Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Essence of English High Churchmanship

This quote from the book, "The Last of the Prince-Bishops: William Van Mildert and the High Church Movement of the Early Nineteenth Century," written by E.A. Varley, reall provides a procise summary of the essence of English High Churchmanship.

"He [Van Mildert] dreamed the Church of England as the soul of the State, as the servant of every citizen, the custodian of true learning and wisdom, as an act of loving homage offered to God in the consciousness of unworthiness but with a confidence founded on Divine Grace. Never blind to the disparities between the Church as he dreamed and as he knew her, he spent his time, energy and (when he had any) money trying to bring her into closer comformity with his vision of her true nature and mission; but he never lost the passionate love for the Church of England, her liturgy, her history, her faithful membership both lay and clerical, which first drew him into her ordained ministry."

This way of thinking about the Church of England characterized the "high and dry" churchmen who genuinely loved the Church of England in the 18th and 19th centuries. Obviously, the English situation is different from Anglicanism in the rest of the world, due to the fact that the Church of England is the established Church in that realm. The Church's status there definitely influenced the thought of High Churchmen in England. However, I would argue that there is an indigenous High Church movement in most Anglican churches. In America, that tradition was highly influenced by the Scottish tradition due to the consecration of Samuel Seabury, but strands of English High Church thought dissipated throughout the Communion.

We can look to this attitude today to appreciate our own church history. Modern, American Anglicans can look to the English High Church tradition to learn how to appreciate Anglicanism for what it is not what it could be. A high Churchmen loves the Anglican Church becausse it is sufficiently catholic and reformed. He loves its liturgy and practice. He values the Settlement as enough not needing further reform or correction. In short, he is glad to be an Anglican.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

High Church Principles in Contemporary Mission


Those who have been reading this blog for a while have most likely encountered the series, "The Curiuous Case of the Old High Churchmen," which chronicles the life of that strand of churchmanship throughout Anglican history and specifically deals with its decline in conjunction with the Oxford Movement. This post should be read with that series of posts and with the final installment (yet to be posted) for I did not begin to write those articles for solely historical reasons. I have always had in mind a practical application of the historical knowledge I have acquired from reading various books, articles, and online websites which I believe are extremely applicable to contemporary Anglicanism.

I think what post-modern people are looking for is an identity. We are less concerned in our postmodern society with facts and figures that dominated the modern phase. Fundamentalism was a failed Christian response to the challenges of modernism by trying to credit to the Bible a complete factually accurate basis from which a Modern person could trust. In postmodern society and thought, less emphasis is placed on facts and figures but it seems more on identity. The essential quesiton of "Who am I?" plays such a crucial part in shaping one's perpsective, especially now, but not exlcusively as this question marks the journey of human beings which we undertake throughout our lives.

This quest for identity is true in religion too. The Anglican Church has been has had an identity crisis since its confience in its own catholicity was shaken up by the Oxford divines. Real Anglican High Churchmanship holds the answers to our identity crisis. Kelvin Randall includes a pithy statement which differentiates Anglican High Churchmen from Anglo-Catholics, "High Churchmen took as their standard of catholicity the Anglican formularies supported by scripture and antiquity; Tractarians used the appeal to antiquity to correct and supplement the Anglican formularies." Anglican High Churchmanship offers us a genuine faith tradition which is solely the catholic faith as it has been practiced in England and by the English people since its arrival in England in the late 6th century. We must remember that the High Churchmen were those who championed the Establishment and really gave a theology for the Settlement. We can thank the High Churchmen for preserving the Anglican tradition as we have received it today. One can think of the many times throughout English history when we could have lost a valuable treasure due to partisan pressure at any given point but when faithful churchmen resisted the changes, we benefit by keeping treasures such as the Prayer Book and Articles which have been deemed unsatisfactorily reformed by dissenters who do not understand the beauty of our liturgy and doctrine.

How does this relate to 21st century Anglicanism? It may be all well and good that the High Churchmen championed Anglicanism in the 1600's but there has to be a way for it to apply for us today in the United States. I think that the old High Church tenets can offer an alternative to those who have bought into Anglo-Catholic rhetoric and doctrine and bring that line of thought into classical Anglicanism. It also creates a bridge for neo-evangelicals who have abandoned Common Prayer for the latest fad evangelism program.

A modern High Church parish would rest firmly in the Anglican tradition but would be open to expressing itself to modern Christians. For example, the parish would not shy away from modern language versions of common prayer for the sake of maintaining Elizabethan English. Ideally, the parish would offer both for both forms of prayer are valuable and edifying ways to offer worship to God. The High Church parish would not condemn modern music but would ensure its doctrinal orthodoxy before using it in public worship. It would continue using hymns as they have faithfully expressed Christian doctrine for a long time. It would gladly sing Psalms with Anglican chant or through metrical versions. It would have dignified, reverent ceremonial without stinking of Romanism. It would emphasize the preaching of the Word in addition to the godly administration of the Sacraments. It would value catechism and diligently teach the catholic faith to all who attend.

A High Church parish would cherish all aspects of the Anglican tradition and not look to Rome or Geneva for supplements because a High Churchman knows that his church has faithfully maintained the catholic faith to this day. At the same time, he would not confuse "catholic" with "Roman" knowing fully that to be Roman is to cease to be catholic. He would not be infatuated with the Eastern Orthodox churches but would realize they have their own cultural and doctrinal issues which a High Churchman need not worry about.

All in all, the High Church parish loves to be Anglican, cherishes being Anglican, shamelessly so, and desires to share the wealth of this tradition with all its neighbors.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Destructive Influence of Tract 90

The Oxford Movement began in 1833 with the infamous sermon, "National Apostasy," offered by Keble in response to the reduction of Irish archbishoprcis by Parliament. Eight years later, one of the defining documents of the Movement was published. In 1841, the tract, "Remarks on Certain Passages in the Thirty-Nine Articles," or "Tract 90" was published by John Henry Newman. This was by far the most controversial of the Tracts because within its pages, Newman contended that the theological statements in the Articles, "were not directed against the authorized creed of Roman Catholics, but only against popular errors and exaggerations" (Wikipedia article). This tract broke the ties between Hackney divines and other High Churchmen with Newman.

However destructive and controversial this tract was in 1841, it is much more so today. For, in 1841, clergy and laity knew that Newman's ideas were innovative and contrary to the clear teaching of the Church of England and the Holy Scriptures. Nowadays, most Anglican parishioners have never heard of much less actually read the Thirty Nine Articles of Religion. The folly of Tract 90 is that it tries to reconcile two conflicting views of the Christian faith and what the catholic faith actualy is. Newman throws around the word "Catholic" throughout all of his writings, when in fact, he is referring to Romanism. The Reformation was not about abandoning the catholic faith, but restoring the Church to the purity of that faith. "[T]he Reformation debate was not one between self-designated Catholics and Protestants; it was a debate about where the Catholic Church was to be found" (Rowan Williams), as Archbishop Williams describes in this quote, the Reformation was not a debate between "Catholics" and "Protestants" but between two groups of people who equally claimed the title "catholic" for their view of the Church (obviously, I'd say that the Protestant side was right or else I'd be Roman). The Roman defined the "catholic faith" as the faith as it had been given to the Church by Christ and written about in Scriptures, and developed through Tradition. To be a part of the faith, one must be in communion with a valid bishop ordained by bishops in communion with the See of Rome. Protestants meanwhile said that the catholic faith was the faith, "once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3) this excluded medieval accretions to the faith. "The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in the which the pure word of God is preached and the sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ's ordinance in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same" (Article XIX).

Some of the silliest claims I hear today about the nature of Anglicanism stem from Newman's ideas present in Tract 90 (or his other works, awaiting his Apologia pro vita sua in the mail). Newman has to dance around the text of the Articles to make it mean what he wants it to mean because the Articles were written to deny the doctrines of Trent. However, Newman's goal is to say that the Articles do not really condemn the doctrines of Trent but only popular misconceptions about what the council taught. A casual reading of the Articles, much less a systematic reading, will show how fanciful his initerpretation is.

Faith Only

Article XI, says, "We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore that we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort; as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification." The last phrase of this article is odd in that there is no homily called "The Homily of Justification," presently in the collection in the Book of Homilies. It probably refers to the "Homily of Salvation." In clear contrast to the text of the Article, Newman reminds us that the article does not, "imply a denial of Baptism as a means an instrument of justification," Newman seems to miss the meaning of the word only, as do modern Anglo-Catholics who misinterpret the Scriptures and Anglican formularies. Although there was some internal debate between Evangelicals and High Churchmen as to the exact nature of justification, they condemned this deviation from (Protestant) Catholic truth.

Now, High Churchmen and some Evangelicals did rightly declare the redemptive significance of baptism in its close relation with regeneration. However, regeneration is a separate spiritual event from justification although closely related. Baptism is an instrument of regeneration and grafts us into the Church but faith alone is the instrument of justification. Newman next states that, "Nor does the sole instrumentality of Faith interfere with the doctrine of Works as a mean also," in direct contradiction with the Articles:

"The condition of man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith and calling upon God. Wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us that we may have a good will, and working with us when we have that good will" (Article X)

"Albeit that good works, which are the fruits of faith and follow after justification, cannot put away our sins and endure the severity of God's judgement, yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively faith, insomuch that by them a lively faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit" (Article XII)

"Works done before the grace of Christ and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, are not pleasant to God, forasmuch as they spring not of faith in Jesus Christ, neither do they make men meet to receive grace, or (as the School authors say) deserve grace of congruity: yea, rather for that they are not done as God hath willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not but they have the nature of sin" (Article XIII)

"Voluntary works besides, over and above, God's commandments which they call Works of Supererogation, cannot be taught without arrogancy and impiety. For by them men do declare that they do not only render unto God as much as they are bound to do, but that they do more for His sake than of bounden duty is required: Whereas Christ saith plainly, When ye have done all that are commanded to do, say, We be unprofitable servants" (Article XIV).

The Church

Newman makes some interesting and contradictory statements about the nature of councils, "General councils then may err, [as such;--may err,] unless in any case it is promised, as a matter of express supernatural privilege, that they shall not err; a case which [as consisting in the fulfilment of additional or subsequent conditions,] lies beyond the scope of this Article, or at any rate beside its determination." The article he is referencing is Article XXI, which reads, "General Councils may not be gathered together without the commandment and will of princes. And when they be gathered together, forasmuch as they be an assembly of men, whereof all be not governed with the Spirit and word of God, they may err and sometime have erred, even in things pertaining to God. Wherefore things ordained by them as necessary to salvation have neither strength nor authority, unless it may be declared that they be taken out of Holy Scripture." Newman has to wiggle around the clear meaning of the text by saying that the article refers only to "general" councils called by princes, "may be partly Catholic, partly not," and not ecumenical councils called by Christ. The Article makes no distinction between these types of councils and to do so is to read them in a sense apart from their "literal and grammatical sense." More than that, the Article places the authority of the council under the Supremacy of Scripture. Elsewhere, the Articles note the fallibility of the church, "As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch have erred: so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of ceremonies, but also in matters of faith" (Article XIX).

Purgatory, Pardons, Images, Relics, and Invocation of the Saints

The comments Newman makes here have been the most destructive to Anglicanism's identity.

The Article plainly says,

"The Romish doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, worshipping and adoration as well of Images as of Relics, and also Invocation of Saint, is a fond thing vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture; but rather repugnant to the word of God."

Newman's comments are clever and the method he uses to get around the clear meaning of this article infects our churches to this day, "Now the first remark that occurs on perusing this Article is, that the doctrine objected to is "the Romish doctrine." For instance, no one would suppose that the Calvinistic doctrine containing purgatory, pardons, and image-worship, is spoken against. Not every doctrine on these matters is a fond thing, but the Romish doctrine. Accordingly, the Primitive doctrine is not condemned in it, unless, indeed, the Primitive Doctrine be the Romish, which must not be supposed. Now there was a primitive doctrine on all these points,--how far Catholic or universal, is a further question—but still so widely received and so respectably supported, that it may well be entertained as a matter of opinion by a theologian now; this, then, whatever be its merits, is not condemned by this Article." Newman fails to realize that there is only one doctrine of Purgatory, that of Rome, therefore the adjective "Romish" is not meant to condone another doctrine of purgatory but to condemn the only doctrine of purgatory. What Newman calls the "Primitive" doctrine is unclear. Perhaps there is room for a view of sanctification in heaven but this is beyond the scope of this post and must be clearly distinguished from the doctrine of purgatory. Newman continues with regards to pardons, "This is clear without proof on the face of the matter, at least as regards pardons. Of course, the article never meant to make light of every doctrine about pardons, but a certain doctrine, the Romish doctrine, [as indeed the plural form itself shows.]" What folly, there is no part of the doctrine of pardons which is complimentary to Sacred Scripture.

