SERMON ON THE IMPRISONMENT OF ENGLISH PRIESTS FOR CONSCIENCE SAKE.
Preached in St. Ignatius Church, N.Y., on the Fourth Sunday in Advent, 1880; and repeated in Trinity Chapel, N.Y., on the subsequent Second Sunday after Christmas.
by the Revd Ferdinand Cartwright Ewer, S.T.D.
E & J.B. Young & Co.,
Cooper Union, Fourth Avenue.
TO THE READER.
THE sermon on the imprisoned English Priests was delivered in St. Ignatius Church, on the Fourth Sunday in Advent, December 19, 1880, and was printed in full the next morning in the New York Herald and the New York Tribune. During the closing days of December the press, religious and secular, presented the various arguments on the other side that had been adduced in England, viz.:
I. The argument from the union of Church and State. That, owing to this union, Priests had no right to disobey the State.
2. The argument arising from the "frivolity of ritual." "It would seem as though grown men of intelligence could not seriously engage in such absurdities as are practised by the Ritualists," much less go to jail for them.
But, in addition to the ample reply to this in the following sermon, I fail to see how that which is not absurd in Roman Catholics, Greek Catholics, Armenian Catholics, Georgian Catholics, and Alt Catholics (all of whom believe in the Real objective Presence of Christ in the Eucharist), should suddenly become so very absurd the moment it is done by Anglo-Catholics, who equally believe in that Real objective Presence of Christ. The Independent newspaper, from which the above extract is taken, cannot escape from assuming one of the two following grounds, viz.: either, first, of flatly charging the great Catholic party in the Anglican Church with saying that they thus believe in the Real Presence, when in their hearts they know they do not; or, second, of admitting that the Anglo-Catholics are no more guilty of absurdity in their outward practices than are the Greek or the Roman Catholics. One cannot for a moment conceive that it would, or even could, assume the first mentioned "horn of the dilemma." Is it possible that it has yet to learn, with history and contemporaneous fact before its eyes, that there are, and have for centuries been, millions of Catholics in existence that are not Roman Catholics? Let me quote a recently published paragraph from a newspaper whose editor would agree in all fundamentals with The Independent. "Is the Great King objectively present on our Altars under whatever formor is He not? If He is so present at the bidding of a 'Priest,' then it behoves us to go softly and bow down in lowly adoration before His footstool. No service can be too solemn, no accessories too costly or magnificent for so august an occasion. Bring forth the royal vessels, and make the tabernacle of His feet glorious. Let clouds of incense ascend before His throne. Let us come into His courts with thanksgiving. Let the singers go before, and the minstrels follow after. Let His priests be decked in the most sumptuous apparel, and let all things testify to our sense of the King's condescension in visiting His people, and to our desire to give Him the honor due unto His name." It is difficult to see how this argument of a denier of the Real Presence can be answered. But Bishop Ridley says: "I grant the Bread to be converted and turned into the Flesh of Christ; but not by transubstantiation.... We adore and worship Christ in the Eucharist." Bishop Latimer says: "The same Presence may be called most fitly a Real Presence; that is, a Presence not figured, but a true and faithful Presence." Very well, then, either Anglo-Catholics are guilty of falsehood, or they are not guilty of absurd frivolities. To charge them with mere man-millinery, and with assuming vestments and adorning Altars and churches for their own sakes, instead of simply and solely for their Lord's sake, as it is a thing which no courteous Christian would do if he stopped to realize what he was about, must arise from an unfortunate thoughtlessness.
3. The argument from, or rather the sneer as to "fictitious martyrdom." And
4. The argument from "food and clothing."If Priests are "fed and clothed by the State," they must obey the State.
In justice, therefore, to the stand taken by the Catholic party in the Anglican Communion, the writer, before repeating the sermon at Trinity Chapel, New York, on the Second Sunday evening after Christmas, January 2, 1881, was compelled to make extensive additions to it by way of reply to the above arguments. It is printed here, in the main, as it was delivered the second time; the letter, however, giving an account of the arrest of Mr. Enraght, which was read at St. Ignatius Church, was omitted in the delivery at Trinity Chapel.
Two additional arguments have been urged in opposition. One of them was not noticed in the sermon; the other was noticed, but the author begs leave to remark here a little more fully upon it than he did in the sermon.
I. Argument arising from a want of realization that schism is a sin.Why do not the Ritualists leave the Church and betake themselves to halls, where they can preach such doctrines and perform such practices as they please?
But what if those very doctrines be taught, and those corresponding practices be commanded by the Church of England? Let me here repeat what I said on a former occasion: "To the non-churchman, unfamiliar with the career of the English Church from 1620 to 1833, the statement that She should teach one thing, and Her members believe another, would seem not only paradoxical but incredible. But, let it be remembered that when Cromwell assumed the reins of power, he crushed the Church of England; he drove Her clergy from their livings; and for years the people of England were indoctrinated by Presbyterian, Independent, and Baptist preachers. Let it be remembered that when Cromwell passed away there was little change in this respect. For, six thousand out of the eight thousand clergy, who, under Charles II., occupied the Rectories of England and drew the tithes, were simply Puritans who had 'conformed.' Hating the Church and Her discipline and Her doctrines as expressed in the Prayer Book, while they were under the Commonwealth, how could they love and teach them under the Restoration ? The 'conforming' Puritan was a man who used the Prayer Book to some extent, but taught the people doctrines antagonistic to its prayers, and practices in violation of its rubrics. Thus, practically, there were, and for a long time continued to be, anomalously enough, two fountains of teaching in the Church. One was the Prayer Book, which expressed the Church's real views; the other was the pulpit, which violently opposed those views. The Prayer Book did not hold its own as a teacher against the pulpit, which poured forth Puritanism to the people. It is not strange in the secular confusion of the day, that it was some time before this state of things could be reversed; that it should be a slow process for the Silent Prayer Book to begin to tell at last in the Church against the persistent voice of the pulpit. The pulpit has a way of sending its teachings and its teachers into the Theological Schools, and even on to the Episcopal Bench, and thus of perpetuating and of giving prestige to its notions. The secular confusion of the time paralyzed the arm of that discipline which is the mother of order in the Church. Besides, an individual, here and there, may change his belief quickly; but a nation, once indoctrinated, changes its belief slowly. Whatever the Prayer Book may have taught, the people of the English Church, once fairly in the current of Puritanism, floated heavily, and with steady momentum, down that current through the eighteenth century. Let it be remembered that forty years after Cromwell there were Bishops on the English Church thrones who denied Episcopacy, were opposed to the surplice, sustained sectarians, loved even Unitarianism, counselled the abolition of Episcopacy in Scotland, and were opposed to the XXXIX Articles. And then consider the state of things in the reigns of the Georges, and it will no longer seem incredible that the members of the English Church can for a while hold doctrines quite different from those held by the Church Herself, to which they nominally belong. Meantime, efforts had indeed been made to get the Articles, rubrics, and prayers of the Prayer Book so changed that they should teach Calvinistic and Protestant, instead of Catholic doctrines and practices; those efforts were, however, somehow Providentially thwarted. But at last the Prayer Book began to turn the tide, and to send those it had indoctrinated into the pulpit and theological seminaries. Thus the intent of the Catholic movement of to-day is not to Romanize the Church; it is not even to catholicize the Church; She has always continued Catholic. But it is to awaken Her members to the Catholic character of their own Church."
