The Catholic Movement and the Society of the Holy Cross.
By J. Embry, M.A.,
Vicar of St. Bartholomews, Dover.
London: The Faith Press, 1931.
THE CATHOLIC MOVEMENT IN THE EARLY FIFTIES.
THE early fifties of the nineteenth century were gloomy years for the Catholic Movement. Many were growing faint at heart by the apparent course of events. Secular Courts were trifling with the Church's doctrine and gave pronouncements based on false assumptions, while a fanatical dread of Rome obsessed nearly all who did not belong to that Communion, from the ignorant mob that made it a vulgar cry to the varied classes and creeds that made up England, including the entire episcopal bench and the ministers of state. It was only the calm wisdom of Dr. Pusey that checked even catholic churchmen from the imprudence of making antagonism to the Roman Church the proof of their faithfulness to the Church in England. Such an atmosphere created an almost intolerable position for those who believed in the reality of the Church as a Divine Institution and who taught and submitted to her claims. An exaggerated importance given to the Gorham Judgment, with lack of patience and discernment, had produced an. aftermath of secessions to Rome, which emphasised those of a few years previous, while other clouds no less dark were fast approaching. They were days of unusual clamour, suspicion, prejudice and misunderstanding, in which the rarest wisdom and foresight no less than the steadiest patience and courage, were needed to weather the storm.
But it was also true that the seeming collapse of the Oxford Movement, by the catastrophe of 1845, when Newman and others seceded, had not been as disastrous as the Movement's enemies had hoped. It still went on and, what was more to the purpose, in a practical rather than an academic way. It moved from the University of Oxford, where it had been a theory and impulse of history and theology, to towns and cities to become a real energy applied to the dull and toilsome lives of ordinary men and women. The "Tracts" were converted into acts. Tractarian teaching had convinced many of the truth of Maskell's remark that "her liturgy was a sure test of the catholicity of any church," and that it was the sum and substance of the Church's system. They realised that as the spirit of the liturgy was grasped, so there came with it the pronouncement and acceptance of solemn dogmatic truths, while ritual acquired a new importance and care, as the outward expression of it. In degree as these principles were acted upon or otherwise, so was marked the life or lethargy of the Church. They recognised moreover that from the nature of the case, the present offices presupposed a certain acquaintance with the old ones and that there remained therefore a tradition and practice, never intended to be tampered with or abrogated. It was admitted by the striking direction that the chancels should remain as they had done in times past, as also that the retention and use of the ornaments of the church and ministers should be maintained. It became clear also that what was not forbidden or denied was in consistency permitted, or at least recognised as not being literally forbidden. This was but natural, as when a man contradicted o protested against one assertion only, he was supposed to admit all the rest. The Oxford Movement had revealed that the Prayer Book had never had a fair chance. It had shown that the Elizabethan Settlement, as far as the Book of Common Prayer was concerned, had never been adhered to. And so there began another movement, carried out not so much by scholars and writers as by workers. The catholicity of the English Church should be proved, not by literature and logic but by carrying out in strict teaching and practice the Church's system, as indicated by the Prayer Book. These workers went to the towns to convert the Oxford interpretations into facts.
In a few churches in London and other centres, truths that, according to the theological fashion of the day, had been forgotten or deemed of secondary importance, were clearly taught, and the faith was presented in its balanced proportion. The importance of the Sacraments was rightly insisted upon and so they were duly administered. A Guide to Daily Services in England and Wales (the first of its kind) issued by Masters in 1849 was hailed with the greatest joy because it showed that there were (excluding cathedrals) three hundred churches which had "cast off the yoke of a mere Sunday religion," while in London, comparing it with the Pietas Londinensis which had appeared in 1714, ground was found for encouragement through the discovery that the weekday services were about equal in number to those of the early eighteenth century, yet those rejoicing did not forget that it had twice the number of churches as in 1714, with seven times as many inhabitants. The outbreak of cholera, which at this time spread across England, furnished an occasion which put to the test the devotion zeal and temerity of the subtractarian clergy and those who were associated with them. In congested areas the clergy were not infrequently, quite apart from their spiritual ministrations, which they carried out assiduously, the only physicians that could be got; the doctors were too few to do the work. "They jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field." The strain of the work, the rapidity of the fell visitation and the quick stroke of death itself did not allow sufficient time, in numerous instances, for both bringing a soul to penitence and celebrating the Holy Communion for the purpose of viaticum. Half an hour or three quarters was all the time the priest had; sometimes he had but fifteen minutes. Experience and necessity brought to devout minds the need of the practice of antiquity and of every other part of the Catholic Church in reserving the Sacrament for the dying and the sick. In London, consequently, at this time of special urgency, the practice was resorted to, with Bishop Blomfield's sanction.
The consecration of St. Barnabas', Pimlico, on June 11th, 1850, marked "the time of the first-ripe grapes." It was noted with joy "that the Holy Communion was administered at this Consecration!" In spite, however, of this, and other living signs of progress, many difficulties came to birth. That an amiable, zealous and scholarly man like Bishop Blomfield should have scented "popery in roses" and "papal aggression" in a movable altar cross, especially as, in a general way, Roman Catholic altars had neither, sounds foolish to-day, but it was such objections exaggerated into a war-cry which made the work of the pioneers both suspected and needlessly difficult. The "Ritual Reason Why" of protestantism, from the beginning, was inane, unworthy and childish, even had it kept free from the malignity which made it blind to the real evangelical work of the Movement. The Rev. W. J. E. Bennett and those who worked with him at St. Barnabas were animated with a love of souls so deep sand ardent that it soon resulted in an abundant harvest of revived church life and conversion. It sounds to-day, therefore, still more strange that a prelate like Bishop Blomfield should have sacrificed Mr. Bennett to protestant clamour and church rioters, and that in a way which did not add lustre to the episcopal credit.
The departure of Mr. Bennett at the Bishop's insistence did not bring peace. For the next five years, under his successor,the Rev. R. Liddell, assisted by the Rev. James Skinner and the Rev. C. F. Lowder,storms raged around St. Barnabas' which readied their outcome in what became known as the "Judgment of Westerton versus Liddell," in 1855.
When St. Barnabas' was consecrated the air was charged with controversy. It penetrated into the sermons of the "Octave," and many were the references made to the danger and scandal of the "Gorham case." Of little importance now and almost forgotten, nevertheless to the men of that day it seemed, in the words of Dr. Neale, that they were "falling into a place where two seas metthe sea of heresy and the sea of tyrannical power."
