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authorised teachers of religion thus threw their weight on to the immoral and anti-Christian side.
The general election of 1880 was immediately followed by the Burials Act of the Liberal Government. The parochial clergy were thrown into paroxysms of wrath and alarm. The most extravagant protests poured into Lambeth Palace from the country parsonages; and one rector announced that he had provided pitchforks to repel the first Nonconformist funeral which invaded his churchyard." When all the hubbub had died down, that eminently reasonable Churchman, Bishop Woodford, reminded his diocese that this Burials Act, which he disapproved and had opposed, was only one more step in the long process of gradual Disestablishment. The completion of that process he dreaded, and would delay as long as might be. But, he added :
The establishment of the Church may be purchased at too dear a cost. It would be a fatal error, in our eagerness to preserve the Establishment, to peril one jot or tittle of the doctrine or discipline of the Catholic Church.10
Meanwhile the foundations of the Establishment were rudely shaken by a very different set of machinations. A series of ritual prosecutions, undertaken under Archbishop Tait's much-loved Publie Worship Regulation Act, proved, some abortive, some scandalous, and all futile. The cry of 1874 was heard again : *Let us settle our own worship in our own way. If Parliament, as the condition of establishment, sets the Divorce-judge to arrange our Eucharistic ritual, let us have done with Establishment.' And ordinary citizens outside the Church began to say, “These fanatics are no concern of ours. Why should Parliament, or law-courts, or Ministers of State be occupied with their futilities? Let them go their own way, and cease from worrying. At the end of 1882, Archbishop Tait attempted on his deathbed to undo the work of his lifetime, and to obtain toleration for the Ritualists whom he had vainly tried to exterminate. Some hocus pocus arrangements, by which Mr. Mackonochie was transferred from St. Alban's, Holborn, to St. Peter's, London Docks, were dignified by the name of the Great Archbishop's Legacy of Peace.' For a while excitement subsided, and a holy calm diffused itself through the breasts of those dignitaries whose first article of faith is, I believe in an Established Church. This peace was rudely dispelled by the prosecution of the Bishop of Lincoln; and then Archbishop Benson, who had a keen eye for ecclesiastical politics, saw his opportunity. The Lambeth Judgment vindicated Ritualism, and was supported by the Judicial Committee, which, according to persistent rumour, had been “squared' before the judgment was pronounced. The success of the mancuvre was for the time complete, and ritual prosecutions ceased. With the cessation of prosecutions came a cessation
• See Archbishop Tait's Life, vol. ii. p. 407.
of the cry from within the Church in favour of Disestablishment. Delivered from perpetual worry, the High Church clergy settled down upon the lees of a complacent optimism. The fetters of the State no longer galled, and at any rate the loaves and fishes were safe. The attempt to disestablish the Welsh dioceses in 1895 was stoutly opposed by the clergy of all schools. Things were well as they were. Why not let them alone? But during the last four years this agreeable calm has been again disturbed, and this time by more serious forces.
In 1882 that shrewd observer, Archbishop Magee, wrote :
Reform . . . and not Disestablishment, will be the game of the Church's enemies in Parliament. They will strive to fix on us such an Egyptian bondage of Erastianism and Latitudinarianism as shall force us to cry out for separation. .. See if wbat I am saying will not come true; and see, too, if the really dangerous symptom of its coming true be not relaxation of the marriage laws. This is the point on which Church and State can be most rapidly brought into serious collision. Whenever the State treats, and requires the Church to treat, as married those whom the Church declares to be not married or marriageable, then will come a strain that will snap or go near snapping the links that bind Church and State.1? What Archbishop Magee foresaw came to pass.
The law of Christian Marriage was ostentatiously violated by legal authority, and the episcopate, agreeably to the politic precedent of old Brer Rabbit, lay low and said nuffin'.' The consciences of Churchmen were profoundly stirred by this profanation of a chief mystery of the Gospel, and by the enforced use of the most sacred words in a nonnatural sense. Again priests and laymen began to cry out that, if such scandals are inseparable from Establishment, it would be better to break the link and go free. From this ferment of feeling sprang * The Churchmen's Liberation League,' at present no bigger than a grain of mustard-seed, but destined, perhaps, to develope into a vigorous growth.
