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mind,' by foregoing its offer. It is the people who are in fault, not the pastor; and his conscience need not be harassed by the fears of neglecting an obligation which his people, for whose use, not for whose destruction, it was imposed, will not suffer him to fulfil. So, too, of preaching in the surplice: this, in principle, is also a privilege: it presupposes that those to whom the sermon so delivered is addressed are faithful men. If, by their abhorrence and rejection of this privilege, they own themselves unworthy of it, should it, much to its degradation and insult, be forced upon them? Under such circumstances, we would suggest, that a clergyman should apply to his Bishop for licence to deliver his sermon after the Litany, and then in a black gown, or in no gown, as a simple missionary to the obstinate and self-excommunicated. Then the difficulty would be obviated of preaching in the most solemn service to those who despised it, and of using reproofs by no means suitable to the Christian mysteries. And yet more, the dangers of their spiritual state would be most forcibly realized to the congregation; admitting themselves to be unfit for the vestments of the faith, they should also be excluded from the chief service of the faith. And though a sermon is ordered in the communion office, this does not preclude the delivery of one of a totally different character at another time: as the practice unsanctioned by Rubric, of delivering a sermon after evensong clearly shows. In this way, the rejection of the surplice would prove that the people were wilfully incurring a loss.
a loss. This distinction of sermons, and exclusion of the irreligious and unthankful from any part of the communion, would be a great step towards reviving discipline. Losing one sermon, they would voluntarily choose another much more fitted to their peculiar needs.
To take another, and less painful, case. Suppose that a congregation is more or less divided. Some, with a glad heart, value and claim the full and more perfect services of the Church: others disparage and reject them. Under such circumstances, we can quite understand that a pastor's first duty is towards those who are the Church's joy and crown:' for the sake of the unfaithful we must not deprive the children of their heritage. If the better portion of his congregation-better not so much in numbers, as in the practical fruits of the Christian walk-demand their portion of meat in due season, their good must be first concluded. Though, even in this case, some such division of the services as we have suggested, and, perhaps, an early celebration of the Eucharist, might enable à judicious clergyman to provide for, and to meet, the opposite necessities of the two classes.
Rising yet higher,- for Christian prudence, we think, would decide each case on its own separate and varying grounds of expediency, thus becoming all things to all men,' — we can quite understand that there may be, we know that there are, congregations in which no such cases of conscientious difficulty arise. These are in which the original purpose of the Church in prescribing exact compliance with its laws, still has ample room for its fulfilment. Such we mean in which all, or by far the largest number of the people, are still in full communion with the Church, and walking in all its ordinances, prize them to their souls' health ; who value its Creeds and doctrines, and see in its more perfect ceremonial only their due and legitimate expression. Here no difficulty can be entertained, for no objections are urged. And as it will be the pleasure, so it must be the bounden duty of a clergyman under such happier circumstances to make full proof of his ministry; to withhold nothing from those who desire all that the Church can give; to be precise in ritual, to be full in the proffer of all the means of grace; to be unshrinking and unhesitating in doctrine ; careless altogether of the cavils and objections of those who are without, and who can have no experience of the blessedness of a system which they refuse to try. And it will be obvious, that such cases deserve what, indeed, we are glad to think that they receive, from our rulers, not a mere cold permission to go on in the more excellent way,' but hearty protection and a zealous and frank cooperation and sympathy. Of the remarkable value in present difficulties, of some churches where a solemn and ceremonial religion is observed in the services, as a bar against solicitations and leanings Romewards, it is superfluous to speak.
Much that we have been arguing for may be comprised in a statement like this.We do not ask for the imposition of a fixed and unvarying standard of ritual observances, which cannot be suited for every case. As the Church of England is at present constituted, it would be highly injurious to recall it at one bound to a standard for which it is undeniable its members are by no means sufficiently prepared; it would be unspeakably dreadful again, on the other hand, to commit all its congregations to a debased rule in ritual matters. We cannot afford to accept, still less to invite, a synodical decision-were it now practicable, which, perhaps, happily it is not—which should forbid services, and observances, and ornaments, which have been either enjoined or sanctioned or permitted at various periods since the Reformation. Either way, we advocate no force. We ask neither to be screwed up nor to be let down. We are quite content with present freedom and flexibility. What we want is a forbearance, varying according to varying emergencies, and a candid and large estimate of present facts: the day of abstract theories, all must admit, is
gone by, and we ought to be most concerned with pressing and immediate duties. Particular cases, however, must be of constant occurrence, which do not at once fall under the loose and popular classes which we have sketched. Such are those Churches in which the changes are introduced, without any or much opposition or reluctance at the time. Here we think the observances ought at all hazards to be retained. The laity cannot, without gross hypocrisy, plead religious scruples about matters to which they have once assented: the old tradition is already effaced. When recent disputes encourage the noisy and irreligious to clamour, and when even quiet persons are carried away by the torrent, it is the duty of a pastor to resist this spirit, a most irreligious and anarchical one, to the very death. The question resolves itself into one of simple authority. Is the Church to be ruled by a self-elected conclave of lay elders, or by him who is the shepherd of the flock? Is his commission to feed the sheep, or to suffer them to feed or starve themselves? Here the path of duty is so plain, that it would be a waste of words to enlarge upon it. However difficult it may be to form a right judgment as to the duty or expediency of introducing an improved order of public service, we can scarcely anticipate a case in which it shall be right to abandon it.
