« VorigeDoorgaan »
porizing character of their resistance searching investigation of prelates, to all thoughts of revision. And we who may accept or reject them as cannot for a moment entertain the they shall be found willing to receive validity of the short-sighted pleas they all and every word of the Prayerurge against any movement in the pur- book in the literal sense of its lansuit of what they are pleased to term, guage, as unconnected with any other so hazardous an experiment.
authority whatever. Never, do we firmly believe, was a It has been permitted us already more urgent necessity shewn for such in these columns, to state frequently, a step, and never was there a more and in sufficient detail, the principal favourable opportunity presented for points which require a careful revithe step being taken. We have one sion both in the ritual and in the exwhole diocese under the baneful in- ternal matters of the Church; and fluence of a bishop who having taken we should hardly recur to these so his stand upon what we cannot but soon, had not two recently published confess to be the literal doctrine of letters forcibly recalled our attention the Formularies, is doing what may
to the subject. be irreparable mischief, not only to 1st. The Rev. Dr. M'Neile has adthat diocese, but to every other into dressed the Bishop of Exeter in an adwhich his clergy may ever be scat- mirable letter, in which he has placed tered.
the question of the whole teaching of It were useless to recapitulate the Prayer-book, and his lordship’s other mischiefs which are working up private judgment and public action and down through the country, in thereon, upon its right footing. Dr. consequence of the teaching of those M'Neile candidly admits, pp. 10, 11, who build upon the words of the for- that upon the subject of baptism, mularies, and who refuse to allow any three or four sentences do tell in explanations which we assert are to favour of the bishop; but he as strongly be gathered from the correlative au- brings the fact to bear that “the great thority of the Articles. It needs not bulk of the Prayer-book is clearly and also that we assert, or attempt to powerfully on the side of his metroprove what is perfectly patent, that politan's private judgment.” It is by the evils which are now afflicting no means necessary to break afresh and dividing the Church, have ever into the baptismal controversy, by been, and ever will be, the fruitful following Dr. M`Neile through the arsource of discord and controversy, gument by which he proves that whatso long as there are distinct state- ever may be asserted of the Prayerments in the ritual, upon which these book doctrine of Baptismal RegeneraSacramentarians can fasten, as sup- tion, as a positive dogma, the Bible porting their opinions.
teaches quite a different view. We We regard as perfectly beside the are concerned here to deal with what question, the arguments of those who we are glad to find Dr. M`Neile does consider that the turmoil raised upon not shrink from avowing will become the baptismal question will die with necessary, if the Bishop of Exeter, the death of the present agitating and the party who act with him, are party, and that we are to look for suffered to molest the Church. We quiet and peaceable days, when cer- think, however, that were this Romantain episcopal favourers of the party izing party to be silenced now, that it shall have been replaced by men of would only produce a lull, possibly of inore liberal and tolerant spirit. some years, but that there would
All this we consider as perfectly again arise perhaps still sterner nevisionary ;-the Church is never safe cessities, when,from the appointment and rule of men
* Instead of remaining patiently and who choose to take and make the
quietly on the defensive against such an very words of the Prayer-book the
agitation carried on from such a vantage standard and exponent of the Church's ground, it will soon become the duty of faith. Our candidates for holy orders all sound churchmen to raise a counter are, and ever will be open to the agitation ; and, if a change must take
place in our comprehensive polity, to require her Majesty's prerogative to have it effected avowedly and above extinguish.” board, by authority, in the words of the There might possibly ensue a great Prayer-book ; and not indirectly, by the commotion amongst those narrowone sided practical operation of an un
minded members of the Church who scrupulous private judgment. “ The issue of such a struggle is not, 1
are bigoted enough to try and comthink, to be dreaded, however painful fished Church, to believe and hold,
pel their brethren in the same Estabthe process.
