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upon reluctantly and sadly. But it seems to me on the contrary to be adopted with a light heart, and the powerlessness of our law in the last resort is made by our enemies a reproach, and to many serious Churchmen, especially lay Churchmen, it is, I know, a scandal and a pain. The results to which its abeyance is tending are not, as I have maintained, such as we can contemplate with satisfaction. In a non-established Church they would not be allowed to continue. Nor do I see anything in the fact of Establishment to make them either inevitable or tolerable.

(5) But I am very far from relying mainly upon law. There is a greater and a more spiritual force in public Church opinion; and it is this force which I would gladly see really exerting itself in the direction of urging, and practically demanding, a loyal adhesion from all parties to the Services of the Prayer Book as they stand. Of course I am not concerned to contend that our Prayer Book is perfect and incapable of improvement. While most of us are content, and more than content, to take our stand upon it, I can well understand that some would be glad to revise it, and that they have a right, without any imputation of disloyalty, to plead and agitate for change. But no one, I imagine, supposes that at this time a revision of the Prayer Book, even if he desires it, is within the range of practical possibility. Nor, again, am I blind, as I have said, to the difficulties inherent in uniformity of public worship. But, especially at this present time, I hold that they are but slight in comparison with its advantages. After all, the uniformity is not absolute. Within the limits of the Prayer Book there is surely, as we see every day, full scope for a very large variety of service and ritual; and clearly the general feeling of our time, in respect of many points once fiercely contested—such as the Eastward position, the Eucharistic vestments, the adoption of the mixed chalice, and the use of altar-lights—is to recognise that variety to the utmost. We may, however, do well to remember that it was just the loyal adhesion to the Prayer Book which was the ideal of the first leaders of the great Church movement of this century. To the wonderful progress made towards the realisation of that ideal, I believe that much, very much, of the undoubted advance of our Church in efficiency and authority is due. The time is now come, as it seems to me, for us to consider seriously whether we are satisfied with the general position then taken up; whether we are willing to rest on the principles which the Prayer Book, viewed in the light of history, so remarkably embodies; whether (for this is very much the same thing) we are willing to hold the old Anglican position, not, of course, without the light thrown upon it by larger knowledge and experience, but in its constitutional principles of harmony of the old and of the new-of the individual freedom, commonly called Protestant, and the corporate unity, which is Catholic-of Scriptural basis and ecclesiastical teaching and interpretation of the faith—and of the co-ordination of lay right with ministerial authority in the Church. This, and nothing less than this, I hold to be what is really at issue. There was a time when it had to be maintained against ultra-Protestant and Latitudinarian assault; now it has to be maintained against an obvious tendency, if not to assume the Roman position, at least to minimise or obliterate the distinction between it and the Anglican, of which the passion for adopting usage and ritual, which have no Catholic antiquity, just because they are Roman, is a sign, and of which the movement, which drew out the recent Papal Bull, was in some, though not in all, who promoted it the expression. If we are willing to maintain it—if we see in the Anglican position, which has been developed naturally rather than assumed of deliberate purpose, not only that which best accords with truth and unity for ourselves, but that which by its principle of free federation of Churches seems to hold out the best hope of Church reunion in the future—then we must use all our influence to prevent it from being undermined in detail crudely and inconsiderately, and, in regard to ritual developments, to insist that if it is to be modified in any way, this shall be done not by each priest and congregation for themselves, but by the thoughtful and authoritative action of our Church as a whole. Perhaps in this matter the most direct responsibility attaches to the great section of the Church which holds generally what is called a High Church position, but without these extravagances and innovations. As it is under the shadow of their ascendency that these shelter themselves, so it is by their influence that they can be best restrained. I hear with great satisfaction that some combined action in this direction is contemplated." In Church politics, as in other politics, it is said that we want a strong “party of the Centre;' and the saying is true, if by this title we mean a party not of compromise but of comprehension, understanding that the via media is attained, not by balancing opposite opinions, but by an honest endeavour to find the original truth

" At an important Conference held recently under the presidency of Canon Carter the following Resolutions were passed, and forwarded to the two Archbishops and the Bishop of London:

(1) That this conference recognises the full authority of the Bishop to probibit any service not contained in the Book of Common Prayer.'

