Page images
[ocr errors]

place because we have observed with considerable surprise that some Ritualists seem to take for granted that the changes they are seeking to make can for a certainty be introduced without a legal battle; as though a chasuble or a censer were not more remarkable in the Church of England than a surpliced choir or a pair of candlesticks. In the next place, because we think that the dislike of legal interference in Church questions may be carried to an unreasonable extent. We, indeed, quite sympathize with the feeling which possesses all true friends of the Church, that litigation in ecclesiastical matters is prima facie an evil, and that all rash and wanton provocation of such measures is to be deprecated. At the same time circumstances may arise which may render litigation a wholesome necessity. Such circumstances may arise in respect of Ritualism.' We are not of those who desire to see the Church of England lose her character for reasonable comprehensiveness, but the present state of things certainly exhibits the extreme limit of comprehensiveness. S. Alban's, Holborn, on the one hand, and S. Mary's, Islington, on the other, do not witness to the liberty, but to the exuberance of self-seeking into which Church government has run. Where the fault lies, is another question; what the true remedy is we are not concerned to say; but the fact itself is indisputable; and the consequence, legal proceedings,―is, we fear, but too probable; and because it is too probable, we desire to prepare the minds of Churchmen for it, so that they may meet it with all the advantages of clear foresight, calm judgment, and candid temper. But besides legal action, there is another contingency, by no means so improbable, for which it is as well to be prepared, namely, legislative enactment. If the ultimate court decides that Ritualism in its most advanced form is not illegal in the Church of England, then we must expect vigorous efforts to be made to alter the law so as to make it illegal. What the decision of the court may be it is but waste of time to discuss; but it may at least be observed, that if the same latitudinizing temper with a little more fairness prevail which ruled the decision of the Privy Council in the Essays and Reviews' case, then we cannot see how a judgment of acquittal can be withheld from the Ritualists. It only needs that the rubrics should receive the same treatment as the articles. We know what the alarmist and the partizan would say then. The one will exclaim, Do not alter the law, for the Church of England cannot stand it; the other will cry out, If the law be altered, the effect will be a schism. Both outcries amount to the same thing, namely, that the Church of England cannot stand the strain of fresh legislation. Against this opinion there lies of course the protest, that it implies want of faith in the Anglican Church. If a body

[ocr errors]

be so weak in its constitution that it is unable to bear up under the measures taken to repair and strengthen it, then people will add it is clearly moribund, and must in the end perish. But this opinion no faithful son of the Church will suffer himself to entertain; and to all the sons of the Church the word of counsel is, 'Be not faithless.' Such, at least, is the thought which at first arises in the mind of a loyal Churchman, when signs of timidity, and distrust, and evilforeboding show themselves in others. But the recollection of what legislation in Church matters involves in the present condition of political parties, and with the House of Commons composed of such a motley crew, that the third collect for Good Friday would be a more suitable' Prayer for the High Court of Parliament' than that which is at present in use, this recollection causes him to start back in horror from the thought of the holy things of the Church being subjected even to the discussion of so profane an assembly, to say nothing of their being ruled by their incompetent and unchristian judgment; and the cool proposition that a short declaratory Act should be passed for the purpose of meeting the difficulties of the present crisis cannot be received without a shudder. Happily Parliament seems to be aware of its own unfitness to deal with questions which affect the doctrine or discipline of the Church, and to perceive the incongruity of 'Jews, Turks, Infidels, and Heretics' coercing by their legislation, in a professedly free country, the belief and practices of a Christian communion. But this reluctance may give way to the persistent efforts of the Protestant sections, and if it do give way, then the consequences which may follow may well cause the extreme Ritualists to pause and reflect upon their position, and take thought how far loyalty to the Church of England, as well as love for the Church Catholic, with both of which sentiments we gladly believe them to be inspired, demand a re-consideration of the whole subject. It is, indeed,-we freely acknowledge it, -a thankless task to say any words, but words of sympathy and praise, to men who so manfully and self-denyingly grapple with sin in its most loathsome haunts, and minister to the sick and needy with a devotion which loves to imitate the example of their Ďivine Master. The impulse of every generous heart is to 'esteem them very highly in love for their works' sake." May that impulse receive no check, albeit the unhappy exigencies of the time call for criticism upon their conduct.

Before quitting the subject of Ritual, we would speak about that aspect of it for which the unionists claim special attention. The ritual movement, it is asserted, is bound up very closely with the movement for the re-union of Christendom. Now it is

