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Church of England has extracted from the Scripture.” And as the Bishop of London had moreover asserted in his speech above-mentioned, that “the Church would neglect her duty if she did not lay down those truths,” we believed that she was in reality, and for all practical purposes, just as ready, and able, and willing, to instruct a man, as the General Cemetery Company is to inter him. Great was, therefore, our astonishment upon hearing an archbishop of the establishment, actually, and publicly declare in the House of Lords, " that there was NO INDIVIDUAL, NOR BODY OF INDIVIDUALS, to whom ANY QUESTION of doubt or uncertainty, or ANY scruple or objection could be referred, nor ANY CONSTITUTED AUTHORITY to whom application could be made in order to determine any such subjects :” and that no power existed anywhere to “ look after such matters" as the articles of the Church's belief. If the definition of the nature and duties of a Church, which is expressed in the speech of the Bishop of London, be correct, it is evident that the statement of the Archbishop of Dublin had an exceedingly strong resemblance to a declaration, that there is in reality no such thing at all, as the Church described by the Bishop of London;that the Church of England of which the Bishop of London spoke, only existed, if at all
, in fiction and contemplation of law ;—that it is always in abeyance, like the fee-simple of a rectory ;—that, like Rabelais' island, Medamothi, it is situated in that negative locality, called nowhere ; that it may be a vortex, or a vibration, or a metaphysical substratum for the sustentation of super-incumbent accidents; and that, although such an object of internal perception may be, as the lawyers express it, in nubibus, yet, that in as far as England was concerned, there was, as the Reverend Sidney Smith would say, no Church of God here upon earth at all; there being at this moment no body whatever, “ politic or corporate,” “ aggregate or sole,” which possesses the smallest semblance of authority, to decide authentically what the doctrines of the Church of England are, and what they are not. What then is the Church of England, and where is it to be found ? If it be any thing more than a mere ens rationis, will any one point out where its palpable existence can be ascertained, and what the situation is, in which the Church of England is, according to the Bishop of London, “ ready to lay down the doctrines which she has extracted from the scriptures, and
Speech of the Archbishop of Dublin, 7th. Aug. 1833. Appeal, p. 32.
which truths, if she did not lay down, she would most grossly neglect her duty ?" How she has performed this duty may be inferred from the statement of the Quarterly Review for September 1840, p. 354, that “there is sufficient difficulty in defending the fundamental doctrines of the Anglican Church, merely because having been too long neglected, they go against the notions of many.” In the same publication, p. 460, the writer says that Mr. Carlyle “is ignorant of the true powers of the Christian Church, because for so many years the Church herself has permitted him, and others around him, to remain in such ignorance."* This observation was made in reference to Mr. Carlyle's declaration, that the Church itself had become a skeleton, or a scarecrow.
But it will sufficiently appear, from the preceding parts of the present article, that Mr. Carlyle gave too substantial a character of the establishment in calling it even a skeleton : and indeed, the author of the Appeal informs us, that in so far at least as concerns the authoritative exposition of “the truths which she has extracted from the Bible,” the Church of England “has now ceased to be a Church :" or at least, that an essential feature of that character has been lost.” (p. 74). But although it be quite obvious that there exists no supreme or central authority whatever in the Church, for the purpose of preserving either an actual unity of doctrine, or even a plausible conformity of practice, yet it may perhaps be alleged that each diocese was a sort of a smaller church in itself, and that these independent ecclesiastical jurisdictions, by forming a compact and quasi federal alliance, may supply in some degree the want of a more extensive and more centralised administration.
It seems however, that the defects, contradictions, and inconsistencies which exist in these minor jurisdictions, are even greater than those which are to be found in the whole body, when taken as a whole; and that there are few, if any, questions of any considerable importance, concerning which the greatest differences do not exist among the bishops themselves. It is unnecessary in this place to enter at much length upon the dissensions that exist between these ecclesiastics upon the questions of baptism, penance, the Athanasian creed, and other portions of the Prayer Book. Upon the subject of baptism, the clergy, as we are informed by the author of the Appeal, are divided pretty nearly into equal parties (pp. 21-2.) The most Rev. author of the Pamphlet, adds, with much
* Quarterly, September 1840 (Carlyle's Works), p. 460.
primeval simplicity, that “the Church obviously meant to inculcate some (sic italics and all) opinion upon the point.” He goes on to say: "what is really painful in this controversy, is, that it proves us to be in doubt as to what is the doctrine which the Church enjoins-as to what is the meaning of the service to which we subscribe.” It is unnecessary however to enter upon the other subject of dissension, as it appears that the disputes go down so far as to reach and affect the very root and foundation of the character both of the episcopal and sacerdotal office. “ Ambigitur enim utrum ordinatio sit sacramentum" !! (p. 117.)
