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power in the western Church even
This state of things brought tually settled in, or was grasped by, on frequent struggles between the the Bishop of Rome, who exercised Popedom and the princes of Christenit both very energetically and very dom; and we in England, before the extensively, and always to the in- Reformation, had many such contencrease of his own authority, so that, tions; until at length the sovereigns in process of time, the Pope, aiming possessed themselves of the powers at full and unlimited supremacy, which the Popes had exercised, and claimed for himself the right, and obtained the same authority in the had it conceded to him, of allowing appointment of bishops that had been and confirming, by his sole authority, previously employed by the sovereign the election of every bishop. This Pontiff. At the time of the Reformapower of confirmation soon gave oc- tion, and ever since, it has been recasion for rejection in such cases as garded as part of our constitution, in were displeasing to the papal ruler, Church and State, that the Crown is and thus led to the still further usur- supreme in both, and thus, without pation of appointing other bishops reference to the primitive state and instead of the elect. A very recent rights of the Church, in agreement example of this has just occurred in with which all Churches ought, as Ireland, where the primacy being va- nearly as possible to be framed, our cant, and the Roman Catholic bishops sovereigns hold and exercise, as a having elected three of their number royal prerogative, the power described for the Pope to make his choice from, by the present Prime Minister, as the he passed by, unnoticed, the three circumscription of bishoprics, and the thus selected; and sent, instead, one appointment of bishops.” And yet who was not a bishop of Ireland, but the very form of the appointment at who was thus suddenly and unex- once betrays the original right of pectedly elevated to this station. election, and indicates the manner in Thus, in fact, has the Pope been long which that right was primarily exeraccustomed to act, thus does he still cised, and is now superseded. The act, and thus does he send into va- Crown grants its conge d'elire,
perrious countries creatures of his own, mission to elect; and this at once imto serve his own purposes, and to ex- plies the original right of election, tend his own usurpations and power. restrained at present until the per
The effect of this before the Re- mission to exercise it is granted; but formation was even worse than it is no sooner is this done, than the pernow. In those dark and superstitious mission thus granted is rendered a times, when priestcraft was supreme, mere nullity, since the power of because its roots were buried deep in choice is limited to one individual, the ignorance of the people, the clergy named by the authority that grants was the only class capable by educa- the permission, which leaves the election of holding and exercising the tors in the well-known condition of chief offices of state in civil go- the old Cambridge stableman's custovernments. The bishops, of course, mers, so aptly described as “ Hobson's amongst them, held and exercised the choice,—this or none.”. Thus, in efhighest functions of the state : but, fect, the appointment is in the Crown, as the Pope appointed these, the so- that is, in the first minister of the vereigns of Christendom had too often Crown, although the right of election reason to know, that they themselves by the Church is at the same time were in the hands of ministers, who, acknowledged and recorded. In these while they nominally served them, appointments, however, as well as in and professed to exercise their autho- all others effected in the same manrity, were, in fact, the slaves of a fo- ner, that is, by the officers of state, reign spiritual despot, whose tyranni- who are always liable to party and cal power they wielded, and always political prejudices, there is the fruitfor the benefit of the ruler whence ful source of secularization in the their power came, and to the detri- clergy. The remedy for it is, the ment of the prince they pretended to simple act of justice and equity in the
restoration to the Church, by the civil the foregoing officers in any way that power, of its own inherent and inde- they might need, and desire their help. feasible authority. All offices in the Thus, according to our canonical conChurch ought to be freely elective. stitution, there should be, in every All parochial ministers ought to be one of our parishes, this most useful elected by the people; all bishops by body of working laymen, consulting the people and clergy jointly. Clergy together with the clergy for the spiand people would thus mutually have ritual benefit and welfare of the and feel more interest in each other parish, and ready at all times to than at present they do. The people, strengthen and to uphold the minisby having the choice of their minis- ter in his more arduous and respons ter, would be led to reflect more and ble duties. Were churchwardens more what a minister should be: the always chosen because they were minister chosen by his people would spiritual men, and necessarily therehave a stronger tie towards them : fore communicants ; were sidesmen, but, above all, worldly principles questmen, and assistants like-minded would cease to have their influence, to them, also selected; were their deand the clergy would be relieved of liberations and engagements strictly state secularization.
