I. How to Accomplish It


{1} [Note 1] WHEN I was at Rome, I fell in with an English acquaintance, whom I had met occasionally in his own county, and when he was on a visit at my own University. I had always felt him a pleasant, as rather engaging companion, and his talent no one could question; but his opinions on a variety of political and ecclesiastical subjects were either very unsettled or at least very uncommon. His remarks had often the effect of random talking; and though he was always ingenious, and often (as far as I was his antagonist) unanswerable, yet he did not advance me, or others, one step towards the conviction that he was right and we were wrong in the matter which happened to be in dispute. Such a personage is no unusual phenomenon in this day, in which every one thinks it a duty to exercise the "sacred right of private judgment;" and when, consequently, there are, as the grammar has it, "quot homines, tot {2} sententię;" nor should I have distinguished my good friend from a score of theorists and debaters, producible at a minute's notice in any part of the United Kingdom, except for two reasons—first, that his theories lay in the different direction from those now in fashion, and were all based upon the principle of "bigotry," (as he, whether seriously or paradoxically, avowed)—next, that he maintained they were not novelties, but as old as the Gospel itself, and possessing as continuous a tradition. Yet, in spite of whatever recommendations he cast about them, they did not take hold of me. They seemed unreal; this will best explain what I mean:—unreal, as if he had raised his structure in the air, an independent, self-sustained pile of buildings, sui simile, without historical basis or recognized position among things existing, without discoverable relations to the wants, wishes, and opinions of those who were the subjects of his speculations.

We were thrown together at Rome, as we had never been before; and, getting familiar with him, I began to have some insight into his meaning. I soon found him to be quite serious in his opinions; but I did not think him a wit the less chimerical and meteoros than before. However, as he was always entertaining, and could bear a set-down or a laugh easily, from the sweetness and amiableness of his nature, I always liked to hear him talk. Indeed, if the truth must be spoken, I believe, in some degree, he began to poison my mind with his extravagances.

One day I had called at the Prussian Minister's, and found my friend there. We left together. The landing from which the staircase descended looked out over Rome; affording a most striking view of a city which the Christian can never survey without the bitterest, the {3} most loving, and the most melancholy thoughts. I will not describe the details of the prospect; they may be found in every book; nothing is so common now as panoramic or dioramic descriptions. Suffice it to say, that we were looking out from the Capitol all over the modern city; and that ancient Rome, being for the most part out of sight, was not suggested to us except as the basis of the history which followed its day. The morning was very clear and still: all the many domes, which gave feature to the view before us, rose gracefully and proudly. We lingered at the window without saying a word. News of public affairs had lately come from England, which had saddened us both, as leading us to forebode the overthrow of all that gives dignity and interest to our country, not to touch upon the more serious reflections connected with it.

My friend began by alluding to a former conversation, in which I had expressed my anticipation, that Rome, as a city, was still destined to bear the manifestation of divine judgments. He said, "Have you really the heart to say that all this is to be visited and overthrown?" His eye glanced at St. Peter's. I was taken by surprise, and for a moment overcome, as well as he; but the parallel of the Apostles' question in the Gospel soon came to my aid, and I said, by way of answer, "Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!" He smiled; and we relapsed into our meditative mood.

At length I said, "Why, surely, as far as one's imagination is concerned, nothing is so hard to conceive as that evil is coming on our own country: fairly as the surface of things still promises, yet you as well as I expect evil. Not long before I came abroad, I was in a retired parish in Berkshire, on a Sunday, and the inestimable blessings of our present condition, the guilt of {4} those who are destroying them, and moreover, the difficulty of believing they could be lost, came forcibly upon me. When everything looked so calm, regular, and smiling, the church bell going for service, high and low, young and old flocking in, others resting in the porch, and others delaying in the churchyard, as if there were enjoyment in the very cessation of that bodily action which for six days had worried them, (but I need not go on describing what both of us have seen a hundred times,) I said to myself, 'What a heaven on earth is this! how removed, like an oasis, from the dust and dreariness of the political world! And is it possible that it depends for its existence on what is without, so as to be dissipated and to vanish at once upon the occurrence of certain changes in public affairs?' I could not bring myself to believe that the foundations beneath were crumbling away, and that a sudden fall might be expected."