Newman continues, "And [such an understanding of the Article is supported by] some sentences in the Homily on the Peril of Idolatry, in which, as far as regards relics, a certain veneration is sanctioned by its tone in speaking of them, thought not of course the Romish veneration... If, then, in the judgment of the Homilies, not all doctrine concerning veneration of relics is condemned in the Article before us, but a certain toleration of them is compatible with its wording; neither is all doctrine concerning purgatory, pardons, images, and saints, condemned by the Article, but only 'the Romish.'" One hears this rhetoric throughout Anglican churches to allow the unlawful veneration of images and relics where the Article clearly condemns these practices as "repugnant to the Word of God."

"And further by "the Romish doctrine," is not meant the Tridentine [statement], because this Article was drawn up before the decree of the Council of Trent. What is opposed is the received doctrine of the day, and unhappily of this day too, or the doctrine of the Roman schools; a conclusion which is still more clear, by considering that there are portions in the Tridentine [statements] on these subjects, which the Article, far from condemning, by anticipation approves, as far as they go. For instance, the Decree of Trent enjoins concerning purgatory thus:--"Among the uneducated and vulgar let difficult and subtle questions, which make not for edification, and seldom contribute aught towards piety, be kept back from popular discourses. Neither let them suffer the public mention and treatment of uncertain points, or such as look like falsehood." Session 25. Again, about images: "Due honour and veneration is to be paid unto them, not that we believe that any divinity or virtue is in them, for which they should be worshipped (colendae) or that we should ask any thing of them, or that trust should be reposed in images, as formerly was done by the Gentiles, which used to place their hope on idols."—Ibid." The Council of Trent lasted from 1545-1563, the first edition of the Articles of Religion was released in 1563 by Elizabeth. I am not sure about Newman's assertion that the doctrine was "drawn up before the decree of the Council of Trent," perhaps he is referring to the original composition by Cranmer in 1552. However, this is superfluous because the Church of England accepted this doctrinal teaching during the Council and again in 1571 with the final form of the Articles and again in 1662 with the Act of Uniformity. The Council of Trent is not contradictory to medieval Roman doctrines but reaffirmed the teachings espoused by medieval churchmen. "If, then the doctrine condemned in this Article concerning purgatory, pardons, images, relics, and saints, be not the Primitive doctrine, nor the Catholic doctrine, nor the Tridentine [statement] but the Romish, doctrina Romanensium, let us next consider what in matter of fact it is," Here Newman continues in his distinction between "Primitive," "Roman," and "Tridentine," doctrine. Roman and Tridentine doctrines are one and the same and Newman's appeal to "Primitive" doctrine is ambiguous and vague.

The Sacraments

The Number of Sacraments

The question of the number of sacraments has become an issue in Anglicanism while it was not an issue historically. There are many who say that Anglicanism embraces the seven sacraments of the Roman Church. This shows the destructive influence of the Tractarians on Anglicanism because Anglicanism has historically denied that there are seven sacraments but rather two. I refer to the Catechism first, before quoting the Article:

How many Sacraments hath Christ ordained in his Church?
Answer. Two only, as generally necessary to salvation, that is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord.

Now, many claim here that the Catechism means to say something like, "Two which are generally necessary for salvation but there are others which are not necessary for savlation." However, this contradicts the plain meaning of the text. Grammatically, the comma separates the answer "Two only" from an explanatory clause which is meant to say that these two sacraments are generally necessary for salvation, with the number of sacraments clearly defined as two. Newman rests on the part of Article XXV which deals with those "five commonly called Sacraments," however, I feel it necessary to quote the entirety of the Article:

"Sacraments ordained of Christ be not only badges or tokens of Christian men's profession, but rather they be certain sure witnesses and effectual signs of grace and God's good will towards us, by the which He doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm, our faith in Him.
There are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that is to say, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord.
Those five commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel, being such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles, partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures; but yet have not the like nature of Sacraments with Baptism and the Lord's Supper, for that they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God.
The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon or to be carried about, but that we should duly use them. And in such only as worthily receive the same, have they a wholesome effect or operation: but they that receive them unworthily, purchase to themselves damnation, as Saint Paul saith."

Newman says, "This Articles does not deny the five rites in question to be sacraments, but to be sacraments in the sense in which Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are sacraments; "sacraments of the Gospel," sacraments with an outward sign ordained of God. They are not sacraments in any sense, unless the Church has the power of dispensing grace through rites of its own appointing, or is endued with the gift of blessing and hallowing the "rites or ceremonies" which, according to the Twentieth Article, it "hath power to decree." But we may well believe that the Church has this gift." I hear this rhetoric from modern Anglicans all the time. Newman clearly misses the plain meaning of the text. Newman tries to create a definition which is not in the text by creating a sacrament "not of the Gospel." The Catechism is a good reference here, for it answers our question as to how the Anglican Church defines a sacrament:

Question. What meanest thou by this word Sacrament?
Answer. I mean an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace given unto us, ordained by Christ himself, as a means whereby we receive the same, and a pledge to assure us thereof.
Question. How many parts are there in a Sacrament?
Answer. Two: the outward visible sign, and the inward spiritual grace.

Newman seems to think that there can exist sacraments without "an outward sign ordained of God," which contradicts the definition given both in the Article and the Catechism. The organization of the Article gives us an implication of the meaning of the Article. "There are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord, & etc." then, "Those five commonly called Sacraments, etc." The Article then continues to say, "being such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles," a negative statement implying that they are not Sacraments, implying here probably confirmation, penance, and unction, as growing from the Apostles and the others, "partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures," probably holy orders and matrimony. The next part is crucial, Newman creates a false dichotomy between "Sacraments of the Gospel" and "Sacraments of the Church" however, the Article does not have this distinction for it distinguishes between the Sacraments and "those commonly called Sacraments." The Article tells us why they are, "not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel," this is because they, "have not the like nature of Sacraments." Did you notice that? The Article is equating "Sacraments of the Gospel" with "Sacraments" therefore eliminating Newman's false dichotomy.

Transubstantiation

Newman claims that the Articles of Religion do not condemn official Roman teaching on transubstantiation but only popular misconceptions of it. The relevant portion of the Article reads:

"Transubstantiation, or the change of the substance of bread and wine, in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a sacraments, and hath given occasion to many superstitions."

Here, the Article does not condemn some misunderstanding of transubstantiation, but the whole doctrine, for transubstantiation, is the "change of the substance of bread and wine," into the "body and blood of the Lord," according to Roman teaching. This might have been misunderstood to imply a corporeal presence in the middle ages but the Article condemns the whole concept. The rest of the Article gives us the clear teaching of the Church of England on the Holy Communion. First, "The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves, one to another, but rather it is a sacrament of our redemption by Christ's death: insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith receive the same, the bread which we break is a partaking of the body of Christ, and likewise the cup of blessing is a partaking of the blood of Christ." The Article defines the sacrament as a partaking of the body and blood of Christ by those who receive the bread and wine worthily with faith. This is key to understand the position of the Church of England in comparison with other reformers. This statement puts the Church of England in company with Martin Bucer, John Calvin, and other Reformed theologians rather than Luther. For the Lutherans believe, "Of the Supper of the Lord they teach that the Body and Blood of Christ are truly present, and are distributed to those who eat the Supper of the Lord," (Augsburg Confession) and more precisely, "It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the bread and wine, for us Christians to eat and to drink, instituted by Christ Himself" (Small Catechism). Again the Articles affirm, " The body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is Faith," which distances the reception of the body and blood from the elements themselves and denies the eating of Christ in the mouth but the eating of Christ by faith. This leads to the next Article which says, "The wicked and such as be void of a lively faith, although they do carnally and visibly press with their teeth (as S. Augustine saith) the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, yet in no wise are they partakers of Christ, but rather to their condemnation do eat and drink the sign or sacrament of so great a thing." Here the Articles deny the manducatio indignorum or the eating of the unworthy which was affirmed by the Lutherans, "We hold that bread and wine in the Supper are the true body and blood of Christ, and are given and received not only by the godly, but also by wicked Christians" (Smalcald Articles). In case one thinks this not enough evidence, the Catechism supports the Articles,

Question. What is the outward part or sign of the Lord's Supper?
Answer. Bread and Wine, which the Lord hath commanded to be received. Question. What is the inward part, or thing signified?
Answer. The Body and Blood of Christ, which are verily and indeed taken and received by the faithful in the Lord's Supper.

The Body and Blood of Christ are truly received by the "faithful" at Holy Communion yet the wicked, "visibly press with their teeth (as S. Augustine saith) the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, yet in no wise are they partakers of Christ."

One more note about the Lord's Supper, there have arisen many practices which are condemned by Scripture. First, there are services of Benediction, where the people and priest gather together and pray before the Sacrament and venerate it yet do not receive from it. This is condemned by the plain words of Scripture and the Articles. Likewise, the elevation of the elements in church for worship is condemned. The Article condemns other beloved practices such as Corpus Christi processions.

"The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was not by Christ's ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped."

The Sacrifice of the Mass

Newman says that the Church of England does not condemn the official Roman teaching but rather, "actual existing errors in it, whether taken into its system or not." He continues, "Here the sacrifice of the Mass is not spoken of, in which the special question of doctrine should be introduced; but " the sacrifice of masses," certain observances, for the most part private and solitary, which the writers of the Articles knew to have been in force in time past, and saw before their eyes, and which involved certain opinions and a certain teaching." A note here, there was no differrence in popular speech between "Sacrifice of the Mass," and "Sacrifices of the Masses," both were acceptable terms for the official Roman teaching in the 16th century. Likewise, the Roman Church has correctly interpreted our Confession as condemning their doctrine as it rightly does. "Now the "blasphemous fable" is the teaching that there is a sacrifice for sin other than CHRIST'S death, and that masses are that sacrifice," and again Newman believes that, "On the whole, then, it is conceived that the Article before us neither speaks against the Mass in itself, nor against its being [an offering, though commemorative,] for the quick and the dead for the remission of sin; [(especially since the decree of Trent says, that "the fruits of the Bloody Oblation are through this most abundantly obtained; so far is the latter from detracting in any way from the former;")] but against its being viewed, on the one hand, as independent of or distinct from the Sacrifice on the Cross, which is blasphemy; and, on the other, its being directed to the emolument of those to whom it pertains to celebrate it, which is imposture in addition." It in fact condemns all of those things. Enough of Newman's babbling, the Article is clear:

"The offering of Christ once made is the perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual, and there is none other satisfaction for sin but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifices of Masses, in the which it was commonly said that the priests did offer Christ for the quick and the dead to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits."

Again, our Communion Service reaffirms the uniqueness of Christ's offering,

"Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who of thy tender mercy didst give thine only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the Cross for our redemption; who made there (by his one oblation of himself once offered) a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world; and did institute, and in his holy Gospel command us to continue, a perpetual memory of that his precious death, until his coming again"

The Holy Communion is not anything we offer to God but only what God offers to us in Christ. It is a sacrificial meal stemming from the once for all Sacrifice of Christ where we receive the benefits of his Passion. It is a commemoration of His perfect Sacrifice for sin, once for all. It is a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving (i.e. Eucharist) for Christ's sacrifice, "O Lord and heavenly Father, we thy humble servants entirely desire thy fatherly goodness mercifully to accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving," and it is an oblation of ourselves to God, "And here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice unto thee," we only offer ourselves to God in Communion and he transforms us into his likeness, it can be said that the real "transubstantiation" happens within our souls not the bread and wine.

Conclusion

I think many people would be able to simply understand the Articles if they sat down and read them. If you read this post and subscribe to the ideas of Newman, take a moment to read the Articles for what they say, not what Newman wants them to say. They are very clear where they need to be clear and comprehensive where they need to be comprehensive.

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Comparison of the Daily Office in the 1662 and 1928 Prayer Books

Most comparisons of the 1662 and 1928 Prayer Books center around the Office for Holy Communion which is notably different between the two versions of Common Prayer. However, most do not consider the differences between the classic 1662 BCP and the 1928 BCP, which are less noticeable. While I prefer the 1662 form, I do not think that one is better than the other, both can be used by faithful Anglicans who wish to pray in the Common Prayer of our Church.

Scripture Sentences

The historic Anglican office begins with a reading of a sentence from Sacred Scripture. These were added in the 1552 version of the BCP. Note that the 1928 permits the service to begin at the opening versicles as does the permitted variations authorized by the Church of England. In the 1662 BCP, these are entirely penitential, and are as follows:

When the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. Ezek. xviii. 27.
I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Psalm li. 3.
Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Psalm li. 9.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Psalm li. 17.
Rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Joel ii. 13.
To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him; neither have we obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in his laws which he set before us. Daniel ix. 9, 10.
O Lord, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing. Jer. x. 24. Psalm vi. 1.
Repent ye; for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. St. Matt. iii. 2.
I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. St. Luke xv. 18, 19.
Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord; for in thy sight shall no man living be justified. Psalm cxliii. 2.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us; but if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 St. John i. 8, 9.

However, in the 1928 BCP, the character of the sentences has changed (through various revisions of the BCP, the seasonal sentences started in 1892) to include a number of seasonal sentences tied to the Church year:

General

The LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him. Hab. ii. 20.
I was glad when they said unto me, We will go into the house of the LORD. Psalm cxxii. 1.
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be alway acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength and my redeemer. Psalm xix. 14.
O send out thy light and thy truth, that they may lead me, and bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy dwelling. Psalm xliii. 3.
Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. Isaiah lvii. 15.
The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. St. John iv. 23.
Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Phil. i. 2.