George Cornelius Gorham had been refused institution to the benefice of Brampford Speke by Bishop Phillpotts of Exeter in 1847 for holding unsound opinions on the doctrine of baptismal regeneration. The Court of Arches condemned Gorham and upheld the action of the bishop. On appeal, the Privy Council reversed this decision. The Bishop of Exeter still refused to institute and the Archbishop of Canterbury (Dr. Sumner) was called upon to do so. During the meantime the Archbishop had entered into the controversy by the republication of a book the new preface of which showed that his own opinions on baptism had undergone a change. This drew from the Bishop of Exeter in the early months of 1850 a historic letter of protest, in which he vindicated the Church's teaching on baptism, and declared that should the Archbishop proceed to institute Mr. Gorham to a cure of souls in the Exeter Diocese, he for his part could not without sin, and by God's grace would not, hold communion with him. For he would be abusing the high commission which he bore.
The litigation which resulted in the admission of Mr. Gorham to his benefice caused a dissatisfaction and heart-searching which extended far beyond the radius of Brampford Speke. It has been stated that no fewer than sixty publications appeared dealing with different aspects of the controversy, while a distinguished French visitor, mindful of the tumults and disorders of 1848 in his own country, was reported to have marvelled at a land whose only experience of a revolution was"le pere Gorham." As the controversy raged, it brought men face to face with the greater question of the authority of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as a Court of Final Appeal to decide on matters relating to the doctrine and discipline of the Church. It was clearly seen upon investigation that, being neither spiritual nor churchly, it was in actuality nothing more than a civil court. Its origin was not illustrious. It had been created by an Act of William IV. in 1833 to hear appeals to the King in Council from the Admiralty, Vice-Admiralty and certain Colonial Courts. It was only by an accident that the jurisdiction over the Ecclesiastical Courts, without either mention or intention, passed to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. When the "Gorham case" came before it, the first of note to do so, Lord Brougham, the author of the Act, admitted that when the Privy Council had been framed there was no expectation of such cases coming before it; had it been so, some other arrangement would have been made. No arrangement however could have made it other than a secular court. It derived its authority from the Crown alone and, as a consequence, even had it been composed of bishops (which it was not) it would still have remained a civil tribunal, possessed of no spiritual powers whatsoever. Its judgments, quite apart from their merits or demerits, were vested in lay authority only and pertained not to the Church but to the State. If the Gorham Judgment had been the exact opposite of what it was, it would still have made no difference to the real question at issue, as the catholic-minded were beginning to grasp it. The interference of the State in spiritual causes remained contrary to the law of Christ.
In more ways than one, however, the Gorham Judgment became a pivot that changed the outlook within the Church. It had always been accepted that the English Church had allowed a certain amount of latitude on questions controversial; but it was allowed in one sense only. The latitude was not applied to objective truths themselves, but to the mode in which subjectively they were expressed. The Prayer Book stated objective truths in a way that deified mistake, but avoided a rigorous definition of them. Churchmen of evangelical or latitudinarian views had become accustomed either to ignore the Prayer Book's plain statements with which they did not agree, in rubrics, or forms, or practices, or to agitate for their alteration. They regarded these, not infrequently, as relics of popery.' The high church enunciation, when appealed to, held the field. This had been clearly demonstrated in 1846 on s the occasion of Dr. Pusey's notable sermon on "Absolution." In it he avoided the tactical mistake he had made in the "condemned sermon" on the Eucharist. He did not base his argument upon the Fathers, but upon the Prayer Book and the traditional teaching of Anglican Divines. As a consequence, the efforts of the busybodies who whispered for another and lasting suppression were strangled at the birth. The custom of explaining away catholic phraseology, or claiming the Prayer Book as a "protestant" manual, had not yet come into being. Low churchmen were content with using the "Articles of Religion" as though they were Articles of Faith and resting on them, not always "in the literal and grammatical sense." The clamorous devotion of low churchmen to the Book of Common Prayer is a modern cultus. Liturgical knowledge and appreciation had never been the outstanding features of that school of thought. The Privy Council Judgment in the Gorham case opened up the way for the use of non-natural interpretation and for conformist language to hide non-conformist opinion. In the case which had arisen, there was a clear statement, the force of which could not be evaded, even by those who wished to do so, that in the Sacrament of Baptism the child was "regenerate," but the mode and degree in which the sinful nature became changed received no definition. The fact was affirmed, as in Holy Scripture, but no assent was required to any particular dogmatic or scholastic phraseology. The Privy Council, on the other hand, in deciding in favour of Mr. Gorham, had denied the fact of regeneration in Holy Baptism, as the teaching of the Church.
The judgment was received with astonishment and indignation in churchly quarters. It was a modern imitation of Uzziah forcing his way into the sanctuary, while at the same time there was the danger that it might be mistaken for the Church's voice by those who did not understand. It raised the question of the Royal Supremacy, which it had exceeded and misapplied in a way never dreamed of by the Reformation Settlement. Bishop Phillpotts of Exeter lost no time, but worked, wrote and charged with the greatest energy and courage against the judgment. Bishop Blomfield of London also came forward in defence of the orthodox teaching and, but for the unfortunate coincidence of the "Papal Aggression," which introduced a titular and organised Roman Catholic Hierarchy into England, would doubtless have become the leader of those who were prepared to battle for what the Church taught. Scared, however, by the "no popery" cry, which "the Durham Letter" of Lord John Russell had aroused, and suspicious of ceremonial, he used his declining energy against many of the men who were foremost in upholding the baptismal truth. In charging against the lesser, much of the moral force of the greater was neutralised.
It was no less true that, to many, the action of the Privy Council seemed to leave behind it nothing but chaos, perplexity and embarrassment. It seemed to some that the English Church was hopelessly compromised. The bishops (with the exceptions mentioned above) took no steps to reassure men's minds as to the Church's teaching, while Cardinal Wiseman, undeterred by the popular outcry against "Papal Aggression," pressed the Roman Church as "the resource for the Church of England in her time of need," and so it happened that many, the most famous of whom was Manning, submitted eventually to that Communion. It was a trying time for those who, unlike Keble and Pusey, had not yet learned to lean on "the whole Church." The problem that presented itself to the average church mind was mot alone the claim of the "Crown" to decide doctrine, but where was an authority to be found that could affirm the true faith in baptism and counteract the degradation of it to an empty formality? The bishops as a body made no move, while there was a feeling in the air that they were not equal to the task. From varying causes, personal and official, they lacked the equal justice and quiet strength necessary to inspire confidence. The opinion held generally concerning? the episcopal power? was that it was "alternately feared for; its arbitrary nature and ridiculed for its incapacity." Many sees had fallen vacant,including those of Canterbury and York,and Lord John Russell had filled them with men who were known to be antagonistic to the churchly movement.
