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Tractarianism having sown the seed, now rejoices in the harvest, and casts in his lot with those who have ventured to supplant the simple and spiritual worship of the Church of England by medieval ceremonies and idolatry. Dr. Pusey's formal admission into the English Church Union, and his enrolment under the banner of Ritualism, completely associates Tractarianism with the movement which now shakes the Church to her very centre, while the identification of "the English Church Union" with the Eirenicon, involves a considerable body of Churchmen in the inconsistency and guilt of attempting to trample down the bulwarks which our Fathers had set up in the Thirty-nine Articles, and of proposing terms of surrender to Rome!
The friends of the Reformation in the Church of England must see that the cause of truth is imperiled from within, and that a severe struggle is inevitable, ere the Church can be restored to her former position as the bulwark of the Reformation. They must make up their minds for vigorous measures, or else witness, at length, the complete alienation of the Protestant public from our venerable ecclesiastical establishment.
It is hoped that this volume, under the Divine blessing, will render aid to the cause of truth in its exposition of the doctrines and laws of our national Zion. The great facts of the Reformation are here exhibited by the light of indisputable documents, and it is shown that the Reformers, both Edwardian and Elizabethan, were decidedly hostile to altars, crosses, sacerdotal vestments, and the peculiar ceremonies of the Mass, as well as to the doctrine of a bodily presence, and its concomitants. The Liturgy is viewed in connexion with the circumstances under which it was brought to its present form, and it is proved that
the Church is consistently and thoroughly Protestant. The Reformers were, on all points, opposed to the views which are now propounded by Romanizers, and we repeat what we have said elsewhere, that if they were now alive, they would be regarded as Ultra, and we, in comparison with them, as Citra Protestants. It is gratifying that the positions taken in this volume have been sustained by the opinion just given of some of the highest legal authorities. On the other hand, the report of the Convocational Committee accords with the fears which existed from its constitution, and, with some good points, is most unsatisfactory.*
* Canon Oxenden, a member of the Committee, in his speech in Convocation, thus refers to the partiality of the majority of the Committee: "When he attended the Committee he could not but feel that there "was a considerable leaning amongst its members to ritualistic practices. "He would not yield to any man in his love for the Church of England, " and he loved her for those glories which were brought out in the Refor"mation. He believed that one of her great glories consisted in the simplicity of her ritual. In the change of ritual which was going on "he did not fear for the safety of the English Church, for she was founded "on a rock, but he trembled for her usefulness. He felt assured that the laity would not bear an enlarged ritual."-The Clerical Journal, June 28, 1866. It is to be regretted that their report was adopted by the House.
1. They do not disallow the vestments, but do not regard them as obligatory.
2. They give no decision as to lights, but speak favourably of them. 3. They allow incense for fumigation, and as a symbol, but consider the censing of persons and books as inadmissible.
4. They consider the elevation of the elements as inadmissible.
5. They state that the presence of non-communicants at the Lord's supper, and the use of wafer bread should be discouraged. They speak approvingly of the motives of the Ritualists, and do not disapprove of an advanced ceremonial. The report is singularly weak, and in some instances unfair and illogical. The following are examples :—
I. They refer to the exposition of the Judicial Committee as follows:"With regard to this rubric, the Committee would, in the first place, "refer to the opinion expressed concerning its meaning by the Judicial "Committee of Privy Council in the case of 'Liddell v. Westerton.' "Speaking of the present rubric, and those similar to it, and occupying "the same places in the Prayer Books of Queen Elizabeth and King
The tu quoque argument has been freely employed by the Ritualists, and some who do not profess to agree on all points with them. The Earl of Carnarvon in the
James, their Lordships say- The rubric to the present Prayer Book 'adopts the language of the statute of Elizabeth; but they all obviously mean the same thing, that the same dresses and the same utensils or "'articles which were used under the first Prayer Book of Edward VI. 66 6 'may still be used.'
The Committee call attention to the fact that the question of vestments was not before the Privy Council, but leave the impression that their judgment was favourable to their legality. We answer that the Privy Council lay down a general principle which was undoubtedly true, but they were not called upon, as the question was not before them, to consider the limitation of the rubric which was effected by "the other order," and the Canons, and the consequent practice of three centuries. The re-imposition of the rubric in 1662 does not prove that any change took place in the law of the Church, for the rubric had been re-imposed in 1603-4, when, far from a change being effected, the Canons were enacted. The re-enactment of the Canons again in 1662, with a clause giving effect to the act of 1559, continued the status quo in the Church. See p. 302. They say:-"The Committee remark, in the "first place, that it had been the custom of the Church, from very early "times down to the period of the Reformation, to mark the superior dig"nity of the Holy Eucharist by the use of special vestments." This is hardly consistent with Archdeacon Freeman's statement in Convocation as to the vestments:-"There is no reason for doubting that they are, as "to the form, no other than THE EVERY DAY GARMENTS of the "ancient world in East and West, such as they existed at the time of our Lord, and for many ages before."-Report of the Ecclesiastical Gazette, May 8, 1866. Either, then, the Apostles wore their every day garments at the celebration of the Lord's supper, or the novel vestments are not those which they wore in ministration. The Independents and Baptists will be much obliged to the Archdeacon, a leading member of the Committee of Convocation, for the alternative! It is thus that extremes meet. The position assumed by the Ritualists proves that no distinctive vestments were in use by the Apostles!
