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THE SURPLICE IN THE PULPIT

221

or hindrance." But the conservative instincts of their congregations were too strong for them, and the fact, as the Times put it,1 that "the use of the surplice in preaching, though an indifferent matter, was viewed as a party badge, behind which were to be found all other objectionable innovations." The result was that the Bishop was forced to withdraw his directions, and the black gown remained in general use.

Surplice

But peace was hardly restored in one diocese before the struggle broke out in another. Bishop Phillpotts of Exeter was the most militant Troubles in High Churchman on the Bench,2 and he Exeter. now began to urge his clergy to preach in the surplice. One of the first to do so, Walter Blunt of Helston, was at once brought by his churchwardens before the Consistory Court (1844), where, however, the Bishop's judgement was very characteristic of the man: "If the churchwardens of Helston shall perform their duty, providing an albe, a vestment, and a cope, as they might be required to do, I shall enjoin the minister to use them: until these ornaments are provided, it is the duty of the minister to use the garment actually provided for him, which is the surplice. The parishioners never provide a gown, nor, if they did, would he have a right to wear it." This uncompromising dictum was followed by a Pastoral 1 Quoted in Christian Observer, March, 1845.

2 Even he, however, had protested vigorously against Tract XC. The judgement is printed in full in Best's Report of Proceedings under Commission to inquire into Complaints against the Rev. W. Blunt,

Letter to all his clergy:1 "The law requires that the surplice be always used in the sermon which is part of the Communion Service,2 and as to all other times I resolve the doubt by requiring that the surplice be always used." The excitement in the diocese was tremendous. In scores of parishes the congregations walked out of church in a body. In every town large and furious meetings of protest were held. In Exeter some of the clergy were mobbed as they left the church; and at the end of five weeks very reluctantly and ungraciously the Bishop withdrew his order.

This defeat only made him more determined to complete the work he had begun of purging his diocese of Evangelicals. Licences were refused to Evangelical curates; licences were withdrawn from proprietary chapels; the clergy were forbidden to admit into their pulpits deputations from the Evangelical societies. Then he went one step further, and declined to institute an Evangelical incumbent. This case must be dealt with at some The Gorham length. George Cornelius Gorham, Vicar of St. Just in Penwith, an old Clapham curate, had already incurred the Bishop's wrath by advertising for a Curate "free from Tractarian error."

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1 A Pastoral Letter to the Clergy of the Diocese on the Observance of the Rubric, p. 10.

2 The Courts, however, decided later (Robinson Wright v. Tugwell, November, 1896. Judgement printed in Church Intelligencer, January, 1897) that the Bishop was as mistaken on this point as he was in supposing that the Ornaments Rubric required the use of vestments.

THE BAPTISMAL CONTROVERSY

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In 1847 he accepted the vicarage of Brampford Speke, near Exeter, but the Bishop declined to institute him, although he was already beneficed in the diocese, until he had satisfied himself that he was sound in the faith. Gorham sat for eleven days under examination, and answered 149 questions on the doctrine of Baptism, but at the end the Bishop refused him on the ground of heresy.

Now all clergy of every school believed in baptismal regeneration. Whenever they christened an infant they declared, " this child is regenerate"; but they did not all use the words in the same sense. The Tractarians held the Roman view that regeneration is the new birth spoken of in Scripture, and that this is invariably and inevitably conferred by the act of Baptism. On the other hand, the average Low Churchman believed regeneration to mean nothing more than incorporation into the Visible Church, the being born into a new life of Church membership with new duties, responsibilities, and privileges; and in this sense no one could dispute that every baptised child is regenerate. But the Evangelicals could not accept either of these explanations; the Low Churchman's view of regeneration and the High Churchman's view of the way in which regeneration is given both appeared equally false to the teaching of life and Scripture. They agreed with High Churchmen that regeneration is a great spiritual change, a passing from darkness into light, from the power of Satan unto God, in which men receive remission of sins and an inheritance

among all that are sanctified, but they did not believe that this change could be won by any outward rite alone, however sacred. How, then, could they honestly declare that a child is regenerate in Baptism? In the same way, they answered, that we can say that a child is possessor of an estate when we have seen the legal documents duly signed and sealed, although those documents may contain a clause naming two things that the child must do, when he comes of age, before he enters into possession. We charitably take it for granted that the child will not be so mad as to forfeit so fair a property by refusing to fulfil the reasonable conditions which his guardians have promised in his name. In the same way by Baptism, as the 27th Article declares, "the promises of the forgiveness of sins and of our adoption to be the sons of God are visibly signed and sealed," but there are two conditions,1 "repentance whereby they forsake sin, and faith whereby they steadfastly believe," which, "when they come of age, themselves are bound to perform." That is to say, the baptismal blessing is conditional on the keeping of the promises, and our service is drawn up on the charitable hypothesis that this condition will be fulfilled.

Gorham was not quite a representative man. As the Bishop soon found out to his cost, he possessed a perfectly encyclopædic knowledge of the byways of theology, and he had so steeped his mind in the minor controversies of the Reformation period that

1 Church Catechism.

THE GORHAM CASE

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he was carefully guarding against heresies which were hardly known by name to any living theologian. His three main points, however, were clear and simple: (1) Baptism is a sacrament generally necessary to salvation, but the regenerating grace of God is not absolutely tied to this ordinance; it may be granted before, or after, as well as in, Baptism. (2) In either sacrament right reception is as necessary as due administration, and where an infant receives worthily, this must be by the help of a "prevenient act of grace." (3) In no case is regeneration in Baptism unconditional.

Few Evangelicals were prepared to defend all his minor points, but they soon saw that they must make his cause their own, for the chief question was his refusal to assent to the Bishop's view, that no man can be considered unregenerate if he has been baptised in infancy. The next step was to apply to the Court of Arches to call on the Bishop to show cause why he should not institute. Here Pusey brought his stores of learning to the Bishop's aid, and undertook to coach the lawyers, which he did with such success, that in 1849 Sir Herbert Fust gave his decision in the Bishop's favour. The position was now very serious. As the English Churchman,1 the Tractarian organ, pointed out in triumph, the Court had declared that no one, who denied Bishop Phillpotts' doctrine, could hold any preferment in the Church of England. Gorham appealed to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, who in

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1 October 25, 1849.

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