Lecture 4. The Providential Course of the Movement of 1833 Not in the Direction of the National Church

Movement must have Place in Divine Plan

Ecclesiastical Liberty the First Principle of Movement

Movement and Establishment Antagonists from the First

No Tendency for Movement and Establishment to Coalesce

Some Unreal Options

To Remain in Establishment is to Abandon Cause

Go where Truth Leads



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{96} IT is scarcely possible to fancy that an event so distinctive in its character as the rise of the so-called Anglo-Catholic party in the course of the last twenty years, should have no scope in the designs of Divine Providence. From beginnings so small, from elements of thought so fortuitous, with prospects so unpromising, that in its germ it was looked upon with contempt, if it was ever thought of at all, it suddenly became a power in the National Church, and an object of alarm to her rulers and friends. Its originators would have found it difficult to say what they aimed at of a practical kind; rather they put forth views and principles for their own sake, because they were true, as if they were obliged to say them; and though their object certainly was to strengthen the establishment, yet it would have been very difficult for them to state precisely the intermediate process, or definite application, by {97} which, in matter of fact, their preaching was to arrive at that result. And, as they might be themselves surprised at their earnestness in proclaiming, they had as great cause to be surprised at their success in propagating, the doctrines which have characterised their school. And, in fact, they had nothing else to say but that those doctrines were in the air; that to assert was to prove, and that to explain was to persuade; and that the movement in which they were taking part, was the birth of a crisis rather than of a place. I do not mean to say, that they did not use arguments on the one hand, nor attempt to associate themselves with things as they were on the other; but that, after all, their doctrine went forth rather than was delivered, and spoke rather than was spoken; that it was a message rather than an argument; that it was the master, not the creature of its proclaimers, and seemed to be said at random, because uttered with so indistinct an aim; and so, with no advantage except that of position, which of course is not to be undervalued, it spread and was taken up no one knew how. In a very few years a school of opinion was formed, fixed in its principles, indefinite and progressive in their range; and it extended into every part of the country. If, turning from the contemplation of it from within, we inquire what the world thought of it, we have still more to raise our wonder; for not to mention the excitement it caused in England, the movement and its party-names {98} were known to the police of Italy and the back-woodsmen of America. So it proceeded, getting stronger and stronger every year, till it has come into collision with the Nation, and that Church of the Nation, which it began by professing especially to serve; and now its upholders and disciples have to look about, and ask themselves where they are, and which way they are to go, and whither they are bound.

Providence does nothing in vain; so much earnestness, zeal, toil, thought, religiousness, success, as has a place in the history of that movement, must surely have a place also in His scheme, and in His dealings towards His Church in this country, if we could discern what that place was. He has excited aspirations, matured good thoughts, and prospered pious undertakings arising out of them: not for nothing surely—then for what? Wherefore?

The movement certainly is one and the same to all who have been influenced by it; the principles and circumstances, which have made them what they are, are one and the same; the history of one of you, my brethren, is pretty much the history of another—the history of all. Is it meant that you should each of you end in his own way, if your beginnings have been the same? The duty of one of you, is it not the duty of another? Are you not to act together? In other words, may I not look at the movement as integrally one, and thus investigate what is its bearing and its {99} legitimate issue? and may not, in consequence, that direction and scope of the movement, if such can be ascertained, be taken as a suggestion to you how you should act, distinct from, and in addition to, the intimations of God's will, which come home to you personally and individually? The movement has affected us in a certain way: at one time we have felt urged perhaps, with some of those who took part in it, to go forward; at another, to remain where we are; then to retire into lay-communion, if we were in the Established ministry; then to collapse into a sect external to its pale. We have tried to have faith in the sacraments of the National Church; for a time we have succeeded, and then we have failed; we have felt ourselves drawn, we have felt ourselves repelled by the Catholic Church;—we have felt difficulties in her faith, counter-difficulties in rejecting it, complications of difficulty on difficulty, concurrent or antagonist, till we could ascertain neither their mutual relation nor their combined issue, and could neither change nor remain where we were without scruple.