All churchmen felt that something ought to be done, but there was no definite idea of what it ought to be, or how to do it. Meetings of churchmen were held, notably in London, under the auspices of the London Church Union, and resolutions were passed and protests signed, but these carried no authority with them. Legitimate agitation is one thing and recognised authoritative declaration another. It is, moreover, no new experience that meetings are oftentimes little more than safety-valves, which afford an opportunity for the discharge of conscience to the rank and file who are not prepared to take the risk of definite action. Feeling however was touched and petitions flowed in to the Crown and the Archbishops. One of the most important of these bore the greatest names in Oxford, the Crown being prayed to grant the Royal Assent that doctrinal questions should be referred to a Synod and that the latter's decisions should be made binding upon the civil courts. The Archbishop was asked to use his influence to procure a reaffirmation of the true doctrine of Baptism which the Gorham Judgment had challenged. Mr. Gladstone in an open letter to the Bishop of London pointed out that the setting up of the Privy Council as the final court of appeal in matters spiritual was "an injurious and even dangerous departure from the Reformation Settlement."
Keble, with his alert comprehension, his deep grasp of principles and his acute appreciation of the need of the Church's freedom, wrote at this time (April 26th, 1850) to Dr. Pusey and suggested that the right course would be to petition for a Session of Convocation "to reaffirm or settle this doctrine," and added at the end,"People are feeling more and more that we must come to agitate for 'no Establishment.'" It must be remembered that Convocation had been silenced, by an act of the Royal Supremacy, for more than a century and a quarter, and that the silence was responsible for much of the stagnation, Erastianism and ecclesiastical blunders of the eighteenth century. With the Oxford Movement the conviction came to many minds that the revival of synodical action through Convocation was a necessity. Thomas Mozley has told us that it was much talked of "in the early days at Oriel." We find that in due course a Society was formed for the Revival of Convocation, of which the Bishop of Oxford (S. Wilberforce) and Mr. Henry Hoare, the banker, were the most active members.
"The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." The Bishop of Exeter (H. Phillpotts), although in his seventy-third year yet standing as a giant above his brother prelates, took decisive action. To him the rights and privileges of the Church had always been a matter of life or death. His wide and accurate knowledge, both of ecclesiastical law and theology, combined with a sharp skill in controversy, an undaunted combative courage and a strong personality, rendered him a redoubtable champion of causes true and righteous. His activities during the Gorham crisis were not confined to charges, letters and pamphlets, or personal resistance. He resolved to convene a Synod of his diocese. From the opposition the proposal aroused and the inflammatory language used, the bishop might have been an anarchist plotting the overthrow both of Church and State, rather than a prelate determined to proceed in the Church's canonical way. He was not the man to be swayed from his purpose by the threats of either press or mobs. The Synod was not only held, but carried through with such dignified success that even the Times newspaper, which had been loudest in decrying the synod as a proposal and uttering many unfulfilled prophecies concerning it, changed its tone and had nothing but praise for "the improved form of the Diocesan visitations now in common use," and for Bishop Phillpotts, who by inaugurating a change and reverting to ancient procedure, "had rendered a practical service to the Church of England," and proclaimed that the synod itself "was of indisputable advantage to the spiritual union and the public duties of the Church." (Times, Tuesday, August 12th, 1851.)
The Exeter Synod, however, did much more than gain the approbation of the Times. By the coming forward solemnly of a large diocese to assert the necessity of sacramental truth and the faith of the Church in Holy Baptism, it was felt that the erroneous doctrine sanctioned in the Gorham Judgment had been repudiated in an authoritative way. It had also made two declarations on matters which were exercising men's minds in connection with the Roman question, and had done so in a historical and canonical way, at once solid and convincing, and possessing a quiet security for those who were tempted to secede, as also for those whose nerves were distracted by the brainless and vapid slogan,"no popery." The Bishop of Exeter's action closed down both the Gorham case and the hysteria caused by the Papal Aggression.
Churchmen were now convinced of the need of immediate synodical action in the Church, and united in promoting it. The Gorham case had given an impetus to the movement for the unmuzzling of Convocation as a less serious matter would never have done. The matter was brought up in Parliament by Lord Redesdale and Mr. Gladstone, while petitions flowed in from nearly every diocese in the Province of Canterbury (nineteen out of twenty-one) praying the Upper House to petition her Majesty to sanction the meeting of Convocation for real synodical action.
There were still many obstacles to overcome. The Archbishop of Canterbury, if not in such active opposition as his primatial brother of York, was known to be out of sympathy with the movement. In 1852 the Parliament was drawing to a close. The Queen's Advocate, as legal adviser to the Archbishop, declared that the proposed proceeding was without precedent, that for a hundred and thirty-five years the Crown had called Convocation to meet merely as a form and had not permitted it to perform any business, and quoted as his authority a statute of 25 Henry VIII. The Bishop of Exeter successfully questioned this. At the same time the Bishop of Oxford pointed out the dissatisfaction expressed by the clergy at the unfairness of a proposal to bring in a new "Clergy Discipline Act," of which notice had been given, while they were not consulted. The Archbishop immediately guillotined the business, by ordering the prorogation of Convocation to be read. But before this was done, and after much pressure, he rescinded his refusal to hear the petition for the revival of synodical action from the Lower House. In presenting their petition, the members of the Lower House rightly and duly laid stress upon the inconsistency of the system, which offered solemn prayers at the commencement of the sessions of Convocation and proceeded at once to its continual prorogation. The use of the Latin tongue should, for scholarly ecclesiastics at least, have emphasised the mockery and unreality of their proceedings in invoking the Holy Spirit's guidance to Convocation and addressing to God the words,"Domine Deus Pater Luminum et Fons omnis Sapientiae; Nos ad scabellum pedum Tuorum provoluti, humiles tui et indigni famuli, Te rogamus, ut qui in nomine Tuo . ... . hic convenimus, Gratia Tua coelitus adjuti, ea omnia investigare, meditari, tractare, et discernere valeamus, quae honorem Tuum et gloriam promoveant et in Ecclesiae cedant profectum. Concede igitur ut Spiritus Tuus, qui Concilio olim Apostolico, huic nostro etiam nunc insideat, ducatque nos in omnem veritatem, quae est secundum pietatem . . . ." What Cranmer wrote "Concerning the Service of the Church" in Latin, applied to the mummery of Convocation, but without the excuse of understanding not,"they have heard with their ears only, and their heart, spirit and mind have not been edified thereby."
