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Parliament' as meaning 'the Act of Parliament set in the

' beginning of this book. The Caroline Revisers substituted for the words “shall use the impersonal form shall be retained '

' and be in use,' and they left the reader to find out for himself to what statute the authority of Parliament in the second year of Edward the Sixth really referred. Is it any wonder that the two parties in the Church are equally assured that their interpretation is the right one? The High Churchman points to what he holds to be the plain words of the rubric; the Low Churchman pins his faith to the Advertisements. The High Churchman argues that even if the Advertisements were meant to prescribe a maximum and not merely a minimum of ceremonial, the fact is immaterial since the Ornaments Rubric was deliberately re-enacted in 1662 without any mention of the Advertisements issued a century earlier. The Evangelical instances the judgment of the Judicial Committee in the Ridsdale case, fortified by the high legal authority of the first Lord Selborne, as proof that the Advertisements were intended to have a prospective as well as a present force, and to set up a standard to which later legislation must have meant to conform, however plainly its language might seem to pint in a different direction. To the High Churchman, the whole century preceding 1662 is a time of steady though intermittent improvement, which began urder Andrewes and reached its highest point under Laud. From this point of view the changes in 1662 take their natural place as the expression of a timid desire on the part of Charles the Second's bishops to recognise and make permanent the counter-Reformation. To the Evangelical this theory is altogether unmeaning. He recognises but two stages in the Anglican Reformation--one partial and imperfect, and embodied in the Prayer Book of 1549; the other making a definite and final break with the liturgical and ceremonial past and embodied in the Prayer Book of 1552. These opposite theories of Anglican Church history are the sources of the rival interpretations of the Ornaments Rubric. These interpretations are much more than alternative renderings of ambiguous terms; they are the justification of the conscientious convictions of two great parties. High Churchmen and Low Churchmen are alike sure that they are the legitimate exponents of the real mind of the Church of England. So long as they have no misgivings on this point neither of them need have any misgivings as to the honesty of their position.

I shall be met possibly at this point by the objection that I am attaching an exaggerated importance to a mere difference of costume. If it be true, as the Report of the Lower House of the Southern Convocation assumes, that what are now called the ‘Eucharistic Vestments were originally the best clothes of the Roman citizen, and only came in course of time to differ from them by retaining their original character when the secular fashion had changed, how can any sensible man fall

so low as to busy himself about such trifles ? It might be asked, I think, with quite as much reason how any sensible man can have attached importance to such unmeaning titles as “ Whig' and 'Tory.' It is with clothes as it is with words. What is of importance is not the meaning originally attached to them, but the meaning which they have come to bear to-day. I do not mean that the shape or colour or material of the garment worn in the performance of divine service has any special fitness to express particular doctrines. All the same, these things may have become associated with particular systems and may be valued by those who wear them because they are so associated. The chasuble and alb have long ceased to be the holiday dress of the Roman or any other citizen. What makes them valuable to their wearers to-day is the fact that they have for centuries been the dress of the Christian priest as distinguished from the Christian minister. That fact makes the present Church of England one with the Church as it existed in this country before the Reformation, and as it exists to-day in the Latin and Eastern Churches. It means that the Church of England expressly orders that the chief Christian service shall be rendered with the same external symbolism that is used in every part of the Catholic world. The Evangelical, on the other hand, sees in the Ornaments Rubric the express denial of any such claim. He values it for this reason, just as the High Churchman values it for the opposite reason.

Whatever the plain white surplice may have meant to the Puritans under Elizabeth or James the First, or even to English mobs in the days of Bishop Blomfield, it has long ceased to imply any connexion with Roman Catholic worship. Consequently each of the two parties feels itself able to point to the Ornaments Rubric as to its ceremonial charter. To the one its directions, whether he obeys them or not, mark the identity of the English Communion service with the Mass as it was once said at Sarum or York and is now said at Rome or Moscow. To the other it marks a similar identity between the English Communion service and the Communion service of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, the Reformed Churches of Germany or the Huguenot Church of France. I am saying nothing as to the validity of the claim in either case. I am simply explaining the principles on which these opposite views of the Ornaments Rubric rest.

Much no doubt may be said in favour of such a redrafting of this rubric as shall make its meaning unmistakable. The Revisers of

. 1662 had the means of doing this ready to their hands. They might have reproduced either the rubric of the Prayer Book of 1549, which ordered the priest at the time of the Communion to wear an alb and a vestment or cope-or the Advertisements of 1566, which ordered him to wear a surplice. They might have incorporated either of these directions in the rubric of 1662, and thus have taken away every possible occasion of reading it in more than one sense.