Besides, such an action as is recommended by those who urge the argument under notice would be, 1st, to commit the sin of schism; 2d, to connive at a violation of the Magna Charta; 3d, to condone an attempted violation of the British Constitution, whereby the Church would suffer; 4th, to abandon the Church, in which the imprisoned Priests have just as much interest as any one else, and that, too, in the Churchs serious hour of need. John Hampden could easily have become a citizen of some other country, and so escaped and English prison. But there is no other Church than the Catholic Church; the imprisoned Priests cannot go into the Roman part of that Church; they cannot go out of the Catholic Church; and there is nothing for them to do but to stay where they are, and wait, suffering, till their fellow-members of the Church come to a belief in their Church's own doctrines.
2. The argument arising from tithes.The State is taxed for the support of the Church. "You call on the civil law to collect your taxes, and refuse that law the right to regulate their disbursement."
But the State is not taxed for the Church. If I own a certain right in a piece of land, and have owned it for one thousand years, and that land has been sold over and over again at 10 per cent. less than its actual value, because of my right in it, I.do not know that the man who has bought that land at 10 per cent. below its value has any cause to complain, from the fact that I do not see fit to give up my property to him. I do not know that the State, in protecting me as a citizen in my ancient hereditament which the present owner of the land never purchased, and in seeing that I yearly enjoy my share of the proceeds, has any right to dictate to me in matters of my religion, or as to how I shall spend my own money. It is simply the State's business to protect my financial rights; nor can I see how the man who owns the land but not my hereditament can claim that he is supporting me.
If A, being in possession of a certain piece of land, holds on to it, and to everything in, on, under, over, and otherwise appertaining to it, except one single hereditament consisting of one-tenth of its annual income, which he sells or freely and definitively gives to B, stipulating, moreover, that as a part of the gift he will collect that tenth, and pay it over to B, surely the subsequent purchaser of the land, whom we will call C, takes that hereditament into consideration, knows that in buying the land he does not buy the hereditament, that it will still belong to B, and pays for the land an under-price accordingly. If B's hereditament has descended to me as an heir, C would be simply a swindler if he rolls up the whites of holy eyes, talks about how he is abused if I continue to demand from him what belongs to me, flatly refuses to give it to me, and, having thus stolen my hereditament from me, sells his land the next day for 10 per cent. more, because of his theft, than he gave for it.
We will, however, suppose that both A (the State) and B (the Church) live together through the centuries, and that A loved B when he so gave the hereditament to B that it vested in him. If A, still living with B, grows subsequently to hate him, how does that give A any right to take back what he once fully and freely gave? how does it give him right to say that he is clothing and feeding B with B's own hereditament; or to dictate to him in religious matters, especially when it was a fair and square bargain from time immemorial, and always lived up to till recently, that, although A and B live together, A should never interfere with B's religion, and should do nothing whatever about it without B's full consent?
"Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesars, and unto God the things that are Gods."ST. MATT., xxii. 21.
IN the nineteenth century, in the reign and the realm of Queen Victoria, the Rev. Arthur Tooth, Priest, has been forced to retire to great extent from the exercise of his Priestly functions, because of permanent injury to his health from imprisonment in Horsemonger Lane Jail in the year 1877; and the Rev. John Purchas lies in an early grave, to which he was hastened by persecution. Thomas Pelham Dale, rector of St. Vedast's, London, and Richard William Enraght, vicar of Holy Trinity, Bordesley, Birmingham, Priests, have been cast into prison for conscience sake. Warrants have been issued for the imprisonment also of the Rev. Sydney F. Green, vicar of Miles Platting. The Rev. J. Bell Cox, vicar of St. Margaret's, Liverpool, is threatened with incarceration, and an attempt has been made by the English State violently to prohibit the Rev. John Baghot de la Bere from exercising the functions of his Priesthood. Furthermore, I suppose it is not extravagant to say that the Priests in England who stand ready and willing to suffer imprisonment and reduction to utter poverty ill the same cause number several thousands.
Up to the first delivery of this sermon in St. Ignatius' Church, a fortnight ago, the public press of America had almost ignored this extraordinary attitude of religious affairs. If mention of the imprisonments was made, it was of the briefest kind, and even then calculated to mislead the public as to the points at issue, while in some instances such mere mention was accompanied with a supercilious sneer.
The Rector, Wardens, Vestrymen, and parishioners of St. Ignatius' parish, knowing that the persecuted and imprisoned Priests are right, proud to make common cause with them, so far as is possible, from this distance, and feeling that when one member of the Catholic Church suffers, all the members suffer with him, have passed resolutions of encouragement and sympathy, which have been sent to Messrs. Dale, Enraght, and Green, bidding them God speed in their noble passive resistance to this new outbreak of opposition to fundamental principles of the Catholic renaissance. While, certainly, in no very charitable spirit, the Rev. Dr. Potter, vicar of St. Luke's, Sheffield, in addressing a meeting at Derby, cries as follows: "Putting Mr. Dale in prison for conscience sake! Conscience is the last plea of the scoundrel! I say, keep him in, the old rascal!" and while the mob at another meeting utter the cries of 'Let him rot there!" it is devoutly hoped that the words of cheer from far away St. Ignatius' Church will enter Holloway and Warwick Jails with some little of comfort on their wings.
I feel that I should be derelict in my duty as a Priest of the Catholic Church and as a man if, in view of what the public press has said to the detriment of the prisoners, I did not frankly and promptly speak from the formal and public standpoint of the Christian pulpit in defence of the prisoners and in admiration for their noble course, even though I should stand alone in such action in America.
In the first place, the resistance that has been made by the Rev. Messrs. Bennett, Purchas, Tooth, Mackonochie, Dale, Enraght, Green, and Bell Cox, is simply a determined resistance to a violation of Magna Charta. The correspondents and editors who have remarked on this case in the public press have, with few exceptions, failed to note this fact. I desire, therefore, to emphasize it this evening.
