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what were the conditions of obtaining eternal life; also concerning abatements for unavoidable infirmities, how cast on the accompts of the Crosse. On the 31st I made a visit of Dr. Jeremy Taylor to conferr with him on spiritual matters, using him from thenceforward as my ghostly father. I beseech God Almighty to make me ever mindful of, and thankful, for his heavenly assistances.'
The office of Confessor to the King's household (Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, A.D. 1625-6, pp. 133-149) existed till a very late period. It was holden, we believe, by the predecessor of the present Sub-Dean of the Chapel Royal at St. James's. We are not certain whether the present SubDean does or does not hold this office.
As to the lawfulness and, in certain cases, the expedience of private confession, and as to the power and duty of the Priest to absolve, the authority of a long catena of English divines, from Hooker to Keble, might be cited. We will be content with two citations from a source which no English Churchman can gainsay :
'Moreover,' says the great Barrow, 'if persons, having committed notorious enormities, adjudged of a deadly and distructive nature ("sins unto death" S. John calls them), inconsistent with the state of grace, and scandalous to the Christian profession, are therefore justly secluded from communion of the Church; when upon submission to the penances enjoined, and satisfactory demonstrations of repentance, they are resumed into the body of the Church, we may be assured that (according to the Catholic resolution against the Novatians), supposing the repentance true and real, their sins are remitted, and they are restored to a state of grace.
The Church (to which the public and ordinary dispensations of God's grace, according to the dispositions and conditions which He hath declared and required in order to men's becoming capable thereof, are committed) hath sufficient warrant to receive such persons into a state of grace and reconciliation with God. So that we neea not doubt but whose sins they shall thus remit, shall in effect (according to our Saviour's word) be remitted; whom they shall thus absolve on earth, they shall be absolved in Heaven.'—(Barrow, Power of the Keys, vol. vi. p. 426.)
1. They do remit sins dispositivè, by working in persons fit dispositions, upon which remission of sins, by God's promise, is consequent-the dispositions of faith and repentance.
2. They remit or retain sins (declarativè) as the ambassadors of God, in His name pronouncing the word of reconciliation to the penitent, and denouncing wrath to the obstinate sinner.
3. They remit sins impetrativè, obtaining pardon for sinners by their prayers, according to that of S. James: "Is any man sick among you? let him call the elders of the Church, and let them pray over him; and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord
shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him."
4. They remit sins dispensativè, by consigning pardon in administration of the Sacraments, especially in conferring baptism, whereby, duly administered and undertaken, all sins are washed away; and in the absolving of penitents, wherein grace is exhibited and ratified by imposition of hands, the which S. Paul calls xapieσ0a; and bestow grace or favour on the penitent.'-(b. vol. vi. p. 56.)
We have set before our reader all the material formularies of our Church on this matter of penitential discipline, with the object of inducing him to form an honest judgment from them as to what really is the teaching of our Church. The subject has been so obscured by men's passions in controversy that we think, even by the placing these formularies in their historical order, and using their own language, we do a service to the cause of truth. It is, of course, one thing to say what the plain teaching of these formularies is, and quite another what, according to some men's opinions, it ought to be. We understand the desire of the Society for Revising the PrayerBook-to whose Report we have referred at the head of this article-to get rid of the language, which is in direct opposition to their wishes on this subject, and to strip the Church of its Catholic character; but we do not understand how this Society can, while this language does remain unaltered and the Church does remain Catholic, think it just or right to censure and abuse those who act in accordance with the language taken in its natural sense, of which, because it does justify them, the Society complains, and which, on this account, it strives to alter.
It is, however, no new thing that passion, and especially in religious matters, should be illogical. The truth is that such opinions are plainly founded upon the venerable fallacy of begging the question. I am right, and you are wrong,' said the Inquisition, and 'I will torment and burn you for your good, mind, if you differ from me.' So it is with these Societies; it is the same language of persecution, though the milder and circuitous form of depriving a man of his house and home, and reducing him and his family to beggary, be substituted for the readier and rougher expedient of physical torturing and burning.
We will end by a succinct statement of the conclusions to which we think the foregoing authorities legally and judicially lead us :
I. That the Catholic Church in England does not, as a general rule, advise or encourage private confession.
2. That there is no authority in this Church, any more than in the Eastern Church, to enforce private confession in any case.
3. That the priests of this Church are bound to receive the confession of the penitent who desires to confess. That the layman has a right in this matter; the priest a co-relative duty. It is not the law that 'therein the patient must minister to himself.' He is entitled to the aid of the spiritual physician 'to cleanse the stuffed bosom of that perilous stuff that weighs upon the heart.'
4. Lastly, that the duly ordained priest has received power to forgive and to retain sins of those who are 'subjectos ejus.'
ART. X.-THE PLACE OF CONFESSION IN THE CHURCH'S SYSTEM.
