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defence offered for so strange a procedure? It is the appeal to the Protestant principle of religious toleration. The nation is told that many consciences will be hurt unless, beyond the limits fixed by statute, there be recognised a 'zone of toleration' delimited by the discretion of the bishop, and including all the demands of the Tractarian clergy. Far be it from the present writer to advocate any policy of repression, even in the case of teachings and practices which sceni to him plainly irreconcilable with the standards and traditions of the Church of England, but he would insistently ask, Why should the Tractarians have a monopoly of episcopal consideration ? Why should there be no 'zone of toleration' for those English Churchmen who are seeking to put an end to the strife between the Church of England and their Nonconformist fellow-citizens ?
The 'King's Ecclesiastical Law' belongs to the prae-Toleration cpoch ; and only by reading into it the more just and liberal principles of modern legislation can it be reconciled with the necessities of the present time. Yet that law remains a reserve force of bigotry, which is in the hands of any bishop to use, if he will, in order to hinder the reconciliation of Churchman and Nonconformist. The basis of our ecclesiastical system is territorial, yet everybody knows that a thousand circumstances of modern life have tended to limit the sphere within which the territorial principle can reasonably be applied to religious affairs. Every clergyman speaking in the open air in the London parks is 'intruding into 'the parish of some incumbent or other. Social work is carried on alike by Churchmen and by Nonconformists from centres which include many parishes within the circumference of their activity. It is a plain necessity that the parochial system should be recognised as in many directions obsolete. . But the law knows nothing of any change. Legally the clergyman, on the strict theory of legal obligation which diocesan chancellors propound, retains all the limitations on his liberty which existed before Nonconformists were tolerated in the country.
The latest illustration of episcopal ill-will to every attempt to develop rcligious fellowship between Churchmen and Nonconformists is appropriately enough provided by the Bishop of Birmingham, who has done more than any other man to form the opinion of the existing generation of English clergy. It
It is unnecessary to do more than observe that, if ever the parochial principle might be innocently ignored, it would be in connexion with social work of the kind carried on in the Digbeth Institute by the congregation of the famous Carr's Lane Church in Birmingham. What conceivable 'intrusion' into the local incumbent's sphere was involved in the fact that a clergyman from London took part in the first anniversary commemoration of the Institute, and gave an address in the Institute itself to the members ? Only on the hypothesis that the incumbent's authority extended within the walls of Nonconformist buildings,
and to every form of public utterance on the part of other English clergymen, could a case be established. Can there be rights of veto where there are no rights of ministry? There is no question of * officiating' in the legal sense ; no question of doing anything which could be described as within the functions of the local incumbent; only the performance of a friendly act which, if it be truly described as illegal, can only be so on the supposition that, so far as the English clergy are concerned, there has been no change in the law since it was a criminal offence for Nonconformists to worship at all. Nothing less, indeed, is the supposition of some lawyers. 'Neither the Toleration Act nor any other Statute of which I am aware extends to or affects in any way the Ecclesiastical duties of Clergymen of the Church of England, or their liability to Ecclesiastical penalties,' said one high authority, and he added that in his opinion ' neither the act of communicating nor attendance (as a worshipper) at a nonconformist religious service in England would be lawful in a Clergyman of the Church of England.' Here then is a weapon in the hands of any bishop who desires to obstruct the religious fellowship which so many earnest English Churchmen seek to cultivate with Nonconformists. Under the high-sounding pretence of guarding the rights of the incumbent against 'intrusion' from outside, the bishop, if he so wills, can prohibit friendly intercourse with Nonconformists, and can bring home to them, what surely they might be allowed to forget, that they are still only 'tolerated’ persons, and must, in making their arrangements, have regard to the wishes of the local incumbent in whose jurisdiction they are permitted to exist! The Bishop of Birmingham has decided to take this course, and presumably some legal decision will in due time be obtained. Whatever that decision may be, the impressiveness of the Bishop's action, as illustrating the unfriendly attitude of the episcopate to anything that really implies ‘Home Reunion,' remains unaffected. In this case that impressiveness is exceptionally great since the Bishop is known to advocate, and in his own administration to exhibit, the utmost complaisance towards undoubted and flagrant illegalities in the conduct of public worship, and has himself conspicuously argued against the rigid application of the territorial principle which underlies our parochial system.
While this can be said, there is manifestly no sincerity in the episcopal language about reunion. The triumph of Tractarianism has committed the episcopate to a false ideal of reunion, and the episcopate is labouring to bind its own error on the Church of England. What we are assured by the late Moderator of the Church of Scotland has happened in Scotland has also happened in England :
Whatever good the Tractarian movement may have accomplished in England, it has widened the difference between Presbyterians and Episcopalians in Scotland. Sixty or seventy years ago there was much greater unity of spirit between them VOL. LXV-No. 387
than now, and it seems probable that with the growing sacerdotal and sacramental tendencies in episcopal churches the gulf will be still further deepened.
