The Evolution of Parties in the Anglican Communion
By Frederic Cook Morehouse
Milwaukee: The Young Churchman, 1905.
Digitized by Richard Mammana from a copy provided by Benjamin Guyer, 2012
TO THE MEMBERS OF
THE CHURCH CLUB OF PHILADELPHIA
THE CHURCH CLUB OF THE DIOCESE OF CONNECTICUT
AND IN PARTICULAR TO THEIR
FRANCIS A. LEWIS, Esq., AND HENRY E. REES, Esq.
THIS ESSAY IS CORDIALLY DEDICATED
BY ITS AUTHOR
THE EVOLUTION OF PARTIES IN THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION
THE success of a great negative movement is invariably attended by the birth-throes of newly-born parties. It is invariably a success that contains within itself the seeds of impending danger. That danger may, indeed, be averted; but no popular negative movement ever yet passed the turnpike at which the negative must change to a constructive policy, without losing its popular, or at least its unanimous character.
Never was this better illustrated than in the great negative upheaval of the Reformation. We need not now pause to trace the causes; it is obvious that from the protest of Spires, enunciated in 1529, through the tumultuous century and a half that followed, and that may be said to constitute the years of the Reformation period, there was no time and no policy in which the dissidents from Roman rule were united on any position whatsoever (always excepting those cardinal postulates of the Christian Religion which they held in common with Rome), except the purely negative policy of protest against what were believed to be Roman errors.
Sixteenth century Europe was a seething mass of individualism. It was only gradually that sufficient cohesion was given to specific groups, to enable one to [7/8] discern the rise of parties capable of constructive principles. The direction that the Reformation would take was a question that must have baffled the wisest observer during the half century that followed the Diet of Spires. The one basis of unity that ran through it all was a negative Protestantism. It is easy now, with our knowledge of subsequent results, to see the rise of different systems indicated in the genesis epoch. One could not do so, however, from a contemporary view alone. Luther, Zwingli, Bucer, most of the early reformers, were priests of the Church, in Roman orders. Calvin was only in minor orders, but held a parochial curacy and was accustomed to preach. Protestantism had its inception as a party in the Catholic Church.
In writing, with our present knowledge, of the Reformation in England, men criticise the English reformers, favorably or unfavorably according to their bias, for permitting any influence of the foreign reformers upon their action. When we have maintained the unique character of the Anglican Reformation, which differed from the movement on the Continent in that it retained the old Church and its ministry and sacraments where European reformers overthrew these, this foreign influence is sometimes cited as showing the common basis between the movement in Europe and in England. Calvin left his impress here, Bucer there—but why not? There was but one Catholic Church, of which these alike, equally with Warham and Cranmer, Fisher and Reginald Pole, the Bishops and priests of England, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy were all alike priests or Bishops. It is difficult for us nowadays to realize the condition in which controversy was indeed violent, but schism had not permanently or hopelessly [8/9] rent the outward unity of the Church. On the staunchest Catholic grounds there was no reason why English Churchmen should have resented the advice of their brother Catholic priests, Zwingli and Bucer. Schism was no part of the deliberate intent of the early generation of Protestant reformers anywhere.
In England, whatever drift may be detected in the early Reformation movement was so checked by the Marian regime that we need not go back to the reign of Henry VIII. or Edward VI. in our present consideration. But in passing, it is fair to say that the change from Henry VII. to Henry VIII., from Edward VI. to Mary, and from Mary to Elizabeth, was at no time equivalent to a religious revolution. In spite of the turbulence of the day, there were men far enough removed from centers of controversy to be not immediately affected by them, to be able to mind their cures of souls and to be loyal priests of the Church, through the years of the Latin services, the two Prayer Books of Edward VI., the Marian return to the Latin, and the Elizabethan book. A little book of recent years has told the story of Bernard Gilpin, a holy priest of the Church of England, ordained under the Latin ordinal in the reign of Henry VIII., loyal to the Church, in spite of its many outward changes, until his death in 1584. He welcomed the English Prayer Book as being more primitive in its teaching than was the Sarum missal, although able loyally to use either. He defended the changes in the Prayer Book, and yet during the last and most partisan year of Edward VI. he was able to celebrate in Latin for some of his parishioners who could thus participate in the service better than they could when it was said in English. He did not [9/10] disguise his views during the Marian reign, and yet was promoted to be Archdeacon of Durham in 1556, very shortly after the burning of Cranmer, and when, after a short residence on the continent, he had acquired a special and well-founded aversion to the Papacy. He resigned his archdeaconry in 1557 to accept an appointment to a new parish, Mary still being Queen. He had not the slightest difficulty in being a staunch non-Roman, Anglican Catholic, during all the changes and upheavals from Henry VIII. to Elizabeth. It never dawned upon him that, as modern writers have foolishly supposed, one Church succeeded another by royal decree when Mary entered upon and again when Elizabeth succeeded to the throne. Re could not fail to recognize the ascendancy of new parties from time to time, but the allegation that these parties ever ousted one Church in favor of another, was a conception born of later ideas, and totally untrue to the facts of the middle sixteenth century.
The Elizabethan succession was the triumph of a party which had been out and the suppression of a party that had been in. It was nothing more radical than that. The same thing happens repeatedly nowadays in England, not indeed on the change of sovereigns, but on any vote adverse to the ministry or the government of the day. Precisely the change that ensued when Elizabeth succeeded Mary, happened again in our own day when Mr. Gladstone's Home Rule bill was thrown out by the House of Lords, and a Conservative succeeded to a Liberal government.
It was under Elizabeth that those first permanent constructive movements began which may be said slowly to have evolved definite ecclesiastical parties in the [10/11] Church of England. At the outset, with many degrees, we may discover three specific groups that crystallized quite rapidly into parties. The Recusants were the adherents of Queen Mary and of her policy, and, quite naturally, they were strong in the Convocations which immediately succeeded her reign, for they were the representatives of the dominant policy prior to the accession of Queen Elizabeth. The Protestants were the party that had flocked back to England after a forced residence abroad, determined that the elaborate system of John Calvin should be engrafted upon the English Church. Between these two extremes stood a third party that at first seemed very weak. It even seems to be nameless. But it was the party of which the Queen herself, in spite of many fluctuations, seems to have been the patron; and it stood for that Anglican middle ground, which sometimes has seemed to degenerate into weak compromise, and sometimes has seemed to lack a positive force of initiative, but which, notwithstanding, has, for three centuries and more been the pillar of sober Anglican Catholicity.
Not, indeed, that this Anglican party sprung fully developed into being with the advent of Queen Elizabeth. It was largely the result of circumstances. The people demanded a cessation of the blood that had flowed so freely during Mary's reign. There was also, particularly in London, a strong Protestant sentiment, and this grew abnormally under the enthusiasm caused by the returning exiles. The first triple clash of parties resulted when Elizabeth's first Parliament was convened. It resulted in victory for the party which, in the nation at large, was probably weakest of all—the [11/12] party that opposed Protestant excesses while yet it insisted on undoing the work of the Marian regime.
Already the terms Catholic and Protestant were being bandied about and misused as we find them in later history. In Convocation the (Marian) Bishops entered upon a disputation with the conservative reformers. The Bishops ruled that as they were Catholics, sitting in defense of the Church, it was proper that the reformers should speak first, as having for their province the establishment of a novel position. But the reformers indignantly replied, "We are of the true Catholic Church and maintain the verity thereof." This led to personalities, and the disputation ended in a fiasco. The Recusant party continued to maintain that they constituted the only genuine, unadulterated Catholics. The Anglican party declined even to consider pending questions with them except as fellow-Catholics. And it is easy to see subsequent history making itself, in that first clash of parties in the first year of Queen Elizabeth.