(2) “That this conference recognises the full authority of the Bishop to prohibit any omissions from, or additions to, the services contained in the Book of Common Prayer.'

The Resolutions are good as far as they go. But it is to be observed that they hardly go to the root of the matter. The real question is of the duty of the clergy not to introduce Services, or vary from the Service of the Prayer Book, without the prerious sanction of the Ordinary. By looking to the Bishops to prohibit wbat ought never to have been introduced without their authority, the Resolutions throw upon them an unfair burden; from which, however, it is to be hoped that they will not shrinš. That even against these Resolutions there should have been protest from the clerg of three well-known Churches will surprise no one who is at all familiar with the tone and action of such Churches.

from which historically errors have diverged in opposite directions—in other words, that it is not vera quia media but media quia vera. It is to the grave and resolute maintenance of our position by such a par as this—including, as I firmly believe, a large majority both of our clergy and our laity—that I would gladly look for a restraining influence, infinitely more effective than any restraint of law.

But a party of the Centre is very hard to create or move. All history both in Church and State shows how easily, through its inaction, extreme vagary and one-sided fanaticism are apt to prevail.

Of course, in the unauthorised variations of which I speak, I lay chief stress on those which plainly involve principle. I confess, indeed, that in other cases I rather deprecate the tendency to variation simply for variation's sake, and to the mutilation of our Services by omissions, in deference to the modern impatience of lengthiness, which might, I think, be often better met by shortening elaborate musical settings of those Services or musical additions to them. Indeed, I heard a staunch Churchman, a leading member of our House of Laymen, describe the service in a fashionable London church as 'a musical service'- I am not sure he did not say exhibition '—'with extracts from the Prayer Book.' For my own part I am old-fashioned enough greatly to regret the constant omission of what are halfcontemptuously designated as “the State Prayers'—those prayers for our Queen, and virtually for our country, to which these critical times seem to give a special meaning. Still more do I regret the frequent omission in our ante-Communion service of the recitation of the Commandments (peculiar to our English Office), which, as interpreted by our Lord, are the eternal witnesses of righteousness, and of those invaluable exhortations which bring home the whole truth of the Blessed Sacrament to the mind and the heart. But it is against the changes which are doctrinally and religiously significant, impairing the distinctive position of our Church, that I would gladly see a strong Church opinion enlisted—against the introduction into our churches of Services for which, whatever their intrinsic merits may be, there is no vestige of authority-against the invention or revival of ceremonies which, as the Lambeth Judgment bas declared, ought not to be introduced at the will of each individual ministeragainst the setting aside of rubrics which have a meaning and a history (such as the rubrics practically forbidding reservation and solitary celebration without communicants), and which, if they need modification, ought to be modified only by the same authority which imposed them.

These things, and things like these, I should most earnestly wish to see restrained by common consent. Even those who wish for them must see that they are at best spiritual luxuries, and from such luxuries self-denial would bid us abstain.

(6) Lastly, let me say that I am fully aware that a rigid uniformity

is simply impossible. There are laws--like the Sunday Closing Act —which are able to work largely for good, just because they are not too strictly enforced. There must always be a dispensing and interpreting power somewhere, lest summum jus should be summa injuria. Where that power should be in our own Church is not a matter of individual opinion. The direction of our Prayer Book stands out clearly, and it is backed by the usage of Catholic antiquity, that this power of interpretation and distinction between the letter and spirit of the law lies with the bishop of each diocese. Nor is this an obsolete principle. In the Act of Uniformity Amendment Act of 1872, approved by the Convocations as well as by Parliament, the sanction of other Services than those of the Prayer Book is left with the Ordinary—that is, almost always, with the bishop; and I find that the highest authorities have recently asserted that the legal limitation of his power exacts accordance, not with the ipsissima verba of the Bible and Prayer Book, but with their tone and substance. I only hope that this bold interpretation may prove to be correct. But, however that may be, certainly the recent Encyclical of the Lambeth Conference asserts this right of episcopal authority in the most emphatic terms:

We think it our duty to affirm the right of every Bishop, within the jurisdiction assigned to him by the Church, to set forth or to sanction additional services and prayers, when he believes that God's work may be thereby furthered, or the spiritual needs of the worshippers more fully met, and to adapt the prayers already in the Book to the special requirements of his own people. But we hold that this power must always be subject to any limitations imposed by the provincial or other lawful authority, and the utmost cure must be taken that all such additions or adaptations be in thorough harmony with the spirit and tenour of the whole Book.

