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The Revolution of 1688, which in so many forth-struggling, we might almost say, into directions strengthened and enlarged our being, against the ordinary laws of ecclesiliberties, tended only, from all its compli- astical parturition, it yet manifested at once cated operations, to weaken the free action the formal slavery and the real freedom of of the Church as the spirituality of the realm. the ecclesiastical element in our mingled conNor, as we may find occasion to show here- stitution ; our essential agreement, in spite after, has recent legislation had any other of minor differences, on all matters concerntendency.
ing the fundamentals of the faith ; and our No reasonable man can shut his eyes to common-sense view of the foolish attempt the benefits which have resulted from the to substitute the dreamy nebulosities of usedstruggles which make up this long history. up German speculation fora simpie adher." The character of the Church of England re- ence to the language of the formularies, the sembles greatly that of men who, with wills letter of the creeds, and the plain teaching and understandings naturally strong, bave of the Bible. been brought up under no very fixed or defi- The effect of the publication of this docunite rules of education, and have developed ment was great and timely. The mind of in that comparative freedom of firmness, an the Church was only, perhaps, too much qui. independence, and an individuality, with eted by it, and disposed to be prematurely which more correct rules of early training contented with what had been done as suffi must have interfered. For there is in her a cient for the occasion. Amongst the parmarvellously tenacious grasp of fundamental tisans of the essayists it produced a vast truth ; an intelligent consent, amidst differ- amount of indignation. By one of the warmence on details of a multitude of minds, as est and most eloquent amongst them it was to the leading articles of the faith ; and ear- described as “ a document which, whilst nest, common-sense religiousness, which Cambridge lay in her usual attitude of magcould probably have been bred no otherwise nificent repose, about a month after the apthan under the full and free action of her pearance of the Quarterly, startled the world'; existing constitution. But it is an inevitable one without precedent, as we trust it may be correlative of these advantages that the ac- without imitation, in the English Church." • tion of authority within her body, when at It was “the counterpart of the Papal escomlast it is called for, should be slow, sporadic, munication levelled against Italian freedom, and somewhat feeble. We must not, there-filled with menaces borrowed from the anfore, expect, perhaps we need not very pas- cient days of persecution," etc. All this irsionately desire, that the rise of any error ritation was but a testimony to the real within her communion should be followed at weight of the condemnation, and not less so once by the meeting of the authoritative was the curious attempt of the same writer synod, the thunder of an anathema, and the to lessen its authority by representing the lightning shaft of summary excommunica- venerable Bishop of Exeter as not having tion. All this is illustrated in the history joined with his brethren in their censure. of the “ Essays and Reviews” controversy. There is an audacity which reaches almost
When, shortly after the publication of our to pleasantry in the attempt of the reviewer former article, public attention had been to claim the present Bishop of Exeter as one called to the subject, and the minds of think-who, when the defence of the foundations of ing men thoroughly roused to its impor- our belief was the question at issue, could tance, the first action of authority was the conceive it to be the course of faithfulness appearance of a document, bearing first or to the duty of his great station to “protect,” last, we believe, the signature of every bishop in the reviewer's sense of the words, " the of the United Church, and condemning many cause of free and fair discussion from the inof the propositions of the book as inconsist- discriminate violence of popular agitators." + ent with an honest subscription to her for- This is really very much like expecting the mularies. This was, in our judgment, a great Athanasius to have deemed it his spe mode of action highly characteristic of the cial vocation to protect the heretic Arius temper and spirit which we have attributed from the agitation and violence of the Cathto the Established Church. Somewhat in-lolic Church. But bold as this attempt would formal in its conception and in its putting | * Edinburgh Review, No. 230, p. 469. Ibid.
have been in any one who knew only the of public, notorious, proclaimed complicity principles and character of the Right Rev. in an act which I am unwilling again to Prelate, whose name he wished thus to coax
characterize as it deserves. off the bond, perhaps it might warrant even
“I am, Reverend Sir,
“ Your obedient servant, some stronger epithet when it is seen upon “Rev. F. Temple.
H. EXETER." what the suggestion was really founded. On the 21st of February, 1861, Dr. Temple sion, I think it right to add that, while I do
“P.S.-In order to prevent misapprehenwrote, under a misconception, a letter, which not regard your essay with the same feeling he recalled the day following, to the Bishop of aversion as I cannot but feel for other of Exeter, inquiring with what fundamental portions of the book, I yet deem it open to doctrines of our Church the bishop had de- very grave remark.” clared his essay to be at variance. The
After reading these sentences, published hasty recall of the inquiry did not save the at the close of February, it is somewhat inquirer from an answer, from which we must startling to find a writer two months later make one or two highly characteristic es
endeavoring to detract from the authority tracts :
of the common condemnation by the bishops “The book," continues the bishop,“ pro- through the statement that “the name of fesses to be a joint contribution for effecting H. Exeter is now known to have been added a common object, viz., 'to illustrate the advantage derivable to the cause of religious without his knowledge and against his and moral truth from a free handling in a
wish.” But what will our readers say becoming spirit of subjects peculiarly
liable when they find, further, that the bishop had to suffer by the repetition of conventional distinctly stated, in his published answer to language, and from traditional methods of Dr. Temple some six weeks before this was treatment.'