Advent

Repent ye, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand. St. Matt. iii. 2.
Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Isaiah xl. 3.

Christmas

Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. St. Luke ii. 10, 11.

Epiphany

From the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my Name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my Name, and a pure offering: for my Name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts. Mal. i. 11.
Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem. Isaiah lii. 1.

Letn

Rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Joel ii. 13.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Psalm li. 17.
I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. St. Luke xv. 18, 19.

Good Friday

Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted me. Lam. i. 12.
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace. Eph. i. 7.

Easter

He is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. St. Mark xvi. 6; St. Luke xxiv. 34.
This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm cxviii. 24.

Ascension

Seeing that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Heb. iv. 14, 16.

Pentecost

Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Jud├Ža, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Acts i. 8.
Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Gal. iv. 6.

Trinity

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. Rev. iv. 8.

While the inclusion of seasonal sentences in itself is not wrong, I prefer the 1662 penitential sentences. Although not an expressed intention of seasonal sentences, it tends to downplay the penitential aspect of the service. Anglo-Catholics have long complained of the penitential aspects of our liturgy and have sought to change them accordingly. However, it is very comforting to return to the Lord each day in full awareness of my sins.

Exhortation

The 1662 includes a long exhortation before the general confession:

Dearly beloved brethren, the Scripture moveth us, in sundry places, to acknowledge and confess our manifold sins and wickedness; and that we should not dissemble nor cloak them before the face of Almighty God our heavenly Father; but confess them with an humble, lowly, penitent, and obedient heart; to the end that we may obtain forgiveness of the same, by his infinite goodness and mercy. And although we ought, at all times, humbly to acknowledge our sins before God; yet ought we chiefly so to do, when we assemble and meet together to render thanks for the great benefits that we have received at his hands, to set forth his most worthy praise, to hear his most holy Word, and to ask those things which are requisite and necessary, as well for the body as the soul. Wherefore I pray and beseech you, as many as are here present, to accompany me with a pure heart, and humble voice, unto the throne of the heavenly grace, saying after me;

This biblically sound exhortation reminds us of the need to repent but also the benefit of absoultion. The 1928 has this exhortation (with a few changes) but also provides the shorter form:

LET us humbly confess our sins unto Almighty God.

I acknowledge from a practical viewpoint that the shorter form is very desirable and must confess that I have used this in my daily prayers. In public worship, however, I think it is much more benefitial for the community if the longer form is read. The permitted variations to the 1662 authorized by the Church of England provide for a shorter form of the exhortation.

Preces

The preces are the series of versicles and responses after the first Lord's Prayer. In the 1662 they are as such:

O Lord, open thou our lips.
Answer. And our mouth shall show forth thy praise.
Priest. O God, make speed to save us.
Answer. O Lord, make haste to help us.
Here all standing up, the Priest shall say,
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Priest. Praise ye the Lord.
Answer. The Lord's Name be praised.


However, the 1928 curiously omits the versicle and response, "O God, make speed to save us. R. O Lord, make haste to help us." And only has the following:

O Lord, open thou our lips.
Answer. And our mouth shall show forth thy praise.
Here, all standing up, the Minister shall say,
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Minister. Praise ye the Lord.
Answer. The Lord’s Name be praised


I never understood this deletion. The more logical choice if we are to eliminate either of the two versicles would be the first because in the old Rite it was the versicle proper to Matins while all the other offices began with, "O God,..." This is one of my main issues with the 1928, however, it is not a doctrinal issue and the 1928 form is perfectly acceptable, for me it is mainly an aesthetic quality lacking.

Venite

The 1662 orders Ps. 95, or the Venite, to be said or sung every day (except Easter), the psalm is said in full:

O come, let us sing unto the Lord : let us heartily rejoice in the strength of our salvation.
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving : and shew ourselves glad in him with Psalms.
For the Lord is a great God : and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are all the corners of the earth : and the strength of the hills is his also.
The sea is his, and he made it : and his hands prepared the dry land.
O come, let us worship and fall down : and kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For he is the Lord our God : and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.
To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts : as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness;
When your fathers tempted me : proved me, and saw my works.
Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said : It is a people that do err in their hearts, for they have not known my ways.
Unto whom I sware in my wrath : that they should not enter into my rest.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen.


However, in the 1928 revision, the Venite is changed to include part of Ps. 95 and part of Ps. 96, thus eliminating the negative part of the psalm, notice the differences:

O Come, let us sing unto the LORD; * let us heartily rejoice in the strength of our salvation.
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving; * and show ourselves glad in him with psalms.
For the LORD is a great God; * and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are all the corners of the earth; * and the strength of the hills is his also.
The sea is his, and he made it; * and his hands prepared the dry land.
O come, let us worship and fall down, * and kneel before the LORD our Maker.
For he is the Lord our God; * and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.
O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness; * let the whole earth stand in awe of him.
For he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth; * and with righteousness to judge the world, and the people with his truth.

In addition to changing the text of the Venite, the 1928 also adds seasonal antiphons to be said before and after the Psalm.

On the days hereafter named, here may be sung or said:
On the Sundays in Advent. — Our King and Saviour draweth nigh : O come, let us adore him.
On Christmas Day and until the Epiphany. — Alleluia. Unto us a child is born : O come, let us adore him.
On the Epiphany and seven days after, and on the Feast of the Transfiguration. — The Lord hath manifested forth his glory : O come, let us adore him.
On Monday in Easter Week, and until Ascension Day. — Alleluia. The Lord is risen indeed : O come let us adore him. Alleluia.
On Ascension Day and until Whitsunday. — Alleluia. Christ the Lord ascended into heaven : O come, let us adore him. Alleluia.
On Whitsunday and six days after. — Alleluia. The Spirit of the Lord filleth the world : O come, let us adore him. Alleluia.
On Trinity Sunday. — Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, One God : O come, let us adore him.
On the Purification and the Annunciation.—The Word was made flesh : O come, let us adore him.
On other Festivals for which a proper Epistle and Gospel are ordered. — The Lord is glorious in his saints : O come, let us adore him.


Somehow, the thought of adding antiphons to the reformed Office of the Church of England strikes me as going against the desire of the Reformers. I do take issue with the "de-penetentialization" of the Venite in the 1928, one should read Ps 95 in its entirety instead of the hybrid canticle.

Gloria

The 1662 BCP, like the medieval service books, appoints the Gloria Patri to be said after every Psalm and canticle,

Then shall follow the Psalms in order as they be appointed. And at the end of every Psalm throughout the year, and likewise at the end of Benedicite, Benedictus, Magnificat, and Nunc dimittis, shall be repeated,
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost;
Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen.


The 1928 BCP, however, allows it to be said at the end of the portions of Psalms or to be substituted by the Gloria in excelsis,

Then shall follow a Portion of the PSALMS, according to the Use of this Church. And at the end of every Psalm, and likewise at the end of the Venite, Benedictus es, Benedictus, Jubilate, may be, and at the end of the whole Portion, or Selection from the Psalter, shall be, sung or said the Gloria Patri:

It seems more in catholic usage to say the Gloria Patri after every Psalm and Canticle. The canticles at Morning and Evening Prayer are mostly the same. However, the 1928 allows for the shorter canticle, Benedictus es Domine, to be said instead of either the Te Deum or Benedicte, omnia opera, a practical change which is not bad.

The Prayers

The 1928 allows the recitation of the Nicene Creed instead of the Apostle's at the Daily Offices.

The next big change happens after the Creed, the 1662 appoints,

The Lord be with you.
Answer. And with thy spirit.
Minister. Let us pray.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.

Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, As it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. Amen.

O Lord, shew thy mercy upon us.
Answer. And grant us thy salvation.
Priest. O Lord, save the Queen.
Answer. And mercifully hear us when we call upon thee.
Priest. Endue thy Ministers with righteousness.
Answer. And make thy chosen people joyful.
Priest. O Lord, save thy people.
Answer. And bless thine inheritance.
Priest. Give peace in our time, O Lord.
Answer. Because there is none other that fighteth for us, but only thou, O God.
Priest. O God, make clean our hearts within us.
Answer. And take not thy Holy Spirit from us.


The 1928 drastically alters this,

The Lord be with you.
And with thy spirit.
Let us pray.

Here, if it hath not already been said, shall follow the Lord's Prayer.

Minister.O Lord, show thy mercy upon us.
Answer. And grant us thy salvation.
Minister. O God, make clean our hearts within us.
Answer. And take not thy Holy Spirit from us.


This reduction probably comes from the 1785 proposed BCP's reliance on the 1689 liturgy of Comprehension which sought to reduce the length of some of the services in the 1662 BCP like the Lord's Prayer, which on a Communion Sunday in England would have been said five times. However, in Evening Prayer, the 1928 BCP uses the longer form as in the 1662.

The Collect of the day and two following collects are the same, however, the 1928 has added a number of Collects and changed a few (such as the Collect for Good Friday).

Obviously the state collects are different:

A Prayer for the Queen's Majesty.
O LORD, our heavenly Father, the high and mighty, King of kings, Lord of lords, the only Ruler of princes, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers upon earth; Most heartily we beseech thee with thy favour to behold our most gracious Sovereign Lady, Queen ELIZABETH; and so replenish her with the grace of thy Holy Spirit, that she may always incline to thy will, and walk in thy way. Endue her plenteously with heavenly gifts; grant her in health and wealth long to live; strengthen her that she may vanquish and overcome all her enemies; and finally, after this life, she may attain everlasting joy and felicity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer for the Royal Family.
ALMIGHTY God, the fountain of all goodness, we humbly beseech thee to bless Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Charles, Prince of Wales, and all the Royal Family: Endue them with thy Holy Spirit; enrich them with thy heavenly grace; prosper them with all happiness; and bring them to thine everlasting kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer for the Clergy and People.
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who alone workest great marvels; Send down upon our Bishops, and Curates, and all Congregations committed to their charge, the healthful Spirit of thy grace; and that they may truly please thee, pour upon them the continual dew of thy blessing. Grant this, O Lord, for the honour of our Advocate and Mediator, Jesus Christ. Amen.

A Prayer of St. Chrysostom.
ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplications unto thee; and dost promise, that when two or three are gathered together in thy Name thou wilt grant their requests; Fulfil now, O Lord, the desires and petitions of thy servants, as may be most expedient for them; granting us in this world knowledge of thy truth, and in the world to come life everlasting. Amen.

2 Corinthians xiii.
THE grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.


Reflecting the American political situation, the 1928 offers,

A Prayer for The President of the United States, and all in Civil Authority.

O LORD, our heavenly Father, the high and mighty Ruler of the universe, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers upon earth; Most heartily we beseech thee, with thy favour to behold and bless thy servant THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, and all others in authority; and so replenish them with the grace of thy Holy Spirit, that they may always incline to thy will, and walk in thy way. Endue them plenteously with heavenly gifts; grant them in health and prosperity long to live; and finally, after this life, to attain everlasting joy and felicity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Or this.

O LORD our Governor, whose glory is in all the world; We commend this nation to thy merciful care, that being guided by thy Providence, we may dwell secure in thy peace. Grant to THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, and to all in Authority, wisdom and strength to know and to do thy will. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness; and make them ever mindful of their calling to serve this people in thy fear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

A Prayer for the Clergy and People.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, from whom cometh every good and perfect gift; Send down upon our Bishops, and other Clergy, and upon the Congregations committed to their charge, the healthful Spirit of thy grace; and, that they may truly please thee, pour upon them the continual dew of thy blessing. Grant this, O Lord, for the honour of our Advocate arid Mediator, Jesus Christ. Amen.

A Prayer for all Conditions of Men.

O GOD, the Creator and Preserver of all mankind, we humbly beseech thee for all sorts and conditions of men; that thou wouldest be pleased to make thy ways known unto them, thy saving health unto all nations. More especially we pray for thy holy Church universal; that it may be so guided and governed by thy good Spirit, that all who profess and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth, and hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life. Finally, we commend to thy fatherly goodness all those who are any ways afflicted, or distressed, in mind, body, or estate; [*especially those for whom our prayers are desired;] that it may please thee to comfort and relieve them, according to. their several necessities; giving them patience under their sufferings, and a happy issue out of all their afflictions. And this we beg for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.

A General Thanksgiving.

ALMIGHTY God, Father of all mercies, we, thine unworthy servants, do give thee most humble and hearty thanks for all thy goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all men; [*particularly to those who desire now to offer up their praises and thanksgivings for thy late mercies vouchsafed unto them.] We bless thee for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all, for thine inestimable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And, we beseech thee, give us that due sense of all thy mercies, that our hearts may he unfeignedly thankful; and that we show forth thy praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up our selves to thy service, and by walking before thee in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.

Note, That the General Thanksgiving may be said by the Congregation with the Minister.

A Prayer of St. Chrysostom.