He replied by one of his occasional flights—"If Rome itself, as you say, is not to last, why should the daughter who has severed herself from Rome? The amputated limb dies sooner than the wounded and enfeebled trunk which loses it."

"Say this anywhere in Rome than on this staircase," I answered. "Come, let us find a more appropriate place for such extravagances;" and I took him by the arm, and we began to descend. We made for the villa on the Palatine, and in our way thither, and while strolling in its walks, the following discussion took place, which of course I have put together into a more compact shape than it assumed in our actual conversation.


"What I mean," said he in continuation, "is this: that we, in England, are severed from the centre of unity, and {5} therefore no wonder our Church does not flourish. You may say to me, if you please, that the Church of Rome is corrupt. I know it; but what then? If (to use the common saying) there are remedies even worse than the disease they practise on, much more are remedies conceivable which are only not as bad, or but a little better. To cut off a limb is anyhow a strange mode of saving it from the influence of some constitutional ailment. Indigestion may cause cramp in the extremities, yet we spare our hands or feet, notwithstanding. I do not wish to press analogies; yet, surely, there is such a religious fact as the existence of a great Catholic body, union with which is a Christian privilege and duty. Now, we English are separate from it."

I answered, "I will grant you thus much,—that the present is an unsatisfactory, miserable state of things; that there is a defect, an evil in existing circumstances which we should pray and labour to remove; yet I can grant no more. The Church is founded on a doctrine—the gospel of Truth; it is a means to an end. Perish the Church Catholic itself, (though, blessed be the promise, this cannot be,) yet let it perish rather than the Truth should fail. Purity of faith is more precious to the Christian than unity itself. If Rome has erred grievously in doctrine (and in so thinking we are both of one mind), then is it a duty to separate even from Rome."

"You allow much more," he replied, "than most of us; yet even you, as it seems to me, have not a deep sense enough of the seriousness of our position. Recollect, at the Reformation we did that which is a sin, unless we prove it to be a duty. It was, and is, a very solemn protest. Would the seraph Abdiel have made his resistance a triumph and a boast,—spoken of the glorious {6} stand he had made,—or made it a pleasant era in his history? Would he have gone on to praise himself, and say, 'Certainly, I am one among a thousand; all of them went wrong but I, and they are now in hell, but I am pure and uncorrupt, in consequence of my noble separation from those rebels'? Now, certainly, I have heard you glory in an event which at best was but an escape as by fire,—an escape at a great risk and loss, and at the price of a melancholy separation."

I felt he had, as far as the practical question went, the advantage of me. Indeed it must be confessed that we Protestants are so satisfied with intellectual victories in our controversy with Rome as to think little of that charity which "vaunteth not herself, is not puffed up, doth not behave herself unseemly."

He continued:—"Do you recollect the notion entertained by the primitive Christians concerning Catholicity? The Church was, in their view, one vast body, founded by the Apostles, and spreading its branches out into all lands,—the channel through which the streams of grace flowed, the mystical vine through which that sap of life circulated, which was the possession of those and those only who were grafted on it. In this Church there can be no division. Pass the axe through it, and one part or the other is cut off from the Apostles. There cannot be two distinct bodies, each claiming descent from the original stem. Indeed, the very word catholic witnesses to this. Two Apostolic bodies there may be without actual contradiction of terms; but there is necessarily but one body Catholic." And then, in illustration of this view, he went on to cite from memory the substance of passages from Cyril and Augustine, which I suspect he had picked up from some Romanist friend at the English College. I have since turned them out in {7} in their respective authors, and here give them in translation.

