EDWARD FEILD, D.D.
LONDON, RIVINGTONS, WATERLOO PLACE;
HIGH STREET, OXFORD AND TRINITY STREET, CAMBRIDGE.
BISHOP OF NEWFOUNDLAND.
LONDON, RIVINGTONS, WATERLOO PLACE; HIGH STREET, OXFORD AND TRINITY STREET, CAMBRIDGE. 1867.
/3/ A CHARGE, &C.
Let it not be thought altogether idle or out of place, if I commence by confessing that I feel at every visitation, great, and I might truly say increasing, difficulty, in thus addressing you. You may suppose that it should be a pleasure to a Bishop, not less than a duty, to speak words of brotherly, or fatherly counsel and exhortation to his Clergy, trusting they will be received in a spirit of respect and affection, with due consideration of his many cares and engagements. But when I reflect on the nature and importance of a Bishop's Charge to his Clergy; or specially of mine to you, -- how rare in occurrence, how grave in its purpose, and how much may reasonably be expected in it both of advice and encouragement, can it be otherwise than natural and proper to feel and confess the ever-increasing difficulty? And allow me to remind you further (what some of you, I am persuaded, will readily acknowledge), that while the subjects which should on this occasion engage our attention are more in number, and, perhaps, greater in interest than ever before, /4/ my opportunities of studying and stating them have been, almost in the same proportion, fewer and less. Still you will, I trust, give me credit for having used all the diligence, and made all the preparation in my power; and will pray to GOD with me, and for me, that what I speak may be "good to the use of edifying." And I cannot but be aware that your manifold engagements, pursued, as I believe in general they are, with unremitting labour, leave you but little leisure for studying and mastering the various questions of the day, and so may render even what I can offer of information and instruction useful and acceptable to you. With this twofold object in view, I shall direct my remarks (1) To matters of local interest, and (2) To subjects affecting the Church -- I mean our Reformed branch of it -- in other countries and here.
1. I will commence, as usual, with a resume of my own official proceedings. By the good providence of GOD I have been permitted to remain and labour in my own Diocese, since our last Visitation, without any intermission; except only the time necessarily spent -- I cannot say wasted -- in passing to and fro between Newfoundland and Bermuda. I cannot say wasted, because I feel conscious of deriving much benefit from the intercourse, which those journeys afford me, with my good brother of Nova Scotia; benefit which turns, I trust, in some measure to your profit, and makes me earnestly desire opportunities of meeting him and others of my brethren regularly and periodically, for mutual edification and comfort. If this be unattainable, an occasional visit to England -- there to be an eyewitness of the proceedings and progress of the Church, and to receive counsel and instruction from those more advanced in knowledge and grace -- would be, I believe, with GOD'S blessing, of great benefit both to the Bishop /5/ and his Clergy. In this interval of four years I have twice visited Bermuda, and performed such routine official duties as were required at my hands, and could be performed in the short and sadly insufficient period of my sojourn there. You do not, I presume, know how much, and with how much reason, your brethren in that Colony, and their kind and attached flocks, complain, I will not say of the more time and service I devote to you and yours, but of the comparatively little they receive from him who is set over them in the Lord, and whose position and authority they recognize with all due and affectionate respect. Let me then ask you to join your prayers to those of your brethren in that distant part of this too extensive Diocese, that GOD will be pleased to open a way in which the duties and services of the chief pastor may be rendered to both more frequently and effectually.
You are all aware that in the interval above named, since the last general Visitation, I have made, as usual, two voyages in the Church-Ship: the first in 1863, along the whole south and west coast, as far as St. John's Island, at the entrance of Belle-Isle Strait; the second last year, along the east and north-east coast of Newfoundland and Labrador; each voyage occupying about four months. By GOD'S merciful providence, I and my companions and the good Church-Ship went and returned on each occasion in perfect safety; and I had the great comfort of finding all my Clergy in health at their several Missionary Stations, and of celebrating with them the holy services of our respective offices. On the (so- called) French Shore on the western side of the Island, besides those settlements which have the benefit of a Missionary's services, I visited and officiated in the Bay of Islands, Bonne Bay, Rocky Bay, and Shallow Bay, and made provision for the appointment of a Missionary in or for these settlements; /6/ hitherto, as you are aware, only visited by myself and Clergy in the Church-Ship once in four years. St. John's Island (before alluded to), the next settlement on that coast, and which I also visited, is attached to, though alas! forty miles distant from, Forteau, on the coast of Labrador; but it is sixty miles from the nearest extremity of the new Mission. The appointment, or rather preparation to appoint, a Missionary in the long-neglected Bay of Islands and neighbouring Bays, may be regarded as the great event of that voyage, for which, and its subsequent accomplishment, I desire you, in Christ's name, with and for me, to thank and praise God; and to ask His blessing upon the services of the Rev. Mr. Rule, who has gone to reside and labour on that distant and dreary shore. It had, as some of you may perhaps know, been for many years the cherished wish of my heart.
I have been enabled to visit the Bay of Islands, in the Church-Ship, four times, but, those excepted, only one short visit has been paid the poor inhabitants of that locality by any of our Clergy since Archdeacon Wix's memorable journey by land twenty-six or twenty-seven years ago. And in Bonne Bay, where there are now twelve or thirteen resident families, professed members of our Church (most of them having migrated from the Mission of Channel or La Poele), the services of the Church have never been celebrated, I believe, by any Clergyman before my late visit. On that occasion, on board the Church-Ship, with morning and evening prayer and a sermon, I celebrated Holy Communion and Confirmation, and received four children into the Church. The candidates for Confirmation, six in number, had been previously instructed and prepared at Channel by the Rev. Mr. Le Gallais; who, having accompanied me from thence, had the privilege of presenting them, to their mutual gratification. I mention the /7/ condition of Bonne Bay to show how great need there was of some provision for the spiritual wants of the inhabitants, and how great should be our thankfulness that it has pleased GOD to send a good and faithful labourer into that portion of His harvest.
In that voyage (of 1863) I confirmed seven hundred and fifty- three candidates at thirty-five stations; at seventeen in churches; at eleven in rooms; and at seven on board the Church-Ship. The largest number presented in one Mission was one hundred and eighty- four, by the Rev. Mr. Le Gallais; some of them in settlements never before visited by a Bishop, and accessible only by boats. I consecrated in the same voyage two churches and eight graveyards; six of the latter in settlements many miles distant from any church.
In my second voyage, I mean that of last year, I had the great gratification of finding candidates prepared for Confirmation in the region of White Bay and Canada Bay, on the eastern French Shore, so long unthought of and uncared for, but now blessed with the services of a zealous and faithful Missionary. The Rev. Mr. Temple presented to me candidates in both White Bay and Canada Bay, the firstfruits of, I trust, an abundant harvest. They were chiefly persons advanced in life, who thankfully embraced the first opportunity of being thus presented, thereby testifying their allegiance to the Church, and their desire to profit by her holy ordinances and means of grace. Mr. Temple also petitioned for the consecration of four graveyards, cleared and fenced by the people at his instigation and under his superintendence. I regard the desire to set apart a place for Christian burial as an approach to reverence for holy things, and to an appreciation, or at least apprehension, of those great doctrines of our Creed, "the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come;" and on these, and other accounts, am always glad to have it /8/ encouraged. It is perhaps the first step to be taken, in outward things, in every new Mission, and it has been well taken in White Bay, and will be followed, I am persuaded, with results of more importance. I had also in this voyage the gratification of consecrating a fourth church on the Labrador (at the Seal Islands), and of officiating in a fifth, nearly completed, at Red Bay. I held a confirmation at Battle Harbour, the second or third during Mr. Hutchinson's residence, at each of which some Esquimaux were presented and confirmed; and, but for the recent change of the Missionary at Forteau, I should have had the like privilege in that Mission. I visited nearly all the principal harbours on the Labrador, inhabited or resorted to by our fishermen, from Indian Tickle to Blanc Sablon, some of them for the first time; several also on the French Shore, not yet embraced in any Mission, but greatly needing and desiring more frequent visits; nearly all the inhabitants being members of our Church. In this second voyage I confirmed 756 persons at 32 stations; at twenty-six in churches; at four in rooms; at two in the Church-Ship; and consecrated six churches and eleven cemeteries. In the interval between these two voyages, I confirmed twice in the Cathedral; one hundred and seventeen on the former, and one hundred and thirty-one on the latter occasion; and consecrated two new churches in Conception Bay, and two in Trinity Bay, and a cemetery at Harbour Grace. Since my late return from Bermuda, this year, I have confirmed five hundred and ninety-eight well-ordered candidates in the Deanery of Conception Bay, and a second gleaning in the Mission of Ferryland; and consecrated a cemetery in Upper Island Cove. Putting the numbers together, it has been my privilege, in the interval of four years since the last Visitation, to confirm about two thousand four hundred persons, and to consecrate thirteen churches, and twenty- two or twenty-three graveyards. /9/ There are four more churches finished and awaiting consecration [NOTE: Three of these have been consecrated since the delivery of this Charge, and a Confirmation celebrated in each: viz. at Long Pond in Conception Bay, and at Keels and Bonavista in Bonavista Bay. The whole number therefore of churches consecrated since the 24th of June, 1863, is sixteen, in the following order: viz. in 1863, at Ferryland and Channel; 1864, Bay of Bulls, Salmon Cove, Carbonear, Heart's Delight, and Sillee Cove; 1865, Seal Islands (Labrador), Shoe Cove, Exploits, Pool's Island, Salvage, and New Perlican; 1866, Long Pond, Keels, and Bonavista. At the Confirmations since the Visitation, 111 have been presented, making the whole number in the same interval, that is, from St. John Baptist's Day 1863 to the present time, upwards of 2,500.], and five or six others in progress; all, I believe, of a character and construction far superior to those of former days; nearly all being furnished with a convenient vestry and comely chancel, open seats, prayer-desk, lectern, pulpit, and font.
I do not know that there is any particular remark to be made or advice to be offered, in reference to the occurrences of these voyages and visits, more than I have made and offered to you severally, as occasion was given, on the spot. You must allow me, however, to acknowledge my great obligations to you for your kind attentions to me personally, and yet more for the well-filled churches and holy services, with which you welcomed and refreshed me. I hardly call to mind more than two or three churches on each coast in which I did not witness some improvement, either of structure or furniture, and what is of far more importance, some increase of reverence and attention, some addition to the (as I trust) worthy partakers of the Holy Table: and if the candidates for Confirmation were not, as it seemed, in every place duly prepared, or not sufficiently acquainted with their part in the service, I could not but remember how infrequent and irregular, in most cases, are your opportunities of meeting them for examination, /10/ and how small, in general, their amount of knowledge and power of self-instruction.
You are in this respect, as indeed in many others, but in this particularly, far less happily circumstanced for ministerial duty and usefulness than your brethren in Bermuda; all whose candidates may be reached by their respective Clergy any given day, and are continually under observation, while nearly all of the younger class can read, and have and use their books of Common Prayer: and, therefore, except in respect of age, I hardly know that I should venture to repeat in your case the requirements properly addressed to those who enjoy such opportunities; requirements grounded upon the many years' experience of the pious and prudent Bishop Wilson, the sage and saint of Sodor and Man; "that the Clergy should present no candidates for Confirmation, but such as are fifteen years complete, well instructed in the Christian religion, and fitted for the Lord's Supper." I am too well aware that such attainments and preparation in many cases in this country are not possible; I trust however that you will all remember, and see carried out, the directions in the Preface to the Order of Confirmation; and will require from your candidates some declaration and evidence of a desire to use and profit by all the opportunities of instruction and means of grace.
