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tion might be thought fit to be reformed, as well as communicating some episcopal rights to inferior prelates, both which were the inventions of popery

That to make the knowledge of a large diocese more easy rural deans were appointed,' and well employed in their respective deaneries, as our primitive constitution did require, and as our reformation did intend. That archdeacons may be more effectually made the eyes and watchmen of the bishop, may give account of their visitations to the Bishop, the Bishop to the Metropolitan, and he to the supreme Governor; as was once a commendable practice. In short, if some of these, or better regulations were made, beginning, suppose, in Ecclesiastical Synods with unity and peace, and ratified with full and sufficient authority of the civil powers; it would be a great honour to our holy religion, and an additional strength and beauty to the whole frame of our constitution in Church and State."

Stillingfleet before the Revolution, having mentioned the points which he thought "reasonable to be allowed in order to an union,

“" proceeded,

“ There are other things very desirable towards the happiness and flourishing of this Chnrch, as the exercise of discipline in parochial churches, in a due subordination to the Bishop; the reforming the Ecclesiastical Court as to excommunication, without prejudice to the excellent profession of the civil law; the building of more churches in great parishes, especially about the city of London; the retrenching pluralities; the strictness and solemnity of ordinations; the making a book of Canons suitable to this age, for the better regulating the conversations of the clergy. Such things as these might facilitate our union, and make our Church in spite of all its enemies become a praise in the whole earth."

Even Burnet, while he speaks more definitely of the alterations of the Liturgy proposed in 1689, than any other writer of eminence insists still more upon a restoration of discipline:

“ It would be well, if after the clergy are relieved by the tenths and firstfruits, a fund were formed (of twenty or thirty pounds a year) for the rural deans; and that they with at least three of the clergy of the deanery named by the Bishop, examined into the manners both of clergy and laity; and after the methods of private admonition had been tried, according to the Saviour's rule, but without effect, that the matter should be laid before the Bishop, who after his admonitions were also ineffectual, might proceed to censures, to a suspension from the Sacrament, and to a full excommunication, as the case should require. This would bring our Church indeed to a primitive form."

These extracts are enough to show that the best men of that period contemplated a real reformation, as the only means of comprehension; that they desired so to strengthen the Church, as to

i Preface to Unreasonableness of Separation, p. xciii.

? History of his own Times, vol. vi., p. 163. Vol. XIX.

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enable her to gather into her fold, by means of sincere conviction, those who had left her communion ; that the necessity of such measures was impressed on their miņds by the events of the period · we have been considering. Doubtless if Sancroft had to lament that the Church was unprepared at the Restoration, that a happy opportunity was then lost for her more perfect establishment, no less cause have all his successors to lament that at the Revolution, when 1“ Protestant dissenters showed a peculiarly mild disposition towards the Established Church,” when they “felt an admiration

“ and gratitude for the firm and dignified stand which the members of the Church had made against the designs of the Roman Catholics," when also a fair offer was made by the Crown, so favourable an opportunity was lost, and the Church allowed to commence a downward course into ignorance and sloth.

We have quoted those authors who wrote with a direct reference to the design of Sancroft, or to the commission of William ; and have space only to name those who wrote on the subject at large, taking occasion from the events of the time. Two books are wellknown, the “Church of England's Wish for the restoring of Primitive Discipline,” and “Marshall's Penitential Discipline of the Primitive Church.” Weighty and well-considered works are they both. The first, arguing the question of discipline from Scripture and the example of the Primitive Church, urges that the Reformation wanted in our Church is the restoration of discipline; that its want cannot be supplied by the civil power of the magistrate, inasmuch as while the laws of kingdoms may enforce the execution and outward effect of the ministry of the Church, the inward end is wrought by the spiritual power which the conscience of a Chris