But as time went on, this Anglican party showed itself the one element in the English life of the day that tended toward breadth and comprehensiveness. Neither Recusant nor Protestant had any other conception than that of following its own victory with the stamping out of its rivals. Anglican comprehensiveness was doomed to early failure; but it made a real attempt to make and to keep the Church of England broad enough so that papist and puritan might dwell together in unity. That neither party was willing to live in unity with the other, was the cause of the ultimate abandonment of this essentially broad policy. But happily the attempt was in the making when the lines of the Elizabethan Prayer [12/13] Book were drawn and when the Thirty-Nine Articles were set forth. Ten years later it would have been impossible for Articles of Religion to be set forth that could by any possibility have been accepted by more than one party within the Church, and had such a step become necessary, it would almost inevitably have terminated the Catholicity of the English Church. As it is, no doubt the ultra-polemical spirit of the day is visible in more than one of those Articles, but the conception of these Articles as a Calvinistic declaration, or one designed to overthrow the historic system of the Catholic Church, is one that cannot stand the test of history or of criticism. The Articles must be tested by the Prayer Book. They must be given the interpretation which is fairly consistent with the spirit of the liturgy. Where they are vague it must be understood that they are so purposely. That they are not even intended to make the Church of England intolerable to adherents of Roman doctrine, is to be seen from the fact that they date from the epoch when the Church of England was trying honestly to retain all Englishmen, those who held to Marian theology and those ultra-Protestants who had become saturated with Calvinism and worse during their Continental exile, quite as truly as those who comprised the now ascendant Anglican party, in the Communion of the one national Church. Nonconformity in the Church, almost to the point of anarchy, there was with a vengeance; but separation from the Church was yet a thing of the future. All parties were still able to worship under one roof, with the one Book of Common Prayer as happily remodelled at the beginning of the Elizabethan reign as their book of worship.
 Of course in so violent an age this hoped for unity could not be maintained. The Recusants were called out of the communion of the English Church by the Pope in 1570. Thence for a hundred years follows a sad story of plotting and disloyalty on the part of a few on the one side, and rigid punishment of the entire body of English Roman Catholics as a consequence on the other. We may not disclaim responsibility for the severe persecutions which for more than a century were heaped upon Roman Catholics in England; but it is a simple fact that the one person primarily responsible for these persecutions was Pius V., Pope of Rome. By excommunicating Elizabeth and declaring her throne vacant, he compelled English Roman Catholics to choose between at least constructive treason to the Crown on the one hand and repudiation of the papal authority on the other. To place them in that position was a piece of colossal, criminal folly. In the later years of Elizabeth's reign an attempt was indeed made to discriminate between actually loyal and disloyal Roman Catholics, by means of test oaths, but it failed, because even the loyal Romanists could not swear away the supremacy which their conscience compelled them to give to the Pope. The Roman martyrs in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, of whom there were nearly two hundred, present one of the most beautiful pictures of fidelity to conviction that England can give; and never were martyrdoms more unnecessary.
After 1570 the Recusants no longer figure as a party in the English Church; but the cleavage between Anglican and Protestant becomes more and more pronounced. The Anglican primacy of Matthew Parker gave way to the weak puritan ascendancy of Edmund [14/15] Grindal, in which the Church lost much of the sober position which it had obtained. John Whitgift, a moderate Calvinist, but a believer at least in episcopacy, partially regained what had been lost. But the character of the later Elizabethan Bishops was such as to discredit the episcopacy in the eyes of the nation, and the Puritan party then more and more committed itself to an unrelenting opposition to episcopacy. The surplice, quite as truly as the cope, and quite as reasonably—or unreasonably—was a rag of popery, and the square cap, which was affected by the Anglican Bishops, drove the Puritans frantic. Controversy had degenerated from the great themes of the Reformation to the details of vestments. The Church had distinctly lost ground in her morale, as in public estimation, since the death of Matthew Parker. Her apologists defended her on grounds too weak to command acceptance, while worldliness and worse in episcopal palaces turned the piety of the nation toward the puritan camp.
But when the Anglican position had almost died out for these causes, it was suddenly galvanized anew into life by the writings of Richard Hooker. The pupil of Bishop Jewel, he took up the defence of Anglican Catholicity at a point where Archbishop Whitgift had practically been beaten by his more clever adversaries. From the day when, in 1584, Richard Hooker appeared in the lists, there was a revival of Anglican Churchmanship that paved the way for the later Caroline divines. Lancelot Andrewes came to aid the great apologist, and by his great learning and piety, awoke a new vigor amidst the classic shades of Cambridge. A revival of Churchly live ensued. It was demonstrated again, as it has so often been demonstrated before and [15/16] since, that only where Anglican Churchmanship is defended on high doctrinal grounds is it able to hold its own against Romanism and against Protestantism. If the Archbishop who succeeded Matthew Parker had been a man of the calibre of Hooker or of Andrewes, the subsequent history of England would have been wonderfully changed. Probably the Commonwealth epoch would have been an impossibility and the Stuarts have suffered no lapse in their reign until James II. had made the succession an impossibility. As it was, the weakness of Grindal and the doctrinal insufficiency of Whitgift gave such an impetus to the Puritan movement, that the triumph of that movement under Oliver Cromwell became inevitable.
But to make it so, the Anglican, which perhaps we may now begin to call the High Church party, made so colossal a blunder that, in spite of the brilliancy of the Caroline divines who succeeded close after Hooker and Andrewes, that party itself hastened its own overthrow. This blunder was the avowal of the doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings. James I. had had enough of intolerant Presbyterianism in Scotland, and he came to England a thorough-going advocate of episcopacy. It is true that he was jealous of any claim to episcopacy as a divine right. The Divine Right of Kings was a patent that might not be infringed upon by any divine right on the part of anyone else. But "No Bishop no King," was a sequence of cause and effect which his mind could readily grasp, and he was in no mood to tolerate any more experiments in Presbyterianism.
And he materially improved the character of the Bishops. Bancroft was strong as an Archbishop, though the appointment of Abbot to succeed him was [16/17] weak. Laud succeeded to the position which Andrewes had taken in the Church. There was a revival of outward decency in worship. Bowing toward the altar, the Eastward position, the use of a credence and of a chalice veil, copes, wafer bread, the mixed chalice, and many other Catholic customs that had died out, not as a result of the Reformation but rather of the ensuing spiritual depression, were restored. The days of the noble Caroline divines were come. High Churchmanship was strenuously, even intolerantly, maintained when Laud succeeded to the Archbishopric, and New England received some notable accessions of so-called "godly ministers" in the persons of priests of the Church of England who found it expedient hastily to place the waters of the Atlantic between themselves and Laud when the Archbishop essayed to make inquiries as to their conformity. Their total disloyalty at heart to the Church system was plainly revealed when we discover how, to a man, they abandoned the entire communion of the Church and became, as later their fellow-Puritans at home became as well, persecutors of the Church whose Holy Orders they had received, which they had sworn to obey, and the emoluments of which they had unquestioningly pocketed. Thus was Congregationalism established in New England.
But the Divine Right of Kings carried the Divine Right and the whole functions of Bishops down with it, and the ascendancy of the Puritans broke the domination of the party that, to a greater or less degree, had, since the accession of Queen Elizabeth, kept the Church of England from lapsing into a Protestant sect or from returning into the Roman obedience.
And here we digress for a moment. In what sense [17/18] was the term Protestant applicable in England during this century that had elapsed since the death of Queen Mary?
The term was variously used. It was at first the title of that party which had been exiled during the Marian reign, and had come closely in touch with Continental sectaries, who gloried in that name. Gradually the name spread; but it was always a misnomer when used in England.
A protest is, commonly, an act of acquiesce under pressure. The protest at Spires, which gave rise to the ecclesiastical title was an act which recognized the rightful supremacy of the body and the rightful validity of the acts against which the protest was filed.