The first extract occurs in a letter written by Augustine to a Donatist bishop:—

"I will briefly suggest a question for your consideration. Seeing that at this day we have before our eyes the Church of God, called Catholic, diffused throughout the world, we think we ought not to doubt that herein is a most plain accomplishment of holy prophecy, confirmed as it was by our Lord in the Gospel, and by the Apostles, who, agreeably to the prediction, so extended it. Thus St. Paul preached the Gospel, and founded churches, etc. John also writes to seven Churches, etc. With all these churches we, at this day, communicate, as is plain; and it is equally plain that you Donatists do not communicate with them. Now, then, I ask you to assign some reason why Christ should ... all at once be pent up in Africa, where you are, or even in the whole of it. For your community, which bears the name of Donatus, evidently is not in all places—that is, catholic. If you say ours is not the Catholic, but nickname it the Macarian, the rest of Christendom differs from you; whereas you yourselves must own, what every one who knows you will also testify, that yours is known as the Donatist denomination. Please to tell me, then, how the Church of Christ has vanished from the world, and is found only among you; whereas our side of the controversy is upheld, without our saying a word, by the plain fact, that we see in it a fulfilment of Scripture prophecy." [Note 2]

The next is from one of the same Father's treatises, addressed to a friend:—

"We must hold fast the Christian religion, and the communion of that Church which is, and is called, Catholic, not only by its members, but even by all its enemies. For, whether they will or no, even heretics themselves, and the children of schism, when they speak, not with their own people, but with strangers, call that Church nothing else but Catholic? Indeed they would not be understood, unless they characterized it by that name which it bears throughout the world." [Note 3] {8}

The last was from Cyril's explanation of the doctrine of the One Holy Catholic Church:—

"Whereas the name (church) is used variously ... as (for instance) it may be applied to the heresy or persuasion of the Manichees, etc., therefore the creed has carefully committed to thee the confession of the One Holy Catholic Church, in order that thou mayest avoid their odious meetings, and remain always in the Holy Catholic Church, in which thou wast regenerated. And if perchance thou art a traveller in a strange city, do not simply ask, 'Where is the house of God?' for the multitude of persuasions attempt to call their hiding-places by that name; nor simply, 'Where is the Church?' but, 'Where is the Catholic Church?' for such is the peculiar name of this the holy Mother of us all, who is the spouse of the Only-Begotten Son." [Note 4]


After giving some account of these passages, he continued: "Now, I am only contending for the fact that the communion of Rome constitutes the main body of the Church Catholic, and that we are split off from it, and in the condition of the Donatists; so that every word of Augustine's argument to them, could be applied to us. This, I say, is a fact; and if it be a grave fact, to account for it by saying that they are corrupt is only bringing in a second grave fact. Two such serious facts—that we are separate from the great body of the Church, and that it is corrupt—should, one would think, make us serious; whereas we behave as if they were plus and minus, and destroyed each other. Or rather, we triumph in the Romanists being corrupt, and we deny they are the great body of Christians, unfairly merging their myriad of churches under the poor title of 'the Church of Rome;' as if unanimity destroyed the argument from numbers." {9}

"Stay! not so fast!" I made answer; "after all, they are but a part, though a large part, of the Christian world. Is the Greek communion to go for nothing, extending from St. Petersburg to Corinth and Antioch? or the Armenian churches? and the English communion which has branched off to India, Australia, the West Indies, the United States, Canada, and Nova Scotia? The true state of the case is this: the condition of the early Church, as Augustine and Cyril describe it, exists no more; it is to be found nowhere. You may apply, indeed, the terms which they used of it to the present time, and call the Romanists Catholics, as they claim to be; but this is a fiction and a theory, not the expression of a visible fact. Is it not a mere theory by which the Latin Church can affect to spread itself into Russia? I suspect, in spite of St. Cyril, you might ask in vain for their churches under the name of Catholic throughout the autocrat's dominions, or in Greece, as well as in England or Scotland. Where is the Catholic Bishop of Winchester or Lincoln? where the Catholic Church in England as a visible institution? No more is it such in Scotland; not to go on to speak of parts of Germany or the new world. All that can be said by way of reply is, that it is a very considerable communion, and venerable from its consistency and antiquity."