Under such a trial it would be some guidance, a sort of token or note of the course destined for us by Providence, if the movement itself, whose principles we have drunk in, with which we are so intimately one, had, from the nature of the case, its own natural and necessary termination. Before now, when a Protestant, I have said more or less to others who were in anxiety, {100} "Watch the movement; it is made up of individuals, but it has an objective being, proceeds on principles, is governed by laws, and is swayed and directed by external facts. We are apt to be attracted or driven this way or that; each thinks for himself and judges differently from others; each fears to decide; but may we not ascertain and follow the legitimate and divinely intended course of that, whose children we are?" A great Saint was accustomed to command his sons, when they had to determine some point relatively to themselves and their Society, to throw themselves in imagination out of themselves, and to look at the question externally, as if it were not personal to them, and they were deciding for a stranger. In like manner it has been sometimes recommended in the solution of public questions, to look at them as they will show in history, and as they will be judged of by posterity. Now in some such way should I wish, at this moment, to regard the movement of 1833, and to discover what is its proper, suitable, legitimate termination. This, then, is the question I shall consider in the present Lecture;—here is a great existing fact before our eyes—the movement and its party. What is to become of it? What ought to become of it? Is it to melt away as if it had not been? Is it merely to subserve the purposes of Liberalism, in breaking up establishments by weakening them, and in making dogma ridiculous by multiplying sects? or is it of too {101} positive a character, both in its principles and its members, to anticipate for it so disappointing an issue.


I say, it has been definite in its principles, though vague in their application and their scope. It has been formed on one idea, which has developed into a body of teaching, logical in the arrangement of its portions, and consistent with the principles on which it originally started. That idea, or first principle, was ecclesiastical liberty; the doctrine which it especially opposed was in ecclesiastical language, the heresy of Erastus, and in political, the Royal Supremacy. The object of its attack was the Establishment, considered simply as such.

When I thus represent the idea of the movement of which I am speaking, I must not be supposed to overlook or deny to it its theological, or its ritual, or its practical aspect; but I am speaking of what may be called its form. If I said that the one doctrine of Luther was justification by faith only, or of Wesley the doctrine of the new birth, I should not be denying that those divines respectively taught many other doctrines, but merely should mean that the one doctrine or the other gave a shape and character to its teaching. In like manner, the writers of the Apostolical party of 1833 were earnest and copious in their enforcement of the high doctrines of the faith, of dogmatism, of the sacramental principle, of the sacraments (as far as the {102} Anglican Prayer Book admitted them), of ceremonial observances, of practical duties, and of the counsels of perfection; but, considering all those great articles of teaching to be protected and guaranteed by the independence of the Church, and in that way alone, they viewed sanctity, and sacramental grace, and dogmatic fidelity, merely as subordinate to the mystical body of Christ, and made them minister to her sovereignty, that she might in turn protect them in their prerogatives. Dogma would be maintained, sacraments would be administered, religious perfection would be venerated and attempted, if the Church were supreme in her spiritual power; dogma would be sacrificed to expedience, sacraments would be rationalized, perfection would be ridiculed if she was made the slave of the State. Erastianism, then, was the one heresy which practically cut at the root of all revealed truth; the man who held it would soon fraternise with Unitarians, mistake the bustle of life for religious obedience, and pronounce his butler to be as able to give communion as his priest. It destroyed the supernatural altogether, by making most emphatically Christ's kingdom a kingdom of the world. Such was the teaching of the movement of 1833. The whole system of revealed truth was, according to it, to be carried out upon the anti-Erastian or Apostolical basis. The independence of the Church is almost the one subject of three out of four volumes of Mr. Froude's Remains; it is, in one {103} shape or other, the prevailing subject of the early numbers of the "Tracts for the Times," as well as of other publications which might be named. It was for this that the writers of whom I speak had recourse to Antiquity, insisted upon the Apostolical Succession, exalted the Episcopate, and appealed to the people, not only because these things were true and right, but in order to shake off the State; they introduced them, in the first instance, as means towards the inculcation of the idea of the Church, as constituent portions of that great idea, which, when it once should be received, was a match for the world.