But better days were dawning. Just as the seven sleepers, who according to the legend had slumbered three times as long as Convocation, were aroused into life, so the long obscurity and sleep into which the Church's assemblies had fallen were to be dispelled. The first Erastian fence had been penetrated. For the first time for a hundred and thirty years, Convocation had received petitions and debated, the two Houses had met in conference, and the Bishop of London had signified his intention to abandon his "Clergy Discipline Act" until the opinion of the Church could be duly taken upon it. Thus the principle was established that no measure deeply affecting the Church should be submitted to Parliament, without at least some formal consultation of an ecclesiastical body. It was the first success of the attempt to revive Convocation.
A new interest was now imported into the General Election of 1852. Apart from the ordinary political contests, there was a touch of importance in the selection of candidates for the Lower House of Convocation, such as had never arisen before in living memory. The majority of the parochial clergy bestirred themselves, especially those of the churchly party, to return proctors pledged to the revival of an active Convocation. Some of the bishops and a large proportion of the dignitaries of the Lower House endeavoured to neutralise their efforts. In the diocese of St. David's no citations were issued, and nothing but an advertisement in the paper stated when the election was to take place. The consequence of this was that only seven clerics appeared to record their votesan ecclesiastical reminder of "the old rotten borough election." In this striking contest, the "non-revivalist" candidates obtained four votes and the "revivalists" three. Of the four voters on the successful side one was the Archdeacon and another the Principal of a training college, neither of whom was a qualified elector. Complaints of similar anomalies respecting citations came from Wells, the Archdeaconry of Stafford and other places. In the diocese of Rochester, out of eight proctors to represent the clergy, two were elected by the bishop. The Election generally drew attention to several irregularities which had arisen from bad custom and long neglect and which were allowed to continue. Among such were the under-representation of the parochial clergy in the Lower House of Convocation and the disfranchisement of licensed curates, although the latter were allowed the vote in the diocese of Hereford. The manner in which the elections themselves were conducted followed no uniform law. Different rules prevailed in different archdeaconries. There was much disagreement respecting the oral expression of opinions. In some places the electors were allowed to heckle the candidates and sanction was given to both to address the meetings. In other archdeaconries, both speeches and questions were equally vetoed. The Bishop of Oxford, while claiming his meeting to be a synod, constituted himself the only speaker and silenced his priests.
In spite, however, of many abnormal and eccentric proceedings, scarcely to be wondered at under the circumstances, the dioceses as a whole were equal to the occasion. They were called upon to give some answer to the burning question of Convocation. Was it to be electrified into life, or was it to be content to slumber on, like the Sleepers of Ephesus? Whatever the result of the Election should prove to be, it was felt by the churchly party that at the very least, as in the legend, the sleepers would be found to have turned over on their sides and proved that life was not extinct. Those opposed to revival threw cold water on the contests, while in many dioceses there were attempts at opposition which never matured. When the elections were over, it was found that the dismal forebodings of the secular press and the protestant lay dread of being "priest-ridden," had neither muffled nor shaken the parochial clergy's note. Their trumpet had uttered no uncertain sound, to awaken those that slept, for the battle. The election had completely changed the representation of the clergy in the Lower House. In the Province of Canterbury, of the former proctors, only sixteen had been returned. There was a majority of seven to one in favour of the revival of Convocation. In the Province of York, all the proctors, with the exception of one against and one neutral, were favourable to the revival.
This great unanimity in favour of Convocation which the parochial clergy had shown was in truth a famous victory. 'Even if they had been defeated, the cause would have made an advance, for it would have proved the reality of the movement by bringing it before the public mind. As it was, there had now arisen a definite demand for free action on the part of the Church. Up to this time Convocation elections had awakened but little interest. An office that meant so little had been little thought of. The parochial clergy in England, as a class, had always been the salt of the earth and the hidden life-preservers of the Church. While much cheap advertisement, with a modicum of truth, was given to the sporting and neglectful parson, little note was taken of those who discharged their duties according to their lights. They had been wont, moreover, to yield a quiet acquiescence to suffering wrongfully. They had been subjected to many acts of petty tyranny during the twenty previous years of the Church's history. There now came to them the prospect of creating, not a new assembly on democratic lines, but a revived representative system on old and churchly ones. As this was calculated to work for the common good of the Church, it satisfied a long pent-up craving and presented a living interest. Elections to Convocation would no longer be merely formal and twilight jobs. The procedure of summoning Convocation, viewed in a new light, stirred up an appreciation for the constitutional character of the Church. What before had been ignored, except by a small circle of officials, was now followed with attention. The summons itself, emanating from the Sovereign, exercising the Supremacy, and passing on through the different ecclesiastical ranks until it reached "the whole clergy," suggested a history and a significance which commanded regard. When the humorous side is present it is a safe sign that the serious one has not suffered from obscurity. One facetious person, who had conned the mandates and found that each stage of the proceedings contained a cumulative process of those before it, compared them to the "History of the House that Jack built."
During the autumn of 1852, the secular press reopened its attacks on the Convocation question. It flew into a storm of passion and invective, the violence of which was proportionate with the strength and progress of the movement it opposed. Rumours of the wildest kind were published as facts. One newspaper of standing had described Convocation as "the joint offspring of the Tractarians and the Stock Exchange" while the Times newspaper had referred to its coming revival as "the hiving of a swarm of theological hornets" and had called upon Lord Derby "to scatter a little dust over the angry insects" as became "the duty and the interest of the First Minister of the Crown. The strange attacks were made, however, with such perfect ignorance and biased violence that they entirely missed their mark.
The "little reptile" to borrow the pressman's euphemistic term, was not crushed and Convocation assembled in St. Paul's Cathedral on November 5th, 1852, causing, for the moment, the preparations which were in hand for the public funeral of the Duke of Wellington to be suspended. After service, the legal forms were complied with in the Chapter House and the Lower House were dismissed to choose their Prolocutor, who was to be presented in the Jerusalem Chamber at Westminster on November 12th, the day appointed for the commencement of the proceedings. The Canterbury Convocation had now resumed its active functions and since then has continued to do so. Evidence of the importance attached to the revival, together with the wide sympathy it produced throughout the Anglican Communion, received support from the strange yet pressing request of the Colonial Episcopate of the day to be included in the Province of Canterbury and to be acknowledged as members of the Upper House.