Men do not protest against evils which they can cure. An Act of Congress does not protest against abuses of trust or of some other combination less than itself. If there are abuses to be redressed, the supreme legislative body meets them, not by filing protest, but by legislation to curb the evils. A body of citizens may protest against the enactment of any proposed legislation; but the legislature, being supreme, does not protest against its citizens. A man being unjustly taxed, may pay his taxes under protest, pending a petition for relief; but if he leaves taxes unpaid, the State does not execute a protest against him, but proceeds to levy against his property and thus forcibly to collect the taxes. Thus it appears, that an act of protest is always an act of acknowledged weakness; an acceptance of authority to which the protestor—or shall we say, the protestant—is obliged to yield against his will. The weaker protests against the acts of the stronger.
Now the princes who filed their pretest at the Diet [18/19] of Spires were Protestants in this perfectly accurate sense; but there was no corresponding act in England which led to a protest. Certainly the Church of England did not protest against the Roman Primacy when she terminated the exercise of that primacy over her in 1533. She may possibly be said to have been a Protestant Church with respect to Rome prior to the year 1533, for she had long been restive under a primacy from which, yet, she found herself unable to escape. But from the moment when she formally and successfully abolished the primacy, so far as she was concerned, she was no longer Protestant. She had then, by authority, cast out the evil over which, in the day of her weakness, she could only protest. To call the English Church Protestant at any moment since the year 1533, is to admit the rightful authority of the Roman see over her, but to assert her unwillingness to grant obedience to that authority. There is no escape from this position.
So long as the term Protestant was used in England as applying simply to individuals or to a party, it did little harm; for party names are seldom exactly accurate, and no great harm results, The Church of England, even in her darkest days, has been careful not to admit the application of the term to the Church itself. The changed language of Parliamentary statutes during the Commonwealth, which then maintain the "Protestant Religion," strikes one immediately in comparing the language of that period with that of the earlier and later days. In this the Church has been consistent, notwithstanding that in a loose way, the term Protestant was used as applicable, not primarily to the Church, but to individuals or to a party within her borders. This distinction between the use of the term in the sixteenth [19/20] and seventeenth centuries in England, and that use which has become crystallized in the civil title of the Church in America, is a most important one. As here used, we are in effect affirming the rightful jurisdiction of the Papal see over this American Church, as often as we apply the adjective Protestant to it, quite as truly as we are affirming our intention to disobey that authority. Some of us feel, and will continue to feel, that such a position is most undignified, not to say absolutely a false one, for this Church to assume.
But throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the term was undoubtedly used in England to describe, not the Church, but sometimes the nation and sometimes individuals. Only during the Commonwealth does it appear in legal documents, and then it referred to the Presbyterian establishment and not to the Church.
The Commonwealth afforded the complete revolution, both in Church and State, which no act of the Tudor reigns accomplished. There was then no mere change of parties. High Churchmanship was stricken down by means of its own dogma of the Divine Right, and the whole Church with it. The Puritan party, now victorious, at once showed their true animus toward Church and State by suppressing the one and subverting the other. Continuity with the Church of earlier ages was broken. Presbyterianism supplanted the Church. With the historic ministry suppressed and the use of the Prayer Book made a penal offense, there was yet maintained and developed a love for the Church which was strengthened by means of its persecution. The Church was purified by the fire. The prop of [20/21] kings and endowments and livings and patronage was ruthlessly torn from under it, and only the spiritual structure was left. And men and women drank in new meanings to the words of the Liturgy which no longer rested upon the coercive force of Parliamentary enactment. Suppressed, hidden under the surface, there was developed during the Commonwealth a Churchmanship so strong that it was destined ultimately to snap the cords that tied it down.
For the English people soon tired of their experiment—not in democracy, but in the oppression of the Lord Protector. The cry to the banished king to come back to them was one of the most pathetic incidents in English history. And Charles II. came, and England tried to resume the threads of her national life where she had snapped them when the head of Charles I., King and Martyr, was chopped from his shoulders.
With the Restoration came a serious and a novel ecclesiastical problem. The parishes and endowments of the Church were all held by Presbyterians—not as a party within the Church, but as having been seized from the Church. To deprive all these men forcibly, would, first, have placed so strong a weapon in the hands of the opposition, as seriously to have embarrassed the government; secondly, it was impossible immediately to fill their places. Fifteen years of the Commonwealth had left few of the old order of clergy available. The Puritan party had gone, to a man, over to Presbyterianism. The old High Church party had suffered too greatly to be able to supply the deficiency, even if it had been politic for the government to depend upon it. Practically, the nation now consisted only of High Churchmen and of Presbyterians.
 And so was adopted that expedient which was destined to leave so pronounced a character upon the Church of England for two centuries to come. It was enacted that any of the Presbyterian ministers in possession of cures, who would consent to receive episcopal ordination prior to St. Bartholomew's day, 1662, were to be unmolested in their cures. On and after the date mentioned, only an episcopally ordained ministry would be tolerated; but in that ministry should be embraced, as its largest factor, men who had only just ceased to be persecutors of the Church they were now called upon to serve, who were totally out of sympathy with the life and doctrine of the Church, who accepted episcopacy only because they were obliged to choose between that and giving up their salaries, who hated the very names of priest and sacrifice, and who could, in no possible sense be looked to, loyally to portray the Church's system of doctrine, discipline, and worship.
Look at the case. The really conscientious men among them, such as Baxter, could not and did not conform. Rather than accept episcopal ordination and the use of the Prayer Book, they resigned their livings, and formed the nucleus of the Presbyterian body, which thus took its rise in England. One honors those men, who lived up to their convictions, and gave up certain, if not opulent incomes, to establish a sect that must look for its sustenance to the uncertain contributions of men untrained in the duty of Christian giving. It gives us a sense of sympathy with our Presbyterian brothers, when we think how their organization began with men who were proof against the alluring bait held out to them by the government, while ours was continued with their men who conformed rather than to lose their pay.
 Alas, for the rarity of steadfast adherence to conviction. The great bulk of these erstwhile Presbyterian ministers hastened to conform and to present themselves for ordination at the apostolic hands of the Bishops. Just how many did so it is impossible to say; at least I have been unable, after some considerable search, to find the number stated; but Canon Overton, that excellent authority in modern English Church history, says that fully three-fourths of the clergy were at this time totally alien to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Church. Add to these resulting perplexities of devout Churchmen the fact that the Commonwealth soldiers had torn down and destroyed everything distinctively Churchly, the Cathedrals had been used as stables, the vestments had been destroyed, and practically nothing was left that was required for the mere decencies of divine worship. What wonder that the ornaments and vestments of the rubric became nearly obsolete? What wonder that historic Churchmanship should ultimately have failed in the fight against conditions such as these, when three-fourths of the clergy and probably a large minority of the people loved to have it so.
This Puritan strain forcibly engrafted upon the Church was the party that began then to be called Low Churchmen. It was Puritanism, conformed to the Church for the sake of its emoluments. Its leaders were Samuel Parker, Thomas Cartwright, who became a Bishop, and some others. Penal legislation followed. The first generation of Low Churchmen were bitterest against the Nonconformists, whose self-denying course must have aroused their own consciences. The penal legislation sharply divided the conformist and the nonconformist into distinct camps.
 With it all, there was a leaven of Churchliness. The Bishops of the reign of Charles II. were for the most part strong men, of whom Churchmen may well be proud. Gilbert Sheldon and William Sancroft were Archbishops of Canterbury, Compton was at London, Peter Gunning, one of the noblest of them all, at Chichester and then at Ely, Thomas Ken at Bath and Wells, William Nicholson at Gloucester, Robert Sanderson at Lincoln, John Hacket at Lichfield, John Cosin at Durham, George Hall at Chester. Perhaps the Church of England never had a stronger episcopal bench, and the effect of it was marvellous. The recovery from the condition of the years immediately preceding the Restoration exceeded anything that could be expected. Low Churchmanship as a doctrinal system was permanently engrafted upon the Church; but Low Churchmanship as mere conformity probably became extinct with the deaths of the conformists themselves. The Romanism of James II. gave the advantage to the new school of Low Churchmen. Happily, the absurd fiction of charging High Churchmen with being Romanizers had not then been invented. The one thing upon which the Church and the nation were absolutely united was that nothing savoring of Romanism would be tolerated within it. High Churchmen were as emphatic in this as were Low Churchmen. Men might differ in regard to Protestant Nonconformists, but they were unanimous in rejecting everything Roman, and, unhappily, in persecuting Roman Catholics themselves.