In the second place, it is a resistance to a subtle but radical change in the British Constitution itself, attempted by Parliament at the instigation and with the connivance of the Archbishop of Canterbury, whereby the thousand year old relationship between Church and State would be overthrown, and the Church would, for the first time in English history, be bound hand and foot and passed over to the absolute control of the State. The sectarian religious press and the secular press of America, almost if not quite without exception, have in the last fortnight failed to give this point its due weight. In their animadversions they invariably take for granted and start away with the false premiss that the State has always had, and has of right to-day, absolute control over the Church in ecclesiastical matters, and will have such control until disestablishment takes place.
The prisoners have the sympathy of Dr. Pusey, Canon Liddon, the Dean of St. Paul's, Canon Carter, Archdeacon Denison, Dr. Littledale, Mr. Baring-Gould, in short, of grave, leading clergymen, too numerous to mention; of many able lawyers in England; of the entire English Church Union, numbering some 19,000 persons; of the Church of England Working Men's Association, numbering some 10,000 persons; of the Metropolitan of Canada, the Bishop of Nova Scotia, Bishops Abraham and Jenner, and the Bishop of Tasmania.
The number of signatures to the petition to Her Majesty for Mr. Dale's release had at last accounts, December 2d, reached considerably over forty thousand.
Magna Charta declares that the Church shall enjoy "all Her rights and privileges." One of those privileges is that "the Church shall enjoy Her own judgments." There is indeed a ritual aspect of this question, covering a fundamental doctrinal aspect, which I may or may not speak of by and by. But the issue as it stands is not one merely or mainly of ritual. It is the higher and all important question whether Magna Charta shall be violatedwhether a mere secular court, established by act of Parliament, without the consent of the Church, and in opposition to that consent, is to exercise jurisdiction over the Church in spiritual matters. Messrs. Dale, Enraght, Green, and Bell Cox, are vindicating the constitutional right of the Anglican Catholic Church against usurpations of the State, said State being driven on and made a mere tool for their purposes by those inside and outside the Church who violently oppose Her Catholic doctrines and the plain commands of Her rubrics and Her prayer-book. Let me present a somewhat parallel case; and let me say that the parallelism is not altered by the fact that Church and State in England are joined. If Congress should pass a law, without consulting our Church and in spite of Her expressed opposition, providing that any District Court of the United States should be considered as a Church court of first instance to decide what the Church's doctrine is as to Baptismal regeneration, the Eucharist, the Resurrection, and the inspiration of the Bible, and what I as a Priest of that Church might or might not hold in the premises on penalty of being deprived of my Priesthood; and, furthermore, that the United States Supreme Court should be the court of final appeal in all these matters; and if, then, I should be haled before those courts by two Methodists, Colonel Ingersoll, and one Baptist, because they happened to live in the vicinity of my church, and if I should be forbidden by those courts to adore my God at the Eucharist or to pronounce as a Priest absolution, I certainly would go to prison and stay there, if necessary, till I died, before I would yield one solitary inch. The State courts in England, that are now punishing Priests with imprisonment for disobedience to their orders, and that are emptying their pockets besides, have not from the first been created with the slightest right to exercise authority in spiritual matters; "they cannot, therefore, reach the conscience of an English churchman, however much they may imprison his body," distrain his goods, and scatter to the four winds his congregation.
Let me give you a brief chronicle of what has happened of late in Mr. Dale's parish. Mr. Dale, who is an aged man, became convinced that the Church of England really taught the doctrines and commanded the practices, which the so-called Ritualists claim that She teaches and commands. He introduced a boy-choir and ritual services. His congregation steadily rose to two hundred souls, one hundred of whom were communicants. He was condemned, and a Rev. Mr. Acland was illegally intruded into his place. The congregation dwindled to two parishioners; never, when fullest, did it exceed twelve in number: the two parishioners and ten strangers. On the return of Mr. Dale, but without the ritual, this state of the congregation continued. On December 18, 1879, he restored the Blessed Sacrament to its prominence; and at once the congregation increased. It had so grown that it already comprised eighty regular communicants, when the rector was arrested this last time. And now the parish Ward of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, numbering thirty men and twenty women, the Brotherhood of St. Lawrence, for banding together young men in the services of the Church, the Guild of St. Agatha, for young women, and a Clothing Association, for supplying warm clothing to the poor, which distributed some three hundred garments last winter, are paralyzed and dissolving, and the congregation is broken up. Similar is the havoc that has been wrought in every parish that the persecution has touched.
It will doubtless be of interest to you to listen to the following letter to the London Church Review, giving an account of the arrest of Mr. Enraght. It is as follows, viz.:
SIR,Will you kindly permit me to send you a short account of the wonderful scenes that took place at the arrest of our dear friend Mr. R. W. Enraght?
Mr. Dale was taken to prison at night, when but few could see or hear about it, but had we been able to choose our own time, we could scarcely have chosen better. Though it was only known one hour before the arrest, yet so earnest were his friends in their sympathy and devotion that by the time the arrest took placehalf-past one P.M.a vast crowd, numbering about two or three thousand persons, assembled, who showed the deepest sympathy with the persecuted vicar.
I arrived upon the scene a few minutes before the vicar left the house, and such a scene I never saw before, and perhaps may never see such a one again. Ladies, with tears in their eyes and quivering lips and anxious faces, thronged around the door; and one gray-haired old man I spoke to burst into tears and said, "Ah, Sir, this is religious liberty in England." There were many working men of the congregation, with their dirty, but sympathetic faces, who had rushed from their work to bid a farewell to one they so loved and venerated, and all looked as though each heart was full.
Before leaving the house the vicar read a solemn protest against his arrest (a copy of which and address I enclose), and then came out accompanied by the Rev. J. Pollock and C. Bodington arm-in-arm, several other clergymen and friends, including the two churchwardens, bringing up the rear.
The vicar, walking to his gate, paused on the step and indicated that he wished to speak to the vast crowd, and then he gave the memorable address, which those who heard will not in a hurry forget. The emotion of the people was intense. We could hardly imagine we were in the nineteenth century, for as we stood after the address to sing the doxology, it seemed like the early Christians going to their martyrdom; but the most touching part of all up to the present was at the close of the singing. The assembly bared their heads, and those around knelt upon the pavement while the vicar pronounced a most solemn benediction. The prisoner then walked to the railway-station, followed by the vast crowd, who cheered most lustily, occasionally giving a hearty groan for "Perkins," etc., etc. During the whole of the proceedings I did not see or hear one dissentient.