confined to matters of morality and ii. A second principle of import- religion alone, such a body of spiriance, in reforming and reviving the tually-minded men, acting in concert constitution of our Church, is the for the benefit of their fellow-parishbringing out into active operation, and ioners, could not fail to produce very restoring to their proper place and great and effective improvement in office, THE LAITY OF THE Church. Few our whole parochial system. But are aware of what the proper office here, as in other cases, the secularizing and place of the laity are, according influence of the state requires to be to our ecclesiastical constitution, as done away. The office of churchdeveloped in the canons of 1603. By warden has been grievously burthened the authority of these often misun- with duties most injurious to it. Such derstood and much disregarded laws useful members of the parish vestry of our Church, every parish ought to as the sidesmen, questmen, and their have this body of officers, two assistants, have passed into desuetude. Church wardens, two Sidesmen, two Parish vestries, instead of being ecQuestmen, and any number of Assist- clesiastical assemblies, consulting for ants that these may require. The the moral and spiritual welfare of the Churchwardens apparently rank first, parishioners, in which the minister and are charged with providing all appropriately and profitably presided, things necessary for public worship, have become instead political and sethe repairs of the church, the sum- cular meetings, where it is painful, moning and holding vestries, and the not to say unbecoming, for a minister like. The Sidesmen are more pro- of religion to be present.
How difperly, according to the derivation of ferent, how useful, how beneficial, their title, the Synod's-men, and their might such a body be, if charged with duty was to attend the synod of the the oversight, not censorious and clergy, and to report for their consi- compulsory, but in a spirit of chrisderation the moral and spiritual con- tian earnestness and love, of the moral dition of their parish. The Quest- and spiritual welfare of the parish;men, or inquest-men, were charged and of having to provide and superinwith the duty of inquiring into, and tend the education of the people. making themselves acquainted with, Should the scheme, lately propounded the moral and spiritual condition of at Manchester, for extending educathe parish, evidently with the view tion by the assistance of rates, and of making it the subject of consi- under the direction of school comderation and improvement in the mittees, be carried out,- and should vestry, when
assembled with the it be made available for all parts of clergy of the parish: and lastly, the the kingdom, as it probably would; in Assistants were to be appointed to aid such a parochial assembly as that we
have been speaking of, there would entirely disarm, all contentious virube found already existing the machi- lence to which they might be liable. nery for putting it into execution, The first of these should be the full and for effecting, in connexion with and efficient effusion of the laity into it, other edifying improvements them; the second should be the State, amongst the people.
wholly and entirely denying to the iii. We have thus shewn, in a de. Church any use of the sword, and gree, how deliberative action of the depriving it of all power to coerce Church, in its simplest form, might and to enforce the bodies or the conbe revived, by restoring to parochial sciences of men. If the temporal vestries their proper duties and offi- wisdom, prudence, judgment, and dis
We may, therefore, proceed a cretion of the laity were blended with step further, and assert, as a principle, the spiritual wisdom, earnestness, zeal, the necessity there is for reviving the and ardour of the ministry, the Church Synodal action of the Church, whe- would be greatly served by both : ther diocesan or provincial. It may and if, again, the State suffered not seem strange, indeed, to argue the the Church to use any but persuasive necessity for, and the value of, such means of carrying out its work, “not functions to a Church, when we have by might, nor by power, but by the the form of it without any vitality; Spirit of the Lord of Hosts," then when every other religious commu- would the Church, relying on the nity that exists has its deliberative truth of God and His Christ, rather assemblies in some form or other; than on an arm of flesh, go forth, in its when the nation at large has its par- own purity and might, conquering and liament; when every town has its to conquer. These, then, are the princouncil; and every organization, of ciples upon which we would have dewhatever kind, has its board of ma- liberative action in the Church renagement, its directors, or its com- vived,-1, Free and full infusion of mittees. Yet so it is : for the Church the laity in all Church assemblies :of England stands alone in this res- 2, No power to be enjoyed by them of pect unworthy, according to our rulers, enforcing their conclusions or decisions to be entrusted with such functions; upon any. wisely restrained, according to the Be it observed that we have more timid notions of too many of its mi- than once spoken of “all Church nisters, from the exercise of any de- assemblies,” evidently implying liberative powers whatever. And yet thereby, that we contemplate more such action, prudently regulated, pro- assemblies than the one existing conperly directed, and faithfully em- vocation, and this is a point on which ployed, would tend largely to pro- explanation is needed.