But Churchliness advanced notwithstanding. At one and the same time there were altars over which lighted candles burned, and holy tables which were used as receptacles for hats, and worse. At the coronation of [24/25] William and Mary there were 28 lights on the altar, and 8 others on the gradine, which seems then already to have become localized in the English Church; while at another place several boys were arrested for playing cards upon the altar, there was complaint that people had stood upon the altar at a great spectacle, and the visitation question as to whether the holy table is used for the depositing of hats is quite frequent. But there are many contemporary mentions of lights, pictures, bowing toward the altar, etc.
Daily services were revived on a considerable scale, so that a very considerable minority of churches enjoyed them; but even among High Churchmen the celebration of the Holy Communion was very infrequent. Even George Herbert's model country parson, "touching the frequencie of the Communion, celebrates it, if not duly once a month, yet at least five or six times in the year, as at Easter, Christmas, Whitsuntide, afore and after harvest, and at the beginning in Lent." And this was probably a maximum rather than an accustomed use. The reason is not far to seek. The Holy Communion had sunk to the level of a political test. All parties acquiesced in the infamous (according to our modern ideas) Test Act. A man might not hold office until he had received the Holy Communion in his parish church, had received a certificate to the fact, and had taken oath that he did not believe in "any transubstantiation in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, or in the elements of bread and wine, at or after the consecration thereof, by any person whatsoever." This particular test for the exclusion of Roman Catholics was chosen because the Council of Trent had declared Transubstantiation to be unquestionably a dogma of the Catholic Faith; consequently, [25/26] no Roman Catholic could take the oath in any sense. It was believed that an oath denying the Pope's political supremacy would be evaded by mental reservations, that supremacy not being an article of faith; consequently Transubstantiation was seized upon as the test dogma. Of course there was then no disposition to inquire closely what the term meant, and whether it really was not susceptible of a definition that could be tolerated in the English Church. There was a clear-cut line between what was Roman and what was Anglican, and Transubstantiation was on the Roman side. Notwithstanding this, and notwithstanding the awful perversion of the sacrament of the altar as a political test, there was high eucharistic doctrine taught, as the extant works of Cosin, Gunning, Ken, and others show. In fact the era was a brilliant one for staunch Churchmanship, in spite of its discouragements.
What might have been the result if this rapid progress had been continued, no one can tell. The perversion of James II. stopped it all. William and Mary were called to the English throne. A new test of loyalty was established, by the enactment of the new oath to support the new royal line.
It fell hardly on the clergy. They had sworn at Ordination to give their allegiance to the deposed monarch, and the State asked them to violate that oath and take another directly opposed to the first. Beside that, the Divine Right of Kings was by no means dead. The wretched James was still the Lord's Anointed. The King could do no wrong. To forswear allegiance to him was an impossibility.
We may look back upon those difficulties that gave rise to the Non-Juring movement with what sentiments [26/27] we will; the fact remains that the virile Christian of that date valued the sacredness of an oath more than most of us do to-day. What protection was there in the Test Act, and in the several oaths prescribed for the protection of the so-called Protestant supremacy, except that friend and foe alike recognized that as a matter of course men would go to torture and to death rather than violate their oaths! And this they did cheerfully for more than a century, when men of first one party, then another, were submitted to frightful tortures, from all of which they could easily have saved themselves by breaking their oath or by taking a false oath. And now the State required of the clergy to do that which Recusant and Puritan martyr had steadfastly refused to do; and the worst of it was that the Lord's Anointed, the King who could do no wrong, had so misgoverned the State and had proved so disloyal to the Church, that loyal Englishmen shrank from supporting him.
Right and wrong seemed, as so often they do seem, curiously mixed. There were many who took the oath of allegiance to the new regime; hut the flower of the clergy refused, and those who entered the Non-Juring movement as a consequence, abandoning all communion with the Church, were just those men whom the Church most needed. The Non-Jurors were not many in numbers but they were weighty in quality. The Church after the Revolution was far weaker than she had been before.
The beginning of the decline which culminated in the spiritual torpor of the middle eighteenth century, almost at once set in. The vacancies in the episcopate caused by the refusal of Bishops to take the oath, were [27/28] filled by appointees of distinctly lower calibre. Where, twenty years earlier, the Upper House of Convocation bad been strong and the Lower House weak, now the Lower House, which represented the hitherto dominant High Churchmanship of the realm, was far stronger. The sympathy with the Non-Jurors was intense, and aroused a corresponding hostility toward the Bishops of the new order, which was not lessened by reason of their intolerable erastianism.
The Church of England entered upon a new phase with the advent of William and Mary, which involved almost as great a change in her outward aspect as the changes in the reign of Henry VIII. involved. The long continued dominance of High Churchmanship was broken. In its place there came to the front a party that had grown out of Puritanism but yet was itself not Puritan. There had been a cleavage between the two at the Restoration period. The Low Churchmen of the early Hanoverian period had partly outgrown the scandal of being a party of mere outward conformity; but yet they were tainted with the Calvinistic and the Presbyterian strain of Puritanism. The whole training of the party had been as one of violent opposition. Its opposition had been directed against the whole system of the Book of Common Prayer and of episcopacy. Puritan ideals had been set forth in the shocking iconoclasm of the Commonwealth, and in the quieter, but no less pronounced, severity of the colony of Connecticut.
Low Churchmanship inherited all this, curbed, originally, by the desire of the clergy to retain their offices in the Church; but happily it had, as a party, undergone some modification between the events of the Restoration and the Revolution of 1688. Slowly but surely, [28/29] it had learned to be loyal to the Church. That loyalty was, indeed, dependent on a certain modus vivendi in the Church against which the High Church Bishops had vigorously fought; but against the extremes of the early Conformist party were the facts that neither intellectually nor socially did the conforming Puritan clergy compare with the High Church clergy from whom the Bishops had been chosen, and consequently they lacked the force to impress themselves upon the nation; that the tendency of the laity was to elevate them, since those of the laity who adhered to Puritan principles sympathized rather with the Nonconformists than with those who conformed, while the bulk of the nation had gone to the full extent of High Churchmanship in natural reaction from the Commonwealth days; and, especially, that the literature of the day was strong in its Churchly trend. All these things tended to weaken the partisanship of Low Churchmanship before its sudden elevation to be the dominant school. The Churchly sympathy of Queen Anne, too, and the elevation of Crown appointments during her reign, tended to bring the better element of Low Churchmanship to the fore. High Churchmen were still further weakened by the withdrawals to the Non-Juring ranks which resulted from the accession of George I. That prince came as a last straw to many who had gulped down the earlier Hanoverian rulers by a strain. A King who had no more sympathy with the English people or the English Church than be had with those of Italy, drove a second body of old-time Churchmen into the Non-Juring camp.
