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shall have the one Voice when we have recovered the one Faith: we shall be one in attitude when we are one in heart. All these things are part of our calamity; or rather, the one calamity of our state of separation reproducing itself under various forms. It seems but pettish to quarrel with this or that particular link, while we are rather proud than otherwise of the whole chain.
Finally, if it be said, that the whole Church has an undoubted right to reappropriate in its integrity whatever of sacred pomp and holy forms the convulsion of the sixteenth century spared, we apply the same parallel case of doctrine to this argument. It may be quite true, that we can cull from the history of the Reformed Church many noble and beautiful relics of symbolism and hierurgical splendour. But as things have been since the Reformation, these things are but scattered and fragmentary: they have never occurred in unison : they have never combined into one perfect and consistent whole. It is just like the different cathedral services of the present day: each one perhaps possesses its own characteristic propriety; together they might form a grand whole, but singly they are very ineffective. If we could take from one cathedral its Litany chanted by two Priests ; from another its custom of bowing to the altar ; from another its processions; from another its separation of Matins, Litany, and Communion; from Durham its copes; the intonation of the Gloria in Excelsis, from one; a lectern from this ; sedilia from another; plate and hangings from another; it would be quite true that all these separate Catholic practices in combination would form a cathedral service Catholic in tone, and dignified in details,-one which the Church of Reformation never has witnessed. So is it with the parish churches : altar candlesticks may be found at S. Mary-le-Strand and Allhallows Barking; tapestry hangings may remain at Merton Chapel ; wafer bread might have been consecrated, more or less, up to the time of the Rebellion; Andrewes and Laud might have used water for washing the hands before consecration; incense might have been burned ; and yet we cannot say that these things were other than exceptions to a very much more debased and slovenly ritual aspect of the general Church. And these things no more fully express the ordinary bearing of the Church than was its ordinary doctrine adequately represented by the teaching of Andrewes, Montague, Thorndike, Bramhall, Cosin, and Johnson, or its ordinary sanctity by Hammond and Ferrar. The real value of the testimonies which, with so much diligence, have been collected, as to the fact of certain observances not having been forbidden-but rather, used by the greatest divines among us, is more in the way of protection for individuals who think proper, on private responsibility, to revive them, than of general imitation for the whole Church of England. While we cannot rebut the fact, that high Catholic doctrine has rather been the exception than the rule, we may well admit that we have, as a Church, fallen short of the rule of external obedience to prescribed laws in exact proportion to our general unfaithfulness to the spirit of our service-books. It is a matter of prayer to recover both ; but facts go far to show that we have been a Church of individual, not of corporate, life; and if this seem contradictory, it will better express an anomaly.
We turn now to the duty of individuals ; having suggested hitherto cautions as to the right, to say nothing of the expediency, of general and stringent rules about rubrical conformity, as emanating from Episcopal authority, in the actual state of the Church of England, and this, we trust, with due respect to such rule.
At the first view of the question it seems that nothing short of the most accurate compliance with the Rubric can satisfy an enlightened conscience. There are, as has been said, the vows at ordination and at institution, and these publicly repeated at reading-in : there are the State enactments. From all these obligations there is no attainable dispensation, at least, none is sought for from the ordinary, though it is questionable whether even he can formally dispense with them. Whether the Bishop fails in, or discharges, his duty in not enforcing compliance seems hardly to affect the real question; and the excuse of the tacit consent of the whole Church, which is a much stronger reason for irregularity, no longer exists, when compliance or non-compliance is debated in every parish with acuteness almost amounting to ferocity. Few people can now say they never heard of rubrical obedience. Nor has the Church appended an Epinomis to the Prayer-book or Canons for the benefit of tender consciences, after the fashion of that very curious document, of most significantly perplexed Latinity, which is subjoined to the Oxford Corpus Statutorum. We have already said that this view of strict compliance upon positive and legal responsibilities found favour in many quarters, because it offers the readiest solution of acknowledged and pressing difficulties. It is the symbol of a very large and, we believe, growing body, especially among High Churchmen of a precise and accurately defined type. Mr. Benson, though of a different school, admits it to the very.full; nay, he seems to take something like a malicious delight in exaggerating the force, and in tightening the stringency, of the bonds of individual clerical conformity to the whole Book of Common Prayer. The Master of the Temple has an aim in all this; the tighter he can pull the knots, the greater chance of the cord bursting; if the patient's eyes begin NO. XLVIII.-N.S.
to start, his struggles may crack the bowstring; and, as Mr. Benson's curious object is to get rid of all conformity to the Prayer-book, perhaps he is a witness, not altogether unprejudiced, as to the force of its existing necessity. His conclusion is
It consequently follows, that every individual member of that bodyBishop, Priest, or Deacon-is bound to a compliance, not only in the fullest extent, but from the very day in which the declaration required of him by the statute is made. He is bound to this in point of conscience, as well as law; and from the duty,—as it respects his conscience, and as he understood it when he entered into the promise, - no official interference can release him, so long as the Common Prayerbook remains sanctioned by law. The conclusion of the whole matter is, that the immediate observance of all the Rubrics is both a legal and a moral obligation.'— Rubrics and Canons, d'c. considered, p. 17. Not only,' says Mr. Benson, with a sly chuckle, not only
bound to comply, to the very letter, but you must • begin to-morrow morning, if you ever mean to sleep on an • easy pillow again. The Church, as the successor of Hooker thinks proper to draw it, is a very Jew in Venice : its, or rather his, language is
• An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven :
No, not for Venice-I stay here on my bond.' Whether Mr. Benson himself recognises, and acts upon, this extreme view of moral obligation, flowing from his sacred and voluntary promise,' we are not aware. If he does not, it might be worth a little pains to discover why he is so anxious and stiff about the matter. Mr. Benson, perhaps, has a real though concealed dislike of this view of moral obligation; and it may be he thinks that the surest way to get it into discredit is to take it up
himself; whether he is right or not we are not called upon
But we are not aware that we have seen this view of moral obligation in the individual conscience fairly grappled with. Mr. Wakeley, for example, by far the cleverest writer against universal conformity to the Rubric, in a well-known letter published in the 'English Churchman,' (No. 104,) does not meet it. Why we cannot say, unless it be that by assuming the imponens of the obligation to exist in the de facto executive of the existing Church,' i. e. his own Bishop,' to each individual Clergyman, he thought that he had sufficiently obviated the difficulty flowing from personal responsibility.