There can mote far greater unity than at present be no doubt, that besides such a body exists; and to give greater life and as convocation is, representing in one energy to the Church than as yet the whole Church of England, there have been developed in it.
were formerly in England, as elseThe objection constantly raised where, both diocesan and provincial against any proposition for reviving assemblies. The value and excellency synodal action in the Church is, that of such deliberative bodies are the to restore the vital functions of Con- distinguishing characteristics of all vocation would be to renew all the our civil polity, as that all our towns ecclesiastical clainours and contro- have their councils, and all our coloversies that formerly reigned in it. If, nies their legislatures. In all of these indeed, our proposal were to resusci- it is proved that discussion generates tate convocation, with the same body development of energy and power, and powers that it before had, then and that united action is productive might such a fear, as that referred to, of the greatest advantage. The same well exist. But there are two im- would necessarily occur in our Church, portant changes that might be made if the same modes of operation were in all our Church assemblies, and made effective. Now, as has been which would greatly cheek, if not already shewn, there should be in
every parish church, vestries, that it, and threatens it with such division is, primary assemblies, consulting for and harm. It is upon this pastoral the spiritual, the moral, the educa- letter of the Archbishop that the obtional benefit of the people. In the servations I have now to make will rural deaneries there should be regu- be founded ; and I feel sure, therelar meetings of clergy and laity united, fore, that they will meet with the to discuss, advise, and exhort one more ready and earnest attention. I another, yet more and more. In each believe that the Archbishop well undiocese there should be the synod, derstood and described the difficulties where again both clergy and laity of the whole question then raised as should be mingled in the same blessed to doubts and ambiguities in our serwork of holy consultation. And, vices, and that it is impossible to put lastly, there should be the meetings these in a clearer light than he does, of convocation, in which also clergy as I shall endeavour to shew. and laity should take sweet counsel In the first place the Archbishop together, and consider and provide admits that the ambiguity of the for the welfare and extension of the rubric renders difficult a settlement of Church.
several controverted points arising out 2. Of LITURGICAL REFORMS.
of its directions, and writes, “It must In a letter addressed to Lord Ashley, be granted that the intention of the and published at page 564 of the Church is not always clearly discovervolume of this magazine for last year, able from the language of the rubric, I offered to the consideration of its nor determinable with absolute cerreaders some proposals for revising tainty from the records of early practhe liturgy of the Church of England. tice.” On the contrary he declares, It might therefore be thought, that it “ It has long been observed that, in would be unnecessary now to take up the performance of Divine Service in the same subject again. Yet, as I the generality of our parochial churches, propose to treat it in an entirely dif- there has been a deviation, in certain ferent manner, and to present it to particulars, from the express directhe reflection of the reader under a tions of the rubric, and that, in some new aspect, I trust that what I offer cases, a difference in respect to the will not be regarded as a work of sense of the rubric has led to a disupererogation, or as an overlooking versity in practice. In regard to such of the case I have in hand, but a just points, in themselves non-essential, and faithful examination of it, with a the most conscientious clergymen view to a full development of sound have felt themselves justified in treadand safe principles, upon which such ing in the steps of their predecessors, a work may be undertaken.