In the Northern Province, owing to the bigoted opposition of Archbishop Musgrave, Convocation did not meet for business until his successor, Archbishop Longley, went to York. This prelate revived it in 1861.
The revival of Convocation was not the only question of a semi-political character which agitated the minds of churchmen during the early fifties. There were other arresting problems and proposed sweeping changes which they were forced to face. These were years of revived energy all round. It was a time not only of action but also of experiment and caprice. The antagonistic principles between Church and State were much in the ascendancy and the Church was afflicted not only from dissensions within, but by attacks from without. Institutions which had been regarded as sacred were being questioned and their present utility made debatable. The period generally had been an era of Royal Commissions of enquiry, from those dealing with such matters as the Corporation of the City of London, or with the Government of India, to those in which the interests and organisations of the Church were concerned. Like some rediscovered art brought into fashionable use, Royal Commissions were modes of procedure, common in the sixteenth century, which had fallen into desuetude, to be revived with novel energy in the nineteenth. Appointed by the Crown, they pertained to the exercise of the Royal Supremacy to enquire into any special matter ecclesiastical or civil and to report thereon. They possessed no authority, but their reports were generally taken as a groundwork for legislation.
Of such Commissions and their subsequent Reports, there were three with which the polity of the Church was imminently concerned, and to one of which she had to present strenuous and uncompromising resistance. They were the Reports of the Royal Commissions on the Law of Marriage, relative to Marriage with a Deceased Wife's Sister; of enquiry into the state, discipline and revenues of the University of Oxford; and the enquiry into the state of the Cathedral and Collegiate Churches.
For several years prior to the appointment of the Commission, the Marriage Laws were a subject of debate. The Registration Act of 1836 had been followed by individual efforts in Parliament to work other changes, and especially to legalise a marriage with a deceased wife's sister. The Commission appointed to enquire into this latter question examined forty-one witnesses, fifteen of whom had violated the law, while ten were paid agents "employed to get evidence." The Blue Book issued by the Commission was described by the Christian Remembrancer (progenitor of The Church Quarterly Review) as, "How to work a Royal Commission without a Cause." (Vol. XVII. 129.)
In January, 1851, the Marriage Law Reform Association was instituted for the exclusive object of legalising these forbidden unions. Attempted legislation followed immediately and met with a resistance in which churchmen of differing shades of theological opinions found a common platform. In moving the rejection of the Bill in Parliament in 1851 the Archbishop of Canterbury (Sumner) opened his speech with the striking sentence, "The argument on which I rely, and on which I ground my opinion, lies in a small compass, in fact I consider that the question at issue has been decided for us, being already settled by the law of God." (Speech in House of Lords, Feb. 25th, 1851.) But although settled in the Archbishop's mind and in the minds of those who succeeded in rejecting it, this was far from being the case with those who were opposed to the Church's Law. The matter became one of the burning questions of the day marking a coming wrangle between Church and Parliament which was destined to be carried on for many years to come. At this particular time the scholarship of Pusey, the influence of Keble, the eloquence of Gladstone and other forceful opponents were arrayed against those who proposed to establish, by mere legal enactments, what the Church had always regarded as sin. The Royal Commission appointed to enquire into the system of the University of Oxford touched the feelings of churchmen in a tender spot. Keble termed it "a many-forked sting." It awakened the minds of churchmen to a new movement, the strength of which they had little calculated. The inequalities of theological temper and the unhappy circumstances these had created with the almost snapping point to which religious tests had been stretched, by an interpretation in one direction only, favoured the growth of a school of thought, anxious to throw over the old arrangements and to watch for new. Liberal and latitudinarian views were developing a power. The University found suddenly its official lifereligious and domesticinterrogated by the State. The Commission, the politics and theological views of those forming it being chiefly liberal and latitudinarian, affected not only the church character of the University but also its constitution and collegiate system. It became, in the words of Lord Morley, "the first step in a long journey towards the nationalisation of the universities, and the disestablishment of the Church of England in what seemed the best fortified of all her strongholds." (Life of Gladstone, Bk. v. Chap, iv.) The question, which figured so prominently in the Church politics of that day, is given in The Life of Dr. Pusey, Vol. III., Chap, xv., and from another point of view, in The Life of Archbishop Tait, Vol. I., Chap. vi.
The Commission on Cathedrals was more to be vindicated. It was justified in its appointment and fair in its findings. Without reserve it pointed out the ways in which the cathedrals could be rendered more efficient as regarded residence, services and extension. Its most pleasing feature, and one which was received with wide approbation, was the proposed founding of a bishopric for Cornwall. The Report was marked by truth, honesty and commonsense and was not only a rallying-point for rendering a better management of the cathedrals possible, but also an exposition, from unexpected quarters, of the new life which the Catholic Movement had inspired.
The Church political questions which arose from the findings of the Commissions and which had excited many minds were for Catholics, in 1855, to be outweighed by happenings of the gravest significance. As a prelude, it is necessary to remember that these were days when pulpit utterances received a fuller attention than is the fashion to-day. Preaching obtained an exclusive prominence, particularly in places where the doctrines of the Church were misrepresented or never heard, and where the auditors, ignorant of the essence of heresy and schism, which they prayed against but held in solution,found no difference between what they heard in church or in the meeting house. In such churches the pulpit was the chief "ornament," although an illegal one in the strict rendering of the "Ornaments Rubric," It not infrequently excluded the sight of the altar. "Where is the pulpit?" was a question! asked in a little catechism intended to instruct children in the details of public worship. The catechumen was instructed to say, "Just before the altar" (The Interpreter's House, 1841.)
The "lowering of the top compartment or giddiest height of the three-decker and the discarding of the black gown for the surplice were regarded, in the protestant mind, as malicious high-church attacks, on the pure preaching of the Gospel, hence oftentimes there arose obstruction of a philistine type to prevent the first, and riot of the bacchanalian kind to stop the second. Pews with their faces to the pulpit and their backs to the altarthe "lidless boxes" of Archdeacon Hare, which reminded him on a weekday of "Smithfield market when empty," made faculties a thorn in the side of those who desired to make a church a house of prayer rather than a house of preaching.
'This digression has been made not to belittle the influence of the pulpit, or to insinuate that preaching was a monopoly of either the low churchman or the dissenter. The Tractarians and their successors in the Catholic Movement were not a whit behind in using the office of preaching to the very uttermost. Their aim was to found their preaching on a definite dogmatic basis and to see that those who sounded the Church's trumpet should possess instruction in the notes they uttered, so that it gave forth no uncertain sound. Sermon literature formed one of the chief means for propagating church principles and catholic instruction. The valuable publications in homiletic form which poured forth from the pens of the theologians and parish priests of the Movement bear witness to this. A custom also arose at this time of lending single sermons of sound theological learning to the less instructed, that both the preachers and their hearers might profit withal.
