catholicity and orthodoxy of the Scottish Episcopal Church." [Were all the Bishops who assisted three years ago in introducing this bill, aware of the existence of the Scottish Communion Office? I think lean safely reply in the negative. Would all the Bishops in England now declare their approval of that Office? It is well known that they would not--and yet this is the only way now in which they can give the most explicit testimony to the catholicity and orthodoxy of the Scottish Episcopal Church."] Now, this very boon illustrates, in a remarkable manner, the actual distinction between the two Churches--for Bishop Terrot has omitted to notice, that Scottish Presbyters, under the provisions of the very act to which he refers, cannot officiate more than three Sundays at a time in England, and that even this requires the express sanction of the Bishop of the Diocese in which they may be asked to officiate; moreover, that they are altogether ineligible even to serve a curacy--and can never be appointed to a living. Now, communion is common possession--and here, then, however the Scottish Episcopal Church might desire it, she has failed to become one with the Church of England. [English Presbyters do not stand alone in their views of the imperfect communion which exists between the two Churches. A memorial was addressed to Bishop Russell by four of the Clergy of his Diocese in September last, in which the following passages occur--"We desire to call the attention of your Reverence to the particular Canon of the Church which makes the Scotch Communion Office of 'primary authority.' "In the preamble to the Canons, it is stated, that the Scotch Episcopal Church is in perfect union with the Church of England yet the particular Canon in question invalidates the statement, for it destroys the uniformity of worship in the two Churches, which, therefore, under such circumstances, cannot be in perfect union." The memorial was signed by GEORGE ALMOND, Incumbent of St Mary's. ISAAC HITCHIN, M.A., Assistant Minister of St Mary's. L. P. MERCIER, B.A., Officiating Minister of St Andrew's. ROBERT MONTGOMERY, M.A., Minister of St Jude's. It is unnecessary to remind the reader, that the mere absence of uniformity in the Scottish Communion Office, constitutes the least part of the difference between it and the English Office.] Farther, let me ask the question, How can a Presbyter of the Scottish Episcopal Church gain admission to [14/15] a living in England? Only by re-ordination! This also clearly demonstrates how untenable is the position, that English Presbyters, officiating in Scotland, necessarily owe to Scottish Bishops canonical obedience.
But Bishop Terrot says that St Thomas' is only a "so-called Episcopal Chapel;" that it is "really and substantially independent," because I have no license from a Bishop for that particular place. Now, I hold that my having my letters of orders, in other words, my Episcopal license to preach, constitutes the Chapel in which I officiate an Episcopal one; and I point in proof of this to the fact, which is well-known, in connection with missions, that missionaries of the Church of England officiate often in what are properly called Episcopal Chapels, though they are not in the Diocese or immediate jurisdiction of any of the Bishops of their own Church; and I also illustrate it by reference to what is well-known in England, as a ease of very ordinary occurrence. For example, it was but the other day that the Rev. Robert Montgomery, lately of St Jude's, Glasgow, was appointed to the charge of Percy Chapel, London. And whence came his license? Not from the Bishop of London; but from the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's! Yet who will say that Percy Chapel is not an English Episcopal one, though it has no direct Bishop's license? And I likewise, therefore, affirm, that St Thomas' is an English Episcopal Chapel, though it also has no direct Bishop's license. [As to Consecration, it surely is not necessary for me to repeat what I have formerly stated--that many churches in England are not consecrated. The canons of the Church of England do not imperatively enjoin it. The Canons of the Scottish Episcopal Church say nothing about it. More than one of the Episcopal Chapels in Edinburgh are without it.]
Bishop Terrot, in noticing the formularies of the English and Scottish Episcopal Churches, says, they "are human compositions, as I think, composed and compiled by holy and judicious men, but still merely human compositions; and, therefore, I do not wonder that malevolent criticism can produce apparent discrepancies between one part and another," &c. Now, I must presume that my published Objections to the Scottish Communion Office are glanced at in this paragraph, as that Office is mentioned by Bishop Terrot both [15/16] before and after the above remark. I ask, then, how can Bishop Terrot justify himself in passing such censure upon me? He may condemn my criticism as being unsound, or he may condemn me for criticising the Office at what he deems an inopportune period. But to stigmatise my criticism as "malevolent," and thus impute I motives to me which I abhor, is as unworthy on his part as it is wholly unmerited on mine. It surely argues very little confidence in a cause, when its supporters shun arguments, and impugn motives.