and hence the irregularity (for all It cannot fail to be in the recollec- departure from rule is irregular,) tion of any who are interested in these which seems, in some instances, at matters, and who have observed and least, to have existed from the beginnoted the remarkable events of the ning, became inveterate.” Again, he last twenty years, during which further advances in behalf of those Tractarianism has arisen and attained who contend for the authority of usage, its present success, that one of the the following powerful plea. most effective and edifying checks to the same time I am sensible that those its progress was the admirable pas- who object have much to allege in toral letter which the late Arch- their justification. If the written law bishop of Canterbury addressed to all is against them, they plead an oppothe clergy of England, and which, site usage, in parochial churches at for the time at least, was like scatter- least, reaching back, perhaps, to the ing oil upon the waters of contro- time when the intention of the lawversy ; softening much of its asperity; giver was best understood, superseding and allaying much of its virulence, its literal sense, and DETERMINING ITS though it failed entirely to heal the REAL MEANING.' Now here are very disease which then afflicted our
great and grave admissions.
The Church, and which still rages within Archbishop allows hoth the ambiguity
66 At “ In our
of the rubric and the current of usage been in England alone that the laity existing from the beginning, and reach- have thus shewn themselves defenders ing back to the time when the intention of the faith, for the Bishop of Calcutta, of the law-giver was best understood, in his published reply to the Address and which usage is contrary to various of the Society for the Propagation of requirements of the rubric. And yet the Gospel, states respecting India, while there is this ambiguity on the
ettled stations the spirit of one hand, and this diversity of prac- the Protestant laity soon enables me tice on the other, what is the position to calm temporary agitations arising of the clergy themselves?
from this source for they are thoThis the Archbishop has well de- roughly and most justly offended, and I scribed in the following passage, honour them for it.”
" The Arch" There have, I apprehend, at all bishop of Canterbury, however, does times been clergymen who have been not coincide on this point with the distressed by this inconsistency, and of Bishop of Calcutta, and regrets the late years it has been regarded by failure of the attempts that have been many excellent men as irreconcilable made to enforce a general and rigid with the obligations which they took upon conforniity to the rubric, and yet themselves on their admission into holy upon his own shewing, nay upon his orders. Under the influence of these own assertion, this failure has been scruples, they thought it right to the conservation of the principles of adhere as closely as possible to the the Reformation. For not only does letter of the rubric in their minis- he show the ambiguity of the rubric, tration, whilst others of their brethren, and the contrariety of usage existing not less conscientious, have been de- from the beginning, that is, of course, termined by considerations, in their from the Reformation; but he also estimation of great weight, to follow asserts that those who have from time the usage which they found estab- to time been entrusted with the relished in their respective churches.” visal of the liturgy,“ did not see the This is certainly a very just and true necessity of giving directions so preaccount of the position of the clergy. cise as to ensure a rigid conformity in They are bound to a strict uniformity, every particular,” and consequently but the rules of that uniformity are no such rigid conformity was ever inin some points ambiguous, in others tended. To have forced it then upon are disturbed by usage.
the Church would have been an usurthey to do in such a position, and how pation of authority by her ministers, may matters be so adjusted that they and the laity therefore have done may maintain a conscience void of good service to the cause of religion offence both before God and man? in thus withstanding such usurpation,
Now one remedy has already been In fact we may safely say, that, since proposed for this, and the Archbishop the period of the Reformation, there. thus writes of it, “the most effectual has not been a greater work done in mode of accomplishing the object, it the Church, than this justifiable rehas been thought, would be found in sistance of the laity, to the attempt of general conformity to the rubric.” The exercising over them a more domiapplication of this remedy has been nant authority, than that which of tried in two dioceses, and failed. In right is entrusted to the ministers of that of London it was first attempted religion. Not only are the laity sancin an able and judicious manner, but, tioned in this by the Archbishop, being in itself objectionable, neces- who allows that the ambiguity of the sarily without effect. In that of rubrics and the contrariety of usage Exeter it has been tried also, but left the people this liberty, but he does there again has signally failed. Yes; so in a more essential point; for he thanks to the faithfulness of the laity; is in “uncertainty with respect to the by their resistance, under God, this extent of the powers committed to the effort to coerce them has failed, and Archbishop of the Province, in the their spiritual subjugation has been preface to the Book of Common successfully warded off. Nor has it Prayer,” and if there be uncertainty