"Our one tangible object," it was said, in a passage too long to be extracted at length, "is to restore the connection, at present broken, between Bishops and people; for in this everything is involved, directly or indirectly, for which it is a duty to contend … We wish to maintain the faith, and bind men together in love. We are aiming, with this view, at that commanding moral influence which attended the early Church, which made it attractive and persuasive, which manifested itself in a fascination sufficient to elicit out of Paganism and draw into itself all that was noblest and best from the mass of mankind, and which created an internal system of such grace, beauty, and majesty, that believers were moulded thereby into martyrs and evangelists … If master-minds are ever granted to us, they must be persevering in insisting on the Episcopal {104} system, the Apostolical Succession, the ministerial commission, the power of the keys, the duty and desirableness of Church discipline, the sacredness of Church rites and ordinances. But, you will say, how is all this to be made interesting to the people? I answer, that the topics themselves which they are to preach are of that attractive nature, which carries with it its own influence. The very notion that representatives of the Apostles are now on earth, from whose communion we may obtain grace, as the first Christians did from the Apostles, is surely, when admitted, of a most transporting and persuasive character. Clergymen are at present subject to the painful experience of losing the more religious portion of their flocks, whom they have tutored and moulded as children, but who, as they come into life, fall away to the Dissenters. Why is this? They desire to be stricter than the mass of Churchmen, and the Church gives them no means; they desire to be governed by sanctions more constraining than those of mere argument, and the Church keeps back those doctrines, which, to the eye of faith, give reality and substance to religion. One who is told that the Church is the treasure-house of spiritual gifts, comes for a definite privilege … Men know not of the legitimate priesthood, and, therefore, are condemned to hang upon the judgment of individuals and self-authorised preachers; they put up with legends of private Christians, in the place of the men of God, the meek {105} martyrs, the saintly pastors, the wise and winning teachers of the Catholic Church." [Note 1]


Passages such as this, which is but a portion of a whole, show to me, my brethren, clearly enough, that these men understood the nature of the Church far better than they understood the nature of the religious communion which they sought to defend. They saw in that religion, indeed, a contrariety to their Apostolic principles, but they seem to have fancied that such contrariety was an accident in its constitution, and was capable of a cure. They did not understand that the Established Religion [Note 2] was set up in Erastianism, that Erastianism was its essence, and that to destroy Erastianism was to destroy the religion. The movement, then, and the Establishment, were in simple antagonism from the first, although neither party knew it; they were logical contradictories; they could not be true together; what was the life of the one was the death of the other. The sole ambition of the Establishment was to be the creature of Statesmen; the sole aspiration of the movement was to force it to act for itself. The movement went forth on the face of the country; it read, it preached, it published; it addressed {106} itself to logic and to poetry; it was antiquary and architect; only to do for the Establishment what the Establishment considered the most intolerable of disservices. Every breath, every sigh, every aspiration, every effort of the movement was an affront or an offence to the Establishment. In its very first tract, it could wish nothing better for the Bishops of the Establishment than martyrdom; and, as the very easiest escape, it augured for them the loss of their temporal possessions. It was easy to foresee what response the Establishment would make to its officious defenders, as soon as it could recover from its surprise; but experience was necessary to teach this to men who knew more of St. Athanasius than of the Privy Council or the Court of Arches.

"Why should any man in Britain," asks a Tract, "fear or hesitate boldly to assert the authority of the Bishops and pastors of the Church on grounds strictly evangelical and spiritual?" "Reverend Sir," answered the Primate to a protest against a Bishop-elect, accused of heresy, "it is not within the bounds of any authority possessed by me to give you an opportunity of proving your objections; finding, therefore, nothing in which I could act in compliance with your remonstrance, I proceeded, in the execution of my office, to obey Her Majesty's mandate for Dr. Hampden's consecration in the usual form."