'Who can wonder,' wrote Dr. Hort, in 1890, ‘if Dissenters shrink from being merged in a body which they fear is on the way to taking its doctrine of the Church from the Oxford Tracts ? That natural fear is surely the deadliest hindrance to reunion.'
If the Report of the Lambeth Conference Committee on Reunion and Intercommunion' is to be taken as the authoritative expression of Anglican doctrine, then it is certain that, so far as the doctrine of the Church is concerned, the fear of the Dissenters is well justified. That doctrine was more effectively declared by Newman in the first of the Tracts for the Times.
H. HENSLEY HENSON.
In their coming sessions the Convocations of the two Provinces will enter upon the consideration of the Reports on Prayer-Book Revision which have been prepared by Committees of both Houses. Only one of these, that of a Committee of the Lower House of the Convocation of Canterbury, has yet been made public, but this of itself supplies sufficient material for my present purpose. If I were about to criticise the proposals shortly to be submitted to Convocation it would be well to wait till they are all before the world. That, however, is not my intention. What I have to say on the question is but remotely concerned with the merits of any particular scheme of revision. The one point to which I wish to draw the attention of Churchmen is the dangers necessarily attendant upon any and every scheme of the kind. It is remarkable that this aspect of the question seems to have wholly escaped the authors of this Report. The Committee entered at once upon the inquiry, what changes it is expedient to make in the Book of Common Prayer and especially in the Ornaments Rubric. There is nothing to show that they gave any attention to the earlier and far more important question whether, in the present circumstances of the Church, it is expedient to make any changes at all. If it can be shown that any revision of the kind now proposed must be in the highest degree hazardous, no amount of personal or official weight in those who put it forward ought to keep Churchmen silent. I do not deny that a prima facie case can be made out for fresh legislation in the matter of the Ornaments Rubric. Whatever may have been the intentions of its framers it has in fact been found a highly ambiguous document. This uncertainty as to its meaning has led to very inconvenient consequences. It has placed certain of the clergy in open conflict with their bishops and with the courts of law. This is not a state of things that anyone can think satisfactory in itself. Nor do I say that the dangers attendant upon revision may not be worth incurring. My one contention is that these dangers exist, and that they have not as yet received adequate attention. If, when they have been fully considered, the constituted authorities of the Church choose to take
the risk of going on with them, there is no more to be said. But even constituted authorities will do well to avoid a leap in the dark.
The mischiefs which seem inseparable from any revision of the Prayer Book that would be worth undertaking have their origin in the history of the book itself, and in the character of the society of which it is the distinctive formulary. Looked at closely, that society is less a Church than a union of two Churches. Ever since the sixteenth century it has been the depository of two distinct and often conflicting traditions --a Catholic tradition and a Protestant tradition. The Catholic tradition links on the Church of England to its earlier self as it existed before the Reformation, and, more remotely, to the Churches which have never accepted the Reformation. The Protestant tradition, on the contrary, emphasises the changes made in the sixteenth century, and sees in them the expression of an underlying identity with the Reformed Churches of Scotland and of the Continent, and even, to some extent, with those Nonconformist bodies at home which have carried the work of reformation beyond the point at which it was arrested in the Established Church by the strong hand of Queen Elizabeth. Both of these traditions find support in the ecclesiastical history of the country, but had not both found additional support in the actual formularies they could hardly have gone on side by side. As it is, the Prayer Book and the icles make now for one view and now for the other. Each party is able to point to passages which support its special doctrines, and to explain those of a contrary kind as so many instances of those hairbreadth escapes of which ecclesiastical annals are full. High Churchmen and Low Churchmen, Tractarians and Evangelicals, have been able to remain members of the same Church because both have honestly believed that the Prayer Book is on their side. Of late years the Ornaments Rubric has been the field in which these inconsistent but equally honest convictions have been most prominent, and it is with the treatment to which this rubric is subjected in the Revision Report that I propose to deal.
Legislation by reference is responsible for a great deal of confusion, and it would be hard to find a more conspicuous example of the process than this particular rubric. Whatever may have been the intentions or wishes of the Revisers of 1662 they have not succeeded in making them clear. The ornaments of the minister had been regulated for the best part of a century by the Advertisements put out by Archbishop Parker. If the Revisers' object was to give express sanction to the then customary use they had only to repeat Parker's words and limit the 'ornaments of the minister ' in parish churches to the surplice.
. If, on the other hand, their object was to go back to the earlier use, they had only to restore the rubric specifying the priest's vestments at the time of Communion to the form which it bore in the first Prayer Book. They did neither. They did not even keep the rubric of 1559, which at least defined the words by the authority of