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which may be easily done in the projected Reform of the Prayer Book. “The Church hath power to decree rites and ceremonies,”
the Twentieth Article. Why, then, doth not the Church exercise this power ? We have had nothing new since the Restoration of the Stuarts ; and, as for the paltry ceremonies which we now possess, such as bowing to the East, making the sign of the cross in baptism, dressing in lawn-sleeves, surplices, hoods, and square caps; walking into choirs preceded by beadles, singing prayers in cathedral fashion, and some score more of such amusements—they are not worth naming. We want a good dish-full of ceremonies, a complete new edition of processions, set to new tunes, with new machinery, scenery, dresses, and decorations -and, indeed, it is a shame that more is not done in this way, seeing the ample space of the cathedrals and great churches, which were built for exhibitions of this sort, and are never crowded with large congregations, according to the vulgar practice of conventicles. There is room enough, and to spare, for the clergy, to perform all sorts of ceremonies, if they choose it; therefore, I say, let the Church exercise that prerogative which the Tenth Article has asserted, and let the Dissenters be ashamed out of their puritanical plainness.
Next to ceremonies, I find traditions a most excellent recipe. Traditions have been much used by the Church, and have, within the last two or three years, come greatly into fashion again; so that Ignatius, Barnabas, Clement, Hermes, and Irenæus, the Apostolical constitutions, and the Councils are now rescued from Bodleian dust, and sent forth in dainty extracts by Oxford tracts and clerical pamphlets; and this, my Lord, is as it should be, for it is a sad oversight to allow the Pope a monopoly of Fathers and Councils; they are wanted at Lambeth full as much as at the Vatican. And the advantage of appealing to the Fathers, Councils, Decretals,* Canons, or, in one word, to tradition, is this, that there is no imaginable desideratum which may not be found in that quarter. Whatever your Lordship may think useful or agreeable I will undertake to furnish out of that storehouse--tithes, Bishops, Archbishops, images, Archdeacons, processions, Deans, fine dresses, ceremonies of every description; quick march round the altar, slow march, bowing, kneeling, sitting down, standing up, knocking the
* In the Decretals, Causa XII. Can, Dilectissimis, fc., that decrea of Clement is set down at large, where Plato is praised and called the wisest of the Grecians for teaching that women should be common.
head and the breast; fasts, feasts, empty bellies and full bellies ; holy water, bells, wax-candles, anthems, solos, incensé, saints, martyrs, mediators, intercessors, union of Church and State, anointing Kings and Queens, confirmation, comminations, catechisms, creeds, salt and spittle, prebends, transubstantiation, consubstantiation, church-wardens, painted windows, clerical titles, rubrics, college caps, Lent, lawn sleeves, and what not. Only in appealing to tradition, and in quoting the Fathers, it should be done judiciously; we must omit the story of the Phænix in Clemens Romanus, and keep in the back ground some strange fables preserved by Irenæus; for it would be a sad blunder to republish in the Oxford tracts the story of Lot's wife, told by that ancient Father, who says she was in his time existing as a pillar of salt, and known to be the Patriarch's wife by infallible indications. Neither must. we record that other tradition of his, which he declares he received from some Presbyters who heard it from St. John the Evangelist—that said “the time should come when vine-trees would grow, each having ten thousand branches, and on each branch ten thousand stalks, and on each stalk ten thousand twigs, and on each twig ten thousand bunches, and on each bunch ten thousand grapes, and every grape should yield twenty-five measures
of wine; and when some of the Saints should essay to gather one of the bunches, another bunch should cry out, 'Gather me, I am a finer bunch; bless the Lord through me,'" &c.
Keeping traditions of this sort out of sight, we may, my Lord, with much advantage, make use of Fathers and Councils, to prove the three orders, and such other points as are fundamental in the Church of England.
With these hints for things to be done, a word may be added as to what should not be done; for the natural man must be considered in his dislikes as well as in his likings. Now it may be taken as an axiom that the natural man dislikes to be robbed and murdered; and therefore with all humility I recommend that the Clergy of our scriptural Church should cease to exact tithes at the point of the bayonet, and that, for the present at least, such battles as those fought at Skibbereen and Rathcormac should be rather avoided than sought after; for though the affair of Rathcormac was a splendid victory, and though the fourth Irish Dragoons did on that day commit a great slaughter of the enemy, yet no one can tell where violence of this sort may end; we have the three days of Paris before us; we see there how an attack on the people has terminated; and that which has been done in one country may be done in another. I therefore recommend to your Lordship and the whole bench of Bishops a more mild use of the shepherd's crook as the best policy to be adopted by the constituted Pastors; and, whenever it shall be requisite to terrify the sheep, to substitute the charges of Bishops for the charges of Dragoons ; for if ever the people should be exasperated into open defiance, and if ever the Reformers should be the masters of the Church, we may surmise that the mitre would not be the least protection to its wearer, but rather show a broader mark to the missiles of the enemy-it would be as the lantern hung on the waistcoat of the Duc d'Enghein when he fell at the night time in the castle fosse of Vincennes.*
After all, my Lord, I do not pretend to predict that the system can be certainly perpetuated by anything we can do. There is an ugly look about the spirit of this generation which frightens me. The march of intellect is worse to the Clergy than the march of a hundred thousand men with fixed bayonets. Intellect is a great, grim, striding giant, with a huge besom that no man can measure, and with this he sweepeth away the wisdom of ancestors as if it was only a spider's web in his path; a cathedral and a Bishop he can shovel up
* Decus et lutamen, by the Reverend J. Riland.