"Are we contented," asks another Tract, "to be {107} accounted the mere creation of the State, as school-masters and teachers may be, as soldiers, or magistrates, or other public officers? Did the State make us? Can it unmake us? Can it send out missionaries? Can it arrange dioceses?" "William the Fourth," answers the first magistrate of the State, "by the grace of God, of the united kingdom of Great Britain, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, to all to whom these presents shall come, greeting: We, having great confidence in the learning, morals, and probity of our well-beloved and venerable William Grant Broughton, do name and appoint him to be Bishop and ordinary pastor of the see of Australia, so that he shall be, and shall be taken to be, Bishop of the Bishop's see, and may, by virtue of this our nomination and appointment, enter into and possess the said Bishop's see as the Bishop thereof, without any let or impediment of us; and we do hereby declare, that if we, our heirs and successors, shall think fit to recall or revoke the appointment of the said Bishop of Australia, or his successors, that every such Bishop shall, to all intents and purposes, cease to be Bishop of Australia."

"Confirmation is an ordinance," says the Tract, "in which the Bishop witnesses for Christ. Our Lord and Saviour confirms us with the spirit of all goodness; the Bishop is His figure and likeness when he lays his hands on the heads of children. Then Christ comes to them, to confirm in them the grace of baptism." {108} "And we do hereby give and grant to the said Bishop of Australia," proceeds His Majesty, "and his successors, Bishops of Australia, full power and authority to confirm those that are baptized and come to years of discretion, and to perform all other functions peculiar and appropriate to the office of Bishop within the limits of the said see of Australia."

"Moreover," says the Tract, "the Bishop rules the Church here below, as Christ rules it above; and is commissioned to make us clergymen God's ministers. He is Christ's instrument." "And we do by these presents give and grant to the said Bishop and his successors, Bishops of Australia, full power and authority to admit into the holy orders of deacon and priest respectively, any person whom he shall deem duly qualified, and to punish and correct chaplains, ministers, priests, and deacons, according to their demerits."

"The Bishop speaks in me," says the Tract, "as Christ wrought in him, and as God sent Christ; thus the whole plan of salvation hangs together;—Christ the true Mediator; His servant the Bishop His earthly likeness; mankind the subjects of His teaching; God the author of salvation." And the Queen answers, "We do hereby signify to the Most Reverend Father in God, William, Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, our nomination of the said Augustus, requiring, and, by the faith and love whereby he is bound unto us, commanding {109} the said Most Reverend Father in God, to ordain and consecrate the said Augustus." And the consecrated prelate echoes from across the ocean, "Augustus, by the grace of God and the favour of Queen Victoria, Bishop."

"You will, in time to come," says the Tract, "honour us with a purer honour than men do now, as those who are intrusted with the keys of heaven and hell, as the heralds of mercy, as the denouncers of woe to wicked men, as intrusted with the awful and mysterious privilege of dispensing Christ's Body and Blood." And a first Episcopal Charge replies in the words of the Homily, "Let us diligently search the well of life, and not run after the stinking puddles of tradition, devised by man's imagination." A second, "It is a subject of deep concern that any of our body should prepare men of ardent feelings and warm imaginations for a return to the Roman Mass-book." And a third, "Already are the foundations of apostasy laid; if we once admit another Gospel, Antichrist is at the door. I am full of fear; everything is at stake; there seems to be something judicial in the rapid spread of these opinions." And a fourth, "It is impossible not to remark upon the subtle wile of the Adversary; it has been signally and unexpectedly exemplified in the present day by the revival of errors which might have been supposed buried for ever." And a fifth, "Under the spurious pretence of deference {110} to antiquity and respect for primitive models, the foundations of our Protestant Church are undermined by men who dwell within her walls, and those who sit in the Reformer's seat are traducing the Reformation." "Our glory is in jeopardy," says a sixth. "Why all this tenderness for the very centre and core of corruption?" asks a seventh. "Among other marvels of the present day," says an eighth, "may be accounted the irreverent and unbecoming language applied to the chief promoters of the Reformation in this land. The quick and extensive propagation of opinions, tending to exalt the claims of the Church and of the Clergy, can be no proof of their soundness." "Reunion with Rome has been rendered impossible," says a ninth, "yet I am not without hope that more cordial union may, in time, be effected among all Protestant Churches." "Most of the Bishops," says a tenth, "have spoken in terms of disapproval of the 'Tracts for the Times,' and I certainly believe the system to be most pernicious, and one which is calculated to produce the most lamentable schism in a Church already fearfully disunited."

