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40 70stions: which, indeed, comm e moderation : children's Vest Becomuse afterwards their

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Telfth year of the same reign, from vesiastical purists date the beginning of Iwan Catholic schism ' in England.. There

Roman, or (so called) Catholic element, The pics of Cranmer and Abbott, in the time

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ter of the spotted 'panther' by Dryden is coresentation of the mean between the two

w much stiffness in refusing, and of too much turing variations, which the Church of England

seculiar 'wisdom.' Jeremy Taylor, the prince in whose writings present, as in a many-sided

is that Christian divines ever held, -Hooker, L ampion of moderation against the exclusiveness women nie one hand, and Geneva on the other,—are but the

of a Church, of which they have ever been re

reatest ornaments. The very existence of the “Via on the pride of Anglican theology, is a testimony Gail aspect which the English ecclesiastical system has

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1850,

National Character of the Church of England.

269

he soleoment. "Sland itse, English land

But, in fact, this double character is not peculiar to the Church of England - it is the characteristic feature of England itself. It runs through the whole course of the English character and history, from the time when England itself first became a nation down to the present moment. We do not mean that our national character is the sole cause of the peculiarity which marks our National Reformation, but it contributed largely to the complex character of that great movement, and it illustrates, even where it does not form, the breadth and comprehensiveness of our ecclesiastical institutions. Every where we are met by the cross of our first parentage — we are not Normans merely, nor Saxons, but Englishmen — the two theological elements in our Liturgy are not inore strongly contrasted than the two elements of speech so prominently brought out in the language of its first Exhortation. Our revolutions, unlike those of foreign nations, have been conducted not in single, sudden, abrupt convulsions, but by long struggles, by ancient precedent, through action and reaction, of two mighty principles, each as distinct : now as when they were brought face to face in King and Baron, Cavalier and Roundhead, Jacobite and Orangeman. Our universities are constructed, at least nominally, on the combination of two opposite institutions -- the collegiate and the professorial. Our political constitution is worked for the most part by the union of a theory and practice utterly at variance with each other. Our judicial courts, civil and ecclesiastical, vie with each other in the mass of irreconcilable doctrines which are involved in almost every turn of their most solemn forms.

Such considerations, even if not strictly applicable to the case in question, yet tend to indicate the inconsistency of reproaching the recent Judgment, or the Church of England, for the very qualities which, in the rest of our national institutions, we honour with the highest commendation, and which, in our general history, have led to such beneficial results. The wisest Germans feel, that to unsettle the equal relations established between the Roman Catholics and Protestants at the Peace of Westphalia, would be to undo the work which Providence has wrought among them by the infallible signs of thirty years of misery and bloodshed. The wisest Englishmen should feel no less, that to cast either of the existing parties out of the Church of England, is to act in despite of that Providence which, through three hundred years of war and peace, has never allowed either of the two parties entirely to succumb to the other. What

God has joined, let no man put asunder.' Happy that country,' was the expression of a European sovereign who some years past visited this island, and surveyed with delight our ancient eccles

strictly phenoy of hout the very

whole, so surch of England hamarks. It is becaust

siastical institutions - Happy that country where the new is

intertwined with the old — where the old is ever new, and the • new is ever old.' And woe to that generation (it may well be said, in continuation of the same thought), which shall dissever the old from the new -- which shall make the old for ever old, and the new for ever new.

Even if it were no more than the fear of disturbing a system which is in a wonderful manner the expression of the national mind, we might well pause before we pronounced ourselves equal to the performance of a duty, if it were a duty, so awful as this task would involve. But there is a higher motive than the natural desire to defend our existing system, which should make us rejoice in the peaceable settlement of any question like that which has called forth these remarks. It is because the system of the Church of England has endured so long and, on the whole, so successfully, that we ought to hesitate before we join the ecclesiastical agitators who wish to destroy it. But it is because it contains germs of good untold for generations yet to come, that we are bound not only to acquiesce in its continuance, but to cling to it as the best hope for the future. Never was there a case in which the “Spartam nactus es' of the oracle was so immediately followed up by the . Hanc exorna.'