The vast crowd of course could not get into the stationin fact very fewor else many would doubtless have gone to Warwick with the prisoner. As it was, about thirty friends went, including the Rev. J. Pollock and the two churchwardens, who, to whose honor, be it said, never left the prisoner till he arrived at the gate of the jail. Immediately we left the train at Warwick the vicar was met by the Rev. Dr. Nicholson, of Leamington, who took the prisoner by the arm and did not leave his side until we reached the gate, walking all the way. The road from the station is a rather lonely one, up and down hill, and as we started upon it the vicar exclaimed, "We are not Ritualists, but simple Churchmen."
I then thought, for the first time, he looked lonely, but as though the Divine eye was watching him in his trouble, the rainbow appeared in its beauty, bidding him hope and trust in One who has said, "I will not leave thee nor forsake thee," "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." The vicar's friends had taken care that the luggage should be substantial, but right willingly was it carried by those present, as though each was anxious to do what he could for the one who was to be cast into a prisoner's cell.
Before we reached the Jail we were met by the Rev. S. Harris, of Leicester Hospital, Warwick, who in an excited manner called for cheers for the prisoner, remarking that "that was the reward of hard work and faithful service, also an answer to the question why we could not get more candidates for holy orders." As we drew near the prisongate the vicar let down his cassock so that he might enter as a Priest. At the gate he shook hands with us all, Dr. Nicholson saying, "Let us give him the blessing before he enters," and there, upon the damp stones, the prisoner knelt, and the white-haired doctor, with uplifted hand, pronounced the most solemn benediction I think I ever heard.
Our dear friend then entered the prison-gates, his last words being "The Lord be with you." We could not help responding, "And with thy spirit."
So ended the arrest of one of the best men who ever suffered for his Master, and the impression it has left upon our minds seems to be "disestablishment," for it is too great a price to pay for the advantages of being united to the State.
Feast of St. Andrew, 1880.
Americans have, until the last fortnight, been kept in ignorance of the serious issue in England. It was nothing; it was only some tomfoolery about Ritualism. Mass meetings and overflow meetings in the streets have been held in London, Birmingham, Oxford, and other centres, but not a word of all this has gotten into our papers. Sometimes, a movement which seems to superficial observers petty and frivolous, because in the first fifty years of its existence its deep springs are not understood by them, turns out to be a vast revolutionizer; first by holding the balance of power between two political parties, and then, in long after years, by wielding the actual majority. It is time that somebody said that this thing which has been nicknamed Ritualism in England is dynamite; and that it will not do to play with it. Holding the balance of power as it does, it may, notwithstanding its wonderful self-restraint in simply defending itself for years and never attacking or making reprisals, it may, I say, be provoked into bringing about that serious alteration in the constitution of the English realm which would be involved in a disestablishing of the Church, in hurling their lordships the Bishops from their benches in Parliament, and in stripping them of their princely incomes, their town houses, and their baronial coronets. This sad result is in the near future, unless Parliament and the Bishops are wise in time.
To a clear understanding of the present deadlock and excitement in England it is necessary for an American to know how the present English courts, that are resisted by Catholics, arose. Under the terms of 24th Henry VIII., all ecclesiastical causes were to be determined by the Spiritualty and not by the Temporalty. At that time there was a court called the "Court of Delegates," which by the appointment and admission both of the State and of the Church had spiritual functions. For any court in England thus to have spiritual functions constitutionally it is, and always has been, necessary for it to be created and established not only by Parliament, which is the legislative body of the State, but also by both Convocations, that of Canterbury and that of York) which are the legislative bodies of the Church. In 1833, however, this Court of Delegates was abolished by Parliament, and Parliament erected in its place, as a court of final appeal, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. This was the first unconstitutional step. What was the status of this new court? Was it erected with the consent of the Church? No! When the change took place the Church of England was in a comatose state; the Houses of Convocation were practically nil; nobody cared anything about doctrine; there were no Ecclesiastical causes; in short, the Church was not considered in the matter at all. Sometimes a machine has to work for awhile before its fatal defects are discovered. It was so with this new court. For when subsequently the Church awoke from Her lethargy, when She began to put off Her starch, buckram, and intolerable respectability, and go seriously to work Herself; when Her children began, therefore, to take an interest in what She really taught; when the real doctrines of the Prayer Book were unearthed from its strata, where they had lain unobserved and unbelieved, and when serious ecclesiastical questions, going to the very root of the Christian faith itself, began to arise, the Church was startled to find that without Her will or consent causes of doctrine, discipline, and worship had been transferred by the State to a court of final appeal which was not of combined State-and-Church creation, but which was of purely State creation. It was a court on which every single judge might be personally and violently prejudiced against the Church's doctrines, might be actually an infidel, or, to say the least, might be anything but an expert in Church theology and ritual, however learned he might be in State law. Lord Brougham, who was the author of this change in the court of final appeals from the "Delegates" to the "Judicial Committee," declared subsequently that he had no idea at the time that his act involved a transference of ecclesiastical causes from the court with spiritual functions, which he had destroyed, to the purely temporal court. The worst of it has been all along that the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council has had "a ghastly semblance of having something to do with the Church, because it contained powerless episcopal assessors." However, though this new upper court was a State court, there was still left to the Church for a while, a lower court with spiritual jurisdiction, called the Arches Court; its judge being the Official Principal of the Archbishop of Canterbury. For a time ecclesiastical causes went to this court first. But when in this Court they were decided against rationalistic and Protestant views and in favor of Catholicity, as set down in the Prayer Book, they were invariably appealed by our friend, the enemy, up to the State court of final appeal, where the Catholic decisions of the Church court below were almost invariably reversed; until the judge of the lower court, who was the Official Principal of the Archbishop of Canterbury, was compelled in new cases brought before him to sit humiliated, morally handcuffed, and forced, according to the rulings of the court above, to decide against what he knew to be the law, the rubric, and the doctrine of the Church of England.
The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, in their eagerness to attack the Church's rubric, has actually ruled that certain Advertisements, or directions, ascribed to Queen Elizabeth, under date of 1566, and that certain canons of 1604, repealed the first rubric in the Prayer Book that was passed in 1662. To cap the climax, after this absurd blunder was made by the Court, it was discovered that even these directions, which the Court asserted had repealed a law that was itself passed a century afterward, were without a doubt not from Elizabeth's hand at all, but from another hand; and laughably enough no one has seen or can produce the actual document containing these "directions." Was there ever a supreme court of appeal overtaken by such a concatenation of disaster?