"Up to this moment," says an eleventh, "the movement is advancing under just the same pacific professions, and the same imputations are still cast upon all who in any way impede its progress. Even the English Bishops, who have officially expressed any disapprobation of the principles or proceedings of the party, {111} have not escaped such animadversions." "Tractarianism is the masterpiece of Satan," says a twelfth.


But there was a judgment more cruel still, because it practically told in their favour; but it was the infelicity of the agents in the movement, that, the National Church feeling both in its rulers and its people as it did, their teaching could not escape animadversion except at the expense of their principles. "A Bishop's lightest word, ex Cathedrā, is heavy," said a writer of the "Tracts for the Times." "His judgment on a book cannot be light; it is a rare occurrence." And an Archbishop answered from the other side of St. George's Channel, "Many persons look with considerable interest to the declarations on such matters that from time to time are put forth by Bishops in their Charges, or on other occasions. But on most of the points to which I have been alluding, a Bishop's declarations have no more weight, except what they derive from his personal character, than any anonymous pamphlet would have. The points are mostly such as he has no official power to decide, even in reference to his own diocese; and as to legislation for the Church, or authoritative declarations on many of the most important matters, neither any one Bishop, nor all collectively, have any more right of this kind, than the {112} ordinary magistrates have to take on themselves the functions of Parliament."

However, it is hardly necessary to prolong the exhibition of the controversy, or to recall to your recollection the tone of invective in which each party relieved the keen and vehement feelings which its opponents excited;—how the originators of the movement called Jewell "an irreverent Dissenter;" were even "thinking worse and worse of the Reformers;" "hated the Reformation and the Reformers more and more;" thought them the false prophets of the Apocalypse; described the National Church as having "blasphemed Tradition and the Sacraments;" were "more and more indignant at the Protestant doctrine of the Eucharist;" thought the principle on which it was founded "as proud, irreverent, and foolish, as that of any heresy, even Socinianism;" and considered the Establishment their "upas-tree," "an incubus on the country;" and its reformed condition, "a limb badly set, which must be broken before it could be righted." And how they were called in turn, "superstitious," "zealots," "mystical," "malignants," "Oxford heretics," "Jesuits in disguise," "tamperers with Popish idolatry," "agents of Satan," "a synagogue of Satan," "snakes in the grass," "walking about our beloved Church, polluting the sacred edifice, and leaving their slime about her altars;" "whose head," it was added, "may God crush!"

Is it not then abundantly plain, that, whatever be {113} the destiny of the movement of 1833, there is no tendency in it towards a coalition with the Establishment? It cannot strengthen it, it cannot serve it, it cannot obey it. The party may be dissolved, the movement may die—that is another matter; but it and its idea cannot live, cannot energize, in the National Church. If St. Athanasius could agree with Arius, St. Cyril with Nestorius, St. Dominic with the Albigenses, or St. Ignatius with Luther, then may two parties coalesce, in a certain assignable time, or by certain felicitously gradual approximations, or with dexterous limitations and concessions, who mutually think light darkness and darkness light. "Delenda est Carthago;" one or other must perish. Assuming, then, that there is a scope and limit to the movement, we certainly shall not find it in the dignities and offices of the National Church.


If then, this be not the providential direction of the movement, let us ask, in the next place, is it intended to remain just what it is at present, not in power or authority, but as a sort of principle or view of religion, found here and there with greater or less distinctness, with more or fewer followers, scattered about or concentrated, up and down the Establishment; with no exact agreement between man and man in matters of detail or in theoretical basis, but as an influence, sleeping or rousing, victorious or defeated, from time to {114} time, as the case may be? This state of things is certainly supposable, at least for a time, for a generation; and various arguments may be adduced in its behalf. It may be urged, "that if you cannot do any positive good to the nation, yet at least in this way you may prevent evil; that to be a drag upon the career of unbelief, if you are nothing else, is a mission not to be despised; moreover, if it be not a heroic course of action, or look well in history, still so much the more does such an office become those who are born in a fallen time, and who wish to be humble."