This was the condition of things at the beginning of 1898, when, to quote the Church Times, nothing seemed less probable than a recrudescence of that ignorant and violent Protestantism which obtained in the years when the Public Worship Regulation Act had not yet been relegated to obscurity. But Churchmen were soon to be undeceived. Early in the year a Protestant bookseller who had long been endeavouring to get the public to take him seriously rented an office in the parish of St. Ethelburga, Bishopsgate, in order that he might be legally qualified to communicate at the parish altar, and be in a position to disturb the united congregation which worshipped there. Firm and tactful treatment saved the situation; but Mr. Kensit soon sought further notoriety by violently interrupting the service of the Veneration of the Cross on Good Friday at St. Cuthbert's, Philbeach Gardens.
As so much trouble has sprung from misunderstanding of this ceremony, it may be worth while to record in this place the judgment of a famous Protestant on a similar act of devotion. Dr. Arnold, writing from Bourges in 1840, said:
11 Life of Archbishop Magee, vol. ii. p. 169.
In the crypt is a Calvary, and figures as large as life representing the Burying of Our Lord. The woman who showed us the crypt had her little girl with her, and she lifted up the child, about three years old, to kiss the feet of Our Lord. Is this idolatry? Nay, verily, it may be so, but it need not be, and assuredly is in itself right and natural. I confess I rather envied the child. It is idolatry to talk about Holy Church and Holy Fathers- bowing down to fallible and sinful mennot to bend knee, lip, and heart to every thought and every image of Him our manifested God.
The outrage at St. Cuthbert's was followed by similar performances- notably at St. Michael's, Shoreditch, and St. Thomas's, Liverpool ; but decent Evangelicals soon became disgusted with their champion and his methods. It was found impossible to maintain the reign of terror, and the promising scheme of a thousand riots in as many churches on the first Sunday in November was abandoned as impracticable. The conflict now became a war of words. That stout champion of Erastianism and other lost causes, Sir William Harcourt, renewed his youth like an eagle, and rushed into the fray. His last achievement in this field had occurred during the debates on the Public Worship Regulation Bill in 1874, when Mr. Gladstone inflicted on him a deserved and memorable castigation. The ground of Mr. Gladstone's hostility to that ill-starred Bill may be gathered from one of the Resolutions which he laid upon the table :
That this House is reluctant to place in the hands of every single bishop, on the motion of one or of three persons, howsoever defined, greatly increased facilities towards procuring an absolute ruling of many points hitherto left open and reasonably allowing of diversity, and thereby towards the establishment of an inflexible rule of uniformity throughout the land, to the prejudice, in matters indifferent, of the liberty now practically existing.
That liberty would have been not merely ‘ prejudiced,' but destroyed; by a provision which was introduced during the passage of the Bill. It was proposed to overthrow the bishop's right of veto on proceedings to be instituted in the new Court, and to invest the archbishop with power to institute suits, or allow them to be instituted, in diocese not his own. This provision Mr. Gladstone vehemently opposed, on the ground that it was contrary to the whole tradition and structure of the Church, and that it was fundamentally inconsistent with the custom of Christendom as regards the relations between Metropolitans and their suffragans. In support of this view he quoted at large from the canonist Van Espen. Sir William Harcourt poured scorn on these citations; was proud to say he had never heard of Van Espen; pooh-poohed all canonists and casuists; adopted Mr. Bright's famous phrase about ecclesiastical rubbish ;' took the broad and manly ground of common sense, common law, and the Constitution; and roundly accused Mr. Gladstone of having come back at the eleventh hour for no other purpose than to wreck the Bill. Five days afterwards Sir William resumed his discourse. He had got up the case in the meantime, and met Mr. Gladstone on his own ground.
He argued the question of canon law. He cited Ayliffe's 'Parergon Juris Canonici Anglicani,' and Burn's ' Ecclesiastical Law,' and sought to show that the power claimed for the Metropolitan was as sound canonically as constitutionally.
This unexpected display of erudition gave Mr. Gladstone an opportunity which he was not slow to use. Referring to Sir William's canonical exercitations, he said:
I confess I greatly admire the manner in which the hon, and learned gentleman has used his time since last Friday night. On Friday night he was, as he says, taken by surprise. The lawyer was taken by surprise, and so was the Professor of Law in the University of Cambridge. The lawyer was taken by surprise, and, in consequence, he had nothing to deliver to the House except a series of propositions, on which I will not comment. ... Finding that he has delivered to the House most extraordinary propositions of law and history, that will not bear a moment's examination, my hon, and learned friend has had the opportunity of spending four or five days in better informing himself upon the subject, and he is in a position to come down to this House, and for an hour and a half to display and develope the erudition he has thus rapidly and cleverly acquired. Human nature could not possibly resist such a temptation, and my hon. and learned friend has succumbed to it.