From the first the State judicature has done nothing in its relationship to the Church but deny, in its decisions, nearly every article of the Church's faith. It began by rendering its heretical decision on Baptismal regeneration in the famous Gorham case. This lost us Cardinal Manning and many others, who went off to Rome. At once all the Bishops, save two, signed a document reaffirming the doctrine which the State court had denied; and recently Bishop Cummins actually went off into the sin of schism because Baptismal regeneration was the doctrine of the Church. As things went on and were coming to a more and more sorry pass, Bishop Bloomfield begged Parliament, but in vain, to give the Church an ecclesiastical court of final appeal which She could accept, and which She could join with the State in authorizing, in place of such an incompetent and unconstitutional court as the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Finally it eventuated that by the decisions of the latter a man could remain a Priest of the Church of England, even if he did not believe such fundamental doctrines as the Incarnation and the Resurrection. And we have the anomaly to-day of a Colenso, whom the entire Anglican communion, American, English, and Colonial, has formally declared to be a heretic and excommunicate, holding nevertheless his cathedral and Bishopric in Africa in spite of the Church and by the authority and power of this State judicature.
At first Catholics really and seriously tried to conform themselves to the rulings of this court, notwithstanding it was a mere State court, and notwithstanding the decisions in their own favor by the lower Church Court of Arches which was an undoubted Church court. But as it was found that the hostile State court, in order to put down one point of ritual, would adopt a certain principle, and then, when another point came up, in order to condemn that, would adopt another principle, inconsistent with or diametrically opposed to the first, as it was found that at last the whole thing was drifting into an inextricable, not to say ridiculous muddle, they gave up attempting to comply. For thirty years the Church thus suffered under a continued series of miscarriages of justice. She bore it all patiently, simply protesting against it and hoping for a solution of the difficulties in some indefinite after-time.
But, at last, the ultima Thule was reached. For Parliament actually abolished the final vestige of an ecclesiastical court which the Church still held; it tool; away from Her the Arches Court and the official Principal of Canterbury; and it set up instead an entirely civil court, with Lord Penzance as its Judge. If both Convocations had accepted and consented to this new court, it would perhaps have had ecclesiastical jurisdiction, like the old lower Court of Arches, and it might have been competent to decide, subject to appeal to the State Court, cases of doctrine, discipline, and worship. But not only one but both Convocations, that of York: and that of Canterbury, distinctly rejected this new court. So that at last the Church was entirely handed over to the tender mercies of the State.
I am aware the authorities of the State, in their last decision on the habeas corpus case, remanding the prisoners to jail, call Lord Penzance the Dean of Arches, as though his court were a Church court. But the law might, with equal propriety, call him by any other title. It might call him the Archbishop of Canterbury. The State law may be omnipotent in its own domain; but it is powerless to handle the supernatural, or in its own might to create an official of the Kingdom of God. It is powerless, both by divine law and by Magna Charta. And yet this is just what it has attempted to do.
Three years ago Mr. Gladstone published the following words, viz.:"We Churchmen have long been suffering from a gross violation of the true constitutional and legal order of things in Church matters, and, therefore, of our strict rights as Englishmen.'' "Of Courts of Appeal appointed by Parliamentary majorities the Church knows nothing."
The fact is "the State of England denies the right of the Church to manage Her own affairs in Her own way."
Lord Penzance has boldly pronounced it to be illegal to obey a distinct direction of the Prayer Book. And now at last Priests have arisen, and, after thirty years of patience, after seeing Mr. Purchas rendered penniless and hurried to his grave, after seeing Mr. Tooth broken in health so that he can no longer take charge of a parish, after seeing large and flourishing congregations broken up, and many important works among the poor stopped, after seeing their Church buildings mobbed, their Priests stoned, and their Sisters of Mercy spit upon in the streets by ribald Protestant roughs, Priests, I say, have arisen and will endure not another day this tyrannical usurpation of the State over the Church, hounded on as the State is by the mob.
Let it be understood that Catholic Priests in England are perfectly willing to render unto CÊsar the things that are CÊsar's, but even the timid ones have now reached that point where they will never, never, at the bidding of CÊsar, render unto Caesar the things that are God's. The English Church Union has now called on 2,500 clergymen, who are Catholics, but who have not yet adopted the vestments, to introduce them at once. The Bishop of Manchester I quote from an English newspaper that came last mailsaid that the action of the 2,500 clergymen, who were that day at the call of the English Church Union to introduce certain vestments, was one which would wreck the Church and lead to anarchy. This, of course, is the wild talk of a man who is alarmed at last. The Church will be saved, not wrecked saved from those who have tried to wreck Her for thirty years.
One of the most amazing facts of all has recently transpired. One of the minority on the Supreme Bench, no less a man than the late Lord Chief Baron Kelly, has exposed what went on behind the judicial curtain while the world was waiting for the late iniquitous decision in the Ridsdale case. He informed the public that the Bench decided the matter not according to law, not according to rubric, but according to public policy and popularity. You can imagine the excitement that this mortifying exposure produced in the minds of his fellow judges. It would seem as though it were true "that whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.'' For those foolish judges, instead of keeping stock-still, plunged headlong into the unutterable folly of showing that they were highly incensed at the Chief Baron's admissions, and of reviving at once the old Star Chamber rule, that no member of the Judicial Committee should reveal anything that had taken place in their deliberations. It is a black stain on the English judicial ermine, which will never come out. Some ancient Judicial Committee said among themselves behind the curtain at an ancient Privy Council, "What do we? For, if we let this movement go on, all the poor laborers, as well as many of the rich, will believe on it, and 'the Romans in disguise' will take away Episcopal names from Parliament. Go to; ye know nothing at all; nor consider that it is expedient for us that"one or two Priests should go to prison.
So far as the ritual aspect of the case is concerned, it can be expressed in a few wordsnamely: the Privy Council, after solemn deliberation behind curtains, not as to what was law or rubric constitution, but as to what was policy in view of the mobs, and in view of the dissenting votes outside the Church, and of the Low Church votes inside, has decided that the first rubrical command in the English Prayer Book, which declares that lights, vestments, incense, etc., ''shall be retained and shall be in use," means shall not be retained and shall not be inuse; and that, besides, her Majesty Queen Elizabeth had after all repealed that rubric a hundred years before it was written and passed, the order by which the rubric was supposed to be repealed turning out, on investigation not, after all, to have been issued by Elizabeth.