Again, though it is good to be humble, still, on the other hand, "there is a chance," it may be whispered by others, "of a nobler and higher function opening on you, if you are but patient and dutiful for a time." This is the suggestion of those who cannot, will not, look at things as they are; who think objects feasible because they are desirable, and to be attempted because they are tempting. These persons go on dwelling upon the thought of the wonderful power of the British people, at this day, all over the world, till at length they begin to conjecture what may possibly be the design of Providence in raising it up. They feel that Great Britain would be a most powerful instrument of good, if it could be directed aright; and then they argue that if it is to be influenced, what else ought naturally and obviously to influence it but the National Church? The National Church, then, is to be God's instrument for the conversion {115} of the world. But in order to this, of course it is indispensable that the National Church should have a clear and sufficient hold of Apostolical doctrine and usage; but then, who is to instruct the National Church in these necessary matters, but that Apostolical movement to which they themselves belong? And thus, by a few intermediate steps, they have attained the conclusion, that, because the nation is so powerful, the movement must succeed. Accordingly, they bear any degree of humiliation and discomforture; nay, any argumentative exposure, any present stultification of their principles, any, however chronic, disorganization, with an immovable resolve, as a matter of duty and merit, because they are sanguine about the future. They seem to feel that the whole cause of truth, the reform of the Establishment, the catholicizing of the nation, the conversion of the world, depends at this moment on their faithfulness to their position; on their own steadfastness the interests of humanity are at stake, and where they now are, there they will live and die. They have taken their part, and to that part they will be true.

Moreover, there are those among them who have very little grasp of principle, even from the natural temper of their minds. They see that this thing is beautiful, and that is in the Fathers, and a third is expedient, and a fourth pious; but of their connection one with another, their hidden essence and their life, {116} and the bearing of external matters upon each and upon all, they have no perception or even suspicion. They do not look at things as parts of a whole, and often will sacrifice the most important and precious portions of their creed, or make irremediable concessions in word or in deed, from mere simplicity and want of apprehension [Note 3]. This was in one way singularly exemplified in the beginning of the movement itself. I am not saying that every word that was used in the "Tracts for the Times" was matter of principle, or that the doctrines to be enforced were not sometimes unnecessarily coloured by the vehemence of the writer; but still it not seldom happened that readers took statements which contained the very point of the argument, or the very heart of the principle, to be mere intemperate expressions, and suggested to the authors their removal. They said "they went a great way with us, but they really could not go such lengths. Why speak of the Apostolic Succession, instead of Evangelical truth and Apostolical order? It gave offence, it did no manner of good. Why use the word 'altar,' if it displeased weak brethren? The word 'sacrifice' was doubtless a misprint for 'sacrament;' and to talk with Bishop Bull of 'making the body of Christ,' was a most extravagant, unjustifiable way of describing the administration of the Lord's Supper." {117}

Things are changed now at the end of twenty years, but characters and intellects are the same. Such persons, at the present moment, do not formally profess any intention of giving up any of the doctrines of the movement; but they think it possible and expedient to divide portion from portion, and are rash and inconsistent in their advice and their conduct, from mere ignorance of what they are doing. So, too, they think it a success, and are elated accordingly, if any measure whatever, which happens to have been contemplated by the movement, is in any shape conceded by the Establishment or by the State; heedless altogether whether such measure be capable or not of coalescing with a foreign principle, and whether, instead of modifying, it has not been changed into that against which, in the minds of the writers of the Tracts, it was directed. For instance, the movement succeeded in gaining an increase in the number of Episcopal sees at home and abroad; well, a triumph this certainly is, if any how to succeed in a measure which one has advocated may be called by that name. But, be it recollected, measures derive their character and their worth from the principle which animates them; they have little meaning in themselves; they are but material facts, unless they include in them their scope and enforce their object; nay, they readily assume the animus and drift, and are taken up into the form, of the system by which they are adopted. If the Apostolical {118} movement desired to increase the Episcopate, it was with a view to its own Apostolical principles; it had no wish merely to increase the staff of Government officers in England or in the colonies, the patronage of a ministry, the erection of country palaces, or the Latitudinarian votes in Parliament. Has it, for instance, done a great achievement at Manchester, if it has planted there a chair of liberalism, and inaugurated an anti-Catholic tradition?