"That is the point," interrupted my companion; "they maintain that, such as they are, such they ever have been. They have been from the first 'the Catholics.' The schismatical Greeks, the Nestorians, the Monophysites, and the Protestants have grown up at different times, and on a novel doctrine or foundation."

"Have a care," I answered, "of diverging to the question of Apostolicity. We are engaged upon the Catholicity of the Latin Church. If we are to speak of {10} Antiquity, you yourself will be obliged to abandon its cause, for you are as decided as myself upon its corruptions from primitive simplicity. Foundation we have as apostolical as theirs, (unless you listen to the Nag's-head calumny,) and doctrine much more apostolical. Please to keep to the plain tangible fact, as you expressed it when you began, of the universal or catholic character of the Roman communion."

He was silent for a while, so I proceeded.

"Let me say a word or two more on the subject I had in hand when you interposed. I was observing that the state of things is certainly altered since Augustine's time—that is, in matter of fact, divisions, cross divisions, and complicated disarrangements have taken place in these latter centuries which were unknown in the fifth. We cannot, at once, apply his words as the representatives of things now existing; they are, in great measure, but the expression of principles to be adopted. May I say something further without shocking you? I think dissent and separatism present features unknown to primitive Christianity—so unknown that in its view of the world a place is not provided for them. A state of things has grown up, of which hereditary dissent is an element. All the better feelings of stability, quietness, loyalty, and the like, are in some places enlisted in its favour. In some places, as in Scotland, dissent is the religion of the state and country. I am not supposing that such outlying communities have blessings equal to the Church Catholic; only, while I condemn them as outlying, I would still contend that they retain so much of privilege, so much of the life and warmth of that spiritual body, from the roots of which they spring, as irregular shoots, as to secure their individual members from the calamity of being altogether cut {11} off from it. In the latter ages of Judaism, the ten tribes, and afterwards the Samaritans, and then the proselytes of the gate, present a parallel, as having a position beyond the literal scope of the Mosaic law. I shall scruple, therefore, to apply the strong language which Cyprian uses against schismatics to the Scottish presbyterians or to the Lutherans. At least, they have the Scriptures. You understand why I mention this—to show, by an additional illustration, that not every word that the Fathers utter concerning the Church Catholic applies at once to the Church of this day. The early Christians had not the complete canon, nor were books then common, nor could most of them read. Other differences between their Church and our Church might be mentioned;—for instance, the tradition of the early Church was of an historical character, of the nature of testimony; and possessed an authority superadded to the Church's proper authority as a divine institution. It was a witness, far more perfect in its way, but the same in kind, as the body of ancient writers may be for the genuineness of Cęsar's works. It was virtually infallible. Now, however, this accidental authority has long ceased, or, at least, is indefinitely weakened; and to resist it is not so obviously a sin against light. Here, then, is another reason for caution in applying the language of the Fathers concerning schism to our own times, since they did not in their writings curiously separate the Church's intrinsic and permanent authority as divine, from her temporary office of bearing witness to the Apostolic doctrine as to an historical fact."

"I must take time to think of this," he replied; "meanwhile, you at least grant me that the Latin communion is the main portion of Christendom—that participation with it is especially our natural position—and that our {12} present separation from it is a grievous calamity as such, and, under the circumstances, nothing short of a solemn protest against corruptions in it, of which we dare not partake."

"I grant it," said I.

"And, in consequence, you discard, henceforth and for ever, the following phrases, and the like—'our glorious emancipation from Rome,' 'the noble stand we made against a corrupt church,' 'our enlightened times,' 'the blind and formal papists,' etc. etc."

"We shall see," I answered—"we shall see."


We walked some little way in silence; at length, he said, "I wonder what use you intend to make of the view you just now so eagerly propounded, of the difference of circumstances between the present and the ancient Church. It leads, I suppose, to the justification of some of those ill-starred theories of concession which are at present so numerous?"