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The claim, thus made and thus guarded, ought surely to secure the adhesion of all loyal members of our Church.

It is, of course, true that all earthly authority, even if it has a divine sanction, must have its defects. I can see that the present episcopal autocracy is a source, not of strength, but of weakness, in comparison with the old government by the bishop with his council of presbyters, now carried out so largely in the other branches of our Anglican Communion. I can easily conceive that the present method of appointment of our bishops may constitute a difficulty to some minds. But, after all, a bishop, however selected, has the episcopal consecration and mission still. Nor do I think that our English diocesans need fear comparison, in respect of character, learning, and ability, with any other bodies of high ecclesiastics. I hear it objected that this would introduce a different law in each of our many dioceses. If it did, this would be better than having & different law for each congregation. For my part, however, I do not believe that it would be so. The inclination of authority in these days is to laxity rather than over-strictness. Were it otherwise,

public opinion would make arbitrary or eccentric action impossible. On most points there would be a natural tendency to concerted action; and in doubtful cases there is likely to be an appeal to the Archbishop, who would, no doubt, in important matters call in the help of assessors, possibly of the collective episcopate of the Province. For my own part I share the wish-now, I believe, extensively felt, that our English diocesans, individually or collectively, would take some bolder initiative in the matter: by considering within what limits variation can be rightly allowed, and, where these are disregarded, by issuing their fatherly admonitions, even if they are not able or not willing to enforce them by law.? Of course, such admonitions would be in some cases set at nought. But these cases would not, I think, be many. Certainly with the Church generally Episcopal admonitions, if well considered and temperate, would carry a great moral weight; public opinion of the great body of Churchmen would condemn contemptuous disregard of them, even if it were glorified by partisan newspapers or associations; and at any rate those placed in responsible authority would have delivered their souls. For there is a responsibility in silence as well as in speech. Now especially, when we are threatened with a renewal of that ecclesiastical litigation which has proved itself so fruitless, and so unfortunate in its consequences, there will be, I think, a not unreasonable demand that our bishops should speak out, and that there should be some discipline of moral authority, even if there be no coercive jurisdiction.

. Since these words were written there have been some remarkable utterances in the Upper House of the Convocation of Canterbury, which seem to promise more decided action on the part of the Bishops. In reference to a petition from Mr. Kensit, the Archbishop is reported (in the Times) to have said, after censuring Mr. Kensit's methods of action, that he felt that, quite independently of what Mr. Kensit and his friends bad done, there was real reason why the Bishops should take counsel together on that matter, and should endeavour by such means as were in their power to restrain such practices. He wanted to severely censure those men against whom Mr. Kensit was protesting, and he thought the Bishops were required to take some notice of their action. He had been carefully collecting evidence of various particulars, and he had fully intended to bring the matter before their lordships and have had a full discussion of the subject at the next group of sessions in July.' The Church will, I believe, gladly welcome such authoritative action as is here indicated. It is high time that it should be taken calmly and resolutely.

It is notable that in the House of Laymen, sitting at the same time, the following Resolutions were passed unanimously:

(1) • That this House is of opinion that a closer adherence to the form of Divine worship prescribed in the book of Common Prayer, especially in the celebration of the Holy Communion, is desirable, in order to prevent wide divergence of liturgical use to the perplexing of the laity ; due liberty being afforded by the Bishops in the matter of such additional Services as the present and future needs of the Church of England may require.'

(2) 'And this House recognises the full authority of the Bishop to prohibit any service in Church not contained in the Book of Common Prayer, and any omissions from, or additions to, the Services contained in that book.'

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