1. The Freedom of Confession in the Church of England. A Letter to his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury. By the Rev. T. T. CARTER, Rector of Clewer, Hon. Canon of Christ Church, Oxford. (Rivingtons, London.) 2. Confession in the Church of England. A Sermon preached in Llandaff Cathedral, July 29, 1877, by J. J. STEWART PEROWNE, D.D., Canon of Llandaff, Hulsean Professor of Divinity, Cambridge, and Hon. Chaplain to the QUEEN. (Macmillan and Co., London.)
THE history of the Anglican Revival is a continuous illustration of the difficulties which beset the resuscitation of neglected truths. It is also a continuous illustration of the difficulties and the dangers which wait upon that restoration of disused practices which follows on the reception of the truths in question. Happily, we may add that in it we see also abundant examples of the way in which time and the gradual growth of better understanding work in aid of those to whom Providence has assigned the task of resuscitation.
At first everything seems arrayed against the courageous few who lead the way; and too often their fate, so far as their temporal fortunes are concerned, is but too similar to that of the best and bravest of a forlorn hope in war. This is most conspicuously true in those cases where the truths are deepest and most wide-reaching, and especially where they affect the motives as well as the minds of men the most
profoundly. A proposition of Euclid rouses no passions either in attack or defence. It touches no motive; it rests in the mind alone. But let a truth be ever so dimly felt to be a call to moral action, and then its promulgation at once acts as a trumpet-call to the vast mass of inertia which pervades mankind, and which for the nonce throws off its character of inertia to support with might and main whatever arguments or advocates can be found to challenge or to combat the unwelcome intruder.
But it is not only the champions of neglected truths on whose first steps peculiar dangers wait. The resuscitated truths themselves, together with the correlated duties and practices, come in for their share as well. They too have to run the gauntlet of risks and dangers which, unless the truths are truths indeed, and as such may be regarded as under the real though unseen guardianship of the God of Truth, might well be thought only too certain to prove fatal. A truth or a doctrine may in itself be absolute truth, but it has to be presented to mankind through the not infallible medium of the human intellect, and by the not inerrant agency of human character. The deeper the truth, the more sure it is to be many-sided, and therefore not taken in at first in all its bearings by the minds of its earlier advocates. The greater its potency as a motive to action, the more surely it rouses to eager, and not always balanced, zeal, the characters which first fall under its power. It is only after time and reflection have done their part that men may (if ever) be said to possess truths. Until then it is more true to describe them as being themselves possessed by the truths, and subjected to an impulsive force which at first transcends their control. There is often something quasiPentecostal (would that there were also the Pentecostal grace!) about the way in which a new, or-which comes to the same thing a newly resuscitated truth comes down upon the souls of those whom it selects as its first recipients. It comes with a wafture and a swoop, it seizes upon them, it carries them away, it makes them its apostles and missionaries, they speak new thoughts in words not always accurately fitted to ideas as yet only half familiar and partially comprehended, so that unless there were a Providence at work, either to guide the tongues of men, or to guard the truth from the consequences of unwary utterances, its peril would be great indeed. And if it is thus with the men of larger soul and generous self-surrender, what shall we say of the dangers to a new manifestation of latent truth from the
shallower-hearted many? There is ever-especially in days of superficial culture and restless movement—there is ever a class of men to whom any novelty is welcome, because of the notoriety which can accrue to its self-constituted advocates. There are men who have no vie intérieure, men whom truth does not awe, whose souls truth does not penetrate, but to whom it is not so much a reality as a topic to be tossed to and fro, in debate and discussion: and who can wonder if a heedless world often fails to feel the awfulness of the most solemn verities, when we remember that it is the surface current of debate, not the deeper waters of conviction, which meet its observation? So it is well indeed if the first launching of such truths incurs no worse mischief than some touch of minor exaggeration, such as in the case of religious truth may find ready adjustment by 'the analogy of the Faith.'
Prominent among the illustrations of these remarks which the Anglican Revival affords, stands the instance of Confession. In practical abeyance for generations, whether we regard the doctrines on which it rests or the practice which is the outcome of the doctrines, it has, during the last thirty years, been taking fast hold of hearts and consciences among the serious and the devout. It could not be otherwise. The deeper views which have been steadily making their way, first, as to the nature and reality of sin and the counter-reality of holiness, and next as to the divinely appointed, provisions for the counteraction of the one, and the promotion of the other, have borne their fruit. The cold morality which pervaded the public teaching of the Church during the latter portion of the eighteenth century, as it did little to probe the conscience, so it did little to rouse the sense of sin or to exhibit its nature. Of sin as a deadly reality in us, as a real power inevitably ruinous to the soul unless supernatural forces were brought to bear for its counteraction, little was said in the popular theology. The Evangelical Revival insisted abundantly on human corruption, but was conspicuously defective in its exhibition of the means of grace' divinely appointed, not merely for the counteraction of sin, but for the promotion of holiness. Personally excellent, as were the Evangelical leaders, their theory of religion-let us be pardoned the expressionnarrowed itself down to a doctrine of faith, which eventuated, as all testimony shows, in the development of an Antinomianism which practically fostered the very corruption which they denounced. Fixing their whole gaze on the doctrine of