Malevolent criticism! Is it not a fact, that, in a deeply interesting controversy in England, an able and devoted divine of that Church "fully established the Popish tendency of Archbishop Laud's service?"--That divine was Dean Milner! Must his criticism be condemned as malevolent? Is it not true, that the Rev. Edward Bickersteth (not to mention a numerous band of English ministers who wholly agree with him) has openly and unequivocally condemned the Scottish Office as containing Popish principles? Is his criticism malevolent? Yes, if the Reformation itself was (as some delight now to call it) a "grand schism,"--if the Reformers themselves were merely indulging malevolent feelings, instead of believing and suffering for the truth,--then I will admit, but not till then, the justice of Bishop Terrot's remark.
But he adds, "Will you give implicit credit to criticisms which attach as Popish a sense as possible to expressions, which, being borrowed from Scripture, must have a true sense when rightly understood?" To this I simply reply, the expressions here spoken of are the saying in reference to the consecrated bread and wine in the Lord's Supper, "which we now offer unto thee;" and "that they may become the body and blood of thy most dearly beloved Son." When Bishop Terrot shall prove to me that these expressions are "borrowed from Scripture," then I shall be the first to apologize for my pamphlet against the Scottish Office. But this cannot be. These expressions are not "borrowed from Scripture;" and they introduce into the Scottish Office that which is Popish in principle, and most pernicious in practice.
Before concluding my remarks on the Letter, to which I have so often referred, I have only to express my surprise that this [16/17] "Dissuasive from Schism" has not appeared long ago. Surely Bishop Terrot is not ignorant of the fact, that although we have not yet occupied a new Chapel, the Congregation has, nevertheless, been formed for more than a year. Advertisements to the same purport as those which have been the cause of his writing at the close of the year, were in many newspapers at the beginning of the year, intimating that sittings might be secured in our temporary place of worship. It could not have escaped Bishop Terrot's notice, that for the last few months the new Chapel was rapidly approaching its completion. Why, then, select the present moment for publication, when the cause alleged by Bishop Terrot himself existed twelve months ago, and with equal force as it does now? I beg likewise to correct a mistake into which Bishop Terrot must have inadvertently fallen. He addresses "Scottish Episcopalians," as the persons who have been invited to take sittings in the new Chapel. This, however, is not the case. The advertisements were altogether general, and did not mention any class of the community as specially invited.
And now, my dear friends, having disposed of these matters, which I should not have thought it necessary to touch upon at all, had not Bishop Terrot's Letter appeared,--I gladly turn to express to you the firm conviction I feel of the justice of the cause with which we are identified, and the propriety of the step we have taken. Every incident of the past twelve months,--every notice that has been taken of the matter, and this Letter among the rest, convinces me more than ever of the strength of our position; which, be it remembered, we did not voluntarily assume, but which we are, in self-defence, compelled to occupy. The sacred duties of the year, just closing, have left the deepest impression upon my mind. I can with truth affirm, that I have never felt before so sensible of ministerial responsibility, as well as ministerial privilege. I have never felt so much the need of my Divine Master's support,--I have never experienced such a gracious measure of that support. The light of His countenance has truly shone upon us, whether in the regular services of the sanctuary, or in the other duties of the week. In the calm and peaceful survey of these within my own breast, I have found a ready reply to every charge which has been brought [17/18] against us. This has made up to me a thousandfold for all the bitter and the harsh things which have been uttered against us, and has brought unspeakable joy to my heart. During the whole of the last twelve months I have never felt a misgiving, as regards the scriptural ground on which we have taken our stand; and every month has brought some new proof to light, that, besides this, we are legally and ecclesiastically what we profess to be,--a Congregation really in connection with the Church of England.
In reference to our meetings every week, for reading the Word of God and prayer, which I have never ceased to use as a most important branch of ministerial duty, and of the value of which I now feel more satisfied than ever, I think I cannot do better than transcribe an extract from the good Bishop Hall, which I found in an admirable "Pastoral Address," lately sent to me by my revered friend the Bishop of Virginia. The sentiments of Bishop Hall are the very ground-work upon which I have deliberately, but firmly, taken my stand. I shall ever adhere strictly to the Liturgy of the Church of England in the public services of the sanctuary; but, by the help of God, I shall never suffer (as far as my ministry is concerned) the privilege of prayer without the Liturgy, on other occasions, to be interfered with. If I did, I should feel that I were making the Liturgy a chain, instead of a help to your devotions,--aiding to impose a burden which God has not imposed,--and incurring the just displeasure of my Heavenly Father, who will not allow remissness to his commands to be covered by a professed submission to mere human authority.