a tian acknowledgeth; that it rests, therefore, with later generations to supply that which the Reformers desired to do, but could not accomplish ; and touching briefly upon the inadequacy of the Reformation Societies, it expresses the hope that Christians now misled, may be brought back to the Church. The other book, (which is more known, as it forms a volume of the Anglo-Catholic Library,) having treated of the Power of the Church, of the Exercise of Discipline in the Primitive Church, and of its abuse in the Western Church, propounds seven things as desirable: 1. The enforcement of the laws of discipline; 2. The affixing a brand on the practice of joining in public prayer without the reception of the Holy Eucharist ; 3. The revival of the use of the ancient stations in Churches ; 4. The reuniting the key of jurisdiction to that of order; õ. The inculcating upon the people the interceding mediatorial Office of the Priest ; 6. The appointment of Suffragans as Penitentiaries ; 7. The providing a full and explanatory Penitential Office. It is most instructive to compare these works with the statements, which have been already quoted, made by men in high office in the Church. Thus Marshall, the presbyter, suggests Suffragan Bishops as Penitentiaries : Burnet, the bishop, suggests Rural Deans and Rural Synods for discipline. Might not the two be combined ? Digesting in order all such statements, we obtain a just notion of the wants of the Church, and are able to enter upon the inquiry, how far subsequent legislation has removed any of the abuses, what remains to be accomplished.

1 D'Oyley.

We proceed then to our last topic-that the movements of the Church showed her sense of the necessity of a restoration of discipline.

We do not insist upon the rules proposed by the congregations that separated from the Church at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Their numbers were too small, and their testimony is too suspicious. But we rest this point upon the existence of the Religious Societies, and the Societies for the Reformation of Manners, followed as they were by Wesleyanism. An account of these societies, sufficient for our present purpose, is given in a paper in the “ Christian Remembrancer," July, 1854, which connects with them the rise of the sect of Wesley. It appears that the first religious society was gathered in London, about the year 1666, but was not formally settled until 1678. Similar societies then sprung up in many parts of the country. They appear to have been distinguished from the prayer-meetings and classes of the nineteenth century by a more formal organization, by the adoption of rules for good living, for almsgiving, for devotion, by the stress laid on the participation of the Sacraments, and on frequent attendance. In some cases they appear to have been instrumental in procuring Daily Service in the Church, and a monthly celebration of the Holy Eucharist. In short they were voluntary associations for doing that which ought to be done by the immediate agency of the Church.

Voluntary societies, however, whatever good they may do to their proper members, whatever they may effect by suasion, by force of example, cannot bring to bear upon a demoralized people the awful power of law, either human or divine, cannot chastise sins, cannot rebuke that others may fear. An attempt was, therefore, made to supply the lack of discipline in the Church, by calling in the power of the magistrate. The Societies for the Reformation of Manners were established about 1691, (just the time, be it remarked, when it was found that the Church would not act upon the issuing of King William's Commission, their object being to

1 Whiston's learning, however, and character, notwithstanding his eccentricities, justify the quotation of his rule : “ The Church is to meet together on Mondays, for the exercise of Christian discipline, according to the laws of the Gospel.”Hall's Fragmenta Liturgica, III. p. 109.

Regarding Stephens, see a notice in Kennett's “What has been may be again." Preface, p. xxx.


put down that amount of vice and immorality which had prevailed since the Restoration, by public prosecutions and similar methods." They were widely supported, and encouraged by many of the Bishops, and recommended often at the quarter-sessions of magistrates.

Now that the clergy, and all church officers, should “implore the assistance of authority for the suppressing all houses of debauchery, of drunkenness, or lust in their parishes ;" that there are cases of individual misconduct so gross and pernicious as to require such interposition, is most true: we think it no less true that a church officer, lay or clerical, pressing public prosecutions beyond this point would cause by exasperation more harm than be could do good, and that a society so pressing prosecutions would soon render itself intolerable.

The aim, the measures, the proceedings of state laws, are altogether diverse from those of Church discipline; and the one cannot take the place of the other. Attorneys-general are not Grand

Penitentiaries ; informers cannot do the work of Testes Synodales ; nor can constables be turned into Father Confessors. It would be most interesting to have a statement of the prosecutions brought at the instigation of the Reformation Societies; we fear that they erred by attempting to use, for Church purposes, State laws. Again, the principle of association for such a purpose is also objectionable. The author of the “Church of England's Wish ” states both objections thus : “The design seems to be very good, but the method wrong,

for that the forming of societies for reformation of manners out of those that are already members of a Christian Church, seems to carry with it a reproach to the society of the Church constituted itself for that end.