And so began that Low Church supremacy in the Church of England which, in the main, may be said to have lasted until the new ideals of the Oxford Movement [29/30] succeeded to eighteenth century practices. I trust I may not be charged with partisanship when I say what has been said, in effect, by every modern writer on eighteenth century England, that it was the most dismal period through which the Church of England ever passed. There was for the next half century a steady decline in everything that makes for true religion. The sporting parson, the holding of benefices in plurality by presbyters and by Bishops, the neglect of their spiritual duties by both, the decay of the Church fabric, the increasingly slipshod methods of conducting services—all these followed in its train. Convocation was suppressed, simply because it had grown so quarrelsome that the government of the day considered it to be a nuisance. There was a growth of Free Thought and Deism, and the coldness of the Church raised no sufficient barrier to them. Low Churchmanship took upon Itself the Latitudinarian form which characterized the century. Benjamin Hoadly became the leading exponent of English Churchmanship, of whom Bishop Samuel Wilberforce said that scarcely anything had done so much harm to religion in England as "the deadly leaven of Hoadly's Latitudinarianism." Apart from that theological weakness, he was disgraceful in his absenteeism. He was Bishop of Bangor for six years, and never once set foot within his Diocese. The worst of it is that this was by no means rare, and no public sentiment condemned it. Abbey says of Hoadly: "He was the typical Low Churchman of his age, and this in a manner far more decided than was the case with any of his contemporaries or successors..... Hoadly was the principle personified, and developed both in its merits and defects to the utmost verge which the limits of the English [30/31] Church allowed (Eng. Ch., etc., 1700-1800, II., 4).
The main characteristic of this school of thought was its rationalism. Reason seemed to supersede revelation; yet even on their own ground, the Churchmen of the day could not vanquish their rationalistic enemies, nor could they meet the issues raised by the growing body of Unitarians. All idea of the spiritual authority of the Church, of its continuity with the Catholic ages, of a spiritual Kingdom quite distinct from the temporal realm seemed to be lost to the minds of the vast majority.
On the other hand, there was a beneficial growth in the direction of tolerance. Eighteenth century Latitudinarianism broke loose from its puritan traditions in more than one sphere; and its readiness to tolerate without persecution, those who were outside the communion of the Church, was one of the most conspicuous. This tolerance was not, indeed, carried to the extent of showing charity to those within their own fold who might differ with them, as the treatment of Wesley and his followers proved; but alas not even twentieth century Churchmanship is broad enough habitually to show such charity.
Another point in which dominant Low Churchmanship differed markedly from the earlier puritanism is in its view of the Prayer Book. In nothing had the Puritans, earlier and later, been more insistent than in the fact that the Prayer Book was opposed to their own theological system. It was "Romish," it was objectionable in every way. It taught high sacramental doctrine, it was full of sacerdotalism, it required the use of popish vestments—the surplice, the cope, the whole tale of [31/32] vestments of unreformed days—it was superstitious in the use of the ring in marriage, and the cross in baptism, and kneeling at the reception of the Holy Eucharist. It taught Baptismal Regeneration. These had been the complaints of Puritans from the day the Prayer Book of 1549 was set forth to the day when, for those monstrous defects, triumphant Puritanism had suppressed the Prayer Book, and made its use a penal offense. Hampton Court and Savoy Conferences had dealt with these very grounds. Except in the case of the never-used Prayer Book of 1552, the Puritan party never had been able to direct Prayer Book revision. That work had always been performed by High Churchmen.
Now, however, eighteenth century Low Churchmen forgot this long continued, consistent attitude of their fathers, and the belief that the Prayer Book taught their own system of theology supplanted their century-long protests. Never was there a more grotesque change of front between a party in opposition and the same party in power. This curious anomaly lasted well into the nineteenth century, and indeed is not wholly extinct to-day. Instead of objecting, in a perfectly reasonable manner, that the Prayer Book enjoins the use of the cope, it is now the wearer of the cope who is on the defensive. Baptismal Regeneration, instead of being an objection to the Prayer Book, was the bone of contention a century later, in which the party in power maintained positively that it was not the teaching of the Prayer Book. And so we might go on through the catalogue of issues between High and Low Churchmen. The Prayer Book that had been compiled by High Churchmen to set forth Catholic doctrine and to be the [32/33] guide for Catholic worship, that had been assailed for more than a century by Puritans because it did so, that was called by every sort of derogatory name for that reason, amendment of which in those particulars had been urgently demanded by the Puritan section at the Hampton Court and the Savoy Conferences, that had been banished when the Puritans became ascendant because it taught the old system of theology and worship—this identical Prayer Book, Ornaments Rubric, Baptismal service, Holy Communion, Ordinal, and all, was now gravely held by dominant Low Churchmen to be solely susceptible of the interpretation which accorded with their own views, and the old, historic, High Church view, had, later, to fight every inch of the way back to obtain even toleration, with the whole force of the English law courts and of militant Low Churchmanship opposed to it. Such is one of the sarcasms of history. But never was there a more radical, even more ludicrous perversion of the language of a formulary, or a more complete reversal of position by a party. Only by departing absolutely from their own traditions, on the part of Low Churchmen, and only because the English people had strangely forgotten their own history; was this change of front possible.
The boasted toleration of this Latitudinarian school broke down hopelessly at the rise of the Wesleyan movement. Examining that movement critically, we can see that it was little more than the recrudescence of old-fashioned High Churchmanship, with some limitations, and colored by the strong personality of John Wesley. On a priori grounds there was every reason to look at this time for a revival of the dormant High Churchmanship. The Non-Juring movement, which had [33/34] diverted the current of the most pious of the High Church school, had not only spent its force, but had lost its reason for existence. It lacked, indeed, any element of perpetuity. When the death of James II. occurred, many felt that as they were no longer bound by their oath of allegiance to him, they could now consistently acknowledge the reigning house. The unpopularity of George I. among the Jacobites somewhat curbed this return movement; but as the century advanced, the number of English Non-Jurors grew less and less as the reasons for the movement faded further away into the past.
That High Churchmanship should once more hold up its head in the Church in which it had for so long been the dominant power, was inevitable. The time came when the great Wesleyan movement spread over the English Church. In its high sacramental teaching, its insistence on frequent communions, its revival of daily services, its daily self-denial and even asceticism, Wesley but followed in the track of the Caroline divines. Wesley desired always to be reckoned a loyal Churchman, though his hold on the Church as a spiritual kingdom was weak. But his Churchmanship was a chastened and corrected High Churchmanship, No more was the fatal dogma of the Divine Right of Kings permitted to weight it down. High Churchmanship was here divorced from tory politics, and presented in a form that was able to stand on its own feet, with no reliance on Tudor or Stuart to back it. Moreover it was a High Churchmanship that demanded high living. The reproach of Stuart days, in which High Churchmen of note were plentiful in the luxurious, corrupt court of Charles II. was wiped out of its Wesleyan [34/35] form. Indeed it went to the opposite extreme. The commonest sports of the day were mortal sins. Theatre-going, gaming, cards, races, were quite as unpardonable as any breach of the Ten Commandments. Moreover, a decidedly Wesleyan turn was given to the theology of the movement, in the teaching of much that fails to accord with Catholic doctrine. One shudders to-day at the realism of the hell to which the vast majority of the race was certainly destined as preached by Wesley. Conversion held a cardinal place in his system which made it supersede almost all else in being necessary to salvation. The unconverted-by which he meant all who were not conscious of a sudden transformation of being—were certainly lost.
Perhaps it is not strange that with this curious admixture of historic High Churchmanship and Wes1eyan individualism, no place was found for the movement in the English Church. How the dominant party of the Church stamped it under its feet is too well known to require recapitulation. Latitudinarianism had just one claim on our sympathy, and that is that it had broken the hitherto universal system of persecution, that had been practised by all parties; but it failed miserably to tolerate, because it failed to comprehend, the Wesleyan movement. In the end, as we know too well, the body of Wesleyans, now known as Methodists, was lost to the Church. So was the Church again left narrower and poorer for having driven out some of her most needed children. It is a sad story.