Since that unpleasant but salutary evening Sir William had kept silence even from good words, though it was pain and grief to him. But by midsummer 1898 Mr. Gladstone was in his grave, and the attack might be renewed with comparative safety. Accordingly Sir William broke loose in a series of speeches filled with coarse abuse of the Ritualistic clergy. His controversial methods recalled his earlier manner' of 1874, when he alleged that all the parapher-nalia of Ritualistic practice and doctrine were devised to lead up to the priestly pretension—'I hold your God in my hand, and I have your wife at my feet.' To refined and reverent minds such language appeared both blasphemous and indecent; and the Ritualistic clergy of to-day, when abused by Sir William Harcourt, may reflect that their predecessors of 1874 endured even grosser calumny, and emerged from it unharmed.
Parliament being prorogued, the Leader of the Opposition took up his
pen. He enlivened the Silly Season with a course of letters to the Times, which in their demands on our credulity rivalled the annual Sea Serpent, and in their dimensions exceeded the Enormous Gooseberry. Similar entertainment has been provided for the Christmas recess; and, encouraged by this heroic example, smaller fry begin to talk airily of coercive legislation ; of the abolition of the bishops' veto on ritual prosecutions; of the substitution of deprivation for imprisonment; and of sundry other short and easy methods for decatholicising the Church of England. The threats of 1873 and 1874 are heard again. We are once more told that the Mass' and the confessional’ are to be put down by law. It remains to be seen if these amiable imaginings take shape in attempted legislation; and if they do, how the Government, and, above all, how the bishops, will face the attempt. In the issue of the present controversy Establishment is deeply involved. If a Parliament, rightly including Jews, Turks, infidels and heretics, lays its profane hands on the Eucharistic faith and worship of the Church, or upon the Ministry of Reconciliation, the demand for Disestablishment will be heard in such a volume of voices as will shake the episcopal bench with unwonted tremors. *Foul fall the day,' said Mr. Gladstone in 1894, ‘wben the persons of this world shall, on whatever pretext, take into their uncommissioned hands the manipulation of the religion of our Lord and Saviour.' That would be our watchword.
If there be any Successors of the Apostles whose first care is for palaces and patronage, seats in the House of Lords, and the chief rooms at feasts, they had better take heed in time; for assuredly these cherished possessions will not long survive another Public Worship Regulation Act. But Disestablishment has no terrors for the Church herself, or for those who believe in her spiritual character and claims.
The free Episcopal Church of the United States is one of the most vigorous, most orthodox, and best-organised parts of Christendom. The saintly Bishop Hamilton, of Salisbury, 'thought that we had much to learn from closer contact with the faith and vigour of the American episcopate.'
As regards the Church of Australia, let us take the testimony of Dr. Thornton, Bishop of Ballarat, delivered at Dublin in 1896 :
I am here to-day, after living for twenty years within, and helping in the administration of, an unendowed and unestablished Church, and I will say that, howerer great the disadvantages of such a condition of affairs are to the State, I an not prepared to say that they are a disadvantage to the spiritual well-being and prosperity of the Church herself. I for one should be very sorry to take any price I can think of for the freedom of administration and government which we enjoy, the power to promote reforms, and the power of adaptation, more difficult to secure where there is a State connection.
As regards the Church of Ireland, in spite of all the difficulties and dangers through which it has had to pass, its chief rulers give like testimony. In October 1882, Lord Plunket, then Bishop of Meath, and afterwards Archbishop of Dublin, addressing the clergy of his diocese at his annual visitation, used these remarkable words in reference to the ordeal through which Ireland had passed during the previous three years :
Before we give way to querulous murmurings, let us remember that this dark cloud bas not been allowed to burst over our country until, in the providence of God, and by ways that we should never have selected for ourselves, our Church, had been prepared to abide the fury of the storm. Had we been called upon to face a Land League agitation at the time when our clergy, as ministers of a Stateprotected Church, received their tithes from the poor, or even when they drew their