« PreviousContinue »
HER MOST GRACIOUS MAJESTY, VICTORIA,
UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND
THE PROTESTANT QUEEN, DEFENDER OF THE FAITH,
ONE OF THE MOST LOYAL AND HUMBLE OF HER MAJESTY's SUBJECTS
NOT ONLY PROSPERITY, BUT HAPPINESS.
I. The loyal subject will pray for the happiness as well as the prosperity of
Her Majesty ; but that prayer implies the hope that Her Majesty, when dying, may be enabled to remember that she has endeavoured to
promote the Union of Christ's Holy Catholic Church. II. The offering of this prayer is encouraged by the remembrance both of the reasons, which
may induce the Sovereign of Great Britain to commence the work of promoting the Reunion of Christians, and of the manner in
which the attempt to do so may be made. III. The three chief reasons on which this hope of Union may be founded.
The first reason. The titles borne by the Sovereign of “ Defender of
" the Faith,” and “ Protestant." IV. Definition of the Union desired, “ that as the Political Union of Nations
“ is founded on the independence of each State, with the acknowledgment
of unpapal international POLITICAL laws ; so also the Ecclesiastical “ Union of Nations is to be founded on the independence of each “ national Church, with the acknowledgment of unpapal international
ECCLESIASTICAL laws." V. The title, Defender of the Faith, was assumed by our Kings before it was
given by Leo X. to Henry VIII. It implies the maintaining of the independence of the National Church, and the desire of the decision of Councils upon the division of Christians. The more express confer
ring of the title by Leo X. does not destroy its first meaning. VI. The title of Protestant, rightly defined, has the same meaning as Defender
of the Faith.
VII. The second reason. The remembrance of the three great services which
Great Britain has already rendered to the Christian world, and to the
Universal Church. VIII. The third reason. The recognition by the National Church of the
foundation on which the attempts at the Reunion of Christians may
be begun. IX. The manner in which the Sovereign of Great Britain may commence the
attempt to promote the Reunion of Christians is pointed out by the mode in which the Abolition of the Slave Trade, as an abstract question of humanity, was proposed and finally decreed to be a part of the law of nations, by the representatives of Sovereigns at various congresses
and councils. X. The principles on which the attempt to promote the Union of Christians
may be begun, are :-The resumption of their Supremacy by Secular Sovereigns ; and the formation of a Scriptural Creed, Liturgy, and
Canons, with perfect Toleration. XI. The persons to whom the power of deliberation may be entrusted, and the
oath they should be required to take. XII. The extent to which the decisions of such council, or congress, would be
received as a part of the international laws of Christians. XIII. The effects of the council upon Popery, Sectarianism, and Episcopacy,
upon personal piety, and general peace. XIV. Conclusion.
The loyal subject will pray for the happiness as well as the prosperity of Her
Majesty. That prayer implies the hope that Her Majesty, when dying, may be enabled to remember that she has endeavoured to promote the Union of Christ's Holy Catholic Church.
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR MAJESTY,
Though it is possible that many of your Majesty's affectionate and devoted subjects would be contented with demonstrating their loyalty to your Majesty by prayers for your Majesty's prosperity alone, I cannot be satisfied with following their example in this respect; not only because with much outward prosperity there may be much inward misery, and not only because the prayer for your Majesty's happiness, as well as prosperity, includes the fervent desire for that present and future satisfaction which proceeds from the consciousness that the will of God is the foundation of our hope and the rule of our conduct ; but because the loyal and humble prayer that our Sovereign may attain to happiness as well as to prosperity, implies the enviable and honourable privilege of submitting a certain and most undeniable truth to your Majesty, although such truth may not hitherto have been brought under your Majesty's notice by any of your Majesty's confidential advisers in Church or State ; but which if believed and adopted as the foundation of a new course of Christian polity, would form one undoubted source of all that happiness, that satisfaction of the desires of the heart of man, as a reasoning, accountable, and immortal being, which the most affectionate loyalty can desire for your Majesty.
This happiness (may I presume to place before your Majesty an affirmation so trite and obvious ?) can only be attained by those who, whether sovereign or subject, derive their hopes of possessing it from the performance not merely of the letter, but of the spirit of the Law, which is made known to them by the Revelation of the Most High God. It is partly defined in the language of the prayers which are devoutly and humbly offered for your Majesty by that branch of the Holy Catholic Church, which, by God's great mercy not yet withdrawn from us, is established in these realms, and over which the providence of God, and the laws of the realm, have made your Majesty the supreme earthly Governor, and over which, therefore, no foreign prince or prelate hath, or ought to have (and I trust never shall have) jurisdiction, superiority, authority, or power'. "We pray that your Majesty, ever trusting in God's goodness, “protected by His power, and crowned with His gracious and endless favour, “ may continue before God in health, peace, joy, and honour, may live a long “ and happy life upon earth, and after death obtain everlasting life and glory in
the kingdom of Heaven, by the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our “Saviour.” And the mentioning in this prayer of the holy name of the Blessed Saviour, through whose mediation alone the loyal supplications of your Majesty's subjects are thus offered to the Creator of the world, and the only Head of the Universal Church, suggests that Duty, which has never hitherto been brought under the notice of your Majesty.