All hitherto related of our proceedings and progress appears, nay indeed is, highly gratifying and encouraging, and affords abundant occasion of thanksgiving to Him Who has favoured and helped us in the accomplishment of so many good works, in the midst of a season of almost unprecedented poverty and depression. But lest, it may be, we should be unduly elated by these marks of GOD'S favour and mercy towards us, or, forgetting the favour and mercy, should think too much of our own endeavours and performances, we have been /11/ of late sensibly taught that we are not exempted, or to be exempted, from trials and disappointments, which, though they affect some Missions particularly, cannot but affect and afflict all who realize the doctrine that "if one member suffer, all the members suffer with it;" chiefly and especially him, who (if I may adopt an Apostle's language) has the care of all the Churches, and who, if permitted to "rejoice with them that do rejoice," must be prepared to "weep with them that weep." Sad indeed was the trial, and grievous the disappointment of not being enabled to hold Confirmations in the populous and important Missions of Harbour Grace, Portugal Cove, and the Outharbours; containing seven churches with as many different settlements, and in each many young persons needing and desiring those gifts and graces, which we are taught to expect, if it please GOD, by the laying on of hands. And yet more sad and more grievous still, that in these Missions young and old should be deprived, as they all now are, of the services of the duly appointed Minister. Two of these Missions are now vacant, nor do I see any early prospect, in the present dearth of Clergy, of their being filled. Add to this, the want of a competent person for the office of Vice-Principal of our little College, vacant now for upwards of a year and a half; a great want, and fraught with many bad consequences, not the least of which is the pressure upon the Archdeacon, who, in the midst of his other heavy and anxious duties, has most kindly undertaken the instruction of the students, and the general direction of their studies and pursuits. And here I cannot but choose to mention, as an occasion of mutual congratulation, that I have been enabled to obtain for myself and you the services of an Archdeacon of experience, learning, and piety, who has already shown his desire and power to /12/ share and lighten my labours; and who, I am persuaded, will be equally ready to advise and assist you, as there may be occasion and opportunity. It can scarcely be necessary to remind you that he, next to the Ordinary, and after him the Rural Deans, are the chief Ministers, unto whom, in every Diocese, "is committed the charge and government over the other Clergy." I may take this opportunity of tendering my thanks to the Rural Deans for their services; and, at the same time, of requesting their brethren in each Deanery, respectively, to show their regard for the office and their desire to render it more effective, by applying to them, in the first instance, for information in any matter of doubt or difficulty, and by receiving and accepting cheerfully and gratefully their instructions and admonitions; and, let me add, by interchange of visits, where possible, and other personal intercourse. None of you can know, until you have tried, and tried for a sufficiently long time to form a just and right judgment, the happy, holy effects of such brotherly intercourse, specially, I would say, in the case of persons holding different views; presuming that they hold their views in purity and charity; or, as St. James teaches, "without partiality and without hypocrisy." In such persons, no method is, I believe, so effectual for removing suspicions, and correcting, on either side, prejudices and misapprehensions. I speak from experience; and it may be of use to mention that during the whole eleven years of my incumbency of a parish in England, it was my privilege to belong to a voluntary association of neighbouring Clergy, meeting periodically at each other's houses; which has survived, I believe (with, of course, frequent changes of members), to the present day. And although there was, or rather let me say because there was, that diversity of view on matters of both doctrine and /13/ practice, which has ever existed, and may lawfully and religiously exist, between members of Ministers of the Church on earth, I at least, and I believe I might affirm the same for all, found our meetings both pleasant and profitable; not only in learning from each other, and coming to agreement on controverted points, but in finding that our differences were not such, or so great, as to hinder charitable and brotherly intercourse. If anything was wanting to bring our conferences and consultations to a practical issue, or to prevent too vague and desultory discussion, it was an acknowledged head, or, if you please, centre: which want is now, I understand, generally supplied in England by meeting under the presidency, or in the presence, of a Rural Dean. I would strongly recommend such Associations and Meetings of the Clergy, wherever practicable; and I feel assured that with the exercise of patience, humility, and charity, all would reap some benefit, some fruits, as I have said, both pleasant and profitable. Even if you did not attain to that degree of grace and holiness, which the Apostle desired for his Corinthian brethren and disciples, to be "perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment," there would at least be "no divisions among you:" may I not rather hope that "whereunto you have attained, or did attain, you would walk by the same rule and mind the same thing?"
In connexion with this subject it is proper to inform you, that the Rural Deanery of Trinity Bay (embracing, as you know, Bonavista Bay), having become, through the late happy increase of Clergy in each of these Bays, too large for convenient superintendence by the Rector of Trinity, will henceforward be divided; and that the Rev. Mr. Bayly, the resident Missionary of Bonavista, will be the first Rural Dean of the new Deanery of Bonavista Bay. Mr. Bayly has the recommendations /14/ not only of age and experience, but of dutifulness and devotion to the work of his calling, of which he has given evidence (after erecting a very comely, well-finished church in the smaller settlement of Aquaforte, while Missionary of Ferryland) by undertaking and bringing to completion a noble and beautiful church in his present Mission, suitable to the requirements and antecedents of Bonavista, the residence, for several years, of the first Archdeacon of Newfoundland. I easily persuade myself that Mr. Bayly's acceptance of the office of Rural Dean will be as agreeable to his brethren in the Bay as to his Bishop, and that both will derive benefit from his counsel and cooperation. I feel bound, however, to observe that I have not been induced to make this change by any unwillingness or inability on the part of the present Rural Dean of Trinity Bay to perform all the duties and services required of him. But the range of the two Bays has always been too extensive, and the addition of three Missionaries, and two of them very distant from Trinity, would increase, beyond reason, his work and responsibility.
I have alluded to the vacancies now existing in two important Missions and in the College (some of them, alas, of long standing), and the improbability of filling them to our satisfaction. Now it cannot be doubted that one cause of this most distressing difficulty, felt and complained of more or less in all the British North American Dioceses, is the inadequacy of the stipends; or I might say, in this Diocese, the absence of any fixed stipend. What payment will be guaranteed is the question always, and most naturally asked, by or for those who are invited or recommended to leave their homes for the service of the Church in a colony or foreign land. And this difficulty may be expected to operate most strongly in obtaining a Vice-Principal of our College; inasmuch as, in his case, some special /15/ qualifications and attainments are requisite, which can command in England special and high remuneration. The present stipends of the majority of the Clergy in this Diocese are derived in great part, and the support of the College almost entirely, from the funds of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, over which we have no control, and which may be withheld from us, or reduced in amount, at the pleasure of the Committee: and some reduction we have been warned, many times and long ago, to expect and prepare for. The Society, partly, it may be, induced, or influenced, by my published "Plea for the Church in the Colonies" (of which each of you, I believe, has been furnished with a copy), have consented to renew and continue the stipends of all the present Missionaries, and the whole allowance to the College, for this and the two following years; but on the condition, or understanding, that we exert ourselves in the meantime to form some kind of endowment, as is being done in the other North American Dioceses. Nobody can dispute the reasonableness and justice of such a condition. Now it has occurred to me that the formation or commencement of such a Fund in this Diocese would meet with more favour and success if devoted, in the first instance, to some definite and attainable object, such as the support of our little College. For this object -- or rather for the support, including education and training for the Ministry, of not more than six students -- I am allowed to draw from the funds of the Society, for this and the two following years, the full allowance of 50 pounds; that is, in all, 300 pounds per annum. Is it beyond hope that we might, with some assistance from friends in England, relieve the Society of that charge by the close of the prescribed period; and at the same time place beyond risk an institution which has already /16/ proved of so much value to the Diocese, and on which we must continually depend, more and more, for the supply of Clergy? If at any time it should be deemed necessary or expedient that the interest of the amount raised should be applied towards the maintenance of Missionaries, it would be competent, with the consent of the subscribers, so to apply it; but the following reasons incline me to give preference, or at least precedence, to the Endowment of the College.
(1) Through the College we may hope to obtain a more ready supply of Candidates for the Ministry; presenting an opening and inducement to pious and respectable young men in the country, who would hardly bear the expense of seeking education and training elsewhere; and this consideration would, I believe, incline our men of means more cheerfully to give their assistance; for their fellow-countrymen, as well as for the Church's sake. (2) A definite and attainable object generally has more favour, or at least support, than one of which we do not see the end and result. (3) Lastly, the number of Clergymen who have been wholly or in part educated and trained in the College is now sufficiently large to testify the usefulness and efficiency of the Institution; and we may reckon upon their earnest advocacy. It is therefore my intention to propose that a considerable grant be made from the Funds of the Church Society; and that subscriptions be solicited and collections made in the Churches, until, if it please God so to prosper our endeavours, we can bring the College Endowment Fund to the same satisfactory state as the Fund for the Relief of the Widows and Orphans of the Clergy: -- I mean, to meet the requirements of the College, as the other Fund does, and we trust will, every demand made upon it. The Fund, as far as created in Newfoundland, I should desire to be under such control and /17/ management as the majority of the subscribers may determine and approve. I shall not be afraid or ashamed to advocate the cause in England, if I am enabled to lay before my friends and the public there a real and good commencement in our own Colony and Diocese. I earnestly hope this plan or method of endowment, unless a better can be proposed and carried out, will meet with your approval and support.
It may not be amiss, in connexion with this subject, to inform you that the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel have lately given fresh evidence of their care for their Missionaries, by establishing a Superannuation Fund; available, I presume, for the relief of Missionaries, who, as well by sickness or any other adversity, as by age, have become incapable of ministerial work. I trust this excellent charity may in some manner be extended to meet the similar incapacity of Missionary or Colonial Clergymen not on the Society's list; who generally will have as little, or in some cases even less, opportunity of making provision for such an emergency, and whose labours will have been equally severe, and equally, it may be, unrequited.
I may also mention that the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge has in like manner established another claim upon our gratitude by offering, unsolicited, a small Theological Library to any of the Missionary Clergy in this Diocese, who apply for it with the sanction and recommendation of the Bishop. The offer has been made directly, I believe, to every Clergyman in the Diocese connected with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel; the Library to be permanently attached to the Mission. While I have had great pleasure in generally recommending the applications, I must add that I could not feel justified in doing so for those Clergymen whose Missions are not provided with a Parsonage, in which the books might /18/ be preserved for future Missionaries. But, on the other hand, I have ventured to request the Society to extend their very useful and acceptable gift to the Clergy, not in connexion with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, occupying Parsonages or Mission-houses, and stipulating in like manner for the preservation of the books. In the majority of cases the same arguments apply in their behalf in respect of this Charity as in that of the Superannuation Fund. And I shall be ready to forward and recommend the application of any Clergyman really needing the books, and undertaking to have them preserved and handed down to his successors.