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplications unto thee; and dost promise that when two or three are gathered together in thy Name thou wilt grant their requests; Fulfil now, O Lord, the desires and petitions of thy servants, as may be most expedient for them; granting us in this world knowledge of thy truth, and in the world to come life everlasting. Amen.

2 Cor. xiii. 14.

THE grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.


I do find it curious that the 1928 did not follow the general structure of the English order here. Instead of offering pure state prayers, the 1928 offers a prayer for the president and then the prayer for All conditions of Men and the General thanksgiving which add a universal flavor to the Office which was lacking in the 1662 BCP.

The 1662 ordered the Creed of St. Athanasius to be said,

Upon these Feasts; Christmas Day, the Epiphany, Saint Matthias, Easter Day, Ascension Day, Whitsunday, Saint John Baptist, Saint James, Saint Bartholomew, Saint Matthew, Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Saint Andrew, and upon Trinity Sunday, shall be sung or said at Morning Prayer, instead of the Apostles' Creed, this Confession of our Christian Faith, commonly called the Creed of Athanasius

The American BCP tradition had omitted the Athanasian Creed since 1785.

Directions for US Anglicans Wishing to Use the 1662

If an American Anglican wishes to use the 1662 there are only a few places where there needs to be a change due to political differences.:
  1. In the litany, "O Lord, save the Queen," either substitute, "O Lord, save the State," (American) or "O Lord, defend our rulers" (Irish).

  2. In thte State Prayers, I printed out a card with the prayers from the 1928 or I skip them and only say the Prayer of St. Chrysostom and Grace (I do this when using the 1928 as well).

  3. The Litany, the petitions for the Queen must be dropped and petitions for the US government added, or a general petition for Christian rulers as in the 1892 US BCP.

Conclusion

In this post, I am not offering a suggestion for one form over the other but noting some differences between the books which are often overlooked when comparing the Offices of Holy Communion. I do think that Anglicans should use a form of Common Prayer. I can recommend the 1662 BCP, the 1928 American, the 1928 Proposed English, the 1926 Irish, the 2004 Irish, the 1962 Canadian, and the 2003 REC. There are probably other versions out there but as long as it follows our Common Prayer tradition it will be edifying.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Curious Case of the Old High Churchmen (Part III – Late 19th Century)

In the last two posts in this series, we saw the development of church parties and the distinctive of the Old High Churchmen before the Oxford Movement and during that movement. We saw how the Tractarians differed from the Orthodox. Now we will see what happened when the Cambridge Camden Movement, or the Ritualists, entered the scene.

The Cambridge Camden Society

Many Anglicans would be surprised if they attended a typical Church of England or Episcopal service in the year 1800. The first thing that would surprise them would be that, most likely, the typical Sunday morning service would be Morning Prayer or Mattins, rather than Communion. During this time, hymns were just becoming popular and acceptable in Anglican services, before this time the only allowed music were metrical psalms (in cathedrals, Anglican chant was developing). A modern Anglican would marvel at the simplicity of the service. The Holy Table would have no cross or candles on it and only be covered by a linen cloth. The elements would be upon it and the chalice would be unmixed. The priest would read most of the service from the north end (or the desk if it was Morning Prayer). The only lawful vestments were the cassock, surplice, and tippet and copes in cathedrals. There was no incense or processions or statues or icons. Another surprising fact is that the Tractarians were not that concerned with medieval ceremonial. Newman celebrated Communion from the north end in surplice and scarf until he converted to Rome. However, as we saw in the last paragraph of the former post, however, that would all change with the Cambridge Camden Society, which began in 1839 as an undergraduate society, which met at first to read the tracts coming from Oxford.

This group of undergraduates was an extension of the Oxford Movement, however, they began to emphasize different aspects than their fathers at Oxford. Eventually, the aim of the Cambridge Camden Society was to, “promote the study of Ecclesiastical Architecture and Antiquities and the restoration of mutilated architectural remains.” After its inception, the Society published “Church schemes” which described the architectural features of churches. Inspired by a general survey of German churches, the Society embarked on a journey to survey English churches, among the aims was to note structural and stylistic details but more importantly to document the parts of medieval churches associated with ritual and the parts which had religious significance. Their visits shaped the designs they promoted in their “Church schemes.” In conjunction with these schemes, the Society published how-to booklets which explained unfamiliar ecclesiastical architecture to English Protestants. The Society emphasized the Church as the House of God and the glory of Church history. The conclusion of the Society’s extensive visits of various parish churches was that the Gothic style was in ruin in England and needed to be repaired. The Society participated in repairs when they could but issued pamphlets to churchwardens explaining the reasons why renovations should take place and gave suggestions for immediate repairs. As the Oxford Movement was renewing unreformed theology in the Church of England, the Cambridge Camden Society was renewing unreformed architecture in the Church of England.

“The Cambridge Camden Society's ideal church was to be built in Decorated Gothic, with a wealth of decorative detail and including all the appurtenances of ritual; its interior dim with a blaze of light at the east end, a substantial chancel, chancel arch, an altar with steps and railings, a font, open seating, but no galleries.” They preferred the churches to be dim because it created a stark contrast to Protestant and Non-comformist churches in addition they emphasized the east end of the chancel. Many symbols of the “old” Established church were removed in churches influenced by the Society. Private boxed pews were removed in favor of open pews, also the galleries were removed. Likewise, the distinction between chancel and nave was accentuated and the chancel increased in size to accommodate more ritual. Also, the Society wanted the baptismal font to be at the west end of the church. This symbolizes the life of the Christian, one is born at the west end and dies at the east in the chancel and is resurrected at the altar. One of the defeats of the movement was during the renovation of the Church of St. Sepulchre in Cambridge, when the stone altar was rejected as unlawful in the Church of England, which showed that there was opposition to what the Society was doing. The Society moved to London in 1845 and was renamed the Ecclesiological Society and eventually disbanded in 1868, when it was felt that the goals of the Society had been accomplished, despite the protestations from Evangelicals and some High Churchmen.

The descendants of the Cambridge Camden Society and later Ecclesiological Society became known as Ritualists because of their attachment to the ritual of the medieval church. These Ritualists became the more influential of the Oxford Movement, originally overshadowing the original group, which was purely theological (and remained so under the leadership of Pusey). In the latter part of the 19th century, the Ritualists and Tractarians had converged on issues of ritual and ceremonial. They began to apply an old term to themselves: Anglo-Catholic. Up until the late 19th century, this had referred to either ordinary members of the Church of England or to old High Churchmanship. (On another note, the term “Anglican” also referred to Old High Churchmanship as well which explains why Anglo-Catholic also had this connotation as late as the later 1870’s). Eventually, the Tractarian-Ritualists claimed the name “Anglo-Catholic” for themselves and the –ism was attached to “Anglo-Catholic” to encapsulate the theology of the Oxford Movement and the ritual renaissance of the Cambridge Camden Society (later Ecclesiological Society).

The Cambridge Camden Society introduced vestments and ceremonies which had been outlawed in the Church of England since the Reformation. Things such as albs, stoles, maniples, amices, chasubles, birettas, miters, crosiers, surpliced choirs, processions, torches, crucifixes, icons, statues, rosaries, novenas, and ceremonies such as the asperges, plainsong chants, the lavabo, elevation, bowing, crossing, etc. From the poet, John Mason Neale, we have hymns such as “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” Overall, the practices introduced by the Cambridge Camden Society must be evaluated on a case by case basis to determine if they imply unreformed, Roman theology still.

Broad Church Liberals

The original liberals in the Church of England were the latitudinarian low churchmen who had their roots in a group of philosophers at Cambridge University, called the Cambridge Platonists. This group of philosophers were reacting against two extremes that of the Puritans and the thought of Hobbes. The Cambridge Platonists thought that religion and reason were in harmony with each other and advocated moderation in things religious. It is important to remember the historical scenario in which the Cambridge Platonists lived and operated. Roughly, they were active from around 1633 to 1688. During this time we have the Laudian reforms, Civil War, Protectorate, Restoration, and the Ejection of the Puritan ministers. The Cambridge Platonists were latitudinarians in matters of religion, meaning they wanted a latitude or broadness in interpreting Church dogma and ritual. It was because of this position to the Settlement that the latitudinarians merited the title, “Low Churchmen.” Low Churchmen remained the Latitudinarian party up until the Oxford Movement, when that term began to be applied to Evangelicals by the Tractarians. It was during this time that the liberal churchmen acquired the name “Broad Church.” Here is a brief summary of the broad church party:

“Unlike the Evangelicals and the Tractarians who opposed them, the
comparatively tiny Broad Church party never formed an organized, much less
essentially homogeneous, group. They were a loosely associated group of
intellectuals in the Church of England who in many ways represented what was to
become liberal twentieth-century Protestantism. Working under the direct or
indirect influence of German liberal thought, members of the Broad Church party
emphasized that the Bible, though in some sense divinely inspired, was not, as
Evangelicals and Tractarians believed, literally true in every detail, and that
therefore the scriptures should be read metaphorically, or even mythologically.
These beliefs appeared in the controversial Essays and Reviews (1860). Some
Broad Churchmen, like Thomas Arnold, the headmaster of Rugby, and F.D.
Maurice, the Christian Socialist Professor of Theology at King’s College London,
also emphasized a social gospel: that one could worship Christ best by working for
social justice. In this too the early Tractarians opposed them: in his Apologia pro
Vita Sua (1864), Newman said repeatedly that the great enemy he was fighting was
liberalism, and made it clear that Arnold was a prime example of that ideology he
detested” (Churchmanship differences, 13).

The Broad Churchmen were influenced by German liberal thought which dealt with theories of the divine inspiration of Scripture. The Broad Churchmen, with liberal, German Protestants, agreed that, though the Bible was inspired in some way, it was not literal in every detail and should be read figuratively:

“To many Broad Churchmen, biblical truth, together with the evidences of the natural world (as in Paley'sEvidences of Christianity, 1974, and Natural Theology, 1802), mediates the correspondences between the divine and human orders and is communicated through figures of speech and analogies. . . . To the literalist Evangelicals, the natural world is a snare and a delusion, anticipating in the deleterious effects of the Fall; to Broad Churchmen, the empirical facts of the natural world are read analogically as revelatory of God's nature and the divine plan for the world. . . . The Broad Church position locates the analogies not in not in the relation between the design of the world and the divine nature but in correspondences between human life and experience and aspects of the divine order, ultimately between the human heart and the divine spirit” (Landow).

Liberalism would come to dominate the theological seminaries and episcopal bench in the Church of England in the 20th Century.

What Happened to the Old High Churchmen?

Up to this point, it seemed as if the fate of the Old High Churchmen was doomed upon the advent of the Tractarians. However, it is not entirely true that the Orthodox suddenly disappeared when the Tracts for the Times were published. I am going to present my hypothesis on the matter which is based on the reading I’ve done.

First, the Old High Churchmen were at a high point in the 18th and early 19th century, due to the wane of Jacobitism which made high Churchmanship a fashionable thing again. This would change in the years prior to the Oxford Movement with the acts of Parliament which opened the legislature to non-conformists. This weakened one of the main tenets of Old High Churchmanship, which had a high view of the establishment. I believe that with this blow in their ideology, Tractarianism seemed more attractive to many in the Hackney Phalanx and other pre-Tractarian High Churchmen, which we know many Orthodox did join up with the Tractarians. Likewise, this made other options more attractive to Old High Churchmen such as the Evangelicals or Broad Church parties. Likewise, the influx of Non-jurors into the Church of England (the reason for their schism was largely non-existent at this point) caused the rise in popularity of the virtualist position, which was closer to the later Tractarian position than the dominant receptionism. It is important to remember that most Old High Churchmen espoused receptionism and not virutalism. The Non-jurors held much “higher” views which would be used by the Tractarians as evidence of their genuineness against the Establishment Churchmen. Many Old High Churchmen joined later moderate strands of Tractarianism because of its similarity with their own beliefs and the supposed continuity with the Non-jurors.

The second fact has to do with a fault of the Old High Churchmen which they brought upon themselves, so to say. The Old High Churchmen had a strong view of baptismal regeneration (without adopting the ex opere operato view if the Roman Catholic Church). Their view of baptism and also in reaction to nascent Evangelical subjectivism caused the old High Churchmen to take a negative view of a subjective conversion experience in the Christian life. Well, it isn’t fair to say they were “anti-conversion” but anti-conversionist, meaning they were against what many modern people would call “decisionism,” although Evangelicalism was different then than now but that’s the best way I can think of to explain it. The Old High Churchmen emphasized conversion of life and usually had a high moralistic tone to their sermons and homilies. This weakness in their theology was no match for the Evangelical emphasis on conversion of t he heart and the Tractarian emphasis on the sanctification of life by the working of the Spirit.

Another weakness of the Old High Church party was that it lost at the war of words with the Tractarians. The Tractarians-Ritualists assumed the title Anglo-Catholic for their movement and gradually, with the introduction of new ceremonial, the old terms “high church” and “low church” gradually acquired a ceremonial flavor to them which was absent in the original meaning. As time passed, more parties adopted the ceremonial that the Ritualists advocated which caused the old High Churchmen to have to reevaluate their self-definition.