But quickly upon this movement came the Evangelical movement. One cannot be too thankful to God for the results of that movement. Not unlike Wesleyanism in its earlier days, it transformed the spirit [35/36] of Low Churchmen in general, and through them, of the entire English Church. The coldness and rationalism of Latitudinarianism melted away before the warmth of Evangelical fervor. A beautiful piety succeeded to the earlier spirit of worldliness. Men and women found their way to a closer walk with God, and a more lovely life of fellowship with Him. The missionary spirit revived. A century earlier the S. P. C. K. and the S. P. G. had been inaugurated and both these had performed a good work, particularly in the American colonies. Now the expanding religion among the dominant school of thought led to the establishment of the C.M.S., on lines, unhappily, which have grown to partake of a somewhat partisan nature, but with genuine missionary enthusiasm behind it. The duty of Christian giving was from the start an Evangelical tenet. Opposition to slavery and the slave trade was developed. Religion became again a reality.
The movement had its limitations. Unlike Wesleyanism, it was not founded on sacramental teaching. It was so largely individualistic that it sacrificed the idea of the family life as children of one Lord in one family. It transformed men, but hardly the Church. It gave sweetness to lives that had been cold; but it did not fulfil the life of the Prayer Book in any sense. It brought Churchmen and dissenters very close to one another; but it gave no reason why dissenters should come within the fold their Lord had prepared for them.
Looking now toward our own land, we find at the Revolution, English Churchmen distributed more or less generally over all the colonies from New York southward. These partook largely of the limitations of their brethren at home. The S. P. G. had kept religion [36/37] alive among them. Low Churchmanship was dominant, as it was at home; but High Churchmen, and even Non-Jurors, as Felton and Talbot in New Jersey, were by no means unknown. We blame the English Government and particularly the English Bishops for depriving America of the blessing of episcopacy; but in those colonies in which the Church was relatively strong, the active demand for a Bishop was never very urgent. The same inertia that characterized the Church at home, was dominant in the colonies as well.
An exception must be made in favor of Connecticut Churchmanship. That Churchmanship grew from the study of the works of English theologians, and was not planted by the contemporary school. No better proof could be desired of the fact that, prejudice, bias, and environment aside, true English Churchmanship is necessarily High Churchmanship, than the mere fact of the rise of the school of Connecticut Churchmen from the study, followed by the conversion, of Cutler, Johnson, and those others who read their way from Congregationalism into the Church, At no time until John Henry Hobart was consecrated to the episcopate in New York, was the spirit of true Churchliness so well displayed as in the Bishop, clergy, and laity of Connecticut, who were so largely unaffected by the torpor of eighteenth century Churchmanship in England.
Bishop White was also a High Churchman, but of totally a different sort from that which had taken root in Connecticut. Connecticut High Churchmanship was of the seventeenth century school; Bishop White's, of the eighteenth. Bishop Horsley held a somewhat similar position in England. But the Bishop of Pennsylvania always called himself a High Churchman, and it [37/38] is but a truism to say that to his wisdom we owe, very largely, under God, the wise direction which was given to the organization of the Church in the United States. Yet it is more largely to Bishop Seabury that we owe her doctrinal soundness.
Farther South, the Low Church party was generally intrenched. The Wesleyan movement in America had largely spent its force outside the Church, in spite of the fact of Wesley's loyal ministrations in Christ Church, Savannah, and elsewhere. How largely the colonies were affected by the Evangelical movement does not quite appear. It was too late to have left a very strong impress before the storms of the Revolution had terminated, for the time being, English influence of all kinds. Yet it had certainly mellowed the Low Churchmanship of the South, and a generation later in the day of Bishop Meade, it bore fruit that did not appear at the time. That fruit has steadily developed in our own Evangelical section—even more largely I think, than in England. Personally, I always speak of men of the school of Meade and his noble successors as Evangelicals, rather than as Low Churchmen. They are amply entitled to that better name. The history of Evangelicalism is one that has been wholly creditable; the same cannot be said of the history of Low Churchmanship. I wish the latter term might become extinct in the American Church. Men ought not to acquiesce in being "low" in anything. The limitation of Evangelicalism has been its weak and somewhat narrow doctrinal foundation, and its inability to sympathize with the revival of the older doctrinal position, together with some considerable measure of intolerance. It has not realized the spirit of the Prayer Book. Its strength [38/39] has been in the nobility of the lives which it has built up, and in its missionary zeal. I think the conclusion is unavoidable, that if the earlier Churchmanship of the South, and particularly of Virginia, where the Church was the established religion, had been stronger in quality, we should find the Church throughout the South to-day the dominant form of religion. Remembering that Connecticut was distinctly a Puritan colony, in which the exercise of Churchmanship was long forbidden, while Virginia was from its first settlement a Church colony, I think it is difficult to reconcile the present condition, in which one person in every 29 in Connecticut is a communicant of the Church, while only one in 82 is thus numbered in Virginia, with any hypothesis which does not hold early Virginia Churchmanship to be lacking in the power of reproduction as compared with traditional Connecticut Churchmanship. It did not give the emigrant from Virginia to Alabama or Kentucky a sufficient motive for carrying the Church with him, and the emigrant threw in his lot with some one of the Protestant sects. The South is full of instances in which families who trace their ancestry to Virginia Churchmen are now numbered among the sects. Connecticut Churchmen reproduced their kind when they removed to the West.
A distinct forward step in American Churchmanship was taken in the consecration of Bishop Hobart in New York in 1811. Bishop Hobart was the father of what may be termed modern High Churchmanship. His school was one of definite positiveness. It was the reproduction in America of the Churchmanship of Andrewes and Laud. It differed from the Churchmanship of Bishop White as greatly as his differed from that of [39/40] Bishop Meade. The American Church was almost extinct when Hobart was consecrated. Negative Churchmanship in the South and passive Churchmanship in the North, had failed to make any impression upon the strenuous life of the young American nation. Bishop Hobart was both intensely positive and intensely active in his Churchmanship. To him the Churchly revival is largely due. Hobart Churchmanship invigorated the American Church so that its doctrinal position and its vitality were far beyond that of the Church of England at the same period. To-day it is common to ascribe the fuller Church life of latter years to the Oxford movement. In America, that revival much antedated that renowned movement. Indeed the first effect of the Oxford movement was to retard the Catholic revival in America. The postulates of the Tracts for the Times were, for the most part, commonplaces in the American Church before those Tracts were written. In 1832, a year before the delivery of Keble's Assize Sermon, the American House of Bishops set forth a declaration in which it was recited that "the Holy Communion is of a spiritually sacrificial character" (Perry's Journals, II, 451). When the earlier reports of the Tractarian movement reached this country, men blanched with fear of what it might all mean, though Hobart and Croes and Ravenscroft and the Onderdonks, and Hopkins and George Washington Doane, and Otey, and Whittingham, and many others, had for years been preaching the distinctive theology of Keble and Pusey, and this had long been accepted as a matter of course throughout the Church. It is true that this High Churchmanship was contested by the Evangelical school, of which Meade and McIlvaine were [40/41] the leading exponents in the episcopate; but had men been willing quietly to sift what was heralded as Tractarianism or Puseyism, and is now commonly known as the teaching of the Oxford Movement, they must certainly have perceived that in America, at least, it was no novelty. In fact there is some reason to believe that it was the trip of Bishop Hobart to England in 1823 that gave the first suggestion of the movement that was destined to overthrow current misconceptions of the Church, and to resume the study of that theology which had been characteristic of the Church before the blight of the eighteenth century decadence fell upon her.