To tell the truth, I did not see my way clearly how far my own view ought to carry me. I saw that, without care, it would practically tend to the discarding the precedent of Antiquity altogether, and was not unwilling to have some light thrown by my friend upon the subject; so I affected, for the moment, a latitudinarianism which I did not feel [Note 5]. "Certainly," I replied, "it would appear to be our duty to take things as we find them; not to dream about the past, but to imitate, under changed circumstances, what we cannot fulfil literally. Christianity is intended to meet all forms of society; it is not cast in the rigid mould of Judaism. Forms are transitory—principles are eternal: the Church of the {13} day is but an accidental development and type of the invisible and unchangeable. It will always have the properties of truth; it will be ever (for instance) essentially conservative and aristocratic; but its policy and measures will ever vary according to the age. Our Church in the seventeenth century was inclined to Romanism; in the nineteenth, it was against Catholic emancipation. The orange ribbon, the emblem of a whig revolution, is now the badge of high tory confederations. Thus, the spirit of the Church is uniform, ever one and the same; but its relative position and ordinances change. At least, all this might be said; and I should like to see how you would answer it."

"That is," he interposed, "you grant that a Jew would have been wrong in philosophizing after the pattern you are setting, and talking of the nature of things, and transitory forms, and eternal truths, though you are privileged to do so?"

"May we not suppose that the rules of the early Church were expedient then—nay, expedient now—as far as they could conveniently be observed, without considering them absolutely binding?"

"Will you allow," he asked, in reply, "that St. Cyprian would have been in sin had he dispensed with episcopal Ordination, or St. Austin had he recognized the Donatists, or St. Chrysostom had he allowed the deacons to consecrate the elements?"

"They would have committed sin," I answered.

"And in what would that sin have consisted?"

"I suppose in doing that which they thought to be contrary to the continued usage of the Church."

"That is," he said, "in doing what they thought contrary to apostolic usage?"

I granted it. {14}

"And, of course," he said, "what they thought to be of apostolic usage, in such matters, was really such?"

I allowed this also.

"So it seems," he continued, "that they might not, and we may, do things contrary to apostolic usage."

"That," I said, "is the very assertion I am making; outward circumstances being changed, we may alter our rule of conduct."

He made answer: "I will give you my mind in a parable. Not many days since, I had scrambled into the rubbish yonder, which marks the site of the Apollo library, when I found what would be a treasure in the eyes of all the antiquarians in Europe, but which, to me, has a value of another kind—a MS. vindication of himself by a Jewish courtier of Herod the Great, for not observing the rites and customs of Judaism. It is well argued throughout. He sets out with owning the divinity of the Mosaic law, its beauty and expediency; the associations of reverence and interest cast around it; the affection it stirs within the mind; and the abstract desirableness of obeying it. 'But, after all, I confess,' he continues, 'I do not think its precepts binding at this day, because we are at such a distance from the age of Moses, and all the nations around us, not to say ourselves are changed, though the Law is not.' He proceeds to argue that he is not bound to go up to Jerusalem at the Passover, because there are synagogues about the country, which did not exist in the time of Moses; and, though it is true that purifications may be performed at the Temple, which the synagogues do not allow of, yet, 'after all,' he asks, 'how can we possibly know that the line of priests and Levites has been kept pure? Who can tell what irregularities may not have been introduced into their families during the captivity? Then, again, {15} what a set of men these said priests are! Tainted with pharisaical pride, or rather polluted with pharisaical hypocrisy: especially the high priests: the very office has become altogether secular—very much changed, too, in form and detail from the original institution. What enormities have occurred in the history of the Asmoneans! Who can suppose that they have any longer extraordinary gifts, prophecy, or the like, as of old time? Besides, there is a temple at Alexandria now, not to say another at Gerizim. Again, Herod, a man of Edom, is king, and has remodelled the state of things; for centuries we have had secular alliances, and religion is now to be supported by ordinary, not extraordinary, means. From the time that these political changes took place, the rites have been superfluous. Events have proved this. A number of Jews once attempted to keep the Sabbath strictly, when an enemy came who surprised them in consequence, and killed them. They were pious but plainly narrow-minded and extravagant men. In short, since the Captivity, the former system has been superseded.'"