Bishop Abraham, writing from the close of the Lichfield Cathedral under date of 6th of November, says: "Relying on these statutes of Church and realm, Englishmen have been induced to take holy orders in the Church of England. Whereupon the State, having obtained the services of gentlemen to minister to the well-being of the people, violated the compact; and, being physically stronger than the Church, destroyed Her court of judicature, substituted another purely parliamentary court instead, and sent the clergy to prison if they resisted. We were just as much bound to protest against this violation of justice, truth, and honesty, as Hampden was when King Charles I., supported by the judges of the land, made the unconstitutional and illegal demand upon him."
Alas! that others of the Bishops must be criticised. But they are men; and there is nothing special in the imposition of ordaining hands, whereby a fallible Priest suddenly rises a mitred and infallible Bishop. Sorry day is it for the liberty of Priest and layman, in their respective and just subordinate spheres, if any man or men in the Church are too lofty for criticism. The English Bishops are appointed by the State; they are named by the Premier for consecration, with a prudent political forecast to the nature of their votes in Parliament subsequently; they are creatures of the State; and, as a body, therefore, they would be more or less than human were not many of them Erastian to the core. In this struggle between the State and the Church they who were placed in Parliament to watch the interests of the Church have, nevertheless, folded their hands while the State has been destroying the last constitutional vestige of a Church court. They have then waited till the State courts have rendered their extraordinary decisions hostile to the Catholic doctrines of the Prayer Book, till those courts have legislated a "not" into a law of the Church, because they think it for the public good that that law should not exist, and then some of the Bishops have stepped in and acted, not as Bishops, but as bumbailiffs and State constables of a State court, to enforce its decisions. It is said, the Catholics are disobeying their Bishops. In reply, let it be understood that the Bishops do not, at the present juncture, claim obedience to themselves as Bishops, but to the decisions of the civil courts. As Dr. Pusey says, "this has been their uniform language." Thus they have proved to be fathers-in-law, and not Fathers in God. It is not the first time in history that the defence of the liberties and rights of the Church has fallen upon Priests and laymen.
Amazing as it may sound, those very Bishops, who insist that Priests shall obey these civil courts, refuse to obey these courts themselves; for these courts have decided that Bishops at any rate must wear the gorgeous cope; nevertheless, with two or three exceptions, they will not wear it. Priests refuse to obey unconstitutional courts they do not recognize; the Bishops refuse to obey even the courts they recognize.
However plain and clear a subject may be in itself, we all know that it is perfectly easy, if hostile prejudices, and especially hostile religious prejudices, urge them on, for adroit minds to obscure and entangle a plain matter, to make out that the white of the subject is their black, until a simple, straightforward man stands aghast at the apparent havoc that can be made with the proposition "Two and two make four." In England violent hostile religious prejudices and legal adroitness have been busy making such havoc, not only with a plain rubric, but with a plain act of unconstitutional tyranny. They have obscured the unconstitutional point and shunted the public mind off on to side tracks of false issues. It is not strange then, that in the muddle into which they have succeeded in plunging the clearest questions of Church and State and of their mutual relation, the true points at issue, which in themselves are very simple and clear, should nevertheless be clouded in the minds of many Englishmen who have not made the matter a special technical study. English editors honestly catch up, out of this cloud that has been purposely raised, what seems to favor the side which their religious prejudices would like to have true. And editors and lawyers on this side of the water, with still less thorough knowledge in a matter so new to them, and with the crudest notions as to the union of Church and State follow suit.
And since this discourse was delivered, a fortnight ago, the silence is broken, and many of these false notions which have been answered over and over again in England are reappearing in America, and claiming the attention and acceptance of the American public.
The Brooklyn Eagle, which, to its credit be it said, treats this serious subject with the respect which is its due, puts a popular and honest misunderstanding very ably and well. It says, after speaking of the plain command in the rubric ordering lights, vestments, and other appurtenances:"But the obligation to obey the rubric is not stronger than the ordination vow to obey his Bishop which every clergyman makes at his ordination. The responsibility for the omission of these things, if they are really enjoined in the Prayer Book, rests with the Bishops who order their omission, but the responsibility of refusing to submit to the Bishops rests with Mr. Dale."
With all respect to the Brooklyn Eagle, be it said, even supposing the Bishops claimed obedience to themselves as Bishops, and not, as in this case, merely to the decisions of the State Courts, the obligation to obey a Bishop, if the latter commands a Priest to break the rubric, is not stronger than the obligation to obey a rubric in the Prayer Book. No Bishop can alter a rubric. No Bishop can repeal a rubric. No non-user can repeal a rubric. The Prayer Book is higher authority than the Bishop; it is the voice of the Church Herself to the Bishop as well as to the Priest; and if a Bishop command a Priest to break a rubric, that Priest obeys his Bishop only on penalty of disobeying the higher authority, the Church. Moreover, the Priest has not vowed to obey the Bishop's admonitions in all things, he has only vowed to obey him when he issues a godly admonition; and that could not possibly be a godly admonition, which, in accordance with a mere personal whim or prejudice of the Bishop, commands a Priest to break a law of the Church.
Were the matter not so serious in its practical consequences one would smile; but as it is one can only hold-up hands of astonishment at the immense ignorance under which the secular English press are perpetually speaking of the Church as though it had not been founded by the Apostles as a divine, visible organization, but as though it had been created by the State; as though it were some special branch or function of the State, like the Bureau of Agriculture, the Bureau of Public Instruction, or the Post-Office Department; as though it were a sort of Bureau of Religion, with a Secretary in the Cabinet.
This idea is the spawn of Continental Protestantism; which has so minimized religion into a system of mere individualism, as to destroy the idea of a Church, and to leave no authority over religion and over its professors except the State. It is this idea that our Priests are struggling against; because it is an idea fatal to the very existence of the Anglo-Catholic Church and Her authority. Let me quote specimen extracts in the premises from the English press: "It is obvious," says one journal, "that Lord Penzance exercises his authority by precisely the same power [namely, the State] as that which vests the Bishops with the right of overseership in their respective dioceses. If the Bishop of Worcester were interrogated as to his right, he would reply by pointing to"what? to the Apostolic mission he has received from the Church to go take and care for a certain diocese? No; but to "the State law." These are not the crude views of some obscure village editor, but they and the like are reiterated again and again by the great journals of England, metropolitan and provincial. It is not strange that they should now find their echoes in American journals.
One would know hardly where to begin in the treatment and cure of such "clotted ignorance." But one mistakes very much if the present convulsion does not prove to be a serious eye-opener.