Individual preachers and their sermons, when treating of unaccustomed subjects, were more than a nine days' wonder, while the memories of the initiated were long. Dr. Pusey's condemned sermon of fifteen years earlier, for example, had created a prejudiced conviction in the public mind that he had preached something very dreadful, although it had but a very imperfect idea of what it was. But the public's evangelical masters knew. They were aware that Dr. Pusey's teaching in his sermon on the Blessed Sacrament and the subsequent teaching of it by those whom the Oxford Heads could not condemn, no less than the unsought leadership which his scholarship and stand for principle gave him, made catholic teachingnicknamed by them "puseyite"a menace to Zwinglian protestantism. Emboldened by the Gorham Judgment and the unfaithfulness of the bishops (with one noble exception) regarding it, the evangelicals imagined that the inclusion in that decision of what the Church knew to be false also meant the exclusion of what the Church declared to be true. They were prepared to go to any length in order to destroy the sacramental Doctrines of the Church. They thought it right, as Dr. Pusey expressed it a few years later, to carry on a "war of extermination" against those who held and taught "the ancient truth." (Real Presence, Pref. xxviii. 1857.)
In the autumn of 1853 and the spring of 1854, Archdeacon Denison had preached three sermons in Wells Cathedral on the Holy Eucharist. It was the origin of the unseemly and protracted case of "Ditcher v. Denison." The Rev. J. Ditcher, evangelical vicar of the parish adjoining the Archdeacon's, accused the latter of preaching in the Wells sermons doctrines which were contrary and repugnant to the Church of England and the Articles of Religion. He laid his complaint before the Archbishop of Canterbury, who referred him to the Diocesan (Bishop Bagot). The Bishop dismissed the charge, but, unfortunately for the peace of the Church, he died a month later.
The determined Ditcher approached the new Bishop (Lord Auckland), who refused to change his predecessor's ruling. Ditcher then discovered that, as patron of the living of East Brent, the Diocesan could not adjudicate. He therefore approached the Archbishop again and was lent a sympathetic ear. The Archbishop appointed a Commission which was to sit at Clevedon January 3rd, 1855. As those composing the Commission were known to be opposed doctrinally to the Archdeacon, it created no surprise when it was reported that there was a prima facie case against him.
There is no need to set forth here the phases of this unhappy case. It dragged on until it was quashed on a point of law quite irrelevant to the original charge. It had to be referred to in order to indicate the grave anxieties and troubles to which Catholics were exposed, not only from the necessity laid on them of preserving and teaching the Church's fundamental truths, but also from the discreditable unfairness of the proceedings used against them. Justice, as meted out to them, accommodated itself to popular prejudice, while the Gorham Judgment, which was an expediency for evangelicals to stay in the Church, was to be used as a lever to turn catholics out. The Denison case was, moreover, the occasion of a double grief. It cast as a subject for heated controversy the "pearl", of the Gospel, and rent with distress the finest feelings of many, devoted and tender souls. It also presented the sad and humiliating fact of an Archbishop of Canterbury publicly and officially condemning as unsound the faith in the "ancient truth" of the Most Holy Sacrament and pronouncing a sentence of deprivation on one who, in his defence of that "ancient truth," had used the identical language of Bishop Andrewes in preference to his own. Except as docketed in legal annals the name of "Ditcher" is forgotten, and the words of Archbishop Sumner and Dr. Lushington have shared an equally deserved oblivion. But Pusey's Real Presence, and Keble's Eucharistical Adoration, which this case evoked, still hold sway, not least in the daily increase of the recognition of the Mass and the onward rushing tide of outward devotional expression, which none can stay.
In this same year another blow came from those opposed to church principles. On December 5th, 1855, Dr. Lushington delivered his judgment in the case of "Westerton v. Liddell." The story of this first ritual case to be tried in the courts, centring around St. Paul's, Knightsbridge, and St. Barnabas', Pimlico, has been so often told that there is no need for its repetition. Notorious for its many inaccuracies, both historical and ecclesiastical, and its vulgar denunciation of the symbol of salvation, it was resisted, at first unsuccessfully, in the Court of Arches (1856), but reversed by an Appeal to the Privy Council (1857).
The judgment, three weeks after its delivery (December 28th, 1855), drew forth a pungent letter from Bishop Phillpotts of Exeter, in which he exposed the hollowness of Dr. Lushington's statements. He also made his letter an occasion for declaring the true interpretation of the "Ornaments' Rubric" with its retention of the Eucharistic Vestments, and pointed out the emphatic force of the term "holy table" as implying "a far more solemn" doctrine of the Sacrifice even than "altar." The latter term referred to the "sacrifice," the former to the "blessed consequences of the sacrifice." The letter ended with a repudiation of the charge of writing merely of crosses, altar cloths, or ornaments, and a claim of doing so to defend the great Catholic Doctrine which lay behind them.
If, after nearly seventy-five years, the letter still reads refreshingly, we can well imagine that at the time it must have been like a breeze from Exmoor blowing off the stuffiness of the Consistory Court. It came as an answer of help to what James Skinner had written to the Times a little while earlier, when the case against St. Barnabas' was being pushed:"We cannot build up poor men's souls and fight against such foes as these at the same time." It did not, however, stop the fussiness of Bishop Blomfield, who always quailed before mobs, nor keep sandwich men from parading near the church with the inviting message "Vote for Westerton" at the time of the Easter Vestry. Nor had the time yet arrived when the ardent desire of Exeter Hall to "worship with Lydia beside the river," rather than in a church, which ought to have been called St. Barabbas," would die down. But it did cheer Robert Liddell to persevere courageously in what the Times had cynically termed "the Holy War of Belgravia," until in 1857 he won, by much litigation and at great cost, the battle of the " Ornaments," and thereby secured the principles for which they stood.