Indeed, even in England, in spite of the prevailing deadness there had been a sprinkling of High Churchmanship in the late eighteenth and early part of the nineteenth century that taught what was afterward to startle the Church when it was more vigorously proclaimed by the Oxford divines. Bishop Horsley, with whom I have already compared Bishop White, vindicated High Churchmanship in 1790, adding: "My reverend brethren, we must be content to be High Churchmen according to this usage of the word, or we cannot be Churchmen at all; for he who thinks of God's ministers as the mere servants of the State is out of the Church, severed from it by a kind of self-excommunication" (First charge of the Bishop of St. David's, 1790, quoted by Overton, English Church. in Nineteenth Century, p. 26). And Bishop Van Mildert, in his Bampton Lectures of 1814, treats "the ordinances of the Christian Sacraments and the Priesthood" as among "the essential doctrines of the Church," and adds: "We are speaking [41/42] now, it will be recollected of what in ecclesiastical history is emphatically called THE CHURCH; that which has from age to age, borne rule upon the ground of it" pretensions to Apostolical Succession" (ibid., p. 26). Similar language can be quoted from other writers; but of course the prevailing conception of the Church was much below this.
Why the Oxford movement should have aroused such intense antagonism, is a curious study in psychology. Until Tract XC. was reached, the theology of that movement was simply the commonplaces of the Caroline divines. It was what had always been recognized by friend and foe as the spirit of the Prayer Book until the decline in the eighteenth century. But Tract XC. undoubtedly struck a new chord. It was the first attempt since the failure in the early years of Queen Elizabeth, to be really fair to the Church of Rome. The intensity of the opposition, amounting to hatred, of everything pertaining to Romanism, which animated all parties alike in England from the earliest Reformation days, was really founded upon political rather than upon religious causes. Successive Popes had done their utmost to subvert the English monarchy. They had instigated treason among Englishmen and had stirred up foreign foes against the realm. The political danger from the papacy was a constant menace to the safety of England from the days of Queen Elizabeth to the death of the last Stuart pretender. I doubt whether the martyrdoms of the Marian regime were so large a factor in this anti-Roman sentiment that has so strongly affected Englishmen, as is commonly believed. Every party believed in punishment of religious nonconformists in that day, every party [42/43] practised it when the opportunity arose, and each party, in turn, supplied the victims, when it was the party of the opposition. Neither High Churchmen, Low Churchmen, Puritans, nor Recusants, ever objected to religious persecutions per se, except perhaps when they were in the minority, before the growth of the spirit of toleration in the eighteenth century.
Neither was any special heinousness attached to the dogma of Transubstantiation responsible for this hatred. It is obvious that on its merits, the Anglo-Roman Issue as to the continued presence of bread and wine in the sacrament of the Eucharist, fades into utter insignificance beside the Anglo-Protestant issue concerning the real presence of Christ therein. Yet though Anglicans and Protestants have steadily differed concerning this greater issue, it has been without one tithe of the animosity that has attached to the Anglo-Roman dispute. I think the reason for this is simply because it was easier to seize on the Tridentine definition of Transubstantiation as the point of differentiation between Anglicans and Romans, than to lay the finger upon the real but elusive issue of the temporal power claimed by the Popes over all nations. The latter, rather than the former, was the real bone of contention, and it was a serious issue.
Now the red rag which enclosed Tract XC. when it was waved before the Protestant bull, was not its theology, but the attempt therein made to show that the Thirty-Nine Articles were not designed to lead the English Church to part company with the Churches of the Roman obedience in matters of Catholic theology or antiquity. It was an attempt to show that in most particulars, the Articles expressly curbed the anti-[43/44] Roman sentiment of the day in which they were drawn, in the interest of that unity with conservative Roman Catholics of the Marian school, which was quite within the range of possibilities when the Articles were written, and which the early Elizabethan Church honestly tried to accomplish.
But Tract XC. did more than that. It took the old-time Latitudinarian at his word, and broke down utterly vaunted "breadth." He had claimed to be the apostle of toleration. Here was the challenge to see whether he would practise what he preached. He had failed once in the Wesleyan test; and now he failed abjectly at the text of Tract XC. The breadth of Latitudinarianism vanished into thin air.
Yet it was inevitable that with the decline of the European-Latin powers, and consequently of the temporal Papacy, the extreme hatred of Romanism in England must sometime give way. A more charitable spirit had, indeed, been somewhat developed among Englishmen through the refugees who fled to their shores from the violence of the French Revolution. If these French Catholics had been persecuted at home for their adherence to Rome, the popular English sentiment, even in the later eighteenth century, would have been that it served them right. But when they were persecuted, simply as Christians, by a mob of freethinking infidels, it aroused a spirit of sympathy with them as fellow-Christians among Englishmen that had been quite foreign to their sentiments for several centuries.
But Tractarianism tried the breadth of English Latitudinarianism, and found it wanting, and the school that condemned the tracts entered promptly upon a decline [44/45] from which it never recovered. The tables were turned. Catholic doctrine was now a suppliant for toleration in a Church whose Prayer Book and formularies set forth, and were intended to set forth, those truths that now begged the grace of bare toleration. All the power of position and fanatical hatred and law courts tried to exclude them from their own. But Tractarianism triumphed, and the Church of England resumed that doctrinal position which was traditionally her own.
But the violent contest of the middle nineteenth century raised up a third school of thought, which is not always appreciated in our own days, and which has been singularly misunderstood by friend and foe alike. This was the Broad Church movement. As that movement was planned by its best thinkers, it was never intended to become a party. The aim of Arnold, Kingsley, Maurice, and their school—an aim which, in this country, Phillips Brooks adopted and to which he gave the power of his tremendous personality—was to lead men to view questions in their right relations to each other, and to prevent such violent outbursts as that which shook England when the Tracts for the Times and their writers were so violently opposed. Broad Churchmanship was not of itself to take a partisan position; it was to modify the violence of other men who were partisans and of partisan schools of thought. More than all, it was to seek to unite Churchmen in common work, particularly among the poor and the neglected. It was to substitute a working for a quarrelling Church.
The ideals of this school were magnificent. One can but reverence those who conceived them. But [45/46] unhappily the Broad Church school struck a snag that, in effect, wrecked it, by turning it aside from its main ideals and diverting it into an unexpected channel. After the partial subsidence of the Tractarian controversy, there arose the new controversy over Biblical criticism. Had Broad Churchmanship been content to apply its own ideals to this controversy, much of the bitterness of subsequent years might have been averted. The issue needed an impartial, sympathetic arbiter, strong enough to withstand the current panic of denunciation, and broad enough to stand between two extremes. But Broad Churchmanship fell violently into partisanship at its very first test. Instead of standing between the two parties, it went bodily over to one of them, and became simply another partisan group. Real Broad Churchmanship might probably have been able to prevent the exaggerated fear of "Essays and Reviews," had it been true to its ideals. But this was only a preliminary clash. There arose the Colenso controversy. Now to describe Bishop Colenso as "broad," is simply to make the term meaningless. Neither he, nor the later school who follow in his train, have any more claim on that magnificent adjective than have the narrowest partisans of any other school of thought. The sole connection of Colenso with real Broad Churchmanship is that he desired its protection. The whole unhappy history of the Colenso episode shows repeatedly the narrowness of Bishop Colenso's vision. Now the real province of Broad Churchmen was to see, at such a crisis, that absolute fairness was accorded Bishop Colenso, Men like Kingsley, and the real Broad Churchmen, saw this and tried to stem the tide, but in vain. Broad Churchmen went over bodily to the so [46/47] called critical position. In doing so, they abdicated all right to be considered unpartisan, all right to the designation Broad. Broad Churchmanship was again tried and it was again found wanting.
Yet the line of truly Broad Churchmen survived, in spite of this apostasy of the school as a whole. Phillips Brooks was a noble representative of real, as opposed to spurious Broad Churchmanship. While he lived, he held in check, by virtue of his strong and lovable personality, a whole host of spurious Broad Churchmen. These men took Dr. Brooks as their idol, as well they might. But when he died, the men he had held in check abandoned the true breadth of their master, and formed, as their prototypes in England had done, simply another partisan school of thought. And I venture to say without fear of serious question of the truth of the statement being raised, that no party in the American Church has been more distinctly partisan in its writings and its actions, and in its relations to men not of its own school, than has the Broad Church party since the death of Phillips Brooks. Would you have the proof! Read their books. Notwithstanding this, there are to-day among those called Broad Churchmen, men of real breadth of mind, who are an honor to the Church and who preserve at least the traditions of early Broad Churchmanship.