I am not aware of any new local events or circumstances affecting yourselves or your congregations generally (other than those already mentioned) to which it is necessary to allude, except perhaps the recent introduction in some Missions of Wesleyan Preachers and Meeting-houses. It is useless to refer to and expose, as is easily done, the inconsistency (to use the mildest term) of retaining the name, while departing from the principles, of their founder; but we cannot shut our eyes to the fact that under, or with, the name of Wesley this sect now assumes the divinely appointed Orders and ordinances of our Church, and propagates their system with all the zeal of separatists. I believe it is no longer pretended, as formerly, that they do not differ or separate from the Church of England; -- at any rate the ordination, with laying on of hands, of their Ministers, the erection of what they now call Churches (which their founder taught them to call Preaching or Meeting-houses), and the celebration and administration in form and manner of the Holy Sacraments, must remove all doubt not only of difference but separation. And for this avowal we may be thankful, both on /19/ account of their congregations and our own: on account of theirs, because there is more hope that the difference, being perceived and understood, may convince some of their error and danger; and of ours, because none can any longer doubt of the character and pretensions of modern Wesleyanism, or fail to perceive how unreal revivals are but efforts to recruit or sustain an unreal Church. And our duty in regard of both Wesleyans and our own congregations now is, not to prove that there is a difference, -- that is admitted or cannot be denied, -- but to show what the difference is, and wherein consist the error and danger of the separation. To do this with effect it will be necessary you should be well acquainted with the origin and progress of their Society, and with their departure by degrees from their founder's principles, until they made themselves, contrary to his precepts and professions (and, in his view surely not less than ours, contrary to the rule and doctrine of Holy Scripture), a Church -- the Wesleyan Church! In the meanwhile, though separation has in its nature more zeal and energy than an established system, we and our congregations may and should be provoked to jealousy by those who, whether they are or are not a Church, are abundant in labours and liberal in contributions. And let us never forget the hands stretched forth to them with us, and to us with them, yes to both, all the day long, -- "a disobedient and gainsaying people." O that those pierced hands may not be stretched forth to either of us in vain! O that both, and all, may know and obey the truth! And surely for those who have a zeal of God, though, it may be, not according to knowledge, our heart's desire and prayer to God must ever be, that they may be saved.
There are now resident and officiating with my licence in Newfoundland and Labrador forty-two /20/ Clergymen, besides the Master of our Church of England Academy: two more are absent on leave, and I grieve to say their places not supplied; and the important post of Vice-Principal of the College is still vacant. If all the vacancies were filled, we should number forty-five Ministers "lawfully called and sent," according to the rule of our Church; all but two wholly engaged in ministerial work. If the number appear considerable, in comparison with that of former days (say of twenty-five years ago), let us always remember that for the chief maintenance of the majority, and of your Bishop, we are still dependent and depending on foreign charity: yes, shall I confess it in great measure upon the shillings and pence of artisans and labourers in England, collected by persons on whom we have no claim, and whose work and labour of love is performed on our behalf on the supposition that our congregations cannot provide for us -- that is, in truth, for themselves? How far such a supposition is correct, and how far we and our congregations are justified in continuing thus largely dependent, are questions which ought to be asked and answered, if we really expect to maintain our standing, and prosper in our work; much more if we hope, by God's blessing, to lengthen our cords and strengthen our stakes, to stretch forth, as we ought, to the right hand and to the left. And I wish to remind you, and pray you to keep it in mind, that at least six additional Clergymen are urgently required in Newfoundland, and one or two on the Labrador, to form as many new and additional Missions. Lay these things to heart, and say if there be not need and occasion more than enough for praying and striving together, ministers and people, each for each, that the grace of God bestowed upon the Churches of Macedonia (of which the Apostle wrote so gladly and gratefully to the /21/ Corinthians) may be vouchsafed here also; though not, as in their case, for the temporal wants of others, but for our own spiritual necessities -- a far more urgent call: while the poorest may comfort themselves with the gracious assurance that, "if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not."
Of our Schools I might almost ask where are they? For, excepting our Sunday Schools, we, as Clergymen and Incumbents of Churches, or rather as members of the Church of England, strictly speaking, have none. A move indeed in the right direction has been made in the last Session of the Legislature, for which I am very grateful, giving in a small measure the same power and privilege to the Church of England, which have been so long and liberally granted to the Roman Catholics, and, I believe, in a good degree to the Wesleyans also; -- I mean, to establish Schools under our own management and superintendence, hampered by no chilling compromise or jealous interference. I have not forgotten that large legislative grants have been, and are, made, year after year, to the Colonial and Continental Church Society for the support of their Schools, on the supposition that they are ordered and directed according to the rules and principles of the Church of England. I have already, on more than one occasion, felt it my duty to state plainly why I cannot regard them in that light, and why consequently I cannot, to my sorrow and loss, cooperate with their Society; but always with a free and thankful admission that their Schools have been, and are, of much benefit to the Colony. I must be pardoned if I cannot understand how, as Clergymen, having regard to our own and each other's rights and duties, we can support a Society which selects, appoints, and removes Teachers, without any reference /22/ to the resident or officiating Minister, gives him no voice or part in the management or direction of the Schools, no not to examine in them the children of the Church, without the permission of the Master or Mistress. I may mention in explanation and excuse of my objections a recent instance of my own experience. I visited, as permitted by the rules of the Society, a School of girls; was kindly and respectfully received by the Mistress, and was invited by her to examine a class; but when I would have gone forward for that purpose (there are few duties in which I take greater pleasure), the Mistress informed me, very properly, that the Teacher of the class belonged to the Wesleyan Church! What could I do or say? Should I offend her feelings and convictions, or forget my own character and office? I thought it kinder to her and her pupils, and better and safer for myself, to retire. I might indeed have asked some questions in grammar or arithmetic, or have propounded some general Bible truths; but how could I, or any Clergyman, in such circumstances, have sustained the character or discharged the obligations of a Minister of the Church of England? If these were only secular Schools, of no distinctive or denominational name or character, as those of the British and Foreign School Society, there would be nothing, in what I have stated, contrary to the principles on which such Schools are conducted; but it is different with professedly Church Schools, supposed to be conducted on Church principles, and to inculcate Church doctrines. I may confess that I have been moved to make these remarks and offer these explanations (which, I fear, may appear rather out of place on such an occasion) by the Report of the local Committee of this Society recently presented to the Legislature. All of you, I presume, are aware that the different Boards /23/ of Education have been called on to present Reports, containing their views and recommendations on this all-important subject. As might be expected, their opinions and suggestions are many and various; that in which there appears to be the most general agreement is the inefficient or unsatisfactory character of the present system of Inspection. I cannot, however, doubt that the Inspector's office, if performed by persons in whom the Boards could feel confidence, and the Clergy and Ministers could respect, is, or should be, of great value; as is proved in England by the high state of efficiency to which the Elementary Schools have been brought by their instrumentality. It may perhaps be a question whether this Colony is in a condition to profit by such agency, and whether in the salaries of Inspectors would not be better employed in increasing the stipends of the presently poorly paid Teachers, or adding to their number. With their other suggestions we, perhaps, as Clergymen, are not specially concerned. It is different with the Report of a Society, or Committee of a Society, professing to be strictly of the Church of England, receiving as such legislative aid and the subscriptions of Church people in England, and presenting their Schools to us, in that character, for the education of our children. We cannot perhaps complain or wonder that their Report is condemnatory of every mode and manner of education but their own, and begins and ends with recommending their own Schools, particularly the Central School in St. John's; but I am at a loss how to reconcile with any Church principles the declaration, that grants ought not to be made according to, as they are pleased to say, "the miserable distinction of religious denomination in education."
I have already suggested that for the better education of the poor of our Church, better especially in /24/ regard to the essential element of true religion, our desire and aim should be to obtain the privilege (already long enjoyed by Roman Catholics) of placing the instruction of the children, I mean the children of our own communion, under the direction of the members of our own Church only; in short, to procure the sub-division of the legislative grant. The separate amount recently placed at my disposal is but trifling, and is chiefly intended for, and will be expended in, places otherwise unprovided for, as on the Labrador and the new Missions on the French Shore. In the meanwhile I would entreat, and, if it were right and necessary, enjoin you to give much attention to, and, if possible, attendance in, your Sunday Schools; and, if you cannot teach in them, or superintend the teaching yourselves, to take care that the instruction given and books used are such as will lead the children to a knowledge and humble reception of (1) the divinely revealed truths of our Bible, as the Word of God; and (2) the orders and services of our Book of Common Prayer, as the traditions and doctrines of the Catholic Church. But what is still more necessary, and more incumbent upon you, as enjoined by our Church, both in Rubric and Canon, is the practice of catechizing during Divine Service in the Church; always incumbent while so enjoined, but especially so under the circumstance to which I have referred -- the want of any week-day Schools in which the doctrines and services of the Church can be freely and fully inculcated. I need say no more on this subject, except I observe that, although the Church Catechism is the groundwork and chief subject of the instruction of children in the Church, we are not required to confine ourselves to the question and answer, but may diverge to any matter arising from or connected with it; or, I suppose, any services in our Book of /25/ Common Prayer. And allow me to add, that to catechize with good effect and to general edification will demand some considerable pains and preparation.
In entering upon subjects of common interest to the Church here and elsewhere, but chiefly brought to our notice at this time by recent discussions and controversies, I desire, in the first place, to make a few remarks, or, if you please, offer advice, in reference to some outward ceremonies and observances in the Church; which, though perhaps of little importance in themselves, become by diversity of practice occasions of judging and being judged with respect to views or doctrines. I would remark then, as a general rule, that you will do right and well to observe and comply strictly with the letter of the Rubric, except where a contrary practice long continued and acquiesced in by those in authority has virtually abrogated the law, or deferred its operation. On this latter point I would be permitted to adopt the dictum of one of our most able casuists, the learned and pious Bishop Sanderson: "It is evident," he says, "that laws rightly constituted may be so abrogated by a contrary custom that they cease any longer to oblige: which custom is no other thing than a joint consent of the people neglecting to observe the law, as being useless, and of the ruler's not requiring its observance." [NOTE: This is not modern doctrine. Durandus, explaining, and, it seems, excusing the neglect of a decree of a Council, which ordered that the ends of the Stole should be crossed over the breast of the priest, the neglect of which, he says, might subject the offender to excommunication, adds, "Nisi forte quis dixerit hoc decretum per contrarium generalis ecclesiae consuetudinem abrogatum."]. We may apply this dictum to the rubric which orders that "the table at the Communion time shall stand in the body of the Church or in the Chancel, where Morning and Evening Prayer are appointed to be said." The present mode /26/ of communicating in the Lord's Supper renders such a law useless; and I believe for one hundred years at least it has been neglected and rarely observed: and strange it indeed seems that any person, more strange that any Clergyman, should plead or suppose that it does still oblige, and should attempt to revive it. Yet the attempt has been made. The same argument, it has been said, applies to the revival or renewed use of "the ornaments of the Church and Ministers thereof," prescribed in the rubric set at the beginning of our Prayer Book: but some differences are alleged; 1st, That the contrary custom has not been so general or of so long continuance; 2nd, That the law is not useless; 3rd, That ornaments of the Ministers of the Church, ordered by a Rubric to be retained and be in use, at all times of their Ministration, do concern them more than an observance or practice not enjoined on them. On this subject I may perhaps offer some remarks hereafter. At present I would refer only to practices which must be observed by every Clergyman, but in the manner of observing which there is a difference, and a difference which to some curious persons indicates or suggests different views of doctrine.
(1) Before the Consecration of the elements in the Holy Communion the rubric directs that "when the Priest, standing before the Table, hath so ordered the Bread and Wine, that he may with the more readiness and decency break the Bread before the people, and take the Cup into his hands, he shall say the Prayer of Consecration." Now it is understood by some that the Priest should "stand before the Table," only so long as he may be occupied in "ordering the bread and wine" [NOTE: This view is maintained in the "Duties of a Parish Priest," by the late Professor Blunt.], and then return to the north side; while others contend that he should continue to stand before /27/ the Table while saying the Prayer of Consecration. On this point there may be a difference of opinion and a corresponding diversity of practice; and to ascribe particular views to either practice would be greatly unreasonable, inasmuch as either will sufficiently satisfy the law. The chief consideration is, how the Priest may "with more readiness and decency break the Bread BEFORE THE PEOPLE (CORAM POPULO);" for here, I conceive, no diversity of practice is allowed. The Rubric is plain and express; the action prescribed is one of sacred significance, and the people may desire, and, I think, require to see it done; and the same may be said of the Priest taking the Cup into his hands, and both may be done, even while standing before the Table, by turning towards the people during the action. Having complied with the Rubric, we may content ourselves, whatever may be thought or said of standing, or not standing, during the prayer before the Table.