I have a confession to make. The thesis behind this series of posts was to determine and document the demise of the Old High Church party because when I first began writing these articles, I presumed that this variety of churchmanship had completely disappeared. Luckily, that presumption was entirely false. While the Old High Churchmen had been weakened and perhaps changed a bit from the Oxford Movement, their spiritual descendants continued on in the Church of England (and also in America) to live in contentment with the Anglican Settlement, although with a new sense of ceremonial expression in their spirituality than had been used before. The two destinations of Old High Churchmen were the Central Party (in England, and in America conservative Broad) and the Prayer Book Catholics.
As the official Anglican liturgy became to be viewed of as inadequate by Anglo-Catholics, the Old High Churchmen remained true to the Prayer Book. Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics hardened and polarized in opposition to each other and left a void in the middle. The Central Churchmen occupied this void. They adhered to a conservative view of the Bible, adhered to the Prayer Book, Articles, and the Early Fathers. They adopted moderate ceremonial and became what we regard today as “classical Anglicanism.” Central Churchmen followed the theology of the Caroline Divines, Non-jurors, and later High Churchmen. They, like their predecessors, tended to be Arminian in soteriology (though I wouldn’t be surprised if a few predestinarians joined the Central crowd). They believed that, in baptism, regeneration was conferred to the recipient. They believed in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, though, not the localized presence of either transubstantiation or consubstantiation. They also adhered to moderate apostolic succession and a plene esse view of the episcopacy. Little has been said up to this point about the relation of sacrifice with the Eucharist (which will be corrected in the edits of these posts). Central Churchmen were reluctant to correlate sacrifice and the Eucharist, however, a general consensus emerged whereby the Eucharist was, “commemoration (amnesis) of the one perfect sacrifice once offered, and the second, it is our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving for Christ's saving work. The offering of ourselves in Christ's service is also part of this sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving” (+Robinson). On the subject of apostolic succession, the Central Churchmen continue in the thought and practice of the Old High Churchmen, maintaining the high view of the episcopacy but not to the point of advocating a fully Roman doctrine of tactile succession. “In some circles there has been far too much made of this physical continuity of hands on heads, and not enough made of the "other" Apostolic Succession - that of doctrine. Most "middle Anglican" wroters on the subject refer to both aspects. They admit that the concept of Apostolic Succession was first and foremost one relating to the need for the Church to continue in "the Apostles' doctrine and teaching" and the ordination was both a commissioning by the church to administer the sacraments and preach the Word, but also an attestation to a man's orthodoxy” (Robinson). I’m relying heavily on Archbishop Robinson’s (UECNA) posts on this subject, as I cannot find much more online to elaborate on Central positions.

Prayer Book Catholicism represented another descendant of Old High Churchmanship due to its emphasis on the catholicity of the Prayer Book. This strand of thought seems to have its origin in the “Bisley School” of moderate Tractarianism. Prayer Book Catholicism also sprung up when Anglo-Catholics, especially the most extreme version of them, the Anglo-Papalists, were wholly convinced that the Prayer Book was not authentically Catholic. Anglo-Papalists began to substitute the Missal and Breviary for the Prayer Book services of Holy Communion and Morning and Evening Prayer. While Anglo-Papalists were looking to Rome for what they viewed as genuinely Catholic and representative of the apostolic church, the Prayer Book Catholics looked to the ancient uses of England for guidance in matters of ceremonial. They refused to substitute the Missal for the Prayer Book. They instead viewed the Prayer Book as comfortably within the catholic heritage of the English Church:

“One approach to being Anglo-Catholic was the cultivation of an "Olde English" style of worship. Anglo-Catholics were widely suspected of disloyalty to Anglican principles. So, some sought to demonstrate that Catholic worship was entirely compatible with loyal conformity to the Book of Common Prayer.
These "Prayer Book Catholics" set about researching and reconstructing late medieval English (or "Sarum") ceremonial, vestments, and church decoration. A typical "Sarum Rite" parish might have an altar with a cross and two candlesticks, framed by a cloth dossal and two side curtains. Services would follow the Prayer Book strictly, with congregational singing of English plainsong Mass settings. The clergy would wear full-cut gothic vestments or long, flowing surplices.
The style of worship that Fr. Rogers brought here to Ascension in the 1940s seems to have been inspired mainly by this Prayer Book Catholic tradition (with a few other influences blended in). Photographs of the new church taken after its completion in 1949 resemble textbook illustrations of the "Sarum" style of church decoration” (Alexander).
Likewise, the Prayer Book Catholics shared many values of the Central Churchmen. However, as +Robinson clarifies, the real distinction between them lie in the cult of the saints. The Central Churchmen, in continuity with the historic, Anglican practice, revered the saints and remembered their holy lives but nothing more. Prayer Book Catholics were comfortable with venerating their relics and invoking them in prayer, although neither of which would be part of the public liturgy of the Church, but up to individual piety. This was viewed as Romanizing by the Central Churchmen.
(At this point, I add a tangent on the American experience of Tractarianism. The American Church had an indigenous, High Church movement which was rooted in the Scottish Episcopal Church, which in turn was heavily influenced by the Non-jurors. Tractarianism seemed to have a different effect here, as there historically was not an “Anglo-Papalist” movement in America. Bishop Robinson offers an explanation of the development of Prayer Book Catholicism in America:
“The characteristic Anglo-Catholic approach to ceremonial in the USA, where there is no Ornaments Rubric to point us to the "second year of King Edward the Sixth" has been what I call either "Fortescue and Water" or "Ritual Notes and Water." This approach, adopting and adapting the Tridentine Roman ceremonial in celebrating the Prayer Book services, dates from around 1875 and became popular due to the availability of mass produced items for this style of liturgy. Strangely this led to one of the more visible characteristics of American "Prayer Book Catholicism" - when Roman Usage and the BCP came into conflict, the BCP usually won. That said, there are some widespread additions to the BCP Communion service of which Prayer Catholics are guilty. The most popular of these have been the use of some of the personal prayers of the celebrant, and the addition of the Benedictus, and the Agnus Dei to the Communion office, and less frequently, the use of the Ecce, Agnus Dei before Communion. Also some of the commoner visual elements peculiar to the older Roman Rite - "the big six" on the altar, tabernacles, genuflection, the major elevations, cassocks and cottas for servers have been widely adopted.”)
The next and last post in this series will deal with modern Anglicanism and the practical implications (at least in my mind). There is a reason why I think this is important for modern, American Anglicans but that revelation will have to wait till next time!





New Sources

http://espace.library.uq.edu.au/eserv/UQ:13366/n02_03_004_Brine.pdf

http://www.victorianweb.org/religion/brdchrch.html

http://anglicanhistory.org/alexander/alexander5.html

http://theoldhighchurchman.blogspot.com/2010/02/more-thoughts-on-central-churchmanship.html

http://theoldhighchurchman.blogspot.com/2010/05/prayer-book-catholicism.html

http://theoldhighchurchman.blogspot.com/2010/02/broad-and-central.html

Friday, June 10, 2011

Evangelical Religion

Ryle provides a good summary of Evangelical churchmanship in his classic article, "Evangelical Religion." Being an Old High Churchman or Orthodox, I agree with much that Ryle writes below. Old High Churchmen are cousins of the Evangelicals and agree with them in most matters of doctrine and practice but differ in emphasis.



Evangelical Religion

J.C. Ryle



IT may be laid down as a rule, with tolerable confidence, that the absence of accurate definitions is the very life of religious controversy. If men would only define with precision the theological terms which they use, many disputes would die. Scores of excited disputants would discover that they do not really differ, and that their disputes have arisen from their own neglect of the great duty of explaining the meaning of words.

In opening the subject of this paper, I desire to remember carefully this important rule. Without further preface, I shall begin by explaining what I mean when I speak of “Evangelical Religion.”

By “Evangelical Religion,” I do not mean Christianity as compared with Heathenism, or Protestantism as compared with Romanism, or Trinitarianism as compared with Socinianism or Deism. I do not propose to argue with the Sceptic or the Modernist, with the Papist or the Jew. What I do want to consider is the religion which is peculiar to that party in the Church of England which is commonly called “Evangelical.” To that point I shall confine myself, and to that alone.

I will not waste time by proving the existence of such a party as “the Evangelical party.” It is a fact as patent as the sun in heaven. When it began first to be called by this name, and why it was so called, are points into which it is not worth while now to inquire. It is a simple fact that it exists. Whether we like it or not, whether it be right or wrong, the well-known tripartite division is correct and may be assumed as true. There are three great schools of thought in the Church of England, High Church, Broad Church, and Evangelical;—and the man who cannot see them is in a very curious state of mind.[1] Now what are the distinctive peculiarities of the religion of the Evangelical school? That it has some leading tenets or principles is unmistakable and undeniable. What are those principles which distinguish it from other schools? This in plain words is my subject,—Has Evangelical Religion any distinctive principles? I answer, it has.—Are they worth contending for? I answer, they are.

I approach the subject with a deep sense of its difficulty. It cannot be handled without touching points of extreme nicety, and treading on very delicate ground. It necessitates comparison between section and section of our Church; and all comparisons are odious. It lays a writer open to the charge of being “party-spirited, narrow-minded, combative, pugnacious,” and what not. But there are times when comparisons are a positive duty. It is an apostolic command to “try things that differ.” (Phil. i. 10.) The existence of diversities in the Church of England is a fact that cannot be ignored. To pretend that we do not see them is absurd. Everybody else can see them, talk about them, and criticise them. To attempt to deny their existence is mere squeamishness and affectation. Whether we like it or not, there they are, and the world around us knows it.

But while I have a deep sense of the difficulty of the subject, I have a deeper sense of its importance. The clouds are gathering round the Church of England; her very existence is in peril. Conflicting opinions bid fair to rend her in twain. A strife has arisen within her pale in the last thirty or forty years, not about the trappings and vestments of religion, but about the very foundations of the Gospel. It remains to be seen whether our beloved Church will survive the struggle. Surely it is high time for Evangelical clergymen and laymen to review calmly their position, and to consider seriously what it is they have got to maintain and defend. Let us walk round our lines. Let us mark well our bulwarks. Let us distinctly understand the principles which are characteristic of our body. It must do us good; it can do us no harm.

In defining what Evangelical Religion is, I admit at the outset that I have no written creed, no formal declaration of principles, to refer to. The reader will do me the justice to believe that I feel that want very keenly. I can only bring forward the results of such reading, study, and observation, as are within the reach of all ordinary men. But for many years I have examined carefully the published works of most of the Fathers of the Evangelical school, and especially of the men of the last century, and I have formed decided opinions about their peculiar principles. I may be wrong in my estimate of their merits; but I can honestly say that I have not arrived at my conclusions without prayer, thought, and pains.[2]

There are three questions which I wish to bring under the notice of the readers of this paper.

I. What Evangelical Religion is.

II. What it is not.

III. What makes much religion not Evangelical.

Each of these questions I shall attempt to touch very briefly.

I. To the question “what Evangelical Religion is? ” the simplest answer I can give is to point out what appear to be its leading features. These I consider to be five in number.

( a ) The first leading feature in Evangelical Religion is the absolute supremacy it assigns to Holy Scripture , as the only rule of faith and practice, the only test of truth, the only judge of controversy.

Its theory is that man is required to believe nothing, as necessary to salvation, which is not read in God’s Word written, or can be proved thereby. It totally denies that there is any other guide for man’s soul, coequal or co-ordinate with the Bible. It refuses to listen to such arguments as “the Church says so,”—“the Fathers say so,”—“primitive antiquity says so,”—“Catholic tradition says so,”—“the Councils say so,”—“the ancient liturgies say so,”—“the Prayer-book says so,”—“the universal conscience of mankind says so,”—“the verifying light within says so,”—unless it can be shown that what is said is in harmony with Scripture.

The supreme authority of the Bible, in one word, is one of the cornerstones of our system. Show us anything plainly written in that Book, and, however trying to flesh and blood, we will receive it, believe it, and submit to it. Show us anything, as religion, which is contrary to that Book, and, however specious, plausible, beautiful, and apparently desirable, we will not have it at any price. It may come before us endorsed by Fathers, schoolmen, and catholic writers; it may be commended by reason, philosophy, science, the inner light, the verifying faculty, the universal conscience of mankind. It signifies nothing. Give us rather a few plain texts. If the thing is not in the Bible, deducible from the Bible, or in manifest harmony with the Bible, we will have none of it. Like the forbidden fruit, we dare not touch it, lest we die. Our faith can find no resting-place except in the Bible, or in Bible arguments. Here is rock: all else is sand.

( b ) The second leading feature in Evangelical Religion is the depth and prominence it assigns to the doctrine of human sinfulness and corruption . Its theory is that in consequence of Adam’s fall, all men are as far as possible gone from original righteousness, and are of their own natures inclined to evil. They are not only in a miserable, pitiable, and bankrupt condition, but in a state of guilt, imminent danger, and condemnation before God. They are not only at enmity with their Maker, and have no title to heaven, but they have no will to serve their Maker, no love to their Maker, and no meetness for heaven.