Indeed, if anything could make us utterly despair of the Church of England - if the most convincing proof were required that it is a tree which God has not planted, such would be found in the miserably insufficient—the utterly immoral—the paltry and contemptible grounds upon which observances are now relinquished by many who found or made no difficulty in adopting them. Because there is a riot in Exeter, I will anticipate the storm. I will bow before the tempest breaks in London. I will not even wait for clamour. I will not even try whether the changes will be attended with edification. I will prove that I adopted them from caprice, rather than principle. I will abandon them for fear of contingent difficulties. I will show that my only rule of action is to sail with the stream, to secure pew-rents, and to please the newspapers. We cannot translate into more decorous language certain facts which are too palpable to be misunderstood, or misinterpreted ; comments on them would be superfluous. We can only express our bitter regret that the improved services were ever adopted in quarters where so little of heart and stability were embarked in the matter. Such temporary adhesion to the order of the Prayer-book has done infinitely more harm to the Church, and to religion itself; than would a consistent, explicit, and intelligible opposition from the first. The one course would have showed a principle-we believe a bad, certainly a mistaken, one; the other proves the utter absence of all principle.
Indeed, view it as we will, the present is a most awful juncture for the Church. We have already expressed sentiments which will be, in many · High-Church' quarters, unpalatable, as to the original propriety of making so strenuous a point of rubrical conformity : we have taken the liberty to doubt whether to force it were our first duty. But this matter is already settled. We cannot undo what has been done: and done too, with, generally speaking, a good intention. We yield, however, to none in fears of the ultimate issue to the Church of the growing success which seems to attend parochial opposition to the innovations,' as they are called. As things are managed, there is not a single religious element in such opposition. The victory will be that of mob agitation: the defeat will be that of authority, however injudiciously claimed. The contest is strictly between the world and the Church, and the Church is beaten back throughout its whole line. Indeed, the more respectable of the Low-Church writers admit the fatal effects of that successful policy which they themselves were the first to evoke against the Rubricians. Chancellor Raikes was ready enough to appeal to the Churchwardens, by way of a blow at Tractarianism : but we trust that even that most injudicious person has the decency to be annoyed, when his mischievous little pamphlet is sent by the post as a challenge to the sectarians and infidels of a whole parish to rise in open rebellion against the minister who is set over them in the Lord.' The Christian Observer,' with that honesty which is generally to be found in the better principled Evangelicals, owns
A document meets our eyes, which we have perused, with much pain and alarm, when we consider all that it involves. We allude to the letter of the Rev. J. Symonds, Curate of Falmouth, to the Churchwardens of his parish, dated Feb. 20. The Churchwardens say that “Mr. Symonds, under the authority of the Rector, has ceded every point stipulated for by us in our official capacity.” This is very remarkable language. The Churchwardens “stipulate," the Rector and his Curate “cede:” and they “cede every point stipulated for.” And what are these points? Mr. Symonds says, " I purpose to discontinue (1) the chanting of the Psalms ; (2) the turning towards the Communion-table by the Priest whilst the Creed is being read ; (3) the use of the surplice in the pulpit; (4) the omission of the Collect and the Lord's Prayer imme diately before the sermon; (5) and the reading of the Prayers of the* Communion Service when there is no Communion.” Here are five points “stipulated for," and "ceded." Is this what any Clergyman--any Churchman-can think a good state of things? There is not one of these "ceded” points which is contrary to the doctrines or discipline of the Church of
* We find, however, that the Bishop of Exeter has expressly commanded this ceding' Curate not to relinquish this Prayer for the Church Militant, when there is no communion : and with a tolerably significant hint as to this cešsión: -- Ed. C. R.
England, except turning to the east, and that only tacitly; and being an old custom, and by many persons esteemed decent, we cannot see that one man has a right to interfere with another's personal liberty in the matter.'-Christian Observer, March, pp. 190, 191.
This is all very well, this palinode, but if the Christian Observer' will bear in mind that the clergy of Islington were the first to set this example of an appeal to the ignorance of the laity, the party must not be alarmed at a Frankenstein of their own creation. It is but the old story of Vortigern inviting the Saxons; and this the Evangelicals are beginning to find out: the wishes of the parishioners are much too wide for Calvinism. Some affect to think that Mr. Daniel Wilson and his curates must be a very learned and formidable body, if such results have attended any course of action which they thought proper to pursue. But where a theological air-pump has been at work for a good many years, the Church of England, especially in such places as Islington, is like an exhausted receiver, in which the guinea and the feather have precisely the same momentum and weight. It is not that this clerical body has the slightest intrinsic force: but levity itself becomes an important agent, when the resisting medium of sound doctrine is completely sucked out.
Now that the question is to be settled by popular clamour, * we can look the thing fairly in the face. And there is one aspect of the struggle which must present it under very encouraging auspices. It is just simple folly now, to believe that there is the slightest religious spirit in the present opponents of rubrics and surplices. The better part of the Evangelicals own that they have called up a devil which is not to be laid by their puny Establishmentism. And this state of things of course has its bright side. It cannot but be cheering that the enemies of the Church, under any form, are showing what they are. It is well for peers who write pamphlets such as, “Revise the Liturgy,' to display themselves. Their aim is not the services to which their fathers were accustomed,' but no services at all. We like the Closes and the Raikeses better under their pure character as undisguised Puritans and fanatics. Puritans! it is an insult to the memory of the Prynnes and Cartwrights and Baxters of history, to class their gaunt, starched, amiable absurdities, their folio polemics, and early exercises three hours long, with the unutterable meanness of those who, in these days of unreality, caricature them. These men railed against the bigotry of the Church, only to instal the bigotry of the Conventicle— fierce to
* The most absurd instance of religious scruples' occurs, characteristically, in Ireland, where among those who express their opinion of alarming changes in the mode of conducting divine service at Hillsborough,' we find two · Presbyterian Ministers.' Surely Churchmen must see whose game they are playing.