(2) I notice also a diversity of practice in the administration of Baptism, hardly, I presume, implying, at least in the present day, any particular view of doctrine, though formerly each diversity had reference to a prevailing heresy. I allude to the practice -- of novel observance as far as my experience goes, and hardly yet, I conceive, adopted by the majority -- of pouring or sprinkling water three times upon the child in pronouncing the sacred form of words. Many of you are no doubt aware that Trine Immersion was ordered by a decree of one Council in reference to, or as a protest against a particular heresy; and set aside by the decree of a subsequent Council on account of another and opposite heresy. I do not conceive it can be necessary to enter upon the question which of these decrees, or whether either of them, should be binding upon us; or whether three affusions (which, I believe, some persons regard as three baptisms) correspond /28/ exactly to Trine Immersion. The action, no doubt, is piously intended to symbolize or suggest the great doctrine of the Trinity; but as a different practice still prevails, it is of some importance to observe that either may be justified or sustained by the words of the rubric, which says, "It shall suffice to pour water upon the child." The like expression, "shall pour water upon him," is used in the Baptism of such as are of Riper Years. And the "Ministration of Baptism to such as of are Riper Years" was, as you know, compiled and introduced at the last revision of our Book of Common Prayer, and we cannot doubt very carefully considered by the good and learned men employed in that revision, who would not have hesitated to enjoin or suggest the three affusions or threefold affusion if they had deemed them of importance. Either practice, however (as I said of the different practices in the Holy Communion), may be justified; only here, as there, something is enjoined which must be strictly observed, viz. "to pour water," not to sprinkle it: for even to pour is only said "to suffice," where the ancient and scripturally symbolical practice of dipping is omitted; a practice duly recognized by our Church, and ordered to be observed "discreetly and warily," where "the godfathers and godmothers certify the Priest that the child may well endure it." I would only further suggest -- where the threefold affusion is adopted -- whether it would not be more appropriate and significant if sufficient water were taken up at once [NOTE: On this subject some older ritualists observe: "Sacerdos haurit aquam de fonte baptismali, et CONTINUA ACTIONE fundit super caput infantis paululum inclinati, et simul fundento, pronuntiat SEMEL distincte et attente haec verba; N: ego te baptizo in Nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen."], which would prevent the objection of three Baptisms (occasioned, I presume, by three /29/ times taking water from the Font), and yet preserve the symbol or suggestion I referred to. However, the rubric says "it shall suffice to pour water upon the child."
(3) It is of more importance to determine the proper interpretation and use of the questions after the administration of Private Baptism; when the child so baptized is brought into the Church, and the Minister is directed to examine whether the child be lawfully baptized or no; especially when it appears, in answer to the first question, that the child was baptized by lay hands. As however I have on former occasions fully, or, I trust, sufficiently considered this subject, I would only now once more remind you that you ought to insist upon receiving the answers from some person who was actually present at the Baptism, or at least that some person actually then present should be ready to answer plainly and positively those two questions relating to the matter and the words, -- the use of water in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (which are essential parts of Baptism): because if it cannot appear, -- and I submit that it cannot appear, except upon the testimony of some person who saw and heard, -- that the child was so baptized, your duty is to use the conditional or hypothetical form there prescribed.
I have also on a former occasion stated my reasons for objecting to the proposed alterations of the Canon which forbids fathers to be Godfathers to their own children, and I repeated my statement in my late Charge to your Brethren in Bermuda. I need not therefore detain you on that subject -- though a very interesting and important one -- except to inform you that the alterations proposed and passed by the Convocation of Canterbury have not received the Royal Assent; on the ground that "capable of receiving the Holy Communion" is (as I ventured to suggest four /30/ years ago) an indefinite expression, open to various questions and constructions. I could have wished that the other alteration, equally anomalous and objectionable, I mean to accept the natural parents as Godparents, had been as plainly rejected or contravened. However, you will please understand that the old Canon still remains in force, as much at least as formerly, and that if a new Canon be passed and receives the Royal Assent, we, in the Colonies, are not at liberty to adopt it, separately or collectively, until further instructed.
You are all, I doubt not, well aware that the Royal Letters Patent creating Dioceses, or appointing Bishops with ecclesiastical jurisdiction, in Colonies possessing independent Legislatures, have lately been pronounced by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council null and void; or rather, in these particulars, ULTRA VIRES. You are aware also of the many questions and discussions which have arisen and are still rife in consequence. I hope I shall not appear presumptuous if I venture to think and say that our relation and connexion, or, if you please, our mutual duty and dependence, are not, or need not be, weakened or materially affected by this discovery. Allow me to relate the process of my appointment, to show how little the position and authority of a Colonial Bishop, once admitted, depend upon the Letters Patent, and how little in consequence he is affected by their nullification. I was invited to accept the appointment and office by the late Bishop of London, with the knowledge and expressed approval of the Archbishop of Canterbury; by them, with the assistance of two other Bishops, I was consecrated, after I had sworn the oath of due obedience to the Archbishop. After my Consecration I came here, as directed and commissioned by Her Most Gracious Majesty our /31/ Queen, to exercise my office in this Colony as part of Her Majesty's dominions. I can hardly suppose that so far there was anything said or done ULTRA VIRES. But, granting the commission to exercise the office of a Bishop in this Colony to be ULTRA VIRES, as also the acknowledgement and acceptance of that commission by the Governor of the Colony (I do not admit or suppose that it was so in either case), yet when, being here, I was owned and accepted by the Clergy as their Bishop -- they submitting to me their Licences and Letters of Orders and renewing the promise of canonical obedience -- this, of itself, was and is sufficient; I wanted, and want, no other authority. As for the title, the coercive jurisdiction, as it is called, and other matters of that nature, said to be improperly granted by the Letters Patent, I require them not, being well persuaded that considerations of this kind did not enter your minds in making before God and the congregation that solemn declaration, and promise, "the Lord being your helper," "reverently to obey your Ordinary and other chief Ministers, unto whom is committed the charge and government over you; following with a glad mind and will their godly admonitions, and submitting yourselves to their godly judgments." If I might venture, in this much lower sense and application, to adopt the language of an Apostle, I would say, "If I be not a Bishop unto others, yet doubtless I am to you." To the large majority of you the office and work of a Priest in the Church of God were committed by my hands. From me you received authority to preach the Word of God, and to minister the Holy Sacraments in the congregation. And you cannot, I conceive, claim and maintain your authority, or exercise your office, without a due acknowledgement of the source from which they were derived, -- both your office and /32/ authority, -- or without a like acknowledgement of your obligations, I mean, of canonical obedience and submission. We have lived indeed to see these obligations, even the oath of due obedience to a Metropolitan, disregarded and broken by one who has exacted of others like promises, and, I presume, at one time expected their fulfilment; and not for wrath but for conscience' sake. It is hard to understand how any Christian man can suppose an obligation of conscience may be removed by State interference. It would be very grievous to me to think that I am now addressing you as any officer of the State, or that you receive my admonitions and advice only in that light, and on that ground, or that we require or desire any other bond of union than that of our spiritual relationship. But enough, perhaps more than enough, on what may appear of personal concern. I have deemed it expedient, however, to state plainly on what foundation our mutual duties and obligations now stand, and how little they are, or should be, affected by any supposed or real defect in Her Majesty's Letters Patent. At the same time I would not be supposed ignorant of, or unconcerned about, the too possible evils of this new phase of the voluntary system, or rather of voluntaryism without system. I foresee the possibility of many evils and inconveniences, which it will be our wisdom and duty to anticipate and prevent by some Church organization. But the subject is too large and difficult to be discussed on an occasion like the present, and it appears to me more prudent to wait the settlement of these questions at home, I mean in England, by the Church and State (as far as either or both can settle them), before they are discussed in the Colony. It is satisfactory to know, on the authority of the Attorney-General of England, that the power given to the Bishop to hold Church property as a /33/ Corporation sole is not annulled by the late decisions or dicta of the Judicial Committee.
I was led to this digression, if you please so to regard it, by a consideration of the question whether new Canons enacted by the Convocation of the Province of Canterbury, and duly assented to by the Queen's Majesty, must, or may be, adopted and acted on by those Colonial Dioceses, or Churches, which are still in subjection to, or whose Bishops owe obedience to, the Metropolitical See of Canterbury. And a like question arises respecting Acts of the Imperial Parliament, called Ecclesiastical. As however I have spoken on that subject in my late Bermuda Charge, I may revert to the consideration of those rubrics which are, or should be, our guide in some observances which in the present day are occasions of contention or controversy, or which having been long neglected are now regarded with suspicion as innovations. My object is to show how by strictly observing the rubric, where not abrogated by contrary custom and consent, we may at least satisfy our own consciences, and, we may hope, in due time, convince the gainsayers: convince them, not merely of our good intentions, but, of the propriety and advantage, which they will surely learn by experience, of the observance enjoined.
I desire in the first place to direct your attention to the rubric or rubrics respecting the Holy-days and days of fasting or abstinence, to be observed in the Church of England throughout the year. With regard to the Holy-days I need say little or nothing, as the obligation to observe them all, with the Sundays, is so plain and positive; and happily they are now generally observed here and elsewhere. I may however remind you that a few years ago it was not so: the observance of Holy-days, other than Sundays, was very rare, and by not a few regarded as a piece of superstition or /34/ Popery; or, at best, condemned, on a mistaken interpretation and application of some passages in St. Paul's Epistles. If any persons now object to their observance, we fall back upon our rubric, or rather, let me say, we make our rubric an occasion and obligation of both observing them ourselves, and recommending, and, as far as we may, enjoining their observance. On the same, or similar grounds I would plead for a more general observance of the fasting-days; and in doing this I must not be accused of introducing or suggesting novelties. In my very first Charge, twenty-two years ago, I made the following remarks: "Among the notices which the Curate, that is, the ministering Parish Priest, is required to give after the Nicene Creed, you will observe that he is directed `to declare unto the people what Holy- days or fasting-days are in the week following to be observed.' I hardly need say it is my wish that this rubric may be punctually complied with, and the declaration or notice duly published; but I draw your attention to it because I have remarked that in some churches, where the Holy-days are thus declared, and even observed with their proper and appointed services, the fasting-days are passed over in silence. Now surely none can suppose that any branches or members of Christ's Church upon earth are entitled and in a condition to keep Holy-days with feast and festival, without some corresponding seasons of fast and humiliation. It cannot therefore but appear inconsistent or inconsiderate, to use the mildest term, to begin with restoring feasts and festivals, when both for the Church and ourselves there is more occasion of fasting and abstinence, sorrowing and self-abasement." Such was the advice I ventured to offer on this head, in my first Charge; and I am thankful to know that this duty also, I mean of declaring the fasting-days, is more generally observed. It is true that, with the /35/ exception of the great fast of Lent, no special services for these days are appointed, which may be regretted; but the name sufficiently implies in what manner they should be kept. And as many of you do now, with or without the daily morning and evening prayer, have one special full service every week, I would recommend and request that the Fridays be chosen for such service. "All the Fridays in the year, except Christmas Day, are to be observed," so our Prayer Book directs, "as days of fasting and abstinence;" which direction is sufficient to justify a special service on all Fridays, in preference to any other day in the week not selected by the Church; but when we consider the cause and reason of the selection, and how much it concerns us and all Christians to remember and lay to heart that great cause, the death of our dear Redeemer, to which we owe our salvation, -- "delivered," the Scripture says, that is to suffer and die, "for our offenses;" -- when we consider this great cause, this most prevailing reason and occasion, we shall not be determined by the supposed greater convenience of any other day in the week for our special service, but observe it and make it as appropriate as we can on "all Fridays in the year." And is not this the right preparation for the holy, happy services of "all Sundays?"