"Enough, enough," I interrupted; "perhaps I have spoken more strongly than I meant as to our liberty of acquiescing in innovations. However, I still must hold that we have no right to judge of others at this day, as we should have judged of them, had all of us lived a thousand years earlier. I do really think, for instance, that in the presbyterianism of Scotland we see a providential phenomenon, the growth of a secondary system unknown to St. Austin—begun, indeed, not without sin, but continued, as regards the many, ignorantly, and compatibly with some portion of true faith: I cannot at once apply to its upholders his language concerning schismatics." {16}

"Well, perhaps I may grant you this, under explanations," he replied, "if you, indeed, will grant that we, on our part, should deviate in practice from primitive rules as little as we can help—only so much as the sheer necessity of our circumstances obliges us. For instance, no plain necessity can ever oblige us to bury an unbaptized person; though a necessity (viz., of climate), may be urged for baptizing by sprinkling, not by immersion. This will serve as an illustration."

I assented to him, and was glad to have gained a clearer view on this point than I had ever obtained before. I have since seen the principle expressed, in a Tract that has fallen in my way, as follows, the immediate point argued in it being the Apostolical Succession:—

"Consider the analogy of an absent parent, or dear friend, in another hemisphere. Would not such an one naturally reckon it one sign of sincere attachment, if, when he returned home, he found that in all family questions respect had been shown especially to those in whom he was known to have had most confidence? … If his children and dependents had searched diligently where, and with whom, he had left commissions, and, having fair cause to think they had found such, had scrupulously conformed themselves, as far as they could, to the proceedings of those so trusted by him, would he not think this a better sign than if they had been dexterous in devising exceptions, in explaining away the words of trust, and limiting the prerogatives he had conferred?" [Note 6]

The principle herein set forth is one which the law manifestly acts upon, as does every prudent statesman or man of business—viz., to go as near as he can to the rules, etc., which come into his hands, when he cannot observe them literally in all respects. But, to continue our conversation. {17}


My companion went on in his ardent way: "After all, there is no reason why the ancient unity of Christendom should not be revived among us, and Rome be again ecclesiastical head of the whole Church."

"You will," said I, "be much better employed, surely, in speculating upon the means of building up our existing English Church, the Church of Andrewes and Laud, Ken and Butler, than attempting what, even in your own judgment, is an inconsistency. Tell me, can you tolerate the practical idolatry, the virtual worship, of the Virgin and Saints, which is the offence of the Latin Church, and the degradation of moral truth and duty which follows from these?"

"These are corruptions of the Greek Church also," he answered.

"Which only shows," said I, "that we are in the position of Abdiel—one against a many, to take your own comparison. However, this is nothing to the purpose. It is plain, to speak soberly and practically, we never can unite with Rome; for even were we disposed to tolerate in its adherents what we could not allow in ourselves, they would not listen to our overtures for a moment, unless we began by agreeing to accept all the doctrinal decrees of Trent, and that about images in the number. No; surely, the one and only policy remaining for us to pursue is, not to look towards Rome, but to build up upon Laud's principles."

"Here you are theorizing, not I," returned he. "What is the ground of Andrewes and Laud, Stillingfleet and the rest, but a theory which has never been realized? I grant that the position they take in argument is most admirable, nearer much than the Romanist's to that of {18} the primitive Church, and that they defend and develop their peculiar view most originally and satisfactorily; still, after all, it is a theory,—a fine-drawn theory, which has never been owned by any body of churchmen, never witnessed in operation in any system. The question is not, how to draw it out, but how to do it. Laud's attempt was so unsuccessful as to prove he was working upon a mere theory. The actual English Church has never adopted it: in spite of the learning of her divines, she has ranked herself among the Protestants, and the doctrine of the Via Media has slept in libraries. Nay, not only is Anglicanism a theory; it represents, after all, but an imperfect system; it implies a return to that inchoate state, in which the Church existed before the era of Constantine. It is a substitution of infancy for manhood. Of course it took some time, after its first starting, to get the Ark of Religion into her due course, which was at first somewhat vacillating and indeterminate. The language of theology was confessedly unformed, and we at this day actually adopt the creeds and the canons of the fourth century; why not, then, the rites and customs also?"