A policy, then, resting on such a temper of mind as I have been describing,—viz., a determination to act as if the course of events itself would, in some way or other, work for Apostolical truth, sooner or later, more or less; to let things alone, to do nothing, to make light of every triumph of the enemy from within or without, to waive the question of ecclesiastical liberty, to remain where you are, and go about your work in your own place, either contented to retard the course of events, or sanguine about an imaginary future,—this is simply to abandon the cause of the movement altogether. It is simply to say that there is no providential destiny or object connected with it at all. You may be right, my brethren; this may be the case; perhaps it is so. You have a right to this opinion, but understand what you are doing. Do not deceive yourselves by words; it is not a biding your time, as you may fancy, if you surrender {119} the idea and the main principle of the movement; it is the abandonment of your cause. You remain, indeed, in your place, but it is no moral, no intellectual, but a mere secular, visible position which you occupy. Great commanders, when in war they are beaten back from the open country, retire to the mountains and fortify themselves in a territory which is their own. You have no place of refuge from the foe; you have no place from which to issue in due season, no hope that your present concessions will bring about a future victory. Your retreat is an evacuation. You will remain in the Establishment in your own persons, but your principles will be gone.

I know how it will be—a course as undignified as it will be ineffectual. A sensation and talk whenever something atrocious is to be done by the State against the principles you profess; a meeting of friends here or there, an attempt to obtain an archidiaconal meeting; some spirited remarks in two or three provincial newspapers; an article in a review; a letter to some Bishop; a protest signed respectably; suddenly the news that the anticipated blow has fallen, and causa finita est. A pause, and then the discovery that things are not so bad as they seemed to be, and that after all your Apostolical Church has come forth from the trial even stronger and more beautiful than before. Still a secret dissatisfaction and restlessness; a strong sermon at a visitation; and a protest after dinner, when his lordship {120} is asked to print his Charge; a paragraph to your great satisfaction in a hostile newspaper, saying how that most offensive proceedings are taking place in such and such a Tractarian parish or chapel, how that there were flowers on the table, or that the curate has tonsured himself, or has used oil and salt in baptizing, or has got a cross upon his surplice, or that in a benefit sermon the bigoted Rector unchurched the Society of Friends, or that Popery is coming in amain upon our venerable Establishment, because a parsonage has been built in shape like a Trappist monastery. And then other signs of life; the consecration of a new church, with Clergy walking in gown and bands, two and two, and the Bishop preaching on decency and order, on the impressive performance of divine Service, and the due decoration of the house of God. Then a gathering in the Christian Knowledge Rooms about some new book put upon the Society's list, or some new liberalizing regulation; a drawn battle, and a compromise. And every now and then a learned theological work, doctrinal or historical, justifying the ecclesiastical principles on which the Anglican Church is founded, and refuting the novelties of Romanism. And lastly, on occasion of a contested election or other political struggle, theology mingled with politics; the liberal candidate rejected by the aid of the High-Church Clergy on some critical question of religious policy; the Government annoyed or embarrassed; and a sanguine hope entertained of a {121} ministry more favourable to Apostolical truth. My brethren, the National Church has had experience of this, mutatis mutandis, once before: I mean in the conduct of the Tory Clergy at the end of the seventeenth, and beginning of the following century. Their proceedings in Convocation were a specimen of it; their principles were far better than those of their Bishops; yet the Bishops show to advantage and the Clergy look small and contemptible in the history of that contest. Public opinion judged, as it ever judges, by such broad and significant indications of right and wrong; the Government party triumphed, and the meetings of the Convocation were suspended.