"Far be it from me," says Bishop Hall, 'to dishearten any good Christian from the use of conceived (extempore) prayer in his private devotions, and upon occasions also in public. I would hate to be guilty of pouring so much water upon the Spirit, to which I would gladly add oil rather. No, let the full soul pour itself forth in gracious expressions of its holy thoughts unto the bosom of the Almighty; let both the sudden flashes of our quick ejaculations, and the constant flames of our more fixed conceptions, mount up from the altar of a zealous heart unto the Throne of Grace. What I have professed concerning conceived (extempore) prayers is that which I have ever allowed, ever practised, both in private and [18/19] public. God is a free Spirit, and so should ours be in pouring out our voluntary devotions on all occasions. Nothing hinders but that this liberty and a public Liturgy should go hand in hand together; and whoever would forcibly separate them, let them bear their own blame. The over-vigorous pressing of the Liturgy, to the justling out of preaching, or of conceived (extempore) prayers, was never intended by the law-makers or moderate governors of the Church."
I cannot refrain from adding here the testimony of my esteemed friend, Mr Bickersteth, which is valuable for two reasons. 1. It proves that the conclusion to which I have come, in this matter, is sanctioned by one, whose Christian experience, judgment, and spirituality, are so generally admitted. 2. It adds a powerful testimony to my former statement, that I have only been contending in Scotland for what my brother Presbyters enjoy in England. "The line which Mr Drummond has marked out is clear and distinct, and, in our view, unexceptionable; in the public services in the Church, to adhere to the established formularies; in private rooms, entirely under his own control, to be at liberty to use, or not to use forms, just as he found most profitable to the people of his charge. On this principle we know that many of the most excellent ministers in our Church, and that, we apprehend, in every diocese in England, are continually acting. The blessings of such a course have been very great. The poor have been brought to love and value more, both the Church and the Church services. We can hardly conceive a more destructive blow that the enemy of souls could give to vital piety, than to succeed in measures which would make this course impracticable to ministers of the Church of England."
With such testimony as this in our favour, I "rejoice, yea, and will rejoice:' With this, and "the answer of a good conscience towards God," we can afford to wait in quietness and confidence the issue of the present struggle. God who has watched over us, and fought for us hitherto, will continue to sustain us even to the end. The cause is his, and not ours, and he will never leave us nor forsake us in it. We have, I trust, endeavoured to proceed faithfully in the way which in our conscience we believe to be according to his will,--and that without giving unnecessary offence to others. [19/20] And how often have we found that he has himself been "a very present help" at the moment of greatest need! And though now, compelled to speak again plainly in this matter, lest our silence should be misconstrued, and the cause of truth suffer, yet, by his blessing, and in his strength, we shall continue to pursue our course henceforth, in the same peaceful and happy manner as heretofore, content to bear whatever reproach may be cast upon us by the world, so that we have the presence and the countenance of our beloved Master.
And let me add the expression of my earnest, anxious desire, that in this, and in all similar matters, we may, by the help of God's Spirit, be constrained by, and follow the meekness and gentleness of Christ. "When he was reviled, he reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not, but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously." Our judgment is in God's hands. Patiently let us wait on him, and if, as we may expect, many harsh thoughts and harsher words be passed against us, let them humble us at the foot of the cross, and not excite us to retaliate. This is a hard lesson to learn, and none of us are very apt scholars; but it is a blessed lesson while it is being learned, and heaven's happiness will be its close. Let prayer be our answer to the assaults or the injurious treatment of others; and thus "overcoming evil with good," we shall take the best means of convincing others that we are right, or, if this cannot be, at least of securing our own peace.
One word, my beloved friends, and I have done. "I thank my God on every remembrance of you." The heart will retain the record of that which the tongue cannot express; and when this world and all that is therein shall have passed away for ever, and Time be lost in Eternity, the thoughts of our communion and fellowship in the one faith of our Divine Master shall be renewed in eternal freshness, vigour, and sweetness, in the "new heaven and the new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness."
Ever believe me to be,
Your Faithful Friend,
and Affectionate Pastor,
D. T. K. DRUMMOND.
Montpelier, December 6, 1843.