Before I proceed to subjects of more intrinsic importance, I must allude to one other matter of form or outward observance, which has lately occasioned some discussion and controversy, -- the time at which those who do not intend to communicate in the Lord's Supper should leave the church. I referred to this also in my first Charge, specially in consideration of no direction being given us in our Prayer Book. Of this apparent omission, I said, two explanations may be offered: (1), that the Holy Communion being formerly a separate, as well as a distinct service, it /36/ was supposed that none but communicants would attend it, in which case none of course would depart, -- and such is now the case at every early celebration; or (2), when the Order of Holy Communion is made a continuation or part of the Morning Prayer, the Church may purposely have omitted the directions about departure, using a pious and prudent caution, lest she should appear to recognize and sanction it. However, so it now is, that the Order of Holy Communion is not commonly used separately and distinctly, and many (alas! how many) attend the commencement of it, or ante-communion, who have made no preparation and feel no inclination to communicate. In the absence then of any other direction, I would venture to recommend that they depart after the Sermon, and before the Offertory and Prayer for the Church Militant. I am aware that a practice very generally prevails of inviting the whole congregation to remain on communion days (when there is no communion a rule is given us) during the recital of the Offertory, and of collecting alms from all, -- a practice which has some obvious recommendations, in increasing the amount of collections for pious and charitable uses, and, it may be hoped, enlarging the hearts, as well as opening the hands of the congregation generally towards the Church and her poor members and Ministers, by the recital of those earnest appeals, on behalf of both, from Holy Writ. There is, however, or may be, one evil attending it, which, as it involves a principle of some importance, ought to be known and considered; -- I mean, the tendency of it to make people think much of their contributions, and little of refusing the Holy Supper, when they see their alms presented and placed upon the Holy Table with those of the communicants. These remarks however apply primarily and particularly to non-communicants; whether those who usually /37/ communicate should be forbidden to remain on occasions when they have not made the necessary preparation to receive, is a different and more difficult question. I will not, however, hesitate to express my belief that it is not intended or expected by our Church that they should remain. The carefully weighed words of our Articles appear designed at least to discountenance it; and I have given some probable reasons for the omission of any injunctions or directions against the practice, without coming to the conclusion that it was intended to recommend or sanction it; which would have been little in accordance with the views of those who compiled our present Order of Holy Communion, well acquainted as they were with the errors associated with the practice.
I may now proceed, as I promised, to subjects of more importance (as more directly involving the doctrines of our Church) lately made matters of controversy. Some of these have been so often and openly discussed, and I would venture to say so clearly determined, that but for recent controversies I should be almost ashamed to occupy your time with, or about them. I shall content myself, and I hope and believe shall content you also, with stating and explaining the doctrines of our Church, as contained in our Book of Common Prayer. I content myself with statement and explanation, because I am satisfied that our doctrines and rules have been drawn by pious and very learned men from the records and traditions of the primitive and undivided Church, and confirmed, as far as such confirmation is requisite, by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture. It would, I conceive, be worse than idle on the present occasion, and perhaps hardly wise or useful at any time, in speaking to those who accept the teaching of our Prayer Book, to undertake the proof of every doctrine and declaration by /38/ texts of Holy Scripture. May we not be satisfied this has been already done, fully, truly, learnedly, and religiously; with prayer for the teaching and guiding of God's Holy Spirit, as well as with all assistances and appliances of human study? It is possible, of course, that persons may deny this -- may contend that the Fathers and Reformers of our national Church did not know, or did not regard, the primitive interpretations, or did not themselves search the Scriptures. In such persons it would be consistent to require proofs, or to demand alterations to meet their views or the views of those on whom they rely. You will not, I am persuaded, do me the injustice to suppose that I would in any way deter, or discountenance your own frequent, nay continual, reference and appeal to the Holy Scriptures, with such studies as help to the knowledge of the same: but I am dealing now only with those who profess to accept the doctrines of our Church, and to desire that they may be as truly and plainly taught, as they have been fully proved and established. And who shall teach them? Is it come to this, that we and our congregations shall receive our instructions and directions, the knowledge of our doctrines and the modes and methods of inculcating them, from newspapers and pamphlets of whatever character or denomination? I am too well aware that in the numerous and pressing avocations of our pastoral work, we lack opportunity and ability to avail ourselves of the stores of learning and wisdom by and from which we might perceive and produce the proofs of every controverted doctrine. Still I hope and believe we both have and use better opportunities than they who in this country undertake to teach their teachers; some of us more, and some less; and it surely must seem unreasonable that those who have most should be censured or contradicted by /39/ those who confessedly have least. And while we submit to each and every doctrine and declaration in the plain and full meaning thereof, and maintain and exhibit our unfeigned assent and consent to all and everything contained in and by the Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments, let us not forget that it was provided and ordered by that Convocation which enforced subscription, under the auspices of Archbishop Parker, "that the Clergy shall be careful never to teach anything from the pulpit, to be religiously held and believed by the people, but what is agreeable to the doctrine of the Old and New Testament, and collected out of that very same doctrine by the Catholic Fathers and Ancient Bishops."
It must surely appear to all plain people almost incredible, that persons accepting the teaching of our Prayer Book can deny the doctrine of a Regeneration in Baptism. If there be any dispute, or difference, it can only be about the meaning or application of the term or name. And it is well know to those who have examined the subject, though I dare believe not known to numbers who speak most confidently about it, that the word Regeneration has of late years been used by some writers and many talkers in a different sense from that of our Reformers and the Ancient Bishops.
It is to little purpose therefore to inquire whether this or that person holds the doctrine of Regeneration in Baptism, because if we understand Regeneration in a different sense, the answer would give no satisfaction, convey no real information. The question should be, Do you believe, with our Articles, that "the Sacraments are effectual signs of grace," and that Baptism is such "a sign of Regeneration or new birth?" Do you, as taught in our Catechism, profess, each for /40/ himself, that "in Baptism we were made members of Christ, children of God, and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven," that "an inward and spiritual grace is given in Baptism," and that grace, "a death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness?" If we so profess and so believe, it would matter little by what name we describe the doctrine, had not our Church in her offices so frequently and expressly spoken of the baptized as regenerated, and in the Articles made "baptized" and "regenerate" convertible terms.
The case is nearly the same in reference to the question so frequently agitated of the Real Presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper. One may deny the real presence and another assert it, and yet may both agree in receiving, or intending to receive, the true doctrine of the Church and Holy Scripture. All depends upon the meaning and application of the term "real." They who limit the word to things carnal and visible will rightly deny such a presence of Christ; but they who apply it to things heavenly and spiritual may, shall I say must, maintain and defend such a reality in the blessed Sacrament. The questions then are, Do you believe, with our Articles, that "to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ, and likewise the Cup of Blessing, a partaking of the Blood of Christ?" Do you confess, with our Catechism, that "the Body and Blood of Christ are verily and indeed taken and received by the faithful [NOTE: Fideles = Christians.] in the Lord's Supper?" "Only," to use the wise and pious language of our Reformers in the Homilies, "only this much we must be sure to hold, that in the Supper of the Lord there is no vain ceremony, no bare sign, no untrue figure of a thing absent: but, as the /41/ Scripture saith, the table of the Lord, the bread and cup of the Lord, the memory of Christ, the annunciation of His death, yea the Communion of the Body and Blood of the Lord by a marvellous incorporation, which, by the operation of the Holy Ghost (the very bond of our conjunction with Christ), is through faith, wrought in the souls of the faithful, whereby not only their souls live to eternal life, but they surely trust to win to their bodies a resurrection to immortality." If you assent to this doctrine, you may use or refuse the term "real presence." Those however who use the expression, which the most cautious divines of our Church have not scrupled at, must not be charged with teaching or allowing a corporal presence, or what is commonly understood as the Romish doctrine of Transubstantiation.
But on such a mysterious subject as the mode of Christ's presence in the Holy Sacrament of His body and blood, it might be expected that questions and controversies would arise. When so many volumes have been written upon it, by so many learned and pious divines, it is impossible not to admit that it is a subject of immense difficulty and importance. It would be well if that view of it were always borne in mind, and we should at least avoid the double offence, of which too many, it may be feared, are guilty, (1) of deciding too easily and positively for themselves; and (2) of thinking and acting uncharitably towards those who differ from them. Referring to our Prayer Book and Homilies, it would appear to be open to us to adopt any view of the subject between the two extremes of, (1) a bare sign or untrue figure of a thing absent, which, as I have already remarked, is condemned in the Homilies, and is inconsistent with the language of our Catechism and the Order of the Holy Communion; and (2) a corporeal presence, which is /42/ repugnant to the Articles and the declaration attached to the Communion Service. That there is a real, though invisible and supernatural, presence of Christ, and that the body and blood of Christ are given, taken, and received in the Lord's Supper, is the consentient testimony of all our great divines, and is abundantly confirmed in our Liturgy, Articles, and Homilies. But other questions are now (unhappily as I think) raised and discussed, viz., first, whether the body and blood of Christ are, or can be, received by the wicked, and secondly, whether any, and, if any, what worship is due to the real, though invisible and supernatural, presence of Christ, in which questions is further involved that of the end and effect of Consecration.
With regard to the first question, whether the body and blood of Christ can be received by the wicked, it is argued on one side that such a belief is at variance with the XXVIIIth and XXIXth Articles of our Church, in the former of which it is asserted that "the body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the Supper, only after a heavenly and spiritual manner, and the means whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten is Faith;" and in the latter, that "the wicked and such as be devoid of a lively faith, although they do carnally and visibly press with their teeth (as St. Augustine saith) the body and blood of Christ, yet in no wise are they partakers of Christ." But in answer to these arguments it is observed that the XXVIIIth Article has reference only to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith receive, and is directed (in the words quoted) against Transubstantiation, not touching the question of reception by the wicked; while the expression "in no wise are they partakers of Christ" (it is not said, as in the preceding Article, "the body of Christ") does not imply that the wicked cannot partake of the body and blood of Christ to /43/ their condemnation: "partakers of Christ" being a Scriptural expression, applied, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, to those Christians who persevere; for "we are made partakers of Christ," says the Apostle, "if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end." And when we couple these considerations with the declaration in our Liturgy of the "great danger of receiving unworthily," ("for then," it is said, "we are guilty of the body and blood of Christ our Saviour, we eat and drink our own damnation, not considering the Lord's body,") we may, I think, see and confess that if it was unwise to open and affirm the question, that the body and blood of Christ can be received by the wicked to their condemnation, it is hardly safe to deny it on the ground of repugnance to an Article so worded as to avoid any precise and positive statement and assertion on "so great a thing." [NOTE: It is worthy of notice that the words "nullo tamen modo Christi participes efficiuntur" (in no wise are they partakers of Christ) are substituted in the Article for "procul dubio nec manducat spiritaliter carnem ejus nec bibit ejus sanguinem," in St. Augustine.].
As regards the worship due to the real, though invisible and supernatural presence of Christ in the Sacrament, it is affirmed, as in the former case, that any such worship is forbidden by the Article (the XXVIIIth) which declares that "the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was not by Christ's ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped;" while on the other side it is maintained that this statement does not refer to, and therefore does not forbid, the worship of Christ's divine nature, supposed to be ever present with His blessed body and blood: inasmuch as the Article, it is said, relates only to the adoration condemned in the declaration appended, in our Prayer Book, to the Order of Holy Communion; viz. "adoration unto the /44/ Sacramental Bread and Wine, there bodily received, or unto any corporal presence of Christ's natural flesh and blood;" words so very plain and precise, that they appear intended to leave open the question of adoration unto Christ himself, or His divine nature, as present spiritually and invisibly.