Much that for a season was little more in the ears of our great
with equal faith as Divine truth, the community than the unintelligible jargon language with which uninspired menof a middle and dark age, has of late ac- themselves only escaped from Romequired a definite meaning. The defections have clothed the services for the adfrom our clergy and aristocracy to the ministration of a rite, on which, as in ranks of the ever aggressive and intole- the case of infants, Scripture is wholly rant Papacy, have made manifest the silent. Romeward tendencies, to say no inore, A conflagration amongst such eleof the Sacramental system,'and awakened the serious apprehensions of good men,
ments might possibly occur, and la
mentable as all division and schism both among clergy and laity: To my undoubtedly is, we are sure that the eye the prospect brightens; and it is more than possible we may have to thank your
Church of England would feel no loss lordship as the instrument, however un
in the secession of such a body; designedly, of helping forward a reforma- while the real gain of spiritual and tion in that church, which, though vastly scriptural members that would hail superior to any thing else of the kind in the extinction of objections which had Christendom, is not yet so absolutely hitherto conscientiously forbade their faultless as to be incapable of improve- union with us, would be incomparably ment."
the greater. We perfectly agree with There is a preface to the third edi- Dr. M`Neile, that no “comprehensive tion of this letter, which we cannot peace can be looked for so long as but consider as most valuable to the the whole Church is expected, on pain cause of liturgical revision ; the exact
of the brand of heresy,—and where status of the Prayer-book, its human
the power is present, persecution also, origin, consequent fallibility, and to yield “implicit submission to the actual need of amendment, are dealt private interpretation of the Bishop of with in a concise, but sufficiently de- Exeter, and those who agree with finite, manner, to make us hope that him:" moreover, we can strongly testhose clergymen and laymen, who tify that“ there exists a growing deterreally feel that some steps ought im- mination in the country to get rid of all mediately to be taken, will put them- equivocation in things sacred, and to selves in communication with the make the national Church speak in Rev, Dr. M`Neile.
plain terms, such as shall not require, The speech of the Archbishop of
on either side, laborious and farCanterbury, in which he rather vigo
fetched explanations.” rously opposed any revival of convo
Only one other sentence shall we cation, on the very ground of the one
extract from this preface, and which question, which would probably come
is itself a quotation from Dr. M`Neile's before that body--the Revision of the able work, “the Church and the Liturgy-cannot, with all deference
Churches,”to his Grace's character or wisdom, be
“ Dread of alteration is as intense as accepted as affording any true ground all our ritual, in its most minute details,
it could bemand as it ought to be if of opposition.
His Grace imagines that the smothered fire, which, with While, for the sake of details of human
were of express Divine appointment. all submission, we cannot call “ma
origin, we are involved in a continued nageable,” inasmuch as it is wasting violation, towards many Christian brea very large and wide-spread portion thren, of that loving forbearance which is of one diocese, and far too many pa- indeed of Divine appointment.” rishes in others,"would be raised In Dr. M`Neile's letter, we find reinto a conflagration which it would flected the image of his well known
and valued character: real spirituality cluded from taking any active part in of mind, dauntless valour for the truth, making known their sentiments. and, what we are truly delighted to Dr. Elliot, however, disclaims for hail, an evident wish, not only to pre- himself any such perpetual bondage serve the liberty which we Church- to a compilation of fallible men. He men have undoubtedly a right to says, and the sentence is worthy the enjoy, but a growing anxiety to ex- consideration of the clergy generally, tend our own freedom, and to make our Church a more comprehensive England claimed from me assent to its
“If I had thought that the Church of system for good, by the removal of Prayer-book and Formularies, as somethose objections which vex and im- thing so fully and infallibly declaratory pede those within, while they are of the truth, and so perfect as the channel stumbling-blocks and barriers to those of grace or the vehicle of worship, as not without its pale.
to admit of change, or to permit even the Let us now, secondly, turn to a question of change, I had never accepted letter which has been sent by Dr. the ministry at its hands. If it could be Elliot, the Dean of Bristol, to Mr. Ben- proved to me now, that such was the nett, a layman of Plymouth. As it is sense in which the assent was demanded,
I should at once cease to be a minister in published, we presume that we may,
its communion." without danger, regard it as also intended for the laity generally.