We must pass hastily over the rise of Ritualism. That movement proceeded out of Tractarianism as an inevitable result. The Oxford Movement was largely intellectual. It was a movement of scholars. When that movement had sunk down into the minds of people, it quickly showed itself by changes in practice. The Catholic doctrine of the Church necessarily implied [47/48] Catholic practice. The loosening of the bonds of narrowness which had tied the English Church strictly to the insular precedents of recent years, gave men larger ideas of the rightful expression of their doctrine in worship. Ritualism is sometimes spoken of as a narrow movement. It was precisely the opposite, though unfortunately its advocates were sometimes rather narrow-minded in their application of broad principles. Indeed it was the somewhat undue breadth of that movement that brought it into disfavor. Had Ritualists of the seventies and eighties been content to resume simply the reverent practices of their fathers, trusting that another generation would expand these into a riper ceremonial that would more fully express the ideals of worship, the movement might possibly—I do not express this with certainty—have escaped the general condemnation that was visited upon it. But the breadth of view that had been learned from Tract XC. and that had been preached by the earlier Broad Churchmen before their school had so completely failed in the practice of it, led the Ritualists to borrow that which seemed good to them for the expansion of Catholic worship, wherever they found it. Early Ritualism was exceedingly eclectic, and not always true to the letter of the Prayer Book. Obviously, the nearest examples that occurred to its advocates were those of modern Roman practice. It was inevitable that Roman ceremonial would therefore be the earlier form of the enthusiastic devotees who carried the principles of the new reformation into the extreme logic of practice. Thus the cry of Romanizer was perhaps inevitable; but it was an exceedingly superficial characterization: Whatever there may have been of Romanism in the Ritualistic [48/49] movement was wholly incidental, largely temporary, and bound to react into sober channels when the first flush of the reaction from Protestant narrowness should have been past. The Catholic theology of the Caroline divines in the reign of Charles II. had introduced a similar though somewhat narrower Ritualistic movement, which only came to an untimely end because of the violent changes of the Revolution of 1688.
But the Ritualistic movement merged itself into the larger Catholic movement, which is the sober, fuller presentation of the larger ideals that have resulted from the Oxford Movement. The Catholic movement has so much in common with the earlier Broad Church movement of Kingsley and Maurice, that I think the future historian will hold that the latter movement was, in part, the realization of the ideals of those men. But it is more than that. Like that movement, it seeks not to degenerate into partisanship. The danger of such degeneracy is, of course, a real one. There are narrow-minded Catholic Churchmen, as there were narrow-minded Broad Churchmen. Breadth is in large part an intellectual capacity for receiving truth and for adjusting it in its right relations to correlative truths. Perfect breadth is an attribute only of Omnipotence. The human mind is essentially narrow, because it is human, But the relatively broad mind is that which best realizes its own narrow limitations and is made humble thereby. Breadth and intellectual pride cannot dwell together in the same mind. The one attribute must necessarily exclude the other. The less breadth one is capable of, the greater is the probability of his exaggerating its possession.
 When I maintain that Catholic Churchmanship is the realization of the truest intellectual breadth I do so with a keen sense of the frequent failure of Catholic Churchmen to manifest that breadth. But the saving from the danger into which other parties that have tried to be broad have fallen, is in the fact that unlike them, Catholic Churchmanship asks, not what is the verdict of a single mind or of a combination of minds to-day, but, what is the verdict of revelation of divine authority of the consensus of the long ages in which the Holy Spirit has constantly been guiding the Church into all truth? Breadth is seen to be an attribute rather of the Church than of the Churchman. Catholic Churchmanship is based upon supernatural religion and divine revelation and guidance. It seeks to realize the lesson that the Church has learned during her long lifetime. Catholic Churchmen do not think of ignoring present-day learning; but they seek to compare that learning with the learning of past ages. In short, Catholic Churchmen hold that the burden of proof rests with the man who has a novel idea. They do not hold that its up-to-date novelty is a recommendation of it. Catholic Churchmen are not opposed, as is sometimes assumed, to the Higher Criticism. They welcome the fullest light that can be thrown upon Holy Scripture. They realize that in many respects, we understand Holy Scripture better to-day as a result of modern learning, than our fathers did. But it is also true, that Catholic Churchmen are extremely suspicious of the iconoclast in criticism, and the fact that iconoclasm has run wild among Higher Critics since the day of Bishop Colenso has led Catholic Churchmen to be impatient with the devotees of a critical study, who, as a class, have proved [50/51] themselves so uncritical that they cannot with sanity criticise their own criticisms. Notwithstanding this, some of us feel keenly the imperative need at the present time for a Catholic school of Higher Criticism that, acting from the standpoint of strict Catholicity, shall examine critical questions as they arise, and weigh carefully the views of other critics.
Catholic Churchmen stand pledged to work for the unity of Christendom. That is, with them, a very real, very serious issue. They believe that the way to work for such unity is, first, to exclude from ourselves, everything that stands in the way of unity. They cannot narrow their conceptions of unity down to a basis of Protestant Episcopalianism. They believe that we must break those narrow shackles before we can be fit even to invite other Christian people to discuss the question of unity with us. They hold that only by realizing herself as in fact the American Catholic Church, can this Church hope ever to be an appreciable factor in Christian Unity. So long as our ideals, taken as a whole, are content with a narrower platform than this, that long we shall be unable to take even the first step toward Christian Unity. When the whole American Church is ready to stand unitedly before the world as the American Catholic Church-not only, or primarily, in name, but in fact—then Christian Unity will no longer be an iridescent dream, but an issue of the immediate future. But this cannot come until, as a whole, we are much broader-minded than we are to-day. Narrowness will always be opposed to it.
A curious limitation in the practical realization of the Catholicity of the Church, may be seen in a single illustration. It is this. We have the extraordinary [51/52] anomaly, that one set of men, in the Church, are striving to develop more perfectly the Catholic ideals of worship and of life; while totally another set are filled with vital missionary zeal. Both these groups are really narrow because until both classes are able to seek earnestly to accomplish both ends, neither can realize fully the true Catholicity of the Church that both expands her borders and also tills her ground. Until Catholic Churchmen are preeminently missionary Churchmen, and missionary Churchmen are preeminently Catholics we shall fail to realize what is involved in being the American Catholic Church. To-day, it is obvious that that goal has not been reached.
Let me only explain in conclusion, that Catholic Churchmen have no thought of maintaining that they, as a group, are in sole possession of the attribute of Catholicity. It is the whole Church, and not a part of it, that is Catholic. If the whole were not Catholic the part could not be. But the whole Church does not in equal degree realize her Catholicity, and the mission of Catholic Churchmen is to lead toward this greater, broader realization, until perfect Catholicity shall become the goal of all Churchmen. Thus, and thus alone is the word Catholic used to characterize a group only of the Church, who, in their intense desire not to form one more narrow party within the Church, are content to receive no partisan name, and call themselves as a distinguishing mark, by the least partisan designation they can discover—that of Catholic Churchmen.
Parties in the Church, though not the realization of her highest ideals, are in no sense evils, unless they inculcate, as they need not do, the spirit of partisanship. That this is true may be seen from the fact that the [52/53] darkest days in the post-Reformation history of the Church of England, were chose gloomy years of the eighteenth century, in which parties may be said to have become practically extinct. Parties, rightly subordinated to their proper place, are an indication of vitality in the Church; although imperfectly so, since they imply that some have higher ideals than others.
But to sacrifice this variation of ideals for one dead level of uniformity would be to agree upon the lowest, rather than upon the highest ideals of any age.