written, the following arowal ? “I avow my full conviction that this has a manifest and direct reference to
" I felt constrained to accompany my conCreeds, our Articles, our Book of Common currence in the procedure with the expresPrayer, and administration of the Sacra- sion of my judgment that the paper to which ments.
I gave my assent was conceived in terms “ I also avow that I hold every one of the more feeble than the occasion required. I seven persons acting together for such an ventured to sketch a formula which I should object to be alike responsible for the sev- have wished to subscribe rather than that eral acts of every individual among them in which had been adopted, expressing the pain executing their avowed common purpose.
which we (the bishops) have felt in seeing This judgment might, indeed, have been such a book, bearing the authority of scven qualified in favor of any one of the seven members of our Church ; still more, of minwho, on seeing the extravagantly vicious isters of God's Word and Sacraments among manner in which some of his associates had us-of men specially bound, under the most performed their part, had openly declared solemn engagements, to faithful maintenance his disgust and abhorrence of such unfaith- of the truths set forth in our Articles of Refulness, and had withdrawn his name from ligion, in our Book of Common Prayer, and the number.
even in the Creeds of the Church Catholic. “ You have not done this, although many That the general tenor of this unhappy work months have clapsed since this moral poison is plainly inconsistent with fidelity to those has been publicly vended under your author- engagements we cannot hesitate to declare. ity, and since the indignation of faithful Whether the particular statements are exChristians has openly stigmatized the work pressed in language so cloudy or so guarded as of the most manifestly pernicious ten- as to render inexpedient à more formal dency; above all, as a work which all who dealing with them either in the courts of the are entrusted, as you are, with the momen- Church or by synodical censure, is a questous responsibility of educating the youth of tion which demands and is receiving our
a Christian nation in the knowledge and anxious consideration.” i obedience of Christian faith, ought in com
So that what the reviewer transforms into mon faithfulness and common honesty to
a mitigation of the sentence on his clients, reprobate and denounce. “ You, I repeat, have, so far as I am in- viz., that “the signature H. Exeter was
I formed, refrained from taking any public added without his knowledge and against his step to vindicate your own character, and
* Edinburgh Review, No. 230 (April, 1861), must therefore be content to bear the stigma p. 464.
wish," as it stands in its naked simplicity of of the case, was that these writers should be fact, is this,—that the bishop did concur in called upon to declare publicly their “belief the common sentence, but conceived that it in the great truths of Christianity.”
" conceived in terms more feeble than The declaration of the bishops was sucthe occasion required.” Surely, this is very ceeded by an address to the Archbishop of much as if the prisoner's counsel should Canterbury, signed by more than ten thoucalmly assume his proved innocence, be- sand clergymen, condemning in the strongcause, whilst the majority of his judges were est terms the teaching of the essayists content with inflicting on him penal servi- The Convocation of the Province of Cantertude for life, one would have deemed it far bury, too, took up the subject; and there meeter punishment for his crime that he was scarcely heard in either House the should be hanged, drawn, and quartered. faintest whisper of agreement with the new
One other attempt of the reviewer to de- unbelief. So far, indeed, from it, that those tract from the weight of this document must who for various reasons deprecated a synodnot be passed over wholly unnoticed. It is ical condemnation of the book, were as eager a more cautious endeavor to represent the as any to disavow all agreement with the Bishop of London as having in fact with- opinions of its authors ; whilst an address drawn from his share in the common Epis- of thanks to the members of the Upper copal censure of the essays. The whole House for their censure of it was adopted by treatment of the bishop is curiously sug- the Lower House. gestive. For he is both threatened and So far the voice of the Church through its cajoled into a silent adoption of the new several organs uttered no warering or unposition suggested for him by the reviewer. certain sound. But all this, in the opinion He is at once threatened with a charge of of many whose judgment was the most worcomplicity in describing the early chapters thy of consideration, could not exempt the of the Book of Genesis as parabolical, and special guardians of the Faith from the duty flattered by being reminded of the liberality of taking the steps belonging to their office, of his opinions in “ sermons preached in the to obtain a yet more formal and authoritagenerous ardor" of his "youth,” before the tive censure of the new opinions. Their adUniversity at Oxford ; and this though, if vocate, in the article to which we have re we remember right, his name was one of ferred already, expresses-i
-in a passage of those appended to what the reviewer calls singular flippancy-bis “ concurrence with “ Mr. Wilson's doubtless long-repented, un- the Episcopal censors” in the “charges ” of generous act and unfortunate onslaught on "flippancy of style and rash partnership,”