Not but that the authority of the kingdom hath done well in making laws for punishing wickedness, and there lieth also an obligation according to the stations and offices men may be in, to put those laws in execution. . . . . Yet the obligation lying upon all as Christians, and upon the clergy especially, that bear the power of the Church, is of another nature, that is to say, it lieth upon all as Christians to restore one another in the way of charity, : . . by fraternal correption, admonition, exhortation, reproof, &c.; and upon the clergy to endeavour this by : . . bringing to effect the discipline of CHRIST. And therefore setting aside the particular obligation upon . . . magistrates

. . I see nothing in Christianity that makes it the common duty of all men, (as the author of the account would have it,) to give informations to the magistrate one against another, that all wickedness may be punished with temporal penalties.”—P. 244.

Here then we have, (as was noticed before at an earlier period,) arising from the Church's neglect of discipline, action irregular, however honest in intention. Its development into schism is very

Jeremy Taylor. « Directions to Clergy."




evident. For the connection of Wesleyanism with the societies is abundantly clear; not precisely a connection of cause and effect, but the connection that both sprang from one common cause, and that Wesley acting upon the same impulses as the founders of these religious societies, with greater powers, and a remarkable ability of government and organization, commenced by joining these societies, and took occasion from them to form his own associations first, his united society afterwards. Those impulses were the impulses of men more devout, more just, more earnest than the ordinary standard of the Church could satisfy and employ, unable to retire within themselves and dwell apart, in faith that sacramental grace was still to be had in the ministrations of the Church, and contented each one to labour in the narrow sphere and with the limited means left to them, in hope that God would in His own time rouse His slumbering Church; men, whom the Church ought to have made her pioneers and missionaries, whom she allowed to become authors of schism. Wesleyanism began with an attempt to set up a higher standard of devotion than the Church exbibited, with less of adherence to the ordinances of the Church than the religious societies prescribed : it began also with an attempt to reform manners not by prosecutions at law, but by the exercise of spiritual power. Heartily do we wish it were in our power to point out in the annals of the last two centuries of the Church so honest, so bold a rebuke of sin as that given by John Prichard, who finding that certain members of the society had been out wrecking on the coast, preached restitution and repentance, and read out sixty-three members on the next Sunday; giving notice, that those who would make restitution should be restored at the proper

· Southey's Life of Wesley, II., p. 292.

The latest case of Church censures worthy of notice, we suppose to be the excommunication of Lord George Gordon, which was read at Mary-le-Bow Church, May 4th, 1786. How low we are now fallen may be judged from the following case, which happened in the writer's parish. It deserves a distinct heading :


A widower and a widow were cohabiting unmarried. So gross was the case that the church wardens of their own accord made presentment. The official wrote to the vicar, stating the presentment, and requesting him to use his influence to stop the scandal. The vicar replied that he had already done all he could, and begged that proceedings might not be delayed. The official wrote to the man, warning him that proceedings would be taken. The letter was read to the man by the vicar. The man did not attempt to deny the fact, but only answered that he cared nothing for the lawyers. The vicar urged the official to proceed. He replied, that nothing could be done, that he believed there was not even a proctor qualified to practise in the Bishop's Court. The vicar laid the case before the bishop, and received a reply from the Bishop's secretary, a very great pluralist of secretaryships, written with more honesty than policy, saying, that the vicar might if he pleased take the case by Letters of Request to the Archbishop's Court,—that the only real difficulty in proceeding in the Bishop's Court was that there was no means of recovering expenses, and it could not be expected that the Bishop should defray the costs out of his private income. It is hardly necessary to call attention to the cool transfer of the bishop's duty to the vicar, and to the cool assumption that a bishop's income is a private income. Does this teach us why discipline is neglected ?

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