fairly open to question how far uniformity in externals is necessary, or even useful, to the great purpose of unity in the faith. That such uniformity was not insisted on in ancient times, and did not obtain in the middle ages, is clear from history. The widest latitude was tolerated in non-essentials, always premising that the variations in ritual revolved round the grand central doctrines of the Church, and consequently were consistent with its catholicity. The shape of vestments, the sequence of colours, the number and position and character of the minor observances in ceremonial, varied indefinitely. There were national, provincial, and even diocesan 'uses,' distinguished by their respective peculiarities. The papacy first moved in the direction of uniformity, and our own Act of Uniformity was only a Protestant imitation, in respect of our own Church, of the attempts which the popes had more and more encroachingly made to fashion all the churches upon the Roman model. Thus the desire to see 'Ceremonies in all places one and utterly like,' finds less and less encouragement the further we go back in the history of the Church. But let it not be supposed that this variety of ritual is evidence of caprice, or that it favours the idea that the rubrical directions of the Church may be disregarded at pleasure. Though the 'uses' were very numerous, yet each one of them was authorized. Their variety gives no countenance to the chaotic state of ritual which, at the present day, justifies the remark that the Church of England is a heterogeneous mass of congregationalism. Each use,' though it may have obtained only in one nation, or in one province, or even no further than the limits of one diocese, yet was imposed by the authority ruling within that sphere, and was fully obeyed by all who were obliged by it. Individual priests did not take or leave portions of the ritual as it pleased them. Consequently there existed, in spite of the great variety of uses,' no such anomalous state of things as that exhibited by the Church of England, which professes to have but one use' throughout her obedience, and yet the actual modes of celebrating divine service are almost as multitudinous as the buildings in which it is celebrated. Thus it appears that while, on the one hand, catholic unity does not in the least involve ritualistic uniformity, on the other hand, the voice of antiquity condemns the capricious tampering with the use' which a priest professes to be guided by. Viewing the whole question of ritual in its connexion with Catholic unity, we are reminded of the words which the Bishop of Vermont has placed as the motto on the title-page of his recent work: 'In necessariis unitas; in non necessariis libertas; in omnibus caritas.'



[ocr errors]

1The Law of Ritualism examined in its relation to the Word of God, to the


Here we must break off the chain of remarks which have been suggested by, rather than applied to, this book, 'The Church and the World.' The repetition of its title reminds us of the exception which some critics have taken to it. For our own part, we find no fault with the title. On the contrary, it appears to us to be both appropriate, and pregnant with useful thought. The juxtaposition of these two words, Church' and World' is profoundly suggestive of reflections which all Christian men will do wisely to cherish in these times. For it reminds us of the real contest which is going on beneath the surface agitations of the hour: the contest between good and evil, between grace and nature, between the unseen and the seen, between the temporal and eternal, between holiness and sin; and it brings up in the memory the voice of our Divine Master, so full of power and of love to still the tempest of our troubled mind, If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you.' Moreover it points out what the real mission of the Church, and consequently the grand work of Churchmen, is, namely to spread the everlasting Gospel throughout the world, so that its saving truth may penetrate its every part, regenerating, sanctifying, elevating it, until the trumpet of the seventh angel' sounds forth, and the 'great voices in heaven' proclaim, the kingdoms of this world are become 'the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever.'1

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



Since this article was begun a second edition of the Church and the World' has appeared. It is merely a reprint of the first edition, with an appendix containing a few notes to three of the essays, not in any way affecting the arguments and opinions propounded in the original work; and extracts from the reviews which had then been passed upon it.

Primitive Church, to the Church of England, and to the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, by the Right Rev. John Henry Hopkins, D.D., LL.D., Bishop of Vermont, New York, 1866,' is the title of a book in many ways remarkable. Bishop Hopkins, the 'Presiding Bishop,' is seventy-five years of age, and yet, at the request of the clergy of the American Church, he takes up and handles in a spirit of the most perfect candour, and with a fresh and lively interest, the subject of ritualism. He is a zealous protester against, and has been an active controverter of, Romish errors, and yet he speaks with the warmest approbation of the revival of a splendid ritual.

1 S. John xv. 18.

2 Revelation xi. 15


ART. V.-1. The Pope and the Revolution. A Sermon preached in the Oratory Church, Birmingham, on Sunday, October 7th, 1866. By JOHN HENRY NEWMAN, D.D. London: Longmans.

[blocks in formation]

3. Annuaire des deux Mondes. Tomes I.-XIII. (1850-1865). Paris: Bureau de la 'Revue des deux Mondes.'

4. Degli ultimi Casi di Romagna. D'AZEGLIO. Italia. 1846.

Riflessioni di MASSIMO

5. La Politique et le Droit chrétien au point de Vue de la Question Italienne. Par MASSIMO D'AZEGLIO. Troisième edition. Paris: Dentu. 1860.

6. Sul Dominio Temporale dei Papi. Considerazioni di G. B. GIORGINI. Firenze: Barbèra.


7. Il Clero e la Società, ossia della Riforma della Chiesa. Per FILIPPO PERFETTI. Firenze: Barbèra. 1862.

8. La Questione della Indipendenza ed Unità d'Italia dinanzi al Clero. Per ERNESTO FILALETE [Carlo Passaglia ?]. Firenze: Le Monnier.


9. All' Illustre Passaglia Lettera di Girolamo Bobone, dell' Ordine dei Predicatori, gia Professore di Teologia Dogmatica à Roma, ora di Sacra Scrittura nella Regia Universita di Siena. Firenze: Barbèra. 1861.

10. La Curia Romana ei Gesuiti. Nuovi Scritti del Cardinale DE ANDREA, di Monsignor F. LIVERANI, e del Canonico E. REALI. Firenze: Barbèra. 1861.

11. La Chiesa e lo Stato in Italia. Studi del Cav. CARLO BONCOMPAGNI, Deputato al Parlamento, Ministro Plenipotenziario di S. M. il Re d'Italia. Firenze: Successori Le Monnier. 1866.

THERE are questions which admit both of an abstract and of an historical treatment: there are others wherein one of these two methods of discussion must needs predominate. In attempting to arrive at any conclusion respecting the advantage or disadvantage of the union of spiritual and temporal power in a single hand, historic investigation must, if we are not mistaken, necessarily occupy the higher place. For it seems impossible to prove, on anything like à priori grounds, that such union is necessarily good or necessarily bad: the times and circumstances must be

« PreviousContinue »