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Instead of this they used words which, whatever may have been the purpose of those who chose them, have been an occasion of controversy from that day until now, and of very acute controversy for the last fifty years. Why, it may very fairly be asked, should not the Church do now what it omitted to do in 1662 ? It has under Edward the Seventh precisely the same powers as it had under Charles the Second, and it has by this time had abundant experience of the confusion caused by a rubric which is thus patient of two interpretations. All that is wanted to put an end to the dispute is that the Church should say plainly which of the two readings she means to make her own for the future. The Convocations of the two Provinces have been expressly authorised by the Crown to consider 'the desirability and the form and contents of a new rubric regulating the ornaments—that is to say, the vesture--of the ministers of the Church at the times of their ministration’; and what can this mean if not that the words which have been the cause of so much confusion are at last to be made plain to every reader ? In one passage of the Report of the Committee of the Lower House its authors appear to be bracing themselves for this audacious enterprise. They are of opinion that as a matter of history the Advertisements of 1566 must be regarded as administrative orders issued for the Southern Province and without the sanction of the Crown'-a conclusion which might fitly preface a recommendation that the directions apparently referred to in the present rubric shall be set out in full and all uncertainty as to its meaning removed. It is unnecessary to say that this is not what the Committee have done. Having set out their premisses they promptly draw a conclusion which bears no relation to them. No one, I think, can blame them for this apparent inconsistency. To argue that because the present rubric does in fact sanction the use of the vestments ordered by the Prayer Book of 1549 this use should for the future be made obligatory would indeed be strictly logical. The Committee would have inquired into the meaning of the present rubric, and, having satisfied themselves on this head, they would have made the rubric say what they are clear it was intended to say. But to take this course would have been to show themselves strangely indifferent to the consequences of their own act. It would have been to close the long controversy by deciding it altogether in favour of one of the parties. In order to estimate the wisdom or unwisdom of such a step as this we must assume that it would have had its natural results-that the two Convocations and the Houses of Laymen would have accepted the recommendation of this Committee, and that their action would have been confirmed by Parliament. Supposing this wild vision to have been realised in practice, what would have followed ? Nothing short of the breaking-up of the Church of England into two separate Churches. The High Church party would have got all that they have asked for. In one point and that a point which, if not the most important of those in dispute, is the most conspicuous because it appeals to the eyethe strife which has been going on, now active, now smouldering, over since the death of Henry the Eighth would have ended, and the defeated party would have had to choose between submission and setting up as a separate society. Precisely the same thing would have happened though with the parts exchanged, if the report of the Committee and the subsequent action of Convocation and of Parliament had given the Advertisements the position claimed for them by the Low Church party. Such a recommendation would have been tantamount to a notice to High Churchmen to quit the Church of England. The notice might not-I might go farther and say would not-have been accepted; but if the victorious party had been in earnest it would have mattered little whether it was accepted or not. A short but decisive series of prosecutions would show the impossibility of holding out against a law for the first time made unmistakable, and upon this discovery disruption must have followed. Whatever the ultimate consequences of that disruption might have been, it would have meant the end of the Church of England as it has been known for more than three centuries.

I may be asked why I waste my readers' time by imagining such impossible catastrophes. Who has ever proposed, or even wished, to push the ceremonial dispute to either of these extremes? This very report is a proof that such a way out of our difficulties has not occurred, and is not likely to occur, to any reasonable person. The solution for which it asks consideration is expressly designed to give the victory to neither party. So careful have the Committee been to avoid even the appearance of anything of the sort that they have not done what the Letters of Business authorised them to do. They have not considered the form and contents of a new Ornaments Rubric. They have left the existing rubric as it is, and have contented themselves with suggesting a resolution framed on what may be called the ' whichever you please principle.' It is to this effect : 'Whereas the Eucharistic Vestments commonly so-called cannot be rightly regarded as symbolic of any distinctively Roman doctrines, and whereas the historical conclusions underlying the ruling judgments in regard to the vestments appear to be liable to reasonable doubt, it is expedient that two alternative vestures for the minister at the time of celebrating the Holy Communion, viz. (1) the surplice with stole or scarf and the hood of his degree, (2) the Eucharistic Vestments commonly so-called, be recognised as lawful under proper regulations. In their desire to be comprehensive the Committee have rather lost sight of accuracy. I am not aware that anyone has contended that the Eucharistic Vestments can be ‘rightly regarded as symbolic of any distinctively Roman doctrines.' What has been contended is-I borrow the words from the dissent signed by the Dean of Canterbury and Canon Henson-that

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they are used and valued as symbolical of doctrine respecting the Holy Communion which is repugnant to the convictions of large numbers of Churchmen.' The truth of this statement is beyond question. The vestments are used and valued as symbolic not of any distinctively Roman doctrines,' but of a doctrine common to the

a Roman and the Greek and Russian Churches, and to the separated Churches of the East. Nor is the use of them persisted in from any doubt as to the historical conclusions underlying the ruling judgments in regard' to them. They are worn because they are believed to be ordered in the rubric, and because no judgment to the contrary has been pronounced by any court whose decision the High Church clergy can accept as binding on them.

This, however, is only by the way. What I am really concerned with is the device proposed in the report --- the express legalisation of both the dresses now used in the Church of England. This expedient has the intention and the fault that belong to so many compromises. It is meant to please everybody; it will succeed in pleasing nobody. Or rather--for the last statement is a little too sweeping-it will please no one whom it is important to please. Those who think the dress of the clergy a matter of no moment will be quite satisfied. But then they would have been equally satisfied by any other recommendation, or by no recommendation at all. Those who think that the question

. is important--not in itself, but in the ideas which are associated with it-will only be irritated by a proposal which bids the two combatants find peace in a common recognition that they have been fighting all this time about nothing. 'One of you,' the resolution says in effect, 'thinks himself a sacrificing priest, and for that reason puts on a chasuble; the other thinks himself only a minister of the Word, and for that reason puts on a surplice. Both of you are right, and

. both of you are wrong-right in wearing what you or your congre. gation like best, wrong in thinking that it is of the least consequence what you wear.

We are not going to trouble ourselves about a question so infinitely little. You are quite welcome to dress yourselves up as you like. We only ask to be allowed to stand aloof from

your quarrels and to give our attention to matters of real importance.'

I doubt whether language of this kind has ever satisfied serious men. I am quite sure that it will not satisfy them in the present instance. It runs counter to the tradition which, as I said at starting, keeps the Church of England one Church instead of two. That condition, I repeat, is that both parties honestly believe that the Prayer Book is on their side. The consciences of both being thus at ease, each can hope in the end to convert the other, and can tolerate the other during the interval. If the proposed resolution be appended to the Ornaments Rubric, it will in future make for neither party. The High Churchman will no longer be in a position to claim that the vestments are ordered; the Low Churchman will no longer be in a

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