We hold that a mighty spiritual disease like this requires a mighty spiritual medicine for its cure. We dread giving the slightest countenance to any religious system of dealing with man’s soul, which even seems to encourage the notion that his deadly wound can be easily healed. We dread fostering man’s favourite notion that a little church-going and sacrament-receiving,—a little patching, and mending, and whitewashing, and gilding, and polishing, and varnishing, and painting the outside,—is all that his case requires. Hence we protest with all our heart against formalism, sacramentalism, and every species of mere external or vicarious Christianity. We maintain that all such religion is founded on an inadequate view of man’s spiritual need. It requires far more than this to save, or satisfy, or sanctify, a soul. It requires nothing less than the blood of God the Son applied to the conscience, and the grace of God the Holy Ghost entirely renewing the heart. Man is radically diseased, and man needs a radical cure. I believe that ignorance of the extent of the fall, and of the whole doctrine of original sin, is one grand reason why many can neither understand, appreciate, nor receive Evangelical Religion. Next to the Bible, as its foundation, it is based on a clear view of original sin.

( c ) The third leading feature of Evangelical Religion is the paramount importance it attaches to the work and office of our Lord Jesus Christ , and to the nature of the salvation which He has wrought out for man.

Its theory is that the eternal Son of God, Jesus Christ, has by His life, death, and resurrection, as our Representative and Substitute, obtained a complete salvation for sinners, and a redemption from the guilt, power, and consequences of sin, and that all who believe on Him are, even while they live, completely forgiven and justified from all things,—are reckoned completely righteous before God,—are interested in Christ and all His benefits.

We hold that nothing whatever is needed between the soul of man the sinner and Christ the Saviour, but simple, childlike faith, and that all means, helps, ministers, and ordinances are useful just so far as they help this faith, but no further;—but that rested in and relied on as ends and not as means, they become downright poison to the soul.

We hold that an experimental knowledge of Christ crucified and interceding, is the very essence of Christianity, and that in teaching men the Christian religion we can never dwell too much on Christ Himself, and can never speak too strongly of the fulness, freeness, presentness, and simplicity of the salvation there is in Him for every one that believes.

Not least, we hold most firmly that the true doctrine about Christ is precisely that which the natural heart most dislikes. The religion which man craves after is one of sight and sense, and not of faith. An external religion, of which the essence is “doing something,”—and not an inward and spiritual one, of which the essence is “believing,” this is the religion that man naturally loves. Hence we maintain that people ought to be continually warned not to make a Christ of the Church, or of the ministry, or of the forms of worship, or of baptism, or of the Lord’s Supper. We say that life eternal is to know Christ, believe in Christ, abide in Christ, have daily heart communion with Christ, by simple personal faith,—and that everything in religion is useful so far as it helps forward that life of faith, but no further.

( d ) The fourth leading feature in Evangelical Religion is the high place which it assigns to the inward work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of man . Its theory is that the root and foundation of all vital Christianity in any one, is a work of grace in the heart, and that until there is real experimental business within a man, his religion is a mere husk, and shell, and name, and form, and can neither comfort nor save. We maintain that the things which need most to be pressed on men’s attention are those mighty works of the Holy Spirit, inward repentance, inward faith, inward hope, inward hatred of sin, and inward love to God’s law. And we say that to tell men to take comfort in their baptism or Church-membership, when these all-important graces are unknown, is not merely a mistake, but positive cruelty.

We hold that, as an inward work of the Holy Ghost is a necessary thing to a man’s salvation, so also it is a thing that must be inwardly felt. We admit that feelings are often deceptive, and that a man may feel much, or weep much, or rejoice much, and yet remain dead in trespasses and sins. But we maintain firmly that there can be no real conversion to God, no new creation in Christ, no new birth of the Spirit, where there is nothing felt and experienced within. We hold that the witness of the Spirit, however much it may be abused, is a real, true thing. We deem it a solemn duty to be no less jealous about the work of the Holy Ghost, in its place and degree, than we are about the work of Christ. And we insist that where there is nothing felt within the heart of a man, there is nothing really possessed.

( e ) The fifth and last leading feature in Evangelical Religion is the importance which it attaches to the outward and visible work of the Holy Ghost in the life of man.

Its theory is that the true grace of God is a thing that will always make itself manifest in the conduct, behaviour, tastes, ways, choices, and habits of him who has it. It is not a dormant thing, that can be within a man and not show itself without. The heavenly seed is “not corruptible, but incorruptible.” It is a seed which is distinctly said to “remain” in every one that is born of God. (1 Peter i. 23; 1 John iii. 9.) Where the Spirit is, He will always make His presence known.

We hold that it is wrong to tell men that they are “children of God, and members of Christ, and heirs of the kingdom of heaven,” unless they really overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil. We maintain that to tell a man he is “born of God,” or regenerated, while he is living in carelessness or sin, is a dangerous delusion, and calculated to do infinite mischief to his soul. We affirm confidently that “fruit” is the only certain evidence of a man’s spiritual condition; that if we would know whose he is and whom he serves, we must look first at his life. Where there is the grace of the Spirit there will be always more or less fruit of the Spirit. Grace that cannot be seen is no grace at all, and nothing better than Antinomianism. Note, in short, we believe that where there is nothing seen , there is nothing possessed.

Such are the leading features of Evangelical Religion. Such are the main principles which characterize the teaching of the Evangelical school in the Church of England. To my eyes they seem to stand out in the theological horizon like Tabor and Hermon among the mountains, and to tower upward like cathedral spires in our English plains. It will readily be perceived that I have only sketched them in outline. I have purposely avoided much that might have been said in the way of amplification and demonstration. I have omitted many things which might have been handled as parts and portions of our system, not because they are not important, but because they are comparatively of secondary importance. But enough has probably been said to serve my present purpose. I have pointed out what I conscientiously believe are the five distinctive doctrinal marks by which the members of the Evangelical body may be discerned. Rightly or wrongly, I have laid them down plainly. I venture to think that my statement will hold water and stand the fire.

I do not for a moment deny, be it remembered, that many Churchmen who are outside the Evangelical body, are sound in the main about the five points I have named, if you take them one by one. Propound them separately, as points to be believed, and they would admit them every one. But they do not give them the prominence, position, rank, degree, priority, dignity, and precedence which we do. And this I hold to be a most important difference between us and them. It is the position which we assign to these points, which is one of the grand characteristics of Evangelical theology. We say boldly that they are first, foremost, chief, and principal things in Christianity, and that want of attention to their position mars and spoils the teaching of many well-meaning Churchmen.

To show all the foundations on which Evangelical Religion is based, would be clearly impossible in a paper like this. We appeal boldly to the Holy Scriptures, and challenge any one to examine our system by the light of the New Testament.—We appeal boldly to the Thirty-nine Articles of our own Church, and assert unhesitatingly that they are on our side. We appeal boldly to the writings of our leading Divines, from the Reformation down to the time of Archbishop Laud, and invite any man to compare our teaching with theirs.—We repudiate with scorn the vulgar charge of novelty, and tell the man who makes it that he only exposes his own ignorance. We ask him to turn again to his New Testament, to study afresh the Thirty-nine Articles, to take down and read once more the English theology of the pre-Caroline age. We court the fullest, strictest investigation into our case, and shall abide the result without fear. Of ourselves and our imperfections we may well be ashamed; but of what is called “Evangelical Religion” we have no cause to be ashamed at all. Let men say what they please. Nothing is easier than to call names, affix odious epithets, and frighten ignorant people, by raising the cry of “Calvinism” or “Puritanism” against the Evangelical school. “The curse causeless shall not come.” (Prov. xxvi. 2.) I believe firmly that impartial inquiry will always show that Evangelical Religion is the religion of Scripture and of the Church of England.

II. I turn now to the negative side of my subject. Having shown what Evangelical Religion is, it becomes my duty next to show what it is not.

I am almost ashamed to take up time by saying anything on this point. But slanders and false reports about Evangelical Religion are so sadly numerous, and shameless misrepresentations of its nature are so widely current, that I can hardly pass over this branch of my subject. We are not perfect, we know to our sorrow. We have many faults and defects, we humbly confess. But to many charges brought against us we plead “Not guilty.” We say they are not true.

(1) 1 begin then by saying that Evangelical Religion does not despise learning , research, or the wisdom of days gone by. It is not true to say that we do. In thorough appreciation of anything that throws light on God’s Word, we give place to none. Let any one look over the lists of those who in days gone by have been eminent for theological scholarship in this country, and I am bold to say he will find some of the most eminent are Evangelical men. Ridley, Jewell, Usher, Lightfoot, Davenant, Hall, Whittaker, Willett, Reynolds, Leighton, Owen, Baxter, Manton, are names that for profound learning stand second to none. To what school do they belong, I should like to know, if not to the Evangelical? What school, I ask confidently, has done more for the exposition and interpretation of Scripture than the Evangelical school? What school has given to the world more Commentaries? Poole’s Synopsis and Owen on Hebrews are alone sufficient to show that Evangelical men do read and can think. Even in the Egyptian darkness of last century, there were few English divines who showed more real learning than Hervey, Romaine, and Toplady.

Turn even to our own day, and I say, unhesitatingly, that we have no cause to be ashamed. To name divines of our own generation is somewhat invidious. Yet I do not shrink from saying that the three great books of Dean Goode on Scripture , Baptism , and the Lord’s Supper , remain to the present day unanswered by the opponents of the Evangelical school. Coarse sneers about ignorance and shallowness may be safely disregarded, while books like these are unrefuted.

But while we do not despise learning, we steadily refuse to place any uninspired writings on a level with revelation. We refuse to call any man “father” or “master,” however learned or intellectual he may be. We will follow no guide but Scripture. We own no master over conscience in religious matters, except the Bible. We leave it to others to talk of “primitive antiquity” and “Catholic truth.” To us there is but one test of truth “What is written in the Scripture? What saith the Lord?”

(2) I go on to say that Evangelical Religion does not undervalue the Church , or think lightly of its privileges. It is not true to say that we do. In sincere and loyal attachment to the Church of England we give place to none. We value its form of government, its Confession of Faith, its mode of worship, as much as any within its pale. We have stuck by it through evil report and good report, while many who once talked more loudly about their Churchmanship have seceded and gone over to Rome. We stick by it still, and will resist all attempts to Romanize it to the very death! We know its value, and would hand it down unimpaired to our children’s children.

But we steadily refuse to exalt the Church above Christ, or to teach our people that membership of the Church is identical with membership of Christ. We refuse to assign it an authority for which we find no warrant either in Scripture or the Articles. We protest against the modern practice of first personifying the Church, then deifying it, and finally idolizing it. We hold that Church councils, Church synods, and Church convocations, may err, and that “things ordained by them as necessary to salvation have neither strength nor authority, unless it may be declared that they be taken out of Holy Scripture.” We can find no proof in the Bible that the Lord Jesus Christ ever meant a body of erring mortals, whether ordained nor not ordained, to be treated as infallible. We consequently hold that a vast quantity of language in this day about “the Church” and the “voice of the Church” is mere unmeaning verbiage. It is “the talk of the lips, which tendeth only to penury.” (Prov. xiv. 23.)

(3) I go on to say that Evangelical Religion does not under value the Christian ministry. It is not true to say that we do. We regard it as an honourable office instituted by Christ Himself, and of general necessity for carrying on the work of the Gospel. We look on ministers as preachers of God’s Word, God’s ambassadors, God’s messengers, God’s servants, God’s shepherds, God’s stewards, God’s overseers, and labourers in God’s vineyard.

But we steadily refuse to admit that Christian ministers are in any sense sacrificing priests, mediators between God and man, lords of men’s consciences, or private confessors. We refuse it, not only because we cannot see it in the Bible, but also because we have read the lessons of Church history. We find that Sacerdotalism, or priestcraft, has frequently been the curse of Christianity, and the ruin of true religion. And we say boldly that the exaltation of the ministerial office to an unscriptural place and extravagant dignity in the Church of England in the present day, is likely to alienate the affections of the laity, to ruin the Church, and to be the source of every kind of error and superstition.

(4) I go on to say that Evangelical Religion does not undervalue the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper . It is not true to say that we do. We honour them as holy ordinances appointed by Christ Himself, and as blessed means of grace, which in all who use them rightly, worthily, and with faith, “have a wholesome effect or operation.”

But we steadily refuse to admit that Christ’s Sacraments convey grace ex opere operato , and that in every case where they are administered, good must of necessity be done. We refuse to admit that they are the grand media between Christ and the soul,—above faith, above preaching, and above prayer. We protest against the idea that in baptism the use of water, in the name of the Trinity, is invariably and necessarily accompanied by regeneration. We protest against the practice of encouraging any one to come to the Lord’s Table unless he repents truly of sin, has a lively faith in Christ, and is in charity with all men. We protest against the theory that the Lord’s Supper is a sacrifice, as a theory alike contrary to the Bible, Articles, and Prayer-book. And above all, we protest against the notion of any corporal presence of Christ’s flesh and blood in the Lord’s Supper, under the forms of bread and wine, as an “idolatry to be abhorred of all faithful Christians.”