There exists a controversy, as to whether the words “ receive the Holy Ghost by the imposition of our hands," ought to be understood as actually conferring the gift, or as merely equivalent to a benediction or prayer “ as if it were said: we pray you may receive it.” (p. 118). One party objeet to the literal meaning, for the very satisfactory reason, that “ such meaning is unallowable;" and the other party object to accepting as the potential mood what is expressly clothed in the form of the imperative (p. 117-8). The consequences of this controversy are sometimes queer enough. “ The bishop of one diocese teaches a deacon to understand the expression as a prayer, and gives him letters of recommendation to the bishop of another diocese, where he seeks the order of priesthood; but the bishop of the latter diocese considers the opinions of the other bishop to be heretical upon the point, and “ accordingly he rejects the candidate for the very same exposition, which he has been taught by the original bishop to regard as perfectly orthodox."
In this case, then, says the author of the Appeal, “ how perplexing may be the situation of a clergyman, ordained in Ely, beneficed in Chester, and removed to Gloucester": (p. 119) you may well say perplexing indeed: unless he could be like Cerberus, “ three ecclesiastical gentlemen at once.” The very principium individuationis would be smothered in him, and his inward man,” to use the language of Dominie Sampson,“ would irremediably confound his notions of his own personal identity.” But if such would be the perplexity of a clergyman ordained in Ely, beneficed in Chester, and removed to Gloucester, what must be the condition of a clergyman ordained for the home missionary operations? a sort of ecclesiastical, metaphysical in iridium ragun, who may have occasion to go a circuit through twenty dioceses, each having a separate standard of infallibility for itself. “The doctrine which is held orthodox in one distinct, being denounced as heretical in another” (p. 118), the state of this last man would certainly be worse than that of the first; and is indeed so desperate, that any further contemplation of it has a tendency to bewilder the imagination. But even the dissensions of the bishops are not the most hopeless part of the case ; for the author of the Appeal informs us, that “ the extent of the schism existing in the Church is advanced so far beyond the sustaining influence of episcopacy, as to be incurable, even though all our bishops were in harmony amongst themselves,” (p. 143); and the Archbishop of Dublin expressly informs us (Appeal, p. 89) that the opinions of the bishops, even if they were unanimous, have no influence, except with regard to strict legal enactments, the performance of which is enforced by penalties.
Such is a faint and imperfect outline of the picture which the Church of England has drawn of her own condition, at the instant when she has had the modesty to put forth pretensions to the character of Catholicity. The Rev. Sydney Smith informed us lately, that a few years ago he considered this “ lottery” as upon the point of going altogether to pieces. We are informed by the Times, upon one day, that & the Church of England is staked upon a forthcoming vote of the legislature;” upon another day, at a subsequent period, we learn from the same authority, that the same “ Church is struggling for existence.” Whilst it appears from the preceding part of this article that she has not even an existence; that she has at least no spiritual existence to struggle for; and that, except as a recipient of revenue, she has really no existence all. To assume in such circumstances a designation which implies a universality of dominion, is the same sort of insane, fatuous presumption, as if the pacha of Egypt had, after the bombardment of Acre, proclaimed himself the monarch of the world, at a time when it was doubtful whether he would not very soon be left without a house over his head. If people will persevere in pretending that the Church of England is in existence at all, it is impossible to prevent them from doing so; and if they wish to decorate her with highsounding designations, without any regard to veracity, they are at liberty to enjoy this peculiar sort of pastime. They may therefore, “ an' they will,” call her
“ More just, more wise, more learned, more everything” than any other Church or congregation of people upon earth. But to assume the denomination of Catholic, in the circumstances of the case, is a piece of silly effrontery, exactly of the same kind as if the archbishop of Canterbury was to put on a tiara and call himself Gregory XVI; or as if the bishop of London, having adorned his person with a pair of red stockings and other appropriate parts of the cardinalitian costume, were to write “The Cardinal Aloysius Lambruschini” upon his visiting cards.
If such be the pretensions of the Church of England to Catholicity, what shall we say of our friend, the Church of Ireland, which is quartered here at home upon ourselves; which has decreased, is decreasing, and will soon be altogether extinguished; which has, according to the Quarterly Rerier, been asleep during all the time from the Reformation to 1824; which has 861 parishes, in each of which there are less than 50 Protestants; and 151 parishes in which there are no Protestants at all. To give the designation of universal to this Church, at a period when it is rapidly approaching to the condition of that sort of substance which the logicians call pura nihilitas-to call such a Church universal, at such a time, is an operation for which we have no designation remaining; our vocabulary is exhausted.
We have said nothing about the indisputable title of our own most holy Church to the designation of Catholic. Whoever wishes to see that part of the subject altogether disposed of in a few sentences—brief, but irrefutable—has only to refer to Dr. Lingard's admirable Catechetical Instructions (p. 36), where he will find this portion of “ religious controversy ” brought completely to “an end.”
ART. III.--Les Euvres d'Euclide, en Grec, en Latin, et en
Français, d'apres un manuscrit très ancien qui était resté inconnu jusqu'à nos jours. Par F. Peyrard. Ouvrage approuvé par l'Institut de France. Paris: (Vol. i. 1814; vol. ii. 1816; vol. iii. 1818.) WHERE are two Euclids. We do not mean one of
Megara, and another of Alexandria ; our distinction is of quite another kind: we mean that there are two Euclids who have written elements of geometry. The first, we have no doubt, was of Alexandria, and has left writings, which have come down both in Greek and Arabic. The manuscripts