Now this language is just what we As we feel very little doubt that the want our brother Churchmen not only Dean of Bristol may reasonably be to hold with the lip, but to act upon, expected to fill a far more important when judging of those who differ post than he does at present, we are and to allow the assertion of liberty the more anxious that his mind should therein boldly expressed to have full be perfectly informed as to the true and practical effect. position of Church matters. There are The Dean, we perceive, does not questions which demand the most require for himself, or for his own serious consideration from Church- conscience' sake, any alteration in the men_three centuries removed from Liturgy. He refers any difficulties the Reformation. First among these, that may be found in the Formularies is the mode by which we can most to the clearer and more explicit insafely attempt the alteration of our terpretation of the Articles; and he Services, so as to procure for the defends, or rather explains, the cerChurch the largest measure of truth, tain latitude allowed in the expression with a more harmonious and affec- of certain points, by referring to the tionate co-operation on the part of the whole history of the Church of Enggreatest possible number of members, land since the Reformation. Dr. who may differ perhaps in shades of Elliot is evidently adverse to the opinion, but are yet anxious to agree Liturgy being touched, and he would in expressing in the same language, prefer that there should be such an the grand truths of Christianity. expression by the people of England,
The Dean is a man who is not very as to what is the meaning of the lancareful to mince his words, when deal- guage of their Church, in all its Foring with what in his conscience he mularies, as shall make it impossible believes to be prejudicial to the best that the disbelief in God's word and interests of the Church, and we are rejection of His grace, which Tracglad to find bim fully and courteously tarianism is, shall find place or advoreplying to Mr. Bennett's inquiry re- cacy in our pulpits.” The declaration specting the position in which the which Dr. Elliot is greatly desirous clergy are ecclesiastically placed. We should be powerfully made is, that the have always felt that they were Church of England does abhor and so much tied by their subscriptions does protest, not less now than at the ex animo to the Prayer- book, that time of the Reformation, against the whatever may have been their after doctrine of a priesthood as a divine convictions of truth and real christian institution, to stand between God and expediency, they feel themselves pre- man, as the channel through which
God conveys authoritative interpreta- party within the Church, can be a tion of His word, or the benefit of lasting protection, even against the Christ's passion, or the gifts of His recurrence of such an attempt to ungrace or blessing to our worship, or dermine our Protestantism. To obtain pardon to our penitence.
peace, comprehensive and durable This declaration, however satisfac- peace, we must sooner or later contory in itself, as a strong protest against sent to revise that work which, though man's usurpation of Christ's priesthood, a marvellously pure production, when has been repeatedly and clearly made, we consider the position of its framers, but it falls far short of a remedy for the character of the times, and the that and other evils which are no less mass-book it superseded, yet contains perplexing to the Church. The Dean just so much of a doubtful and hurtful of Bristol must not allow himself to character, as to engender disputation think and speak, as if the Tractarian and strife, besides being daily found heresy, of which we believe him to be to give a false colouring to the dread so sincere a hater, were the only thing realities of eternity.* to be got rid of, in order to render the Doubtless there were giants in the Church of England what it ought to days of the Reformation, but they be, and even might be, as a human were human after all, and partook of institution. We must take away human frailty; they did much that was from our Church those vestiges of admirably adapted for their own times, Rome, upon which Tractarians build and our times also; but their judgtheir scheme; we must avoid the ment, and their vision into the future very appearance of ambiguity in pas- wants and circumstances of the Church, sages which they are so ready to were limited after all. Had they lived, catch at, as supporting their views of or had their immediate successors priestly power; we must expunge been permitted to proceed, most profrom the language of our Baptismal bably we should not now have had to Services, just those expressions upon
write about these matters. which they fasten, as conveying by Doubtless great and good men have their hands sacramental grace, and been accustomed to accept and to use the mysterious gift of the new birth; these Services, some with a secret wish we must entirely take away the that they might be amended; others, term, Priest, however it may have again, are satisfied with them as they crept into the rubric; and with it are : but both these classes are but must be swept away that startling men, and furnish strong proofs how form of absolution in the Visitation of the best and most enlightened err, or the Sick. We must so alter certain tolerate error, from various causes; expressions in that most sublime com- whether from being blind to the obposition, the Service for the Burial of jections, from long-acquired prejuthe Dead, that, with the American dices, or prevented, by a timid distrust Episcopal Church, we may be able of God's government of His Church, thankfully to commit to the grave, from seeking their removal. those of whom we have good hope Luther, with all the enlightenment that they sleep in Jesus, without that of his mind, and amid all his great constant violation of conscience, and achievements for truth, never ceased delusion of by-standers, which must to hold the doctrine of consubstantiaand does result from the use of lan- tion,-a dogma very nearly allied to guage too individually applicable to transubstantiation itself. Should we, the departed, be it of a person who, therefore, advise the Lutheran Church when living and dying, might have to continue holding such an error, or had no hope for eternity, and who should we look coldly upon any atmight have too clearly shewed that tempt on their part to reject it, lamentable want.