Again, I quote from an English paper: "It is time that these gentlemen understood that they are Priests of a State Church. The State should govern its unruly clergy by a policy not of imprisonment, but rather of suspension and deprivation from office." One would suppose, to say the least, that Priests are clergymen of the Church; and that as it is only the Church that can by Her supernatural powers raise them to the Priesthood, so it is only the Church and not the State that can either suspend them or strip them of their Priestly garments, and degrade them from the exercise of Sacramental functions. But here we have the State ignoring our Holy Mother, the Church, and talking, forsooth, about its own Priests, and discussing whether or not it is not best to substitute for imprisonment degradation from the Priesthood. Fancy the New York Board of Aldermen or the Legislature at Albany passing a decree prohibiting the Rector of Trinity Church from administering Baptism! Those legal correspondents who have written to the American press and to the preacher personally, claiming that the English Priests must be rightly imprisoned by the State because they are members of a State Church, overlook the fact that they are making themselves apologists also for most of the burnings in the reign of bloody Mary Tudor. "The victims of the Inquisition in Spain were professing members of the State Church of that country, and were tried and condemned as breakers not only of the ecclesiastical but of the civil law also." That the principle underlying the actions of the Duke of Alva, of Bonner, of Torquemada, should thus reappear in New York, and be reasserted in the month of December, A.D. 1880, is certainly a quaint and startling fact.
Again I quote: "The difficulty arises from the desire of the imprisoned Priests to remain Priests of a Church that has been established by law, and to have the right of disregarding the law upon which that Church is established."
Thus it is also continuously taken for granted in England, and has now been echoed in America, that some time or other in the past, the State, in the plenitude of its omnipotence, passed a law by which it pleased its gracious self to establish the Church (very much as a prince might lift up some peasant girl from the gutter and marry her), and that the finger can be placed upon the year, month, and day on which that law establishing the Church was passed. This false idea has taken men by the hand, who are otherwise tolerably clear-headed and sensible, and led them into a tangled swamp of editorial statement and absurd conclusion.
And the Brooklyn Times of Monday, December 20, is only an American instance of the blind being led into the same swamp by the blind.
There never was such a law passed. And let any one attempt to define what the word "Established," in the phrase "Established Church," means, and he will find that it will baffle his utmost skill in the science of definition. The fact is that centuries ago, long before Henry VIII., long before William the Norman, long before Alfred the Greatyes, even from a time when the memory of man runneth not to the contrarythe English people were all Catholic churchmen. Under one aspect, therefore, they all formed the English State. Under another aspect they all formed the English Church. It was like looking merely at the two sides of one and the same person. Church and State were simply the English people as that great unit regarded itself now on its religious side and now on its civil side. It takes no imagination to see that during the subsequent one thousand years and more of this condition of things the innumerable threads of religious affairs would, unconsciously to the English people, and without design on their part, become so inextricably interwoven with the threads of their civil affairs that, like the Gordian knot, it would require the sword of an Alexander to sunder them. People have a vague notion that it must have been somehow or other in Henry VIII.'s time that some law or other was passed marrying Church and State together. No; but simply the sane inextricable network of civil and ecclesiastical interests that had grown up together during the previous one thousand years ran on into and through Henry's reign, only that Henry prohibited a foreign potentate in Rome from interfering in the affairs of his Realm, either spiritual or temporal, and had laws passed accordingly. Church and State still continued in Henry VIII.'s reign, one great English individual, regarding itself alternately now on its religious now on its civil side. And that one religio-civil individual simply said to the Pope, with an insular independence, "Let me alone on both my spiritual and my temporal sides. " But then at last this dual state of things reached the rock of Anno Domini 1550. The bell of Satan now struck: the hour for change. Religious malaria from Geneva, from Baden, from Zurich, from Wittenberg, crossed the English Channel and spread its subtle influence from Dover to the Grampian Hills. Charles and Laud were martyred. Cromwell made it a penal offence for an English Churchman to use his Prayer Book even in the privacy of his chamber. William stole the throne. Priestley and George Fox and John Bunyan arose; and then Martineau and Buckle, Tyndall and Huxley, and Stuart Mill and Bradlaugh. Thus steadily the Church grew less and less extensive with the English people. The English people remained, as a whole, bound up into a strong unit on its civil side, but on its religious side it was tumbling to pieces in a miserable conglomerate. So that to-day, while on their civil side that whole people yet stand as one State, on their religious side but a part of them now stand as the one Church. The equipoise of force between the two is lost. Once, when all in Parliament were Churchmen, Parliament was simply the State side of the Church in the interlaced interests of the two. At this time the State was only the Church viewed on its secular side, and the Church was only the State viewed on its religious side. It is so no longer. A great change has taken place. There are sitting in Parliament now Jews, infidels, and heretics, open foes of the Church, and those who are utterly indifferent to Her interests. Mutual sympathy between the State as a whole and the Church as a whole is gone; mutual affection is lost. And as the now strong State, with her Protestant and infidel elements, begins to exercise her arrogance and tyranny more and more over the weaker Church, a strain takes place and begins to be felt more and more painfully, drawing asunder into disentanglement those civil and religious threads which have come down intertwisted from the days when the English first became a people. Once State and Church could no more conceive of themselves as apart from each other than could the upper and under sides of a sheet of paper. Now they begin to find that they are and have been from the first really two the one a kingdom of earth, the other a kingdom of Heaven, an august visible Organization standing by itself. Thus the State never did establish the Church, any more than the Church established the State. Thus the State, though it has grown to have the brute power, has no more right to lord it over the Church than the Church would have to enslave the State.
I will make my last quotation from an American paper: "So long as these Priests remain Priests of a Church that draws its revenues from the State, they must be content to allow the secular authority that feeds and clothes them to decide what doctrines they shall preach and what ceremonies they shall practise. There is no possibility, in our day, of spiritual independence of a Church that draws its sustenance as an official body from the State; and those of its clergy who insist upon their right to a share in the State revenues, while disregarding the mandates of the State courts, must expect to suffer persecution."
One would suppose from such language as this that the English clergy went regularly to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and drew their monthly salaries out of the State treasury. One would suppose that the tithes of England were State property, and were handed over by the State from year to year as a dole and a charity to the Church. Suppose one of my ancestors 1,500 years ago gave to one of your ancestors the sum of $50,000; that that sum had descended through the centuries to you, and you were now living on its income. If you had in your pockets the bonds in which the principal was invested, I might, it is true, waylay you at night and rob you of the amount; but I should be talking sheer nonsense if I claimed that your money was mine, because 1,000 years ago my ancestor fairly and squarely and definitively gave it to yours. I should be prating nonsense if I should claim that I was feeding and clothing you. The Church is living on Her own money, and the secular authority is neither feeding nor clothing Her.