The Lord Jesus Christ, in whose name we all pray, in the evening before the day on which He was crucified, as the Sacrifice for His Church and people, from the prince on the throne to the peasant in his cottage, prayed to His Father, that His disciples might“ be one." He prayed for the union of His Church. By so praying, He declared His holy will to be, that His Churches which constitute the Universal Church, wherever scattered, and however governed by secular princes, should form but one society. By so declaring His holy will, He made it the bounden duty of His followers, whether they be sovereigns or subjects, high or low, rich or poor, through all ranks and classes, to promote that union. The providence of God, therefore, which has invested your Majesty with the sovereignty of this great Empire, has commanded your Majesty, as a reasoning, accountable, immortal, yet dying being,-in the station, place, and rank which the providence of God alone has assigned to your Majesty, by the exercising all the means, influence, and authority accruing from that place, rank, or station, as your Majesty desires that the prayers of the Church may be heard at the
· Canon xxxvi. Subscription required of the Clergy.
Throne of Grace—to demonstrate your sympathy with the Church, and the purity of your faith and of your gratitude to the Son of God, by employing the personal, political, ecclesiastical prerogatives and powers of the Sovereign of Great Britain (so far as may be possible) for the promotion of that union of Christians, for which the Mediator between God and man, the only Saviour of the souls of princes and peasants, prayed and died. I presume to assure your Majesty, that no one Christian “work of faith and labour of love” whatever, will confer more happiness on your Majesty as a Christian Sovereign, than the resolution and the attempt to promote that union of Christians, for which a dying Saviour prayed. And I wish to your Majesty the happiness which shall be founded
the conviction that your Majesty has so worn an earthly crown, that your Majesty shall have a good hope of the better crown, that is, a heavenly. I wish this happiness to your Majesty, that when the day shall come, and it must come (may the God who heareth prayer grant the petition of myself and of my fellow-subjects that it may be far distant !); but when the day shall come, that the pomps and splendours, the forms and ceremonies, the processions and the pageants, the amusements and festivities, of the court and of the palace shall have passed away as a tale that is told,---when the darkened room, the cautious step, the suppressed sob, the stifled whisper (inquiring whether the last pulse has beat, and the last sigh been breathed,) shall denote the hour when the dust is about to return to the dust, and the spirit to return to the God who gave it ;when it shall be doubtful to the affectionate and anxious attendants and kindred whether the soul is still embodied or disembodied ;-when the soul looks back upon the past and remembers, and forward to the future and hopes for acceptance and
peace for ever; then may the God of mercy grant to your Majesty the happiness of the remembrance, that the Faith in Christ which has saved the soul, has been accompanied and demonstrated by the love to Christ and His Church, which promoted the peace of Jerusalem and the union of His brethren. So may God remember your Majesty "for good?!" So may the prayers of the Church for your Majesty be answered !
The offering of this prayer is encouraged by the remembrance, both of the reasons, which
may induce the Sovereign of Great Britain to commence the work of promoting the Reunion of Christians, and of the manner in which the attempt to
do so may
I would not presume to submit the declaration of my loyalty and affection to your Majesty in this most unusual manner, if I were not encouraged to do so by the recollection of many reasons, which induce me to believe that the Sovereign
2 Nehemiah v. 19.
of Great Britain may possibly be permitted, by God's great mercy, to attain to the honour of commencing the holy work of promoting the reunion of Christians, and by the manner also in which the holy work may be attempted. Of these reasons I will mention but three. The manner in which the Sovereign of Great Britain may proceed to suggest and begin the effort to restore union to the Catholic Church is suggested to us in the precedent by which the example of Great Britain, even in our own day, has induced the other Sovereigns of Europe to make the enforcement of an abstract principle of humanity a portion of the law of nations.
The three chief reasons on which this hope of Union may be founded. The first
reason,—The titles borne by the Sovereign, of Defender of the Faith, and Protestant.
The three chief reasons which induce me to hope that the Sovereign of Great Britain may be so highly honoured by God's providence as to be the originator of the reunion of Christians are,—the titles of your Majesty ; the SERVICES which Great Britain has already rendered to mankind; and the affirmation in the Articles of our Church of the principle on which the attempt to reunite the Universal Church may be begun.
1. My first reason is deduced from the two principal titles of your Majesty, “ Defender of the Faith,” and “ Protestant.” And here, that I may not appear to be urging that which is impossible, because it may seem to be difficult or unusual, I will define what I mean by that union of the Holy Catholic Church, which once existed ; and which all Christians so earnestly desire.
Definition of the Union desired, " that as the Political Union of Nations is
" founded on the independence of each State, with the acknowledgment of “ unpapal international POLITICAL laws ; so also the Ecclesiastical Union of “ Nations is to be founded on the independence of each national Church, with " the acknowledgment of unpapal international EcCLESIASTICAL laws.
By the union of Christians and of Churches, I mean, then, precisely the same union which exists among the states of Europe and the civilized world in general. Every state is governed by two classes of laws—one, the code of regulations which it enacts for itself'; the other, the code of tacit or express observances, which regulate the conduct of nations towards each other, and
3 Jus civile est quod quisque sibi populus constituit. Justin. Inst. i. 2. 1.