II. On the subject of altar lights, they say:
"Upon the whole, the Committee observed that the use of altar-lights, "as above defined, is not without precedent in the Church of England "since the Reformation; although it is a use which has not been generally adopted at any period since the Reformation."
In justification of this, they refer to primitive usage, and precedents since the Reformation. They say:
Secondly, that time out of mind in the East, and subsequently to the "time of St. Jerome in the West also, lights have been symbolically
House of Lords, and the Bishop of Oxford, Archdeacon Denison, and the Convocational Committee have endeavoured to create a diversion in their favour by
"used both by day and by night on various occasions of divine service; "such as at baptisms, burials, the reading of the Gospel, and the cele "bration of the Holy Communion."
Instead of dealing with the vague generality of "time out of mind," they ought to have stated the limit to which they could trace the usage. They give a limit as to the Western Church, but leave their readers in a haze as to the Eastern. They say there is no proof of the use of incense in the apostolic age. They need not have hesitated to make the same statement as to lights. Bingham, who is confessed to be a high authority as an antiquarian, says :
These are frequently mentioned by Athanasius and the Apostolical "Constitutions, which allows oil to be offered for the lamps. Paulinus "also and St. Jerome speak of them, and seem to intimate that in their "time they were lighted by day as well as by night: which was an inno"vation upon the old custom: for the first and primitive use of them was "owing to necessity, when Christians were forced to meet in nocturnal "assemblies for fear of persecution. At which time they did not allow or Nor does St. Jerome say, there was any order of the Church, or so much as general custom to authorize it; but only it was tolerated in some places, to satisfy the ignorance, and "weakness, and simplicity of some secular men: and all he pretends to "offer in justification of it, is only, that there was no idolatry in it, as
approve of lighting them by day.
Vigilantius had heavily laid the charge upon it. However, there was "this difference between the age of Jerome and those which went before, "that the former ages positively condemn it. For not to mention what "Lactantius and others say to expose the like custom among the heathens, "the Council of Eliberis expressly forbids it in a very plain canon, though "the reason be something dark that is given for the prohibition. 'Let no one presume to set up lights in the day time in any cemetery, or "church: for the spirits of the saints are not to be molested.' I shall "not now stand to inquire into the meaning of this reason; it is sufficient "that the thing was then prohibited in plain terms. From whence it is "evident the contrary custom must be new, though prevailing both in the "East and West in the time of Paulinus and St. Jerome."—Antiquities, p. 315, vol. i. Lond. 1726.
The Committee refer to the "ritual usages which the Church of England has inherited from undivided Christendom." What they mean, we are at a loss to imagine, for day-lights and incense, though medieval, are not primitive, nor are they recognized by the Church.
The Committee are equally unsatisfactory as to the precedents of the Reformation. They say:
"With regard to the precedents of the Church of England since the
pointing to the alleged violation of rubrics by their opponents in the non-use of daily service, and the Prayer for the Church Militant after Morning Prayer,
"Reformation, the Committee remark that, by the Injunctions of King “Edward VI. in 1547, two lights were enjoined to be left on the high “altar, ‘for the signification that Christ is the very true light of the ""world,' when other lights, burnt before images, and pictures were "ordered to be removed."
Surely, the Committee must have known that the mass, with all its idolatry, remained after the publication of these injunctions. If the lights used in 1547 are a precedent, the elevation of the host, which the Committee declare to be inadmissible, is a precedent!
The Committee might have condescended to notice the fact that the Privy Council have indirectly ruled that the injunctions are not valid in law. The Judicial Committee in their judgment on the Knightsbridge case, referring to a passage in the injunctions of 1547, state that "It "shows that the high altar was to remain as it had been before, with lights upon it, before the sacrament;" but further on they add :—“ But 'by the time when the second Prayer-book was introduced a great change had taken place in the opinion of the English Church, and the consequence was that on the revision of the service, these several "matters were completely altered," and they go on to show that the altar gave place to the table and the mass to the communion. "It was
no longer to be an altar of sacrifice." Quoting the injunctions of Elizabeth, they add:-"These injunctions show that the communion of the "Lord's supper was to be held at a table as distinguished from an altar— "a table in the ordinary meaning of the term."
The Privy Council, therefore, ruled that the altar should be removed. The altar and lights are associated by the injunctions of 1547. They stand or fall together. And if the lights referred to in the injunction are a precedent so is the altar, so is the mass.
The Committee of Convocation say that, in some instances, candles appear to have been lighted since the Reformation. It would have been well, again, if they had favoured the public with their proofs, which could only be drawn from Laudian times, even if from them. But mere exceptions only prove the rule. Dr. Lushington's observations on usage are pertinent to this point:
"The expression 'in use,' I conceive we must all agree is not properly "applicable to that which was only done occasionally, and not in all
places; it must mean that which was generally accustomed to be done. "Some twenty instances go but a little way to form a general use. When "precise evidence as to the particular period fails, the best and most legitimate evidence would be what had been the usage for the last 300 "years. Such a usage would be the best evidence attainable of what