Now we own that we can by no means follow this statement; the obligation to ritual observances does not reside in the fact that we have made a promise to an individual Bishop. If it did, the circumstance of his not enjoining compliance with his own imposition of duty would go far, though not completely, to exonerate one who had incurred such an obligation. But the Bishop's power is neither discretionary, nor, as it seems, dispensing, but only ministrative and interpretative in doubtful points ; and here, as his interpretation may be wrong, his decision seems liable to be remodelled by subsequent information, and perhaps by the ecclesiastical law courts. For example, were the doubt about the gown and surplice referred to the Bishop of Exeter, and he were to decide in favour of the surplice, and under the same circumstances were the Bishop of Worcester to decide in favour of the gown, we conceive that there exists authority somewhere in the Church of England to set aside one of these conflicting judgments. This practical difficulty leads us to conclude that the imponens of individual clerical obligation is not the single Bishop; whether, therefore, he withholds sanction or inhibition of particular observances, his silence does not lessen the strictness of personal obligation, if that obligation, as we argue, arises from a different source.
That source we think to be the mind of the Convocation which imposed uniformity; and that mind is to be ascertained by the courts in Doctors' Commons, like all other ecclesiastical questions of fact among us. The existing Church, it is true, as administered by the Bishop of the diocese, does carry on, and concur with, and exhibit, and present to the individual clergyman the original obligation, but the Bishop does not himself originate it. If he did, the question would be a very simple one ; each Bishop would be the measure of obligation, and when he did not enforce compliance, it might be reasonably enough assumed that he dispensed with it.
But, by throwing back the authority to a more distant functionary, we may perhaps arrive at something like Mr. Oakeley's conclusion, though upon separate grounds; that is, we may venture to construe with some liberality the alleged duty of compliance as it affects a single conscience. The object of the Church in prescribing strict obedience to positive directions was to keep uniformity,-a point supposed to be already adequately secured, -not to gain it. Now, however, owing to an obvious change in the circumstances of the Church, -no longer commensurate and coincident with the whole people,-a double duty is laid upon its ministers: as before to maintain uniformity, which was then its only object, but now, in addition to this, to win back apostates and doubtful members. Formerly its office was simply edification for an individual flock; now it has a missionary office also, and this, miserable as such a state is, to its own nominal members. If, therefore, there be any clergyman who is so enamoured of the old theory of the Church of England, as in any real sense to believe that his whole flock are de facto, as well as de jure, good and consistent Churchmen, in such a case, his duty is most plain, to follow out the Rubric fully and unconditionally; no other source is left open to him; he has no call to look to other duties than edification of his own, and those, in every sense, the Church's own: their edification will be best consulted by complete obedience. But if, on the contrary, a clergyman finds that a majority of his flock are in truth members of the Church only by a falsification of terms, the final cause of ritual conformity scarcely exists to him, and his obligations to discharge it are very materially lessened, if not impaired. His office is almost reduced to a missionary function; and whether strict ceremonial compliance with the directions of the Prayerbook is the best means to this a totally new end, must be settled upon different grounds. It is certain that to convert souls is a different object from retaining them: to win obedience to authority is not the same thing as to assert it. The Church, it is true, still recognises its first purpose, that of the sanctuary ministrations being confined to the faithful; but when this purpose is clearly unattainable, we must attribute so much to the implied and inherent faith of the Church as to believe that had the present state of things been foreseen, it would have modified its system to meet such an emergency.
Some, indeed, may for the most part, accept this statement; and will argue that even for purposes of conversion-for to this it comes practically-full and unvarying compliance with the written laws of the Church is, after all, the best means. In such a line we cannot concur. Modest reserve and the rules of the Church will teach us the duty, under certain circumstances, of keeping back truths, and if truths then their practical expression in ritual and ceremonial, from those who are not fit for them. There is a deep and chary economy by which the Church must adapt her teaching to those whom she has to instruct. With the holy she will be holy; but with the froward she must stoop to learn frowardness. If men declare themselves unfit for blessings they must not be forced upon an unwilling acceptance. While volenti non fit injuria is a received maxim of the law, nolenti vix fit jus seems equally true. Privileges are in no sense withheld when men obstinately refuse them. To illustrate this, suppose that a clergyman has ascertained that the law of the Church is to celebrate a weekly offertory: shall he persist in this when his flock, one and all
, refuse to give of their substance? We think not: he will but be following the mind and primary purpose of the Church, which connected with the offer of this privilege, 'the willing