The year 1855 marked the advance of a School of thought within the Church of a totally different character from those alluded to in the previous paragraphs. If vulgar protestantism stirred up the baser passions of the mob to hinder the practice of the Faith, there was the antithesis of the latitudinarian appeal to the intellect, grave, philosophical and thoughtful, for the dissolving of Creeds and the setting aside of the authority and ministerial powers of the Church. It was of foreign origin, its germ being the revolt of Arminius, some two and a half centuries earlier, against the "five points" of Calvin. Burnet in The History of his own Times stated of certain Divines in England who had followed his sentiments, that they loved the Constitution of the Church and the Liturgy, but "did not think it unlawful to live under another form. They allowed great freedom both in philosophy and theology, from whence they were called Men of Latitude." John Hales, a fellow of Merton, the preacher of Sir Thomas Bodley's funeral oration, an attendant at the Synod of Dort, fellow of; Eton and Canon of Windsor (from which he was ejected at the time of the Rebellion), and of whom Bishop Pearson said that he possessed "as great a sharpness, quickness and subtility of wit, as ever any nation bred," first brought the opinions into England. Chillingworth, the father of modern sober protestantism, was his disciple. The men of this school adopted strong Erastian views and were instrumental in dethroning James II. and bringing about the introduction of William of Orange. They flourished under Hanoverian favour, which reached an apex with Hoadly and the Bangorian Controversy. The Anglo-Catholic teaching of the older divines, which had coloured and characterised the English Church, became superseded by that of the latitudinarian school, although it never quite obstructed the little stream of Catholic truth, which still trickled on in churchly families and quiet places. The Evangelical Movement partly stemmed the latitudinarian ascendancy and in some instances gave it a semblance of orthodoxy. The zeal and sincerity of the evangelicals for truth, however, exceeded their knowledge of the means to promote it; their reliance on feelings, at the expense of intellect, and their inability to point to any great theologian they had produced, finally brought about a revival of the Latitudinarian System.
Men of strong character, vivid sincerity and robust piety, like Dr. Arnold and Mr. Bunsen, although devoid of church principles and ready to abandon creeds, were more attractive to men of affairs than were the narrownesses and extravagances of the evangelicals. The Remains of Dr. Arnold became the very "bible" of certain statesmen, not the least consequence of which was the intended blow against catholic churchmen on the part of Lord John Russell, by his appointment, in 1848, of Dr. Hampden to the see of Hereford. The party, small but powerful, gained an influence over some of the younger men at Oxford and were largely to the fore during the University Commission.
In 1855 there issued from the press two sets of commentaries on some of the Epistles of St. Paul. They marked a new departure, after the German model, in the interpretation of the New Testament. These works came from the pens of Stanley and Jowett. The volumes of the former were deemed by some as "frivolous," those of the latter were recognised as "thoughtful." The philosophical character of Jowett's dissertations, no less than his views, reduced the doctrines considered by him to vagueness with a tendency to unbelief; especially was this so in his treatment of the Atonement, from which he eliminated the fact of sacrifice for sin and viewed it only, "as the greatest act that was ever done in the world." While these interpretations presented a rationalistic danger and so a new foe for catholics to grapple with, and laid "the" foundation of future difficulties in doctrinal struggles, it is true to say that such interpretation, at the time, found but scanty lodgment except in the minds of the super-intellectual."It is truer to say of 1855 that, while latitudinarians and catholics were both at opposite issues with each other, they were also both out of touch with the national religious feeling of the hour, ' From the 'varying controversies raging within the Church,' heresies held in solution and needing but little to precipitate them, Drv Lushington's sophistry, secessions to Rome, low and hazy views of the sacraments, The neglect of religion amongst the masses of the people, travellers abroad seeming to be able to dispense with it altogether and to regard that which! they witnessed as something irregular, it was not to be wondered at that the Church of England was an incomprehensible affair to those outside her. If, apparently, she did not understand herself, how could others be supposed to understand her?'; 'In an account of Recent Researches in Nineveh and Persepolis published in the early fifties, the writer, W. S. Vaux, related that a Kurd (a professing Mohammedan) said to an Englishman, when speaking of the similarity of their religions,"we eat hog's flesh, drink wine, keep no fasts, and say no prayers." Another traveller in the East, the Rev. J. P. Fletcher, in a book also published at this time, had given startling reasons, from his own observations, for Greek, Italian and Syrian priests giving the English the credit of having no religion. Yet in England itself at this time, there was the boast that we were the most pious nation in the world, tolerant of the religious susceptibilities of others (provided they were not catholic), for even a Liverpool rector had "humbly intreated" those who Disliked the Athanasian Creed and had sat down, during its recital, "without any reference to their objections, to conform as a mark of deference and politeness." The spiritual needs of all should be looked after, for had not a Mr. Grant proposed the establishment of a Registry Office for procuring "pious female servants" upon the payment of a shilling fee? Objects of piety were venerated, not of canonised saints, for that would be superstition, but of living ones, for had not a firm advertised that they could supply ladies with certain articles made from the same piece as the robes in which Bishop Alexander was consecrated? There was a school, too, in which the converted boys were allowed to pare the apples for puddings, it not being thought safe to trust the ungodly with the privilege. In the same school rewards were given to such boys as converted their companions. Anomalies such as these, together with stories of irreverence and neglect shown to holy things, were circulated with a wideness and emphasis unworthy of them. It was stated that some who had seceded from the English Church were not backward in magnifying these detrimental stories, especially on the Continent. The text-book consulted, if any, was Cobbett's History of the Reformation.
In 1855, there had appeared the first publications of a learned Church Society, whose aim was more definite and less clumsy than its title. It described itself as,"Association for making known upon the Continent the Principles of the Anglican Church." Some of its friends took the liberty of condensing this into the more workable nickname of "Anglo-Continental Association." The Association consisted of a number of churchmen, clergy and laity, who had combined for the purpose signified in the longer title. The patrons were all bishops. Four were English, viz. Durham (Maltby), Exeter (Phillpotts), Oxford (Wilberforce), Salisbury (Hamilton), four Scottish, five Colonial, and two American. Among the clerical members were Archdeacon Churton, Rev. T. Claughton, Dr. Moberly (later Bishop of Salisbury), Dr. Wordsworth (later Bishop of Lincoln), and Dr. Oldknow. Among the lay members were Lord Robert Cecil (later Lord Salisbury), Henry Hoare, A. J. Beresford Hope, J. G. Hubbard, Sir John Forbes, and Roundell Palmer (afterwards Lord Selborne). The general editor of the Society's publications was the Rev. F. Meyrick.
The ordinary members were donors or subscribers who undertook to pray daily for God's blessing upon the Society's work. Among these were Keble, Gladstone, Sir William Heathcote and other well known churchmen of the day.
