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CONTENTS OF NO. LXXVII.
spondence . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
JANUARY 1, 1864.
Art. I.-(1). Hansard's Debates in t'e Lords and Commons on Clerical
Subscription and on the Liturgy. (2). Letter to the Lord Bishop of London on the State of Subscription
in the Church of England and in the University of Oxford. By ARTHUR PENRHYN STANLEY, D.D. London: G. H. & J.
Parker. (3). A Letter to the Right Ton. W. E. Gladstone, M.P. By the
Rev. CHRISTOPHER NEVILLE, late Rector of Wichenby and Vicar
of Thoresby. London: Arthur Miall. (4). The Sin of Conformity. By WILLIAM ROBINSON. Heaton &
(5). Charge of the Bishop of London.
ENGLISH Episcopalians boast that their Church is the National Church. Nor is their boast wholly without warrant. The Anglican Church is such in so far as it has its establishment from acts of the National Legislature. But claiming to be National, that Church cedes the full right to all the parties, and even to all the sects, included in the nation, to be observant of its proceedings, and to subject them to a searching and manly criticism. According to the theory of the English Church, we are all Churchmen, and consequently, in concerning ourselves with her affairs, we may be said to be occupied with matters properly our own, doing what it befits us to do. To say that our judgments in this case should be candid and Christian, is to say no more than that the spirit we bring to the consideration of this subject is the spirit we should bring to the consideration of every other. We wish well to English Churchmen, and
in what we are about to say we would do them no wrong. We would rather do them good service.
At the present moment there is something strangely paradoxical in the position of the Church of England. In the language of her friends she has never stood more firmly than now; and in the same breath, and from the same persons, we learn that she has never needed mending so much as at present. She has never been charged with so many, or such startling Rationalistic errors as now; has never been so drugged with Popish superstition as now; and has never felt her helplessness as regards providing a remedy against these evils as she now feels them—and still we are assured that her foundations were never more fixed, her usefulness never more diffused, her prospects never more bright.
But the good men of the Church of England have a singular mode of judging when they attempt to take comfort to themselves by showing the amount of good their Church is doing. Much is said about the number of new churches, and the number of new schools. But a discreet silence is observed concerning what is likely to be taught in those churches and in those schools. No attempt is made to set forth the number of them which will be only so many new contributions toward that Rationalistic teaching on the one hand, or that Romanized teaching on the other, which the Church was never designed to furnish ; and least of all is there any disposition to consider how far the Established Church, by covering the ground in this manner with a net-work of false teaching, is becoming the grand impediment in the way of introducing teaching of a much more healthy description.
It is true, however, beyond a doubt, that there has been great zeal of late years in the direction of building new churches and of founding new schools. Parties, while bitterly opposed, have vied with each each other in relation to these objects. Each party, of course, assumes itself to be the embodiment of true Churchmanship; and the Church, as an institute, gets the benefit, mixed as it may be, of their common labour. No intelligent and dispassionate man can fail to see, that there must be something in the English Church commending itself very strongly to English feeling. The fact that it survives, and survives as it does, amid so much that seems to prognosticate decay and extinction, demonstrates an extraordinary tenacity of life. The causes of this tenacity merit a careful study. They are of a very mixed description. Some of them are of a pure and elevated nature; but others, it must be confessed, are too much of the earth, earthy.
The Anglican Church-Sources of her Strength. 3 The language of Churchmen, when praising their Church, is often of a very mystical description. The Church becomes a person-a lady-a venerable lady we might suppose, were it not that ladies rarely feel complimented by being reminded of their advanced years. But so it is. The Church is a spiritual mother, and she has claims upon her children which meet nowhere else. She is, we are assured, rich in the possession of all the hoary treasures of the past, and in everything of a nature to interest and charm the present. Nor do we wonder that there should be people who can so express themselves. We can understand the feeling of Churchmen, and especially of devout Churchmen, when they call up the associations of the past in relation to the services of their Church. Those services have com passed them about in infancy; have greeted them and given them welcome in their young manhood or womanhood; have shed their smile and benediction upon them when they entered on their wedded life; and have received, as to their sheltering care, the ashes of those whose fond love had been long settled upon them as children. In the sicknesses, the sorrows, and the bereavements of after life, and in the brighter no less than in the darker seasons of existence, the offices of this parent, who does not die, have not been wanting. True, her offices may not be without blemish ; but the truth transmitted in them, and the good communicated by them, who shall estimate? Her priesthood links in with the hierarchical grandeur and power of the priesthood of the middle age, and may be traced as a stream of light through those dark centuries up to the brightness of the pure and beautiful in apostolic times. If the world through many long centuries had piety, it was a piety embodied in the forms which she has preserved, and which breathed through the language which is still upon her lips. And then, if the heart of the Churchman has devoutness, whence came it? Commonly it lives in him associated with the venerable structure where the services familiar to his childhood distilled the dew of their influence upon his spirit, where the power was first felt which sufficed to curb his passions in manhood, and has trained his inner-being into alliances of thought, and into aspirations of feeling, which, if it be possible that good should have place in him, must assuredly be good.
Of course, there is another side to this picture, as we shall presently show. Reasons there are which may constrain a man who has been a Churchman, and a Churchman on these grounds, to cease to be so. But so long as the influences described act alone, it is no marvel that attachment to the Anglican Church, in the case of not a few, should be in the main a spiritual and Christian attachment. Minds which have drawn their religious