' the Ninetieth Tract for the Times.”” * adding “but there is no liturgical condemThe sole ground for this attempt was a nation of bad taste except by the example speech (a very unfortunate one, we admit) of contrast: there is no article against joint of the bishop in the Upper House of Con- liability unless it be the Thirty-eighth ( of vocation, in which he was well described at Christian men's goods not common ').” After the time as “evidently straitened between this poor witticism, he continues in a tone his personal regard for two of the essayists, of arrogance and taunt which pervades the whom he had known for some twenty years, article, a dim sense of the true state and his own sense of duty to the Church and of the case has made itself felt at times durto the revealed truth in which he believes.” + ing the controversy, chiefly in the Episcopal We must allow to the reviewer that there utterances an imperfectly realized conwas something of an undecided character viction that there is, after all, no opposition about this speech ; but we think that his between the Articles and the doctrines of exultation over it as a penitential severance the book, which only has remained unasof himself by the speaker from his perse- sailed by legal weapons because its adversacuting brethren, might have been a little ries well know that by such weapons it is in qualified by the recollection that the practi-fact unassailable.” * cal measure, which the bishop proposed, as
We can full well understand one in the that which would best meet the exigencies position of the Bishop of Salisbury-in* Edinburgh Review, No. 230, p. 495.
trusted, under the most awful responsibiliGuardian, March 6, 1861.
* Edinburgh Review, No. 230, p. 494.
ties, with the guardianship of the true de- Such is Mr. Wilson's statement respecting posit, in his own diocese-feeling that it the fourth Gospel (p. 116); and that the was impossible for him to allow such chal- taking of Jerusalem by Shishak is for the lenges as these to pass unnoticed ; and be- Hebrew history, that which the sacking of lieving that a necessity was laid upon him Rome by the Gauls is for the Roman (p. of persevering by action, even under our 170). This last assertion, wholly unsuppresent most unsatisfactory system of eccle- ported by argument, is, not only according siastical law, the people committed to his to our humble belief but according to the aversight from the authoritative teaching of whole tenor of the great work of Ewald, errors, which he had deliberately combined equally untenable in its negative and its with his brethren solemnly to censure. positive aspect.'
In his diocese, and invested with the cure Certainly these “ assertions,” wholly at af souls, was one of the two essayists whom variance with any reverence whatever for the even the liberality of the “Edinburgh” re- Scriptures as the word of God, are a little viewer cannot wholly exculpate. “We can- difficult of acceptance to any one who is not not,” he says, “avoid observing that the very distinctly in the reviewer's language flippant and contemptuous tone of the “ learned and sceptical ; " and we cannot reviewer (Dr. Rowland Williams) often wonder that the writer who has hazarded amounts to a direct breach of the compact them was also brought before the Ecclesiaswith which the volume opens, that the sub-tical Courts, especially as he goes on with a jects therein touched should be handled “in sort of “reading made easy” advertisement a becoming spirit.” Anything more unbe- to show how men called upon to give, by coming than some of Dr. Williams's re- subscription to certain articles and formulamarks we never have read in writings pro- ries, a pledge of how and what they will fessing to be written seriously." * Against teach, as the condition of their receiving the
. bim, under that form of the ecclesiastical authority and endowments of the preacher's law which is called “letters of request,” and office, may subscribe these documents withwhich brings the matter in question imme- out believing them; and, in professing their diately before the Court of the Archbishop allowance of them, mean only that they enof the province, the Bishop of Salisbury dure their existence as necessary evils. proceeded. It was matter of public notori- Accordingly he, too (the age probably of ety that he took this step with the deepest venerable Bishop of Ely having prevented reluctance. That he did at last take it, no the suit proceeding in the name of the Dioone can wonder who remembers those sol- cesan), was brought before the court most emn words in the Consecration Service in appropriately by the Proctor in Convocation which he who undertakes the office then con- for the clergy of the diocese, who must needs ferred pledges himself, “ to be rearly with have a keen interest in wiping from their all faithful diligence to banish and drive body the deep and eating stain of allowed away all erroneous and strange doctrines heresy amongst themselves. Through the contrary to God's word ; and both privately somewhat tedious stages of the Ecclesiastiand openly to call upon and encourage oth- cal Courts, relieved by speeches of no ordiers to the same.”—Consecration Office. nary interest, especially by that of Mr. Fitz
Dr. R. Williams shares with Mr. Wilson james Stephen for the defence, and the adthe special censures of the “ Edinburgh ” mirable arguments of the new Queen's Adreviewer ; not so much, it is true, for what vocate, Dr. (now Sir Robert) Phillimore, he puts forth, as for his mode of doing it. these two causes have now travelled to a “ If he was minded to be a little sceptical, solemn judgment delivered in the Court of he should not at the same time have been Arches by Dr. Lushington; a judgment scandalous ;-he had no business to “shake which, though in form delivered only on an the red flag" of his unbelief in the "face of interlocutory appeal, was “in fact,” as the the mad bull” of Orthodoxy ;-he had dealt judge himself informs us,
a decision upon in "assertions which even the learned and the merits." sceptical" (let our readers mark the ominous The highest directly Ecclesiastical Court, conjunction) “would hesitate to receive." then, of the Church has now pronounced its Edinburgh Review, p. 479.