You will easily perceive how the end and effect of Consecration are involved in these questions, since in the one case it appears that through the words of Institution, by the operation of the Holy Ghost, the bread and wine become to us, the partakers, the body and blood of Christ, and as such are received to our "great benefit" or "great danger;" or, on the other hand, that they, the elements, by faith become or are made the body and blood of Christ, when they are received. The objection to this latter view is, that Consecration has no proper end or effect, and that faith itself, while it makes, as it were, the body and blood of Christ, is deprived of its more blessed office, whereby, as is beautifully expressed in our Liturgy, "we spiritually eat the flesh of Christ, and drink His blood; we dwell in Christ, and Christ in us; we are one with Christ, and Christ with us."
I have ventured thus far rather with the view of showing you the very difficult and delicate nature of the questions raised, than of stating my own judgment or influencing yours. I shall be satisfied if what I have brought before you has the effect of inducing you to suspend the positive expression of your own opinion, until required, and the censure or condemnation of other men's views.
In these remarks I have gone over, as some of you may remember, old ground, repeating in substance what I stated in a former Charge, -- I refer particularly to my remarks on Baptismal Regeneration, and the Real Presence of Christ in the Sacrament of His blessed /45/ body and blood. I have been induced to repeat them partly to show that I long ago maintained and taught the doctrines which of late have been so violently impugned, but much more because to many of you these statements may be both new and needful; to none of you, I trust, without interest and use, having regard to the renewed disputes and discussions on subjects of such deep importance.
It cannot, I think, be necessary, and therefore would not be right, to inflict upon you a repetition of the arguments (chiefly from the writings of our Reformers) by which, on a former occasion, I demonstrated the doctrine of the Apostolical Succession. I was then induced to speak on the subject in consequence of the circulation of a sermon, in opposition to that doctrine, and in condemnation of those who maintain it, equally unsound, uncharitable, and unjust. We cannot wonder, and must not complain, if persons of like disposition and attainments, renew from time to time these misrepresentations and mistakes. The misfortune is that because we have not leisure or inclination to renew the refutation or reply, too many believe that our opponents have truth and reason on their side. Should any of you desire to be reminded of the views of our Reformers and other great divines on this subject, I am not afraid to refer you to my Charge of 1858, and the notes to that Charge; which, though necessarily brief and incomplete, are sufficient, I trust, to establish the truth and importance of the Succession; not indeed as the test of an approved ministry, as some, in the sermon referred to, were slanderously reported to have said, but as (to use the language of Bishop Hooper), "with succession of sound doctrine, a good proof of the Catholic Church." Pious and learned divines in both schools of our Church, from the time of the Reformation to the present day, have maintained the /46/ necessity and fact of the Succession, and grounded their authority upon it. Our Church asserts, in the preface to the Ordinal, that FROM THE APOSTLES' TIME there have been these Orders in the Church, Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. St. Paul gave directions to those persons, and, as far as we learn, to those only, on whom he had laid his hands, and appointed for that purpose, to ordain elders in every city. In Archbishop Cranmer's Sermon of the Keys, contained in his Catechism (which Catechism was published in 1548, and presented by Cranmer himself to King Edward), we find it declared how "the preacher must not run to honour, but be sent; how his ministrations may be otherwise ineffectual, because not commissioned of God; the Sacraments dead, because unduly dispensed, NOR BY THOSE IN THE LINE APPOINTED FROM THE APOSTLES." "After Christ's ascension," he says, "the Apostles gave authority to other godly and holy men to minister God's word. . . . Wherefore when they found godly men and meet to preach God's word, they laid their hands on them, and gave them the Holy Ghost, as they themselves received of Christ; the same Holy Ghost, to execute this office. And so the ministration of God's word, which our Lord Jesus Christ did first institute, was derived from the Apostles unto others after them, by imposition of hands, and giving the Holy Ghost, from the Apostles' time to our days; and this was the consecration, orders, and unction of the Apostles, whereby they, at the beginning, made Bishops and Priests, and this shall continue in the Church, even to the world's end." Let us hope that we shall hear no more of the Reformers of our Church as opposed to the doctrine of Apostolical Succession. It has been asked by some, and specially by one whose other learning hardly qualified him for speaking so confidently on questions of theology and Church history, and who little dreamt of the errors and /47/ heresies to which his self-relying teaching would give rise, it has been asked, Where do we find mention of Apostolical Succession in Holy Scripture? It may be sufficient in reply to ask, Where do we find mention of Infant Baptism or of the Holy Trinity? It is enough for us if godly and well-learned men, who have given their time and thoughts to the study of Church history, have assured us that these doctrines were implicitly held from the beginning, and were proved and illustrated from Holy Scripture as soon as, by doubt or denial of them, occasion arose.
The absence of Scriptural authority cannot be alleged against the doctrine of Confession, which appears of late to have caused in some quarters special offence: "CONFESS YOUR FAULTS ONE TO ANOTHER," says an Apostle, "AND PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER." It is hard to understand how, or why, we should observe one part of this precept, and neglect the other; how or why we should think it a duty or a privilege to pray one for another, and not equally so to confess our faults one to another. Should it be contented that by one to another the Apostle only meant Christian friend to Christian friend (I presume it will be acknowledged that he was speaking of Christians only), that is enough to establish the propriety, and I suppose intimate the benefit, of Confession. And, if to any Christian friend, to whom more properly, or with better hope of receiving all the benefit, than to your spiritual pastor; whose very office it is to pray for you, and who ought to know, first and best of all, the remedies, the consolations, the supports of fault- stricken souls? But, if we examine the context of the passage referred to, or will trust those who have examined it most carefully, with such studies as help to the knowledge of Holy Scripture, or will rest satisfied with its application by our own Church, we shall see good reason to conclude that the /48/ Apostle is there speaking specially of the priests and ministers of the Church: and further that "the benefit of absolution" is therein clearly intimated. I will refer but to one out of many of our commentators who have given us this interpretation and application. "Absolution," says Dean Comber, "seems to be positively enjoined by St. James to be given to the sick penitent by the elder or priest that comes to pray over him: for the Apostle adds, `if he have committed sins, remission or absolution shall be given him,' which is the right translation of the impersonal verb used in the original: [NOTE: Where our Bible reads, to the same effect, "they shall be forgiven him." (The Greek translation is also given in this footnote).] and the practice of the Primitive Church (the best of commentaries) confirms this exposition, they having been always wont to grant absolution to all sorts of penitents, lying in danger of death." Such is the interpretation or application of the passage by one of our wisest commentators; and you will find that Hammond in his Commentary, and Bishop Wilson in the "Sacra Privata," take precisely the same view.
But what we are chiefly concerned with, in this as in other like questions, is to know and teach the doctrine and rule of our Church. And here it cannot, I presume, be denied, that our Church does expect and require of every member of our congregations, at every assembling of ourselves together, whether for prayer only, or for Holy Communion, a general confession, to be followed in each case by an absolution, to be pronounced by the priest alone. Does any person pretend that our Church supposes, or allows, that these Confessions, publicly made, and the Absolutions publicly pronounced, are mere forms: the Confession made without the purpose to confess, the Absolution pronounced without the intention to absolve? It is true the /49/ Confession in these cases is public and general, and, if you please, to God only (though every member of the congregation must hear what his neighbour confesses); and the Absolution public and general, and in God's name too (yet every member of the congregation must receive and apply it to himself): -- Confession is made by everyone, Absolution is pronounced to and for everyone. These, however, being general, and, we fear, in general but little considered or regarded, create, it seems, no alarm or shame -- give no trouble or offence. It is the invitation to open in private the particular grief, and the sin which causes the grief, though to a discreet and learned Minister of God's Word, and to receive the benefit of a particular Absolution, together with ghostly counsel and advice -- it is this which appears to some persons so alarming, and to approach so nearly to the Roman Catholic rule.
Now it must, I think, be admitted that our Church expects that all persons, before they come to the Holy Communion, should faithfully endeavour, by examining themselves by the rule of God's commandments -- by confession to Almighty God, with full purpose of amendment of life -- by reconciling themselves to those they have offended, and being ready likewise to forgive others who have offended them -- the Church expects, I say, all intending to come to the Holy Communion to endeavour, by these Scriptural means and helps, to quiet their own consciences; applying to themselves the promises of forgiveness for Christ's sake upon repentance, or waiting for the Absolution to be pronounced in due form by the Priest in the service. But should it so happen, and surely it may and must happen in some cases and to some persons, that they cannot by their own undirected and unassisted endeavours quiet their own consciences -- /50/ cannot satisfy themselves of the sufficiency of their confession, and purpose of amendment of life, or assure themselves of pardon and forgiveness -- and they require, as in such cases all must require, further comfort or counsel -- they are then invited to come to some discreet and learned Minister of God's Word, and open their grief, (which implies and requires a declaration and confession of the sin which causes the grief), that, by the ministry of God's holy Word, they may receive the benefit of Absolution: in other words, that by the Minister's statement and application of the rules and promises of the Gospel, the reality and sufficiency of the repentance may be determined, and the conditions of pardon and forgiveness made known; and that Absolution, which they had heard and received in the congregation after their general Confession, declared and pronounced to them separately and individually.
And is it really the case that all, or the most, who would partake of the heavenly feast, do so examine themselves, do so confess themselves to Almighty God, do so reconcile themselves to their neighbours, that they can come with a full trust in God's mercy and a quiet conscience; that few, or none, require further comfort and counsel, who might, if they would, come to some discreet and learned Minister of God's Word and open their grief? If it be so, our people surely have arrived at a happier and holier condition than our Church, in framing her services, dared to contemplate. Or is it that the discreet and learned Ministers are not to be found? That would be a reproach and evil as little anticipated. "IS THERE NO BALM IN GILEAD? IS THERE NO PHYSICIAN THERE? WHY THEN IS NOT THE HEALTH OF THE DAUGHTER OF MY PEOPLE RECOVERED?"
I have ventured to say that it appears the purpose of our Church to instruct and require people, at least /51/ in ordinary cases, to quiet their own consciences by self-examination and confession to Almighty God, with resolutions of amendment of life; just as in ordinary cases of bodily sickness we rely upon household and familiar remedies. And I believe there are helps to self- examination which, if honestly used and applied, will be more likely to bring men to a knowledge of their offenses and of their real inward state in God's sight, than a declaration to others of the faults or sins they see or feel in themselves, liable as all are to self-deception and a wrong estimate of our guilt. Nevertheless, if we do not pretend to judge of other men's constitutions, and still less of their secret maladies and need of remedy or relief, but allow them, if they require or desire it, the help of a physician, "IN WHOM THERE MAY BE AT TIMES GOOD SUCCESS," we, as Ministers, shall at least be as careful and considerate in regard of their spiritual state, never refusing them the opportunity of opening to us their griefs, and receiving "the benefit of Absolution, together with spiritual counsel and advice." "Do not," says Bishop Wilson, in his "Short and Plain Instruction," "Do not entertain a thought so injurious to the merciful promise of the Saviour to the Pastors of the Church, or imagine that the Absolution given by His Minister, after he has inquired into the motives and manner of the repentance, according to the rules of the Gospel -- do not imagine that this will be of no avail to the health of the soul, or the comfort of the mind."