(5) I go on to say that Evangelical Religion does not undervalue the English Prayer-book . It is not true to say that we do. We honour that excellent book as a matchless form of public worship, and one most admirably adapted to the wants of human nature. We use it with pleasure in our public ministrations, and should grieve to see the day when its use is forbidden.

But we do not presume to say there can be no acceptable worship of God without the Prayer-book. It does not possess the same authority as the Bible. We steadily refuse to give to the Prayer-book the honour which is only due to the Holy Scriptures, or to regard it as forming, together with the Bible, the rule of faith for the Church of England. We deny that it contains one single truth of religion, besides, over and above what is contained in God’s Word. And we hold that to say the Bible and Prayer-book together are “the Church’s Creed,” is foolish and absurd.

(6) I go on to say that Evangelical Religion does not undervalue Episcopacy . It is not true to say that we do. We give to our Bishops as much honour and respect as any section of the Church of England does, and in reality a great deal more. We thoroughly believe that Episcopal government, rightly administered, is the best form of Church government that can be had in this evil world.

But we steadily refuse to believe that Bishops are infallible, or that their words are to be believed when they are not in harmony with the Scriptures, —or that Episcopacy is the first test of a Church being a true Church,—or that Presbyterian orders are not valid orders, or that non-Episcopal Christians are to be handed over to the uncovenanted mercies of God. We hold as firmly as any that “from the beginning there have been bishops, priests, and deacons.” But we refuse to join in the bigoted cry, “No bishop, no Church.”

I repeat that in due respect to the Episcopal office we yield to none. But we never will admit that the acts and doings and deliverances of any Bishops, however numerous, and by whatever name they are called, whether a Pan-Anglican Synod or not, are to be received as infallible, and not to be submitted to free criticism. We cannot forget that erring Bishops ruined the Church of England in the days of Charles the First,—almost ruined it again in 1662, when they cast out the Puritans,—and nearly ruined it once more in the last century, when they shut out the Methodists. No! we have read history, and we have not forgotten that while we have had a Cranmer and a Parker, we have also had a Sheldon and a Laud; and that while we have had stars in our ecclesiastical firmament like Hooper, Ridley, and Jewell, we have also had men who were a disgrace to their office, like the semi-papists, Cheyney and Montague, and the subtle politician, Atterbury.

(7) I go on to say that Evangelical Religion does not object to handsome churches, good ecclesiastical architecture, a well-ordered ceremonial, and a well-conducted service. It is not true to say that we do. We like handsome, well-arranged places of worship, when we can get them. We abhor slovenliness and disorder in God’s service, as much as any. We would have all things done “decently and in order.” (1 Cor. xiv. 40.)

But we steadily maintain that simplicity should be the grand characteristic of Christian worship. We hold that human nature is so easily led astray, and so thoroughly inclined to idolatry, that ornament in Christian worship should be used with a very sparing hand. We firmly believe that the tendency of excessive ornament, and a theatrical ceremonial, is to defeat the primary end for which worship was established, to draw away men’s minds from Christ, and to make them walk by sight and not by faith. We hold above all that the inward and spiritual character of the congregation is of far more importance than the architecture and adornments of the church. We dare not forget the great principle of Scripture, that “man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” (1 Sam. xvi. 7.)

(8) I go on to say that Evangelical religion does not undervalue unity . It is not true to say that we do. We love harmony and peace as much as any Christians in the world. We long for that day when there shall be no more controversy, strife, and division; when Ephraim shall no longer vex Judah, nor Judah Ephraim.

But we firmly maintain that there can be no real unity without oneness in the faith. We protest against the idea of unity based on a common Episcopacy, and not on a common belief of Christ’s Gospel. As for the theories of those who make advances to Rome, and hold out the hand to the Church of Bonner and Gardiner, while they turn their backs on the Church of Knox and Rutherford, Chalmers and M’Cheyne, we repudiate them with indignation as unworthy of English Churchmen. We abhor the very idea of reunion with Rome, unless Rome first purges herself from her many false doctrines and superstitions.

(9) Last, but not least, I say that Evangelical Religion does not undervalue Christian holiness and self-denial . It is not true to say that we do. We desire as much as any to promote habitual spirituality of heart and life in Christians. We give place to none in exalting humility, charity, meekness, gentleness, temperance, purity, self-denial, good works, and separation from the world. With all our defects, we are second to no section of Christ’s Church in attaching the utmost importance to private prayer, private Bible-reading, and private communion with God.

But we steadily deny that true holiness consists in calling everything “holy” in religion, and thrusting forward the word “holy” with sickening frequency at every turn. We will not allow that it is really promoted by an ostentatious observance of Lent, by keeping Ecclesiastical fasts and saints’ days, by frequent communion, by joining Houses of mercy, by doing penance, by going to confession, by wearing peculiar dresses, by decorating our persons with enormous crosses, by frequent gestures, and postures expressive of humility, in public worship, by walking in procession and the like. We believe, on the contrary, that such holiness (so-called) too often begins from the outside, and is a complete delusion. It has a “show of wisdom,” and may satisfy silly young women and brainless young men, who like to compound for races and balls one part of their week, by asceticism and will-worship at another. But we utterly deny that it is the holiness recommended by St. Paul and St. Peter, St. James and St. John.[3]

I leave my list of negatives here. I have not time to dwell on them further. The sum of the whole matter is this:—we give all lawful honour to learning, the Church, the ministry, the Sacrament, Episcopacy, the Prayer-book, Church ornament, unity, and holiness; but we firmly decline to give them more honour than we find given to them in God’s Word.

We dare not take up any other position, because of the plain teaching of the Scriptures. We read there how the ark itself was utterly useless to Israel when trusted in as a saviour, and exalted into the place of God. We read there how God Himself has said, that the sacrifices and feasts which He Himself had appointed, were “abominations” and a “weariness” to Him, when rested on as ends and not as means.—We read there how the very temple itself, with all its divinely ordained services, was denounced as a “den of thieves,” by Christ Himself. (1 Sam. iv. 1-11; Isa. 1. 11-15; Luke xix. 46.)

And what do we learn from all this? We learn that we must be very careful how we give primary honour to things invented by man, or even to things which, though ordained by God, are secondary things in religion. We learn, above all, that those who accuse us of undervaluing the things I have mentioned, because we refuse to make them idols, are only exposing their own ignorance of Scripture. They know not what they say, nor whereof they affirm. We may listen to their slanderous charges and misrepresentations with calm indifference. Let them show us that we do not estimate learning, the Church, the Ministry, the Sacraments, the Prayer-book, Episcopacy, unity, and holiness, with the estimate of Scripture, and we will confess that we have erred. But till they can do that, we shall firmly maintain that we are right and they are wrong.

III. It only remains for me to say a few words on the last question I propose to consider:—“ What is it that makes much religion appear to us not Evangelical? ”

This is no doubt a delicate point, but a very serious and important one. I repeat here what I have remarked before. We do not say that men who are not professedly Evangelical ignore and disbelieve the leading doctrines of the Evangelical creed. We say nothing of the kind. But we do say confidently, that there are many ways in which the faith of Christ may be marred and spoiled, without being positively denied. And here we venture to think is the very reason that so much religion called Christian, is not truly Evangelical. The Gospel in fact is a most curiously and delicately compounded medicine, and a medicine that is very easily spoiled.

You may spoil the Gospel by substitution . You have only to withdraw from the eyes of the sinner the grand object which the Bible proposes to faith,—Jesus Christ; and to substitute another object in His place,—the Church, the Ministry, the Confessional, Baptism, or the Lord’s Supper, and the mischief is done. Substitute anything for Christ, and the Gospel is totally spoiled! Do this, either directly or indirectly, and your religion ceases to be Evangelical.

You may spoil the Gospel by addition . You have only to add to Christ, the grand object of faith, some other objects as equally worthy of honour, and the mischief is done. Add anything to Christ, and the Gospel ceases to be a pure Gospel! Do this, either directly or indirectly, and your religion ceases to be Evangelical.

You may spoil the Gospel by interposition . You have only to push something between Christ and the eye of the soul, to draw away the sinner’s attention from the Saviour, and the mischief is done. Interpose anything between man and Christ, and man will neglect Christ for the thing interposed! Do this, either directly or indirectly, and your religion ceases to be Evangelical.

You may spoil the Gospel by disproportion . You have only to attach an exaggerated importance to the secondary things of Christianity, and a diminished importance to the first things, and the mischief is done. Once alter the proportion of the parts of truth, and truth soon becomes downright error! Do this, either directly or indirectly, and your religion ceases to be Evangelical.

Lastly, but not least, you may completely spoil the Gospel by confused and contradictory directions . Complicated and obscure statements about faith, baptism, Church privileges, and the benefits of the Lord’s Supper, all jumbled together, and thrown down without order before hearers, make the Gospel no Gospel at all! Confused and disorderly statements of Christianity are almost as bad as no statement at all! Religion of this sort is not Evangelical.

I know not whether I succeed in making my meaning clear. I am very anxious to do so. Myriads of our fellow-countrymen are utterly unable to see any difference between one thing and another in religion, and are hence continually led astray. Thousands can see no distinct difference between sermons and sermons, and preachers and preachers, and have only a vague idea that “sometimes all is not right.” I will endeavour, therefore, to illustrate my subject by two familiar illustrations.

A doctor’s prescription of a medicine often contains five or six different ingredients. There is so much of one drug and so much of another; a little of this, and a good deal of that. Now what man of common sense can fail to see that the whole value of the prescription depends on a faithful and honest use of it? Take away one ingredient, and substitute another; leave out one ingredient altogether; add a little to the quantity of one drug; take away a little from the quantity of another. Do this, I say, to the prescription, my good friend, and it is a thousand chances to one that you spoil it altogether. The thing that was meant for your health, you have converted into downright poison.

Apply this little simple parable to the Gospel. Regard it as a medicine sent down from heaven, for the curing of man’s spiritual disease, by a Physician of infinite skill and power; a medicine of singular efficacy, which man with all his wisdom could never have devised. Tell me now, as one of common sense, does it not stand to reason that this medicine should be used without the slightest alteration, and precisely in the manner and proportion that the great Physician intended? Tell me whether you have the least right to expect good from it, if you have tampered with it in the smallest degree? You know what the answer to these questions must be: your conscience will give the reply. Spoil the proportions of your doctor’s prescription, and you will spoil its usefulness, even though you may call it medicine. Spoil the proportions of Christ’s Gospel, and you spoil its efficacy. You may call it religion if you like; but you must not call it Evangelical. The several doctrines may be there, but they are useless if you have not observed the proportions.

The brazen serpent supplies another valuable illustration of my meaning. The whole efficacy of that miraculous remedy, we must remember, depended on using it precisely in the way that God directed.—It was the serpent of brass, and nothing else, that brought health to him that looked at it. The man who thought it wise to look at the brazen altar, or at the pole on which the serpent hung, would have died of his wounds.—It was the serpent looked at, and only looked at, that cured the poor bitten Israelite. The man who fancied it would be better to touch the serpent, or to offer a sacrifice to it, would have got no benefit.—It was the serpent looked at by each sufferer with his own eyes, and not with the eyes of another, that healed. The man who bade another look for him, would have found a vicarious look useless.—Looking, looking, only looking, was the prescription.—The sufferer, and only the sufferer, must look for himself with his own eyes.—The serpent, the brazen serpent, and nothing but the serpent, was the object for the eye.

Let us apply that marvellous and most deeply typical history to the Gospel. We have no warrant for expecting the slightest benefit for our souls from Christ’s salvation, unless we use it precisely in the way that Christ appointed. If we add anything to it, take anything away from it, try to improve the terms, depart in the slightest degree from the path which the Bible marks out for us, we have no right whatever to look for any good being done. God’s plan of salvation cannot possibly be mended or improved. He who tries to amend or improve it, will find that he spoils it altogether.

In one word I wind up this last part of my subject by saying, that a religion to be really “Evangelical” and really good, must be the Gospel, the whole Gospel, and nothing but the Gospel, as Christ prescribed it and expounded it to the Apostles; the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; the terms, the whole terms, and nothing but the terms,—in all their fulness, all their freeness, all their simplicity, all their presentness.

Here, I am sorry to say, a vast quantity of so-called religion in the present day appears to me to break down. It does not come up to the standard I have just given. Things are added to it, or things are taken away, or things are put in their wrong places, or things are set forth in their wrong proportions. And hence, painful as it is, I cannot avoid the conclusion that much of the religion of our own times does not deserve to be called Evangelical. I do not charge all clergymen who are not “Evangelical” with not being “Christians.” I do not say that the religion they teach is not Christianity. I trust I am not so uncharitable as to say anything of this kind. But I do say that, for the reasons already assigned, they appear to me to teach that which is not Christ’s whole truth. In a word, they do not give full weight, full measure, and the prescription of the Gospel accurately made up. The parts are there, but not the proportions.