"I suppose," said I, "no follower of Laud would object to the rites and customs then received."

"Why, then," he asked, "do not we pay to the See of Rome the deference shown by the Fathers and Councils of that age?"

"Rome is corrupt," I answered. "When she reforms, it will be time enough to think about the share of honour and power belonging to her in the Universal Church. At present, her prerogative is, at least, suspended, and that most justly."

"However, what I was showing," continued he, "was that the Anglican principle is scarcely fair, as fastening the Christian upon the very first age of the Gospel for {19} evidence of all those necessary developments of the elements of Gospel truth, which could not be introduced throughout the Church except gradually. On the other hand, the Anglican system itself is not found complete in those early centuries; so that the principle is self-destructive. Before there were Christian rulers, there was no doctrine of 'Church and King,' no union of 'Church and State,' which we rightly consider to be a development of the Gospel rule. The principle in question, then, is both in itself unfair and unfairly applied, as it is found in our divines. It is also the result of a very shallow philosophy: as if you could possibly prevent the completion of given tendencies, as if Romanism would not be the inevitable result of a realized Anglicanism, were it ever realized [Note 7]. However, my main objection to it is, that it is not, and never has been, realized. Protestantism is embodied in a system; so is Popery: but when a man takes up this Via Media, he is a mere doctrinarian—he is wasting his efforts in delineating an invisible phantom; and he will be judged, and fairly, to be trifling, and bookish, and unfit for the world. He will be set down in the number of those who, in some matter of business, start up to suggest their own little crotchet, and are for ever measuring mountains with a pocket ruler, or improving the planetary courses. The world moves forward in bold and intelligible parties; it has its roads to the east and north—nay, to points of the compass {20} between them, to the full number of the thirty-two; but not to more than these. You must travel along a ready-made road; you cannot go right ahead across-country, or, in spite of your abstract correctness, you will be swamped or benighted. When a person calling himself a 'Reformed Catholic,' or an 'Apostolical Christian,' begins to speak, people say to him, 'What are you? If you are a Catholic, why do you not join the Romanists? If you are ours, why do you not maintain the great Protestant doctrines?' Or, in the words of Hall of Norwich, addressed, it is said, to Laud:

'I would I knew where to find you; then I could tell how to take direct aims; whereas now I must pore and conjecture. Today you are in the tents of the Romanists—tomorrow in ours; the next day between both—against both. Our adversaries think you ours—we, theirs; your conscience finds you with both and neither. I flatter you not: this of yours is the worst of all tempers. Heat and cold have their uses—lukewarmness is good for nothing, but to trouble the stomach ... How long will you halt in this indifference? Resolve one way, and know, at last, what you do hold—what you should. Cast off either your wings or your teeth, and, loathing this bat-like nature, be either a bird or a beast.'

"This was the character of his school down to the Non-jurors, in whom the failure of the experiment was finally ascertained. The theory sunk then, once and for all."

"My dear fellow," I made answer, "I see you are of those who think success and the applause of men everything, not bearing to consider, first, whether a view be true, and then to incur boldly the 'reproach' of upholding it. Surely, the Truth has in no age been popular, and those who preached it have been thought idiots, and died without visible fruit of their labours."

He smiled, and was silent, as if in thought. {21}

I continued: "Now listen to me, for I have it in purpose to turn your own words against yourself, to show that you are the theorist, and I the man of practical sense; and at the same time to cheer you with the hope, that the Anglican principle, though the true one, yet may perchance be destined, even yet, in the designs of Providence, to be expanded and realized in us, the unworthy sons of the great Archbishop.