* Edinburgh Review, No. 230, p. 474.
sentence upon two of these notorious essays, the judge. “ First, then,” he says, “ to asupon two which are amongst the worst of certain the real meaning of the passages esthem ; for the writer of that, which travelled tracted (p. 18); and I must say this is no the farthest in error, which we forbear to easy task. If the author had studied to excharacterize a second time by its true name, press his sentiments with ambiguity, I doubt had been removed from the jurisdiction of if he could have been more successful. Harall earthly courts—and for very many rea- ing read and re-read the passage, I am not sons we think it well worth while to examine satisfied that I distinctly and accurately comclosely into the judgment so delivered. Such prehend its import” (p. 14). Again : “It an examination the learned and distinguished is very difficult, for me at least, to ascertain judge in his concluding sentences seems the true intent of this sentence.” Again (p. to rather to invite than deprecate. All 21): "I am not sure that I distinctly comthrough, indeed, it is manifest that he is prehend the meaning of the next sentence." possessed with an almost overwhelming sense Again (p. 33) : “ It is to be regretted that of the extreme gravity of the occasion and Mr. Wilson, in his essay, has frequently exthe greatness of the interests which are at pressed himself in language so ambiguous as stake;
and these emotions gather themselves to admit of opposite constructions” (p. 24). up into the closing utterance : “I have dis- " I proceed to the next passage. I will cancharged my duty to the best of my ability. didly say that I do not feel perfectly certain I am aware that these judgments will be se- that I comprehend its true meaning.' verely canvassed by the clergy and by oth- next part of the extract is still more difficult.” ers. Be it so : thereby it may be ascertained (p. 34). “ This sentence is open to diverse whether they are in accordance with law; interpretations, and some of its terms are and accordance with law ought to be the sole self-contradictory” (p. 34). object of a Court of Justice.” *
Who can read these reiterated groans of The ruling principle of the whole judgment baffled judicial sagacity without sympathy for is expressed in these few words. In pro- the sufferer who has to track out amidst nouncing the penalties of the law, the learned these "evasions," "self-contradictions," and judge repeatedly reminds us that he is con- “ studied obscurities " the golden thread of demning not the errors or the evils of the thought ? To demand a judgment on them document which has been brought before is really too like the requirement of the Babhim, but simply its transgression of the law; ylonian king, who bid the puzzled soothsaythat he is maintaining not truth, but the decers recall the vanished dream, of which they laration of truth contained in the Articles were to furnish afterwards the interpretation. and Formularies of the Established Church. But there are deeper evils in such a style of This must be borne constantly in mind in writing than the agonies it causes to the considering this momentous judgment by judge who has to decide upon its criminalievery one who would understand its real ties. These obscurities of statement as to tenor and effect; and it is under the light of the Articles of the Faith are the readiest inthis guiding principle that we propose to struments of spreading error. Under such subject it to such an examination, as will, we clouds of thought and words, the whole body believe, make clear its true bearings. of the truth may be carried piecemeal away.
First, then, we have to notice that, as a The most marked outlines of the Christian consequence of this construction of the judg- scheme melt away amidst these mists into ment, besides the direct judicial sentence as the undistinguished glimmering of the surto penalties incurred or avoided in these rounding fog. Obscurity, therefore, in a pages, there is a moral decision on them teacher of the Faith is close akin to the running through the whole legal utterance, deadly crime of pronounced heresy. couched often in language of singular force There is, too, another evil in obscurity of and clearness. Thus, for example, our own which this judginent supplies frequent incomplaint of a studied obscurity and evasive- stances. The Protean character of error so ness of statement is continually repeated by promulgated, whilst it is singularly favora
ble to the generation of doubts, eludes by its * Judgment delivered on the 25th of June, 1862, by the Right Hon. S. Lushington, Dean of the shadowy uncertainty the mocked grasp of Arches, i. 44.
justice. "I think," says the judge (p. 29),