It is impossible, in a sketch such as this, to complete the view of every point which comes into consideration; yet I think I have said enough to suggest the truth of what I am urging to those who carefully turn the matter in their minds. Is the influence of the movement to be maintained adequately to its beginnings and its promise? Many, indeed, will say—certainly many of those who hated or disapproved of it—that it was a sudden ebullition of feeling, or burst of fanaticism, or reaction from opposite errors; that it has had its day, and is over. It may be so; but I am addressing those who, I consider, are of another opinion; and to them I appeal, whether I have yet proposed anything plausible about the providential future of the movement. It is surely not intended, either to rise into the high {122} places of the Establishment, or to sink into a vague, amorphous faction at the foot of it. It cannot rise and it ought not to sink.


And now I am in danger of exceeding the limits which I have proposed to myself, though another more important head of consideration lies before me, could I hope to do justice to it. I have urged that you will be most inconsistent, my brethren, with your principles and views, if you remain in the Establishment; I say with your principles and views, for you may give them up, and then you will not be inconsistent. You may say, "I do not hold them so strongly as to make them the basis and starting-point of any course of action whatever. I have believed in them, it is true; but I have never contemplated the liabilities you are urging upon me. I cannot, under any supposition, contemplate an abandonment of the National Church. I am not that knight-errant to give up my position, which surely is given me by Providence, on a theory. I am what I am. I am where I am. My reason has followed the teaching of the movement, and I have assented to it; so far I grant. But it is a new idea to me quite, which I have never contemplated at starting, which I cannot contemplate now, that possibly it might {123} involve the most awful, most utter of sacrifices. I have ten thousand claims upon me, urging me to remain where I am. They are real, tangible, habitual, immutable; nothing can shake or lessen them from within. A distinct call of God from without would, of course, overcome them, but nothing short of it. Am I as sure of those Apostolical principles which I have embraced as I am of these claims? Moreover, I am doing good in my parish and in my place. The day passes as usual. Sunday comes round once a week; the bell rings, the congregation is met, and service is performed. There is the same round of parochial duties and charities; sick people to be visited, the school to be inspected. The sun shines, and the rain falls, the garden smiles, as it used to do; and can some one definite, external event have changed the position of this happy scene of which I am the centre? Is not that position a self-dependent, is it a mere relative position? What care I for the Privy Council or the Archbishop, while I can preach and catechize just as before? I have my daily service and my Saints' day sermons, and I can tell my people about the primitive Bishops and martyrs, and about the grace of the Sacraments, and the power of the Church, how that it is Catholic, and Apostolic, and Holy, and One, as if nothing had happened; and I can say my hours, or use my edition of Roman Devotions, and observe the days {124} of fasting, and take confessions, if they are offered, in spite of all gainsayers."

It is true, my dear brethren, you may knowingly abandon altogether what you have once held, or you may profess to hold truths without being faithful to them. Well, then, you are of those who think that the movement has come to an end; if in your conscience you think so—that it was a mere phantom, or deceit, or unreality, or dream, which has taken you in, and from which you have awakened,—I have not a word to say. If, however, as I trust is the case, God has not in vain unrolled the pages of antiquity before your eyes, but has stamped them upon your hearts; if He has put into your minds the perception of the truth which, once given, can scarcely be lost, once possessed, will ever be recognized; if you have by His grace been favoured in any measure with the supernatural gift of faith, then, my brethren, I think too well of you, I hope too much of you, to fancy that you can be untrue to convictions so special and so commanding. No; you are under a destiny, the destiny of truth—truth is your master, not you the master of truth—you must go whither it leads. You can have no trust in the Establishment or its Sacraments and ordinances. You must leave it, you must secede; you must turn your back upon, you must renounce, what has—not suddenly become, but has now been proved to you to have ever {125} been—an imposture. You must take up your cross and you must go hence. But whither? That is the question which it follows to ask, could I do justice to it. But you will rather do justice to it in your own thoughts. You must betake yourselves elsewhere—and "to whom shall you go?"

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1. British Magazine, April 1836—[Discussions and Arguments, pp. 34-38.]
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2. We must not forget, however, Mr. Froude's upas-tree.
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3. Since writing the above, the author finds it necessary to observe, that, in writing it, it had no reference to persons, and he would be pained if it seemed to refer to actual passages in the controversy now in progress.
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