I cannot bring my paper to a conclusion without offering some practical suggestions about the present duties of the Evangelical body. We have been considering what Evangelical religion is and is not. A few pages devoted to our immediate duties, in the present position of the Church, can hardly be thought misapplied.

The times no doubt are very critical, full of danger to our beloved Church, full of danger to the nation. Never has there been such an unblushing avowal of Popish opinions among Churchmen, and such shameless additions to the faith as defined in our Articles. The grand question is, whether our Protestantism shall die or live? Now I believe much depends on the attitude and line of conduct taken up by the Evangelical body. If they know the times and do their duty, there is hope for the Church. If they are timid, supine, compromising, vacillating, and indolent, there is no hope at all.

(1) I suggest, for one thing, that we ought to exercise a special jealousy over our own personal religion . Let us take heed that it is thoroughly and entirely Evangelical. The times we live in are desperately unfavourable to a sharply-cut, decided, distinct, doctrinal Christianity. A fog of vague liberalism overspreads the ecclesiastical horizon. A settled determination to think everybody is right, and nobody is wrong, everything is true, and nothing is false, meets us at every turn. The world is possessed with a devil of false charity about religion. Men try to persuade us, like Gallio, that the alleged differences between creeds and schools of thought are only about “words and names,” and that it is “all the same thing.” In times like these, let us be on our guard, and take heed to our souls.—“Watch ye: stand fast in the faith. Quit you like men: be strong.” (1 Cor. xvi. 13.) Let us steadfastly resolve to stand fast in the old paths, the good way of our Protestant Reformers. Narrow, old-fashioned, obsolete, as some may be pleased to call that way, they will never show us a better. The nearer we draw to the great realities of death, judgment, and eternity, the more excellent will that way appear. When I go down the valley of the shadow of death, and my feet touch the cold waters, I want something better than vague, high-sounding words, or the painted playthings and gilded trifles of man-made ceremonials. Give me no stone altars and would-be confessors. Give me no surpliced priests or pretended sacrifice in my bedroom. Put no man or form between me and Christ. Give me a real staff for my hand such as David had, and real meat and drink for my soul such as aged Paul felt within him, and feeling cried, “I am not ashamed.” (2 Tim. i. 12.) I must know distinctly whom I believe, what I believe, and why I believe and in what manner I believe. Nothing, nothing will answer these questions satisfactorily, but thorough, downright Evangelical Religion. Let us make sure that this religion is our own.

(2) I suggest, secondly, that ministers who call themselves Evangelical, ought to be specially careful that they do not compromise their principles , and damage their testimony, by vain attempts to conciliate the world.

This is a great danger in these days. It is a sunken rock, on which I fear many are striking, and doing themselves immense harm. The plausible pretext of making our services more attractive, and cutting the ground from under the feet of Ritualists, too often induces Evangelical ministers to do things which they had far better let alone. New church decorations, new church music, and a semi-histrionic mode of going through church worship, are things which I suggest that we must watch most narrowly, and keep at arm’s length. They are points on which we must take heed that we do not let in the Pope and the devil.

Tampering with these things, we may be sure, does no real good. It may seem to please the world, and have a “show of wisdom,” but it never converts the world, and makes the world believe. We had far better leave it alone. Some Evangelical clergymen, I suspect, have begun flirting and trifling with these things with the best intentions, and have ended by losing their own characters, disgusting their true believing hearers, making themselves miserable, and going out of the world under a cloud.

Oh, no! we cannot be too jealous in these days about the slightest departure from the “faith once delivered to the saints,” and from the worship handed down to us by the Reformers. We cannot be too careful to add nothing to, and take nothing away from, the simplicity of the Gospel, and to do nothing in our worship, which seems to cast the slightest reflection on Evangelical principles.—“A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.”— “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” (Gal. v. 9; Matt. xvi. 6.)

Let us mark the testimony of Scripture on this subject. The Epistle to the Galatians is the inspired handbook for these times. Mark how in that Epistle St. Paul declares, “Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other Gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”—Mark how he repeats it: “As we said before, so we say again, If any man preach any other Gospel than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”—Mark how he tells us that “when he came to Antioch he withstood Peter to the face, because he was to be blamed.” Mark how he says to the Galatians, “Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.” And then comes the solemn and weighty remark which ought to ring in the ears of many: “I am afraid of you.” (Gal. i. 9; ii. 11; iv. 10,11.)

Let us carefully observe how little good they do who attempt to mix up Evangelical preaching and a Ritual ceremonial. Little, did I say?—they do no good at all! The world is never won by trimming, and compromising, by facing both ways, and trying to please all. The cross of Christ is never made more acceptable by sawing off its corners, or by polishing, varnishing, and adorning it. Processions, and banners, and flowers, and crosses, and excessive quantity of music, and elaborate services, and beautiful vestments, may please children and weak-minded people. But they never helped forward heart-conversion and heart-sanctification, and they never will. Scores of English clergymen, I strongly suspect, have found out too late that St. Paul’s words are deeply true, when he says, “It is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.” (Heb. xiii. 9.)

I grant freely that we have need of much patience in these times. No doubt it is very provoking to be twitted with the nakedness, poverty, and meagreness (so called) of Evangelical worship. It is very annoying to see our younger members slipping away to churches where there are processions, banners, flowers, incense, and a thoroughly histrionic and gorgeous ceremonial. It is vexing to hear them say, that “they feel so much better after these services.” But none of these things must move us. “He that believeth shall not make haste.” (Isaiah xxviii. 16.) The end will never justify illicit means. Let us never leave the high ground of principle under any false pressure, from whatever side it may come. Let us hold on our own way, and be jealously sensitive of any departure from simplicity. Popularity obtained by pandering to the senses or the sentiment of our hearers is not worth anything. Worshippers who are not content with the Bible, the cross of Christ, simple prayers and simple praise, are worshippers of little value. It is useless to try to please them, because their spiritual taste is diseased.

Let us remember, not least, the enormous injury which we may do to souls, if we once allow ourselves to depart in the least degree from the simplicity of the Gospel either in our doctrine or in our worship. Who can estimate the shipwrecks that might occur in a single night, and the lives that might be lost, if a light-house keeper dared to alter but a little the colour of his light?—Who can estimate the deaths that might take place in a town, if the chemist took on himself to depart but a little from the doctor’s prescriptions?—Who can estimate the wholesale misery that might be caused in a war, by maps a little wrong and charts a little incorrect?—Who can estimate these things?—Then perhaps you may have some idea of the spiritual harm that ministers may do by departing in the slightest degree from the Scriptural proportions of the Gospel, or by trying to catch the world by dressing simple old Evangelical Religion in new clothes.

(3) I suggest, finally, that we must not allow Evangelical Religion to be thrust out of the Church of England without a struggle.

It is a religion which is worth a struggle; for it can point to works which no other school in the Church of England has ever equalled. In this matter we fear no comparison, if honestly and fairly made. We confess with sorrow that we have done but little compared to what we ought to have done; and yet we say boldly, that both abroad and at home no Churchmen have done so much good to souls as those who are called Evangelical. What Sierra Leone can the extreme Ritualists place before us as the result of their system? What Tinnevelly bears testimony to the truth of their school? What manufacturing towns have they rescued from semi-heathenism? What mining districts have they Christianized? What teeming populations of poor in our large cities can they point to, as evangelized by their agencies? We boldly challenge a reply. Let them come forward and name them. In the day when Evangelical Religion is cast out of the Church of England, the usefulness of the Church will be ended and gone. Nothing gives the Church of England such power and influence as genuine, well-worked, well-administered Evangelical Religion.

But it is a religion that can only be preserved amongst us just now by a great effort, and a mighty struggle. For our nation’s sake, for our children’s sake, for the world’s sake, for the honour and glory of our God, let us gird up the loins of our minds, and resolve that the struggle shall be made.

It is a struggle, we can honestly call the world to witness, which is not one of our seeking. The controversy is thrust upon us, whether we like it or not. We are driven to a painful dilemma. We must either sit by in silence, like sneaks and cowards, and let the Church of England be unprotestantized and re-united with Rome; or else we must basely desert the dear old Church and let traitors work their will; or else we must look the danger manfully in the face, and fight !—Our fight, of course, is to be carried on with the same Word that Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley fought with, and not with carnal weapons. But as they did, so must we do: we must stand up and fight. Yes! even if a secession of our antagonists is the consequence, we must not shrink from fighting. Let every man go to the place that suits him best. Let Papists join the Pope, and Romanists retire to Rome.[4] But if we want our Church to continue Protestant and Evangelical, we must not be afraid to fight. There are times when there is a mine of deep meaning in our Lord’s words,—“He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.” (Luke xxii, 36.) To such times we have come.

Does any one ask me what is to be done? I answer that the path of duty, to my mind, is clear, plain, and unmistakable. Union and organization of all Protestant and Evangelical Churchmen,—untiring exposure of the Popish dealings of our antagonists, by the pulpit, the platform, and the press, lawsuits whenever there is a reasonable hope of success,—appeals to Parliament for declarative statutes, and the reform of our Ecclesiastical courts,—bold, decided, prompt action, the moment any necessity requires,—these are the weapons of our warfare. They are weapons which, from one end of the country to the other, we ought to wield, boldly, untiringly, unflinchingly, be the sacrifice and cost what it may. But I say, “No surrender! No desertion! No compromise! No disgraceful peace!”

Let us then resolve to “contend earnestly for the faith.” By preaching and by praying, by pulpit and by platform, by pen and by tongue, by printing and by speaking, let us labour to maintain Evangelical Religion within the Church of England, and to resist the enemies which we see around us.—We are not weak if we stand together and act together. The middle classes and the poor are yet sound at heart. They do not love Popery. God Himself has not forsaken us, and truth is on our side. But, be the issue of the conflict what it may, let us nail our colours to the mast; and, if need be, go down with our colours flying. Let us only settle it deeply in our minds, that without Protestant and Evangelical principles, a Church is as useless as a well without water. In one word, when the Church of England becomes Popish once more, it will be a Church not worth preserving.

FOOTNOTES


1 Beneath this tripartite division there are, no doubt, many sub-divisions, and subordinate shades of difference. There is certainly a very distinct line of demarcation between the old High Church party and the modern Ritualistic section of the Church of England.

2 Of course my readers will understand that, throughout this paper, I am only expressing my own individual opinion. I do not for a moment pretend to be a mouthpiece of the Evangelical party, or to speak for anybody but myself. Indeed I am not sure that all who are called Evangelical will agree with all that this paper contains. I am only describing what I, personally, believe to be the leading sentiments of most Evangelical Churchmen, and my description must be taken for what it is worth.

3 I am aware that this paragraph is likely to be misinterpreted, and may give offence. A captious reader may say that I consider keeping Lent and saints’ days and fasts is wrong. I beg to remind him that I say nothing of the kind. I only say that these things do not constitute Christian holiness. I will go even further I will say that the history of the last three hundred years in England does not incline me to think that these things, however well meant, are conducive to real holiness.

I am quite sure that the substance of this paragraph is imperatively demanded by the times. Things have come to this pass in England that thousands of Churchmen are making the whole of religion to consist in externals. Against such a religion, as long as I live, I desire to protest. It may suit an Italian bandit, who oscillates between Lent and Carnival, between fasting and robbing. It ought never to satisfy a Bible-reading Christian. It is the religion that the natural heart likes, but it is not the religion of God.

When I speak of an “ostentatious” observance of Lent, I do it with a reason. There are hundreds of people who “scruple” at weddings and dinner parties in Lent, but rush to balls, theatres, and races as soon as Lent is over! If this is Christian holiness, we may throw our Bibles to the winds.

4 I trust that no one will misunderstand me here. If any one supposes that I want to narrow the pale of the Church of England, and to make it the Church of one particular party, he is totally mistaken. I am quite aware that my Church is eminently liberal, truly comprehensive, and tolerant of wide differences of opinion. But I deny that the Church ever meant its members to be downright Papists.

The Church has always found room in its ranks for men of very different schools of thought. There has been room for Ridley, and room for Hooper, room for Jewell, and room for Hooker,—room for Whitgift, and room for Tillotson,—room for Usher, and room for Jeremy Taylor,—room for Davenant, and room for Andrews,—room for Waterland, and room for Beveridge,—room for Chillingworth, and room for Bull,—room for Whitby, and room for Scott,—room for Toplady, and room for Fletcher. Where is the Churchman who would like any one of these men to have been shut out of the Church of England? If there is such an one, I do not agree with him.

But if any man wants me to believe that our Church ever meant to allow its clergy to teach the Romish doctrine of the Real Presence, the sacrifice of the Mass, and the practice of auricular confession, without let or hindrance, I tell him plainly that I cannot believe it. My common sense revolts against it. I would as soon believe that black is white, or that two and two make five.

Between the old High Churchman and the Ritualists I draw a broad line of distinction. With all his faults and mistakes, in my judgment, the old High Churchman is a true Churchman, and is thoroughly and heartily opposed to Popery. The Ritualists, on the other hand, scorn the very name of Protestant; and, if words mean anything, are so like Roman Catholics, that a plain man can see no difference between their tenets and those of Rome.