Unlike most societies, it opened its life, not by advertising what it was going to do, but by publishing Cosin's short Latin work on the Faith, Discipline and Rites of the English Church, with extracts from the older divines explanatory of the nature of the English Reformation. The Society went on for a few years publishing in modern languages a valuable series of books, from living and past authors, on the position of the English Church and her adherence to the doctrine of the Sacraments and the Catholic Faith generally. The intention of proselytising was entirely absent, the sole aim being to bring about a better understanding between the English and Continental Churches and eventually the Eastern, by the removal of the ignorance, misconception and misrepresentation regarding the English Church which prevailed. The efforts of the Society were reciprocated in France and Germany and in isolated parts of Spain and Italy. The work was undertaken in good faith to provide at least some common platform for furthering the outward unity of the One Body. It eventually languished, because abroad it became interpreted as an endeavour to press too strongly the independence of; National Churches in opposition to the prevailing Ultramontane spirit of the Papacy, while at home the action of the Roman body in trying to draw individuals from the Church and the protestant outcry against everything catholic proved such attempts to be premature. There were also brewing the political difficulties which were to affect the continental countries approached and which, with the unification of Italy, would leave the Papacy both weakened and strengthened. The now forgotten incident of the sensational De Col case gave a fillip to protestant orators which helped to neutralise rather than help the Association's good intentions. De Col was an agent in the employ of the Austrian police who came to find out what he could by figuring as the representative of a non-existent movement for reform, and to get the names, should there happen to be in fact what he expressed in fiction. Whatever of truth or otherwise there was in the story, it served as a splendid relish for protestant platforms. In spite however of the Society's failure generally, it did remove some prejudice, while the fact of the effort made for the healing of Christendom's wounds will always be to the honour of those who made it, even if it did end by its realising the old experience that after all scholarship is but a weak weapon against vox populi.
The Catholic Movement in the early fifties was beset on all sides with difficulties. The anxieties and troubles arising out of the Gorham case, and the intrusion of the Roman Hierarchy, with the Anti-Catholic animus to which they gave birth made it necessary for Catholics to exercise the greatest prudence. Everything they did was misunderstood and misinterpreted. Their scholarship and appeals to antiquity were ridiculed. The orators of Exeter Hall, declaring their own "ignorance of the Fathers," were loudly cheered for the boast. Even Dr. Pusey, whom Bishop S. Wilberforce at this time had the audacity to accuse of "doing the work of a Roman confessor and not that of an English clergyman," had been inhibited privately by him from officiating in the Diocese of Oxford. (Life of Dr. Pusey, Vol. III., Chap, xii.)
Yet, in spite of episcopal frowns, ecclesiastical suits, "places never plagued by Puseyites," and other opposing causes, there were spiritual forces at work which no human arm could hinder. A marked growth in the revival of the Religious Life had taken place. These years saw the foundations of four new Communities, viz.those of All Saints', Margaret Street, W., St. John Baptist, Clewer, St. Margaret, East Grinstead, and St. Mary the Virgin, Brighton. Those of Holy Cross, Park Village, Regent's Park, St. Thomas's, Oxford, Wantage and Devonport were already established. The Crimean War, the heroic example of the "Lady with the Lamp," the sorrows, privations, follies and sins emphasised by war, helped f: forward the creation of an atmosphere and gendered a feeling which made it easier for "sisters of mercy" to gain a footing. Just as the common use of Greek in the early era opened up a way for the Gospel, so the common language of suffering and need of the early fifties opened up a way for the toleration of the religious life. The need being urgent there was a lessened tendency to criticise the agencies that came forward to meet it. Queen Victoria, who had a marvellous intuition for diagnosing the pulse of the nation, far beyond many of her advisers, indicated this new feeling by the strong protest she made against the puritanical spirit of the proposed "Day of Humiliation." She deprecated the Archbishop's enlistment of inapplicable Old Testament chapters and "Jewish imprecations," and exhibited at the same time a liturgical finesse superior to the Primate's, in suggesting the use of the prayer "Before a Fight at Sea." It was the same spirit and so it met the feelings of the nation,a devout humility relying on God in the hour of national suffering, accompanied by a practical service. The military spirit in the one case, and the active "religious" charity of the other, had the same ideal in mind, although displayed in such totally different settings.
It required little imagination to see that, at this hour of national suffering, the hardships and sordid environments of the poof were felt more heavily, while the "destitution of religion," acknowledged by all who thought of it, only saddened the hopeless burden of poverty and sin. Especially was it so in East London. Philanthropic efforts of random application only touched the results of the evil, they did not penetrate to the root of it. What open-air preaching there was only excited feelings which were neither directed nor satisfied, while those who stirred them up stood aloof from the pastoral care which alone could in any way have made it effective.
The success and blessing which had attended the work done on strictly church lines among the poor of St. Barnabas', Pimlico, brought an inspiration to the mind of Father Charles Lowder. "Vote for Westerton" had offered an opportunity for Fr. Lowder to take a short holiday in France. While staying at Yvetot, he had read the life of St. Vincent de Paul which much impressed him, especially the part St. Vincent took "in reforming abuses and rekindling the zeal of the priesthood." A missionary desire possessed his mind which finally worked itself out into two conclusions. The first was that the system followed at St. Barnabas' was the only one that could remedy and uplift the other poor of London, and the second that it could only be achieved by those who carried out the spirit of St. Vincent and realised the supernatural power of their priesthood. With Father Lowder to resolve was to act.
The year 1855, as already outlined, was momentous with church events and most of them troublous to the hearts of churchmen, but "the kingdom of heaven cometh not with observation." There were many outward manifestations of activity taking place both for the cause of truth and the cause of threatenings against it, but there was one little bit of leaven hidden in the measures of six ardent priestly hearts which would leaven the whole of the Catholic Movement. On February 28th, 1855, being the Wednesday in the Lent Ember Week, "The Society of the Holy Cross" was devised and entered upon a probation. The six zealous priests who had met together realised that it was only the setting up of the Holy Cross in all its fulness that could win and save the masses, and they solemnly resolved, first by the sanctifying of priestly lives, according to Catholic rule and discipline, and then by faithful priestly action, to do what they could towards its accomplishment. A gigantic task, forsooth, for what were they among so many, but they no more under-rated their difficulties than they did their faith. Their work, as it presented itself to them, was well expressed by Father Mackonochie in a pregnant phrase some years later,"We must dig the pit for the Cross." For a few years, they and some others who were like-minded met and edified each other in private, as befitted the spiritual character of their venture. When they were justified in publicly drawing the attention of others to their Society they did so. "They were described in the exaggerated language assumed by protestants as "a secret society," and the founders of a "conspiracy." They did conspire, yet not in the modern and ill-starred sense of the word, but in the older and accurate meaning of the term.