If it be asked, in what do the doctrine and will of our Church differ in this matter from those of the Roman communion, we answer chiefly in this: --
That with them confession to the Priest is compulsory, or at least strictly required of everyone at certain set seasons and occasions, and every remembered sin must be confessed. We have seen how /52/ different in these respects is the rule of our Church. An invitation only, -- and to those who cannot quiet their own consciences, -- and, it would appear in reference chiefly to greater offenses. But let it not be forgotten that such invitation we are instructed and required to make, when we give warning of the celebration of the Holy Communion; and, I scarcely need add, are equally bound to hear and consider the grief of all who come to us in answer to that invitation. It is not then with us a question of opinion or of choice, but of duty; and shame to that Minister who through ignorance or indifference shrinks from or neglects it. Does anyone who has received the commission and authority hesitate, in misconceived humility, -- thinking rather of himself than his Master, or of his own ability or inability rather than of the gift and grace of God, -- does any Minister of Jesus Christ hesitate, in his Master's name, to absolve the penitent? And does he think nothing of pronouncing over the child conceived and born in sin, "I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost?" Is this Holy Sacrament, ordained by Jesus Christ and administered by us according to His will, a mere form and ceremony? Is nothing meant when we declare of the baptized child that, being born in original sin and in the wrath of God, he is now, "by the laver of regeneration in baptism, received into the number of the children of God, and heirs of everlasting life?" Is it so much more presumptuous, when the same Lord has given us the commission, to say, "I absolve thee," and to expect that for His sake forgiveness of actual sins will be extended to the penitent? Did not the same Lord who said to His apostles, "GO YE AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS, BAPTIZING THEM," say also to them, the same Apostles, "Whosesoever, sins ye remit they are remitted /53/ unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained?" And was one ministry to be continued and handed down without the other; or are we at liberty to assume and exercise one, and refuse or ignore the other? Fully admitting, nay rather earnestly maintaining, that none can forgive sins but God only, and that He can and does forgive upon repentance without man's agency or intervention (was it not so in the Apostles' days?), still we are taught to believe and to say, that "God hath given power and commandment to His Ministers to declare and pronounce to His people, being penitent, the Absolution and remission of their sins." Shall we repudiate the gift conveyed, betray the trust committed, or neglect the duty imposed in and by those solemn words pronounced over every one of us, when we received the Order of Priesthood: "Receive the Holy Ghost for the Office and Work of a Priest in the Church of God, now committed unto thee by the imposition of our hands. Whose sins thou dost forgive, they are forgiven; and whose sins thou dost retain, they are retained. And be thou a faithful Dispenser of the Word of God, and of His holy Sacraments; in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
The subject is far too deep, sacred, and important to be discussed on an occasion like this in all its points and bearings. My object and endeavour have been to state and explain, not to prove or establish (that, I trust, will hardly now be required or expected of me) our Church's doctrine and rule, and to show your privilege and enforce your duty. I will conclude with some remarks of the commonly-called (and I presume by us still so esteemed) judicious Hooker, "We have," he says, "in the least and meanest duties performed by ministerial power, that to dignify, grace, and authorize them which no offices on earth can challenge. /54/ Whether we preach, pray, baptize, communicate, condemn, give absolution, or whatsoever, as disposers of God's mysteries, our ends, judgments, acts, and deeds are not ours but the Holy Ghost's."
The subjects hitherto noticed are all of present and personal interest; I mean they are such as may, or rather must, more or less, occupy our minds and affect our practice; and, as such, deserve our particular consideration. Matters affecting the Church generally, or more in other countries than here, must be dismissed more briefly. You may perhaps expect from me some notice of Bishop Colenso's publications and proceedings, which have occasioned such general surprise and grief, and brought upon him almost as general censure. With regard to his publications, I must content myself with confessing, and am not ashamed to confess, that of his Biblical researches I have not read a single word. It appeared to me at the outset preposterous that a Colonial Bishop, after less than two years given to the subject (so I observed that he himself confessed) should presume to publish theories, original or borrowed, in opposition to the generally received traditions of universal Christendom. And when I learnt that in both houses of the Convocation of Canterbury, without, I believe, a dissentient voice, his views were pronounced unsound and heretical (though all might not agree in the necessity or expediency of a synodical condemnation), I felt that my time and thoughts might be more profitably employed in my proper work and duty. Indeed we should have, I conceive, very little, or assuredly much less than we all have, to do, or more curiosity that I at least possess, to occupy ourselves with difficulties and objections which have been explained and answered, as far as is needful and right to be required, many times and many years ago. I say as far as is needful and right to be required, because /55/ in regard to the Old Testament history -- remembering its great antiquity, the manner of its preservation and transmission, and that it is and must be in great part its own interpreter -- it would be strange indeed if there were not in it some things hard to be understood, which a perverse ingenuity might represent as errors and contradictions. How much more may we expect this result where the professed object is to disclose, to those who can receive them, the will and purpose, the doings and dealings of Almighty God; and those things, respecting which our blessed Lord even thanks His heavenly Father, because He has hid them from the wise and prudent, -- that is in their own sight, -- though He has revealed them unto babes. "There is a sacred obscurity," says Bishop Wilson, "in the Holy Scriptures, which we ought to value them for, because that convinceth us that we must not hope to understand them without a light from God, which we must ask from God and fit ourselves to receive it."
It is quite unnecessary for me, even if I were sufficiently acquainted with Bishop Colenso's writings, and otherwise competent and qualified, to pursue the subject, as you can have recourse to many able replies and reviews, which this new or rather renewed assault on the record of all we know or can know of the way and will, the works and purposes, of Almighty God our Heavenly Father, has called forth. Some of these, kindly sent me by their authors, I have read; and if it should appear a somewhat unphilosophical method of coming to a conclusion on the merits of a book, -- I mean by reading only the replies and reviews, without studying the work itself, -- let me hope that none of you, or of your friends, will adopt the opposite, and, on such a question as the truth and authority of all Holy Scripture, far less excusable, method of reading and receiving the objections and contradictions, without a careful /56/ examination of the answers, or some of them, which have been written and published; answers so numerous, learned, and weighty, that we might almost excuse and be thankful for the misdirected judgment and misapplied talents which gave occasion for them.
Near akin to the error, if I should not say sin, of creating doubts and difficulties in respect of the authenticity and authority of Holy Scripture, is that of depreciating the decrees of Councils and Synods by which the Catholic Faith has been cleared, maintained, and published: an error in one respect more dangerous than the former, because it creates generally no alarm, but is received with favour and approval, as an appeal to individual judgment, on matters where it is supposed every man is at liberty to judge. And with sorrow and shame I confess this error prevails in the writings of some much admired, I cannot say learned, Professors of my own University. An instance may be given from Professor Stanley's Lectures on the Eastern Church: "The fact," as he writes, -- "that the whole Christian world has altered the Creed of Nicaea and broken the Decree of Ephesus, without ceasing to be Catholic or Christian, is a decisive proof that common sense is, after all, the supreme arbiter and corrective even of Ecumenical Councils." Common sense, it is sometimes said, is the most uncommon sense; but inasmuch as every man, or surely every Professor, supposes himself to possess it, it is easy to foresee what would become of our Creeds and Canons, if Councils and Synods were subject to such a corrective. Now, while, with our numerous and urgent avocations, it is idle to aspire to the learning and knowledge which can only be attained by study and reflection, in retirement and leisure, we ought to be prepared to meet the popular objections as well in reference to our Creeds and Articles of Religion, as to the sacred deposit of /57/ truth from which they are derived. You will, I trust, be prepared accordingly, and at least, as admonished by an Apostle, "BE READY ALWAYS TO GIVE AN ANSWER TO EVERY MAN THAT ASKETH OF YOU A REASON OF THE HOPE THAT IS IN YOU."
You must allow me to add a few remarks on a subject which has of late attracted much notice, and occasioned some alarm in the Church at home, far beyond its intrinsic importance. You are all, I presume, aware that upon the authority of the rubric set at the beginning of our Prayer Book, to which I have already alluded, such ornaments of the Church and of the Ministers thereof, as were in the Church of England in the second year of the reign of King Edward the Sixth, have lately in some Churches at home been industriously sought out and ostentatiously displayed. That it was the intention, or rather, perhaps, the wish of those who undertook the last revision of the Prayer Book, after the Savoy Conference, to restore, or make way for the restoration of, the symbolical ornaments of the Church and appropriate habits of the Clergy, specially in the Chancel and ministration of the Holy Communion, may, I think, be inferred; 1st, from their having determined that the rubric should remain, contrary to the expostulations of the Puritans, who plainly foretold its probable effect; and 2nd, from their having introduced into it the word "retained," which does not appear in the rubric of the Prayer Book as published at the accession of Queen Elizabeth, or again after the Hampton Court Conference. "Such ornaments of the Church and of the Ministers thereof at all times of their ministration shall be retained and be in use," &c. Such, it might be supposed, was, so to speak, the ANIMUS IMPONENTIS, the purpose or wish of those who framed, or reframed the law, and the wording of it is /58/ sufficiently plain and explicit. But it never, it seems, was carried into effect -- no attempt ever made to enforce its observance. Yet there it stands; and, although there is some question about "the authority of Parliament," it seems generally agreed that the ornaments of the Church and the habits or dress of the Clergy mentioned in the First Book of King Edward the Sixth are intended, that is, to be retained and be in use. What then should be our course, or, if you please, what should be my course, if any attempt should be made or any desire expressed to introduce them in any Churches in this Diocese? I have already remarked that -- the law having been so long in abeyance and having reference to things in themselves indifferent -- no Clergyman need think himself under any moral obligation to observe it or have it observed. I would remark further, that to have it observed belongs rather to the congregation than to the Clergyman, inasmuch as all the ornaments both of the Church and the Minister should be provided at the expense of the congregation; and, lastly, that, as far as it does or may belong to the Clergy, they ought not to adopt any such charge without the authority of the Bishop or Ordinary. We are informed, and I am prepared to believe it, that in general the Clergymen who have adopted, whether of their own choice or by the desire of their congregation, the ancient ornaments, are earnest and sincere; that they hope and intend to show respect to the house and worship of Almighty God; that they perceive, as I presume we all do to a certain extent, a fitness and propriety in certain ornaments in reference to the time, or place, of service. You all know that the Puritans at the Savoy Conference objected to the dress, -- any distinctive dress, -- of the Clergy, and I think you will all agree and coincide in the Bishops' reply; -- that "reason and experience /59/ teaches that decent ornaments and habits preserve reverence, and are held therefore necessary to the solemnity of royal acts and acts of justice, and why not as well to the solemnity of religious worship?"