merely because so great and good a To get peace,
we must first be pure, or no declaration wrung from an indignant
which will be found in the present number, on
the point alluded to by the writer of this people by the treachery of a Romish
The reader is here referred to a letter
man as Luther held it to the end of tical movement. The wish,
,-we may his life?
almost say the demand,- for thorough Giants in faith, in knowledge, and reform, is greater than many imagine, in the active exercise of the gifts and and we know that there wants but graces of God's Spirit, as were our some feasible plan of action, and the Reformers, what hinders our own age appearance of some known and trustfrom being blessed with men of equal worthy leaders, to make the expresspiritual might and mental vigour? sion of this wish assunie an imporWe should do well to put the in- tant aspect.
Let Dr. M`Neile try quiry, whether we do not limit the to get his Evangelical brethren to Spirit of God by shrinking back from come to the consideration of the quesa work in which, when His truth is tion, with a sincere desire for the glory concerned, we have a right to ask and of God, the real welfare of the univerto expect His mighty aid ?
sal Church, and with that candour and The Dean of Bristol hopes to see enlightened judgment which are used the attempt made “this
autumn on other subjects. We invite him to to rivet the attention of the people of see whether, in “this very autumn,” England upon the “Tractarian trea- before the meeting of Parliament, he chery to our Church, and to God our cannot call upon the clergy and laity Saviour." This will be well, but we to agree in some proposition which must suggest to Dr. Elliot, that if he might be laid before the Queen and desires the permanent good and en- the Government of the country. As larged utility of the Church of Eng- we had occasion to remark, in a preland, he will throw his weight, influ- vious paper, -much, if not everything, ence, and anxious efforts, into the depends, under God, upon the men furtherance of some comprehensive who shall take these matters in hand, scheme of reform. We trust we need and the means they employ. Let us see hardly express a hope that no fears of that the cause is righteous, and then being considered an unsafe man for we may not only safely embark in it, promotion, will deter hin from giving but we may confidently look for a sucour suggestions a candid reception. cessful issue. What we now want is some wise prac
ON THE WORDS “SACRAMENT” AND “ MYSTERY."
The more we study the theological and Tertullian carries on the idea, and writings of former days, and the more compares the solemn engagement we analyse the expressions of our made by the believer at the celebraBook of Common Prayer, the more tion of the Divine ordinances, in evident it becomes that much of the which he pledges himseif to serve paivful controversy that has arisen in under the Great Captain of his salvaour own time is to be traced to the tion, to the sacramentum or military confusion of ideas arising from the cath of the Roman soldier when he mutability of language.
enlisted in the service of the emThe manner in which the word peror. Sacrament has been used, is a re- The transition from the solemn enmarkable instance of this mutability. gagement to the ordinance at which It is not a scriptural expression, but it was made was easy and natural, it appears to have been introduced and the words Ordinance and Sacrainto the early Church by Tertullian, ment became synonymous. in a very scriptural sense, and nothing That this is the simple sense in could be more simple and natural which the Church of England uses than the manner in which he first the word Sacrament may be clearly employed it.
seen, by substituting the word OrdiSt. Paul had compared the chris- nance, in the question to the catetian warfare to the life of a soldier, chumen, for the word Sacrament, now