Beginning from the humblest grounds, it is worth the consideration of every well-wisher to the energy as well as to the peace of the Established Church, to take warning from the sad pages of our history, which tell us how far more we have lost than gained by those instances - happily few and far betweenin which the equilibrium of the two parties has been for a time overthrown. It is surely no matter of boasting to the Church of England that the author of the Saints' Rest, and the author of the Morning and Evening Hymn, died in exile from its communion. It was surely no gain in the period after the Restoration, when the Church needed all the forces which it could muster to contend against the licentiousness of the times, that it had, by Sheldon and the Cavaliers, been deprived of the services of 2000 of its most zealous ministers — nor in the dryness and coldness of the eighteenth century, that Tillotson and Tenison lived apart from the fervour and animation, misplaced though it might be, of their Nonjuring brethren. Least of all should the High Church party of the present day presume to demand the ejection of the school, to whose devotion and activity in the close of the last and the beginning of this century the Church of England may almost be said to owe its very existence. Had the advocates of the High Church view of baptism during the last generation succeeded in expelling their Evangelical oppo

[graphic]

1850. Comprehension of Evangelicals and High Churchmen. 271

nents from the Church as summarily as their modern representatives desire to expel the same opponents now, it may well be asked by what means (humanly speaking) the religious life of the Establishment could have been preserved ? Had the same test been enforced fifty years ago which so many are labouring to enforce now, it is enough to say, that it would have driven from the Church (to mention two names only out of hundreds) Wilberforce and Simeon.

There is, however, a yet nearer case which might induce High Churchmen in the present controversy to pause before they complain, that the bona fides of subscription is shaken' by the judgment of the Privy Council. When we read the list of names attached to the resolutions and the memorials of March, 1850, and then consider how many of those very names were attached to the famous address of March, 1845, which thanked the Oxford Proctors for preventing a censure on the 90th Tract for the Times, we confess that it is with difficulty that we can repress the astonishment, which must arise in every reasonable mind at conduct involving (to use the mildest term) such extraordinary inconsistency. Who were then so eager to claim the protection of the stam

mering lips of ambiguous formularies' in behalf of themselves or their friends, as those who now think it essential to the existence of a Church that it should express itself dogmatically and precisely on one of the most controverted points that theology contains ? Who were then so vehement against the theological decisions of Sir Herbert Jenner Fust as those who now regard him as a second Daniel come to judgment? Who were then so reluctant to appeal to the excited tribunal of an assembly of clergy at Oxford as those who are now moving heaven and earth to obtain a Provincial Synod in London ? It may be that no extent of liberal interpretation could have admitted within the meaning of our formularies the enormous latitude of Number 90. and of Mr. Ward's Ideal; but this is certain, that not only those who then claimed and who must still claim that latitude for themselves, but also that vast section of High Church clergy who differ as widely from the letter of the Articles as, on the most unfavourable construction, Mr. Gorham can be said to differ from the letter of the Liturgy, ought not, for very shame, to utter one word against the only principle of interpretation which enables the Church to receive their own subscription. Once apply a rigid rule of construction, and the Articles on General Councils, on the Royal Supremacy, on the Sacraments, on Justification, must close the gates as effectually against all the followers of the Bishop of Exeter, as the words of the Baptismal Thanksgiving would close them against the Archbishop of York and Mr. Gorham. Once allow the Romanising and Catholicising party to breathe freely, and the same admission opens the door to the vast mass of their Evangelical brethren whom they are now trying to exclude. Let the wheel' of theological controversy again "come full cycle,' and we shall see the High Church body clamouring as fiercely against strict interpretations and clerical synods then, as they are clamouring for them now, and as they did, in fact, clamour against them five years ago. We believe that the Church of England and the nation of England gain by the comprehension of various elements within its pale; and we should be the last to deal harshly with men so able, so zealous, and so devout, as many of the High Church party have proved themselves to be. But they cannot be too often reminded that all parties, in all their shades, need the protection of the principle laid down in the judgment of Lord Langdale— a principle so amply confirmed and sanctioned by their own position and claims, both heretofore and now. If that judgment be latitudinarian, it is a latitudinarianism of which the example has been set in other points of doctrine by the late Primate, no less than by the present — by the Bishop of Bath and Wells when he tolerated, and wisely tolerated, the Anglo-Catholic party at Oxford, no less than by the Bishop of St. David's, who labours to vindicate the same liberty of conscience for the poor clergy who have been entrusted to his pastoral care among the mountains of Wales.

But, in truth, the position which we claim for the Church of England, as it is far above any passing emergency, so neither does it stand in need of any personal recriminations. It secures not only the inestimable advantage of retaining within the pale of the Establishment both the rival schools of theology,in this particular instance the school of Jewell, and Usher, and Bedell, and Leighton, and Wilberforce, and Sumner, side by side with that of Laud, and Ken, and Pusey, but it also is the only guarantee for the general moderation and comprehensiveness which are essential to the very idea of a great national institution in a country like this. There may have been those amongst us who, in their lofty aspirations after Christian perfection, have dreamed of a time when the noble theory of the first English Reformers should be realised in a sense even higher than that in which it was conceived by the eminent statesmen and divines of that period, when the English Church should indeed be co-extensive with the English nation. That the precincts of the Church of England should furnish room for such a hope, even in the remote future, and that in the present crisis they have

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