But though the State did not establish the Church, yet State and Church have come down somehow or other intertangled with each other; and gentlemen claim that because of this Priests ought at all hazards to obey the State in purely ecclesiastical matters. But gentlemen forget that the union of State and Church, such as it is, does not now give, and has never in all the past given to the State, acting by itself, as it does in this instance, the slightest right to interpret the Church's law, and to punish Priests if they disobey its unauthorized interpretation. Never till the past few years has the State claimed the right to dictate in spiritual things, regardless of the wishes of the Church. On the contrary, it has always, until recently, been acknowledged by the State that it had no right whatever to act in ecclesiastical matters, except with the consent of the Church; that its place was simply to co-operate with the Church; that it was first to ask the will of the Church as to ecclesiastical matters, and, when that will was signified, to come in itself to the aid of the Church and fix upon Her will its own stamp of legality. Let the Church, by the combined authority, if you please, of State and Church, but let Her according to Magna Charta, have Her own Church courts back again, of which She has been unconstitutionally robbed, with competent experts upon them to decide what Her law is, and every Ritualist to a man will obey those constitutional courts. But you might as well ask them to accept and obey the opinions of the Board of Trade, of the Chamber of Commerce, or of the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers, as to the meaning of Church law, as to obey Lord Penzance and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. "No man is bound to obey him who has no right to command."
But, it may be said, why not yield these points of outward ceremonial, even though they are commanded by the Church and by Her rubric? Why go to jail for them? It does not strike the public to ask, Why, if these matters of external ceremonial are so utterly frivolous, do not our foes cease attacking them so violently, cease spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, as they have, to put them down? Why do the Protestants themselves make such an ado over them? Catholic Churchmen do not claim all the wisdom in the world; but certainly they may be permitted modestly to claim to be wise enough to see that if it i.s worth the Protestant while so bitterly and stubbornly to attack these externals, and to exhibit so much feeling about them, it is quite as much worth the Catholic while just as firmly to defend them. These things mean, and are set up by the Church in Her rubric to mean, and by us, in our obedience to Her, to mean, the most vital principles of Christianity itself. We see the Incarnation denied; we see Baptismal Regeneration, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the absolving power of the Priests and prayers for the dead and the Apostolic Succession trampled under foot. We see the whole divine power of the Sacraments scouted. And all this involves the very existence itself of the Anglican Church. It is this, and this only, that differentiates Her from the sects. Christianity as presented by the sects and Christianity as presented by the Church are not alternate forms of one thing, it being of little or no essential importance which is accepted. No; but if one is true the other is false; there is an irrepressible conflict between them. We are struggling therefore for the very existence on earth of our Church, nay, of Christianity itself as it was enforced on the world by Apostles and early fathers. It is life or death with us as a system. It is simply astounding that, at the close of the first half century of this Catholic movement, men will still chatter about its frivolousnessthat they do not yet realize that it has deep springs. Adopting mere prettiness in the services of God for mere prettiness' sake is but playing childs play. It is astounding that people should think the venerable Pusey, the calm and solid Liddon, the strong giant Littledale, and the saintly Keble and Carter and Lowder, and the aged Dale, are mere children and idiots, gleeful over a color and tickled with a lighted candle. But patience, patience and love; the world learnsthe world learns.
John Bright says that Messrs. Dale and Enraght have gone to jail merely for disobeying the law, and that it is not a question of conscience at all. It was merely for disobeying the law that John Hampden went to prison. It was merely for disobeying an ancient Public Worship Regulation Act that Daniel went to the lion's den and the three children into the fiery furnace. It was merely for disobeying another Public Worship Regulation Act of the Roman Empire that St. Ignatius went to the Coliseum and was devoured by wild beasts, and that every single martyr of the ten persecutions was slaughtered. And, as the Church Times puts it, some ancient John Bright, some ancient Bishop Fraser, some ancient Chief Priest, Archibald Tait, said, "We have a law, and by that law He ought to die." Every one of those early martyrs could have saved his life by merely adopting the simplest little piece of outward ritual; by simply throwing one little grain of incense on an altar to some so-called god that he knew did not exist, and therefore what difference did it make" But they scorned to yield up and crucify afresh their Saviour through a little ritual act in which, however petty in itself, the denial of vital and fundamental principles was involved.
Briefly to sum up and conclude. The issues at stake are as follows, viz.:
FirstWhether Magna Charta, that has stood for seven hundred years as the bulwark of the Englishman's rights, shall now be violated and permanently altered in one fundamental respect, or whether it shall stand inviolate.
Whether the English judiciary has any right to exercise legislative functions at the call of policy, or for any other reason, by altering the laws instead of merely interpreting them.
, While, by ancient prescription, the English Church has no right to enact a canon or rubric without the concurrence of Parliament, and Parliament cannot legislate for the Church without Her concurrence expressed through Her legislative bodiesthe Convocations of York and Canterburywhether a radical change shall now be made in the British Constitution itself, whereby the Church of England shall, for the first time in history, be in ecclesiastical matters entirely subordinate to the State.
Whether Presbyterians, Congregationalists; Baptists, Methodists, Unitarians, and infidels can alter to suit themselves the Church's doctrines as expressed in the Prayer Book.
Whether the Bishops, sitting in Parliament to watch the interests of the Church, have betrayed those interests by conspiring to rob Her of Her constitutional courts.
. Whether a Bishop is to be obeyed, not when he utters a godly admonition as a Right Reverend Father in the Churchfor then, of course, he is to be obeyedbut when he merely acts as a State official-executing the orders of a State court.
Whether the principles that governed the Duke of Alva and the Spanish Inquisition shall be reasserted and carried out practically, so far as they can be, in the year 1881.
Whether, while rationalists and Cromwellian Protestants are still succeeding in making a willing world and a willing secular press believe that Ritual is only mere childish frivolity, utterly beneath the consideration of grave men, and while they are at the same time stabbing at it themselves with the utmost energy, virulence, and perseverance, because, as they know and as we know, they are thus trying to stab to the heart the distinctive principles of the Church, Her whole Sacramental system, and the power and authority of Her Priesthood and Episcopatewhether, I repeat, there are any Sacraments, or whether those we call such are, as they claim, mere ordinances, mere empty outward forms; whether there is any Priesthood, or whether, as they claim, we are to fall back upon mere preachers; in short, whether or not there is any Anglican Church that is worth keeping up.
Lastly; whether Priests shall be able, while disobeying Bishops acting merely as State officials, to save eventually the Anglican Church from Protestant iconoclastic hands the Episcopal thrones themselves of those very Bishops. Alas, that their Lordships have not the skill to distinguish between relentless foes, who come smiling to them in the attire of friends, and real friends and loving children who are forced to walk tearfully in the garb of apparent foes.
return to Project Canterbury