With reference to ornaments generally of our Church, I would be permitted to quote some observations of my first Charge, to show what my opinion was and is, and that I did, as I do now, conceive that they deserve on principle our very serious attention. "These directions," -- they were directions referring to the arrangements and furniture of our Churches, -- "will appear minute, but cannot by any persons be judged unnecessary or unimportant, having regard to the subject and purposes to which they relate. And if we look into the directions which God, Almighty and Allwise, Himself gave for the furniture of the Tabernacle, these we find were far more minute, numerous, and particular; not less so, it has been observed (and why should they be?), than the spots on the wings of an insect, or the streaks and colours of a flower. My meaning is, that God, who has taken such abundant care (if we may presume so to speak) that there should be order, and arrangement, and beauty in all the works of His hands, which He has pronounced very good, and which all praise Him, will not be displeased, but rather expects and requires of us (having also sufficiently declared His Will in Holy Scripture), that we provide, according to our ability, for a similar accuracy and propriety even in the minutest parts and circumstances of His worship." And in a subsequent part of the same Charge I remarked, "We cannot, I fear, have much reference, in our present wooden edifices, to the symbolism of ancient Churches, where the minutest ornaments had their peculiar and appropriate significance; but a Chancel might, I conceive, be frequently added:" and I drew attention to the vessels used in /60/ the Holy Communion, that they should be of silver, and the fonts for Baptism of stone. And in a later Charge I quoted the Royal Injunctions of 1601 for the better and more comely keeping of Churches, complaining of "the negligence and lack of convenient reverence towards the comely keeping and order of the (said) churches, and especially of the upper part called the Chancel; leaving the place of prayer desolate of all cleanliness, and of meet ornaments whereby it might be known for a place of religion and worship." Such were, such are, my views and wishes in reference to the ornaments in general of the Church; and I am thankful in having the best evidence that they have been and are generally approved, by the general addition of the Chancel to many old, and in nearly all new, Churches, and the adoption of the more comely and costly furniture and other "meet ornaments." And I confidently believe that the desired result -- increased and increasing reverence and regard for the House of Prayer and our holy services -- has been in large measure attained. I cannot doubt, therefore, that we are agreed that all suitable and appropriate ornaments of Churches may be and should be adopted, any or all which may enlarge devotion or testify duty and thankfulness, and also, if special seasons are marked by special services, whatever is outwardly appropriate to the season or service, and tends to bring the intended instruction home to the mind and heart. Only the more excellent, useful, and holy the observance, the more is any ill taste, abuse, or exaggeration to be deprecated. CORRUPTIO OPTIMI EST PESSIMA. Still, whatever may be our conviction or agreement, we are not called on, or rather, not justified, in forcing or pressing the introduction of new or unaccustomed ornaments or observances, till the meaning and purpose are generally understood and appreciated; nor to make our ideas /61/ and views the rule or measure of what is or should be edifying to all men. In these and other like matters the Apostle's advice should ever be present to our minds, "WE THAT ARE STRONG OUGHT TO BEAR THE INFIRMITIES OF THE WEAK, AND NOT TO PLEASE OURSELVES. LET EVERY MAN PLEASE HIS NEIGHBOUR FOR HIS GOOD TO EDIFICATION." It is true this advice did not apply in the first instance to the Ministers of the Church in the execution of their office; and it has been contended that, if we can satisfy the right-minded and reasonable, we may proceed with good courage and a good conscience, though others ill-informed and ill-disposed may take offence. But the same Apostle in another place instructs us "TO WALK IN WISDOM TOWARD THEM THAT ARE WITHOUT, REDEEMING THE TIME, BECAUSE THE DAYS ARE EVIL:" upon which Bishop Wilson observes, "Prudence is very necessary in dangerous times; it being no fault to give occasion to the raising of storms against the Church and her members, for want of having a due regard to the times and to the passions of carnal men."
Until the last revision of the Prayer Book only the ornaments of the Minister, but these always, were referred to in the rubric; and therefore, we may conclude, have always been considered of special importance. And here again I may be permitted to remind you that on the first opportunity after my arrival in the Diocese, I ventured to recommend, as a substitute for the not well-defined tippet, the adoption of a scarf or stole by all in Priest's Orders, but of silk only by the Rural Deans and Bishop's chaplains. My twofold object being to distinguish the different orders and degrees of the Ministry, and to give the Clergy generally an appropriate and becoming ornament, thus distinguishing them from lay-clerks and choristers -- an ornament, however, not generally used by Priests when I entered the Ministry. I have already observed that it probably /62/ was the purpose, or wish, of the divines who were entrusted with the last Revision to reintroduce in the ministration of the Holy Communion the more ornate habits of the Clergy ordered in the First Prayer Book of Edward the Sixth: thus making a distinction between the Order of Morning Prayer and of Holy Communion. And as in other respects there is a distinction, the Communion being celebrated in the Chancel -- and the Chancel, on that account, more or differently ornamented -- it is difficult to understand why there should be any objection to a distinction of dress in the officiating Minister, or rather, why that should not be in keeping with the rest; all to give more honour and win more regard and respect to the higher service. And the same in proportion in the ministration of Public Baptism.
That you all approve of the introduction of what is considered comely in your official dress, and are all, to a certain extent, ritualists in this respect, appears from your ready adoption of scarf or stole, not generally used in the Church, I have said, twenty-five years ago. We must beware therefore of establishing a rule against ourselves, and, by denouncing stoles of this or that colour or shape, opening the question of the right and propriety of adopting them at all. Should it be contended that this stole or scarf was, or is, part of the ministerial dress, so, and more expressly so, according to our rule, was and is the cope in the Holy Communion, and it would be difficult on principle to show why we have resumed or adopted the stole rather than the cope, and not less so to determine why the colour or shape must be what we or others approve, and everywhere the same [NOTE: Erasmus in his "Colloquies," speaking of the appliances used by the priest undertaking or expecting to exorcise the evil spirit says, "Addita est in collum sacra stola, quam vocant, unde pendebat initium Evangelii secundum Joannem." -- Exorcismus. Whether he designed to ridicule the stole, as he certainly did the proceedings of the exorcising Priest, I must leave to those better acquainted with his writings to determine.].
Enough -- some will perhaps say more than enough /63/ -- on a subject of comparatively little importance. I must however be permitted to add, that in my humble judgment, progress and improvement in the ornaments of the Minister are the natural accompaniment and complement of the progress and improvement in the ornaments of the Church. No person, I presume, supposes that when it is said in the rubric immediately preceding that which has occasioned so much discussion, "The Chancels shall remain as they have done in times past," -- no one supposes (or if any did, the injunctions of Queen Elizabeth, and still more the proceedings of our times would have undeceived them,) that it was intended they should remain "desolate of all cleanliness and of meet ornaments," &c. And surely a similar inference in respect of the ministering Priests is inevitable. And this inference is strengthened by the fact, which I before mentioned, that in this rubric (of 1868) for the first time the ornaments of the Church are expressly named distinct from, but in connection with, those of the Ministers. And the vast increase of the "linigerum genus," in choirs, consisting of all imaginable trades and occupations, points to the necessity of some other distinction for the Priest. Let me, however, in conclusion say, that while I think and teach, as I have thought and taught, that too much art, skill, and (having regard to other duties) expense, cannot be bestowed upon the appropriate ornaments of God's house and worship, and should be glad and thankful to have them understood and valued by our congregations, I would deprecate the introduction /64/ or reintroduction of those alluded to in the rubric, or any others, which would give general offence -- I will not merely say to the pious and right-minded through want of knowledge, but to those who wait for our halting, and by whom even our good will be evil spoken of.
"In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength," was the motto chosen by the author of "The Thoughts in Verse" (such is the modest title) "for the Sundays and Holy-days throughout the Year." Who, in these latter days, more deserves the reverent attention of all who love the Church of England, and desire to guide and be guided by the spirit of her rules and ordinances? His white stole, we are told, now hangs, -- shall I say mourns? -- over his vacant stall in the Church which he built by the proceeds of that book, from which thousands have learnt, and thousands in generations to come will learn, to value and honour more and more all our services for the Christian Year. That speaks; but hear his own words, among the last he wrote and published, on this, at that time, new subject of dispute and difference: "On these, and all like matters, we shall perhaps do well to accept the counsel of our Church in her first reformed Liturgy concerning another main point of Christian discipline. Such as are satisfied with the more modern and plainer ritual not to be offended with them that adopt the more ornate and symbolical requirements of the rubric: they, on the other hand, who find comfort and edification in the ceremonies to bear with their brethren, who, for various reasons, think best to dispense with them for the present." O SI SIC OMNES. O that the same, or like, prudence and charity, the same spirit of loving quietness and holy confidence, might always govern our speech and guide our steps; that in these might be our strength!
And where were this quietness and confidence learnt, /65/ and the strength ensuing upon them, by him whose name and praise are in all the Churches? Where but in the lessons of the Sundays and Holy-days, and other holy services of our Church? Let us then honour, love, and study them more and more -- let us learn her doctrines, and observe her rites and ceremonies, and practise her rules, and obey her laws. Thus may we, by God's grace, be every day more worthy of the office and ministry to which He has called us: and thus, by the same grace, the Church and congregation whom we serve shall profit by us daily, while we diligently preach the Word of God, rightly and duly administer His holy Sacraments, and exercise Godly discipline, for His sake who loved the Church and gave Himself for it: -- then, and thus, shall we learn the true meaning and application of those holy words of comfort, "NO WEAPON THAT IS FORMED AGAINST THEE SHALL PROSPER; AND EVERY TONGUE THAT SHALL RISE AGAINST THEE IN JUDGMENT THOU SHALT CONDEMN. THIS IS THE HERITAGE OF THE SERVANTS OF THE LORD, AND THEIR RIGHTEOUSNESS IS OF ME, SAITH THE LORD."
I thought it best, if I should not rather say I found it necessary, for several reasons, to print my Charge in England. One principal reason was that I could not make leisure while in Newfoundland to prepare my manuscript for the press. I had time for this, and some other like occupations, in my pleasant voyage to England, in the "Great Eastern." One result of this delay has been, that I find some of the statements in my Charge controverted by the (so-called) Ritualists; able and conscientious men, but led away, as it appears to me, by an unauthorized desire of progress and development in Liturgical observances.
It has been asserted; 1. that "IN ALL CASES `at' (the Holy Table) certainly meant with the face turned eastwards:" 2. that the north side (of the Table) meant the north part of the WEST SIDE; and 3. that "to break the bread before the people" meant in the presence of the people, BUT WITH THE BACK TOWARDS THEM. The two first assertions are sufficiently answered by the facts that in the Scotch Liturgy, compiled by as able Ritualists as any in the present day, "north side or end" is the phrase, where in our Prayer Book we read, "north side," and that our best Liturgists (Bishop Andrewes /67/ and others) did stand at the north END; of which latter fact there is satisfactory evidence. And with regard to the first assertion, it may be further observed that at least IN ONE CASE (in the Solemnization of Matrimony) it is ordered, that "the Priest standing AT THE TABLE, and HAVING HIS FACE TOWARDS THEM (the man and woman kneeling before the Table), shall say, &c." The third assertion surely can hardly be maintained by any persons who will consent to take words in their plain grammatical sense (which we of the Clergy are specially bound to do), even without considering the significance of the action. It is contended indeed, that there is a difficulty in complying with the present Rubric (the difficulty, I am sure, was little felt, or known, twenty-five years ago) which says, "When the Priest, standing BEFORE THE TABLE, hath so ordered the bread and wine, that he may with the more readiness and decency break the Bread BEFORE THE PEOPLE, and take the Cup into his hands." I have pointed out in my Charge two ways in which this (supposed) difficulty may be overcome; in one or other, of which it has been overcome (if that can be said to have been overcome, which has never been encountered) by nine-tenths of the Priests of the English Church for the last two hundred years. Ecquis erit finis?
I trust I may still indulge the hope that to you, my brethren, those concluding sentences, "Concerning the Service of the Church," in our Book of Common Prayer, will be a useful guide in these and other like diversities: "Forasmuch as nothing can be so plainly set forth, but doubts may arise in the use and practice of the same; to appease all such diversity (if any arise) and for the resolution of all doubts how to understand, do, and execute the things contained in this Book; the parties that so doubt, or diversely take anything, shall always resort to the bishop of the diocese, who /68/ by his discretion shall take order for the quieting and appeasing of the same; so that the same order be not contrary to anything contained in this Book. And if the bishop of the diocese be in doubt, then he may send for the resolution thereof to the Archbishop."
The mind of the Reformers on the subject of Confession, even
on the approach of death, may perhaps be inferred from the
following expressions in the Colloquies of Erasmus; contrasting a
peaceful and happy death with one of parade and tumult; and they
afford an illustration of some remarkable words in our Liturgy:
"Accitus parochus rursus porrexit corpus Domini; sed citra
confessionem: negabat enim quidquam scrupuli residisse in animo."
GILBERT AND RIVINGTON, PRINTERS, ST. JOHN'S SQUARE, LONDON.