As I said these words, I caught a sight of one of the companions of my excursion making towards us, who was well known to the friend with whom I was conversing. Instead, then, of beginning my harangue upon the prospects of the English Church, I said, "Here comes a friend in need, just in time. I was but going to repeat what I have picked up from him. He is the great theorist, after all, and he will best do justice to his own views himself."

We went forward to meet him; and, after some indifferent topics had passed between us, I told him the position in which he had found us, and asked him to take upon himself the exposition of his own speculations. I will pass over all explanations on his part, hesitations, disclaimers of the character I gave of him, and the like, and will take up the conversation when he was fairly implicated in the task which we had imposed upon him. For the future, I will call him Basil, and my first friend Ambrose, to avoid circumlocution.

"Nothing seems so chimerical, I confess," said he, "as the notion that the Church temper of the seventeenth century will ever return in England; nor do I ever expect it will, on a large scale. But the great and small in extent are not conditions of moral or religious strength {22} and dignity. The Holy Land was not larger than Wales. We can afford to give up the greater part of England to the spirit of the age, and yet develop, in a diocese, or a single city, those principles and tendencies of the Caroline era which have never yet arrived at their just dimensions."

"You presuppose, of course, a King like the Martyr, in these anticipations?" said Ambrose.

"In speaking of a single diocese, or city," returned the other, "I have obviously implied a system of which political arrangements are not the mainspring. Alas! we can no longer have such a king. The Monarchy is not constitutionally now what it was then; nay, the Church, perchance, may not even be allowed the privilege of being loyal in time to come, though obedient and patient it always must be. The principle of national religion is fast getting out of fashion, and we are relapsing into the primitive state of Christianity, when men prayed for their rulers, and suffered from them, neither giving nor receiving temporal benefits. The element of high-churchmanship (as that word has commonly been understood) seems about to retreat again into the depths of the Christian temper, and Apostolicity is to be elicited instead, in greater measure.

'Tis true, 'tis pity; pity 'tis, 'tis true.'

It would be well, indeed, were we allowed to acknowledge the magistrate's divine right to preside over the Church; but if the State declares it has itself no divine right over us, what help is there for it? We must learn, like Hagar, to subsist by ourselves in the wilderness. Certainly, I never expect the system of Laud to return, but I do expect the due continuation and development of his principles. High-churchmanship—looking at the matter {23} historically—will be regarded as a temporary stage of a course. The (so-called) union of Church and State, as it then existed, has been a wonderful and most gracious phenomenon in Christian history. It is a realization of the Gospel in its highest perfection, when both Cęsar and St. Peter know and fulfil their office. I do not expect anything so blessed again. Charles is the King, Laud the prelate, Oxford the sacred city, of this principle; just as Rome is the city of Catholicism, and modern Paris of infidelity. I give up high-churchmanship. But, to return—"

"First, however," interrupted Ambrose, "I have it in purpose to imprison you in a dilemma, which you must resolve before you can discuss your subject with any ease or convenience. Either you expect this substitution of apostolicity for high-churchmanship at an early or at a distant date. If you say at an early, such keen anticipation of so deplorable a calamity as the un-christianizing of the State savours of disloyalty; if at a distant, of fanaticism, as if the spirit of the seventeenth century could, on ever so contracted a field, revive centuries hence."

"I intend," he answered, "neither to be disaffected nor fanatical, and yet shall retain my anticipations. As to the charge of disloyalty, I repel it at once by stating, that I am looking forward to events as yet removed from us by centuries. It is no disloyal or craven spirit to suppose that, in the course of generations, changes may occur, when change is the rule of the world, and when, in our own country especially, not one hundred and fifty years perhaps has ever passed without some great constitutional change, or violent revolution. It is no faintness of heart to suppose that the eras of 1536, 1649, and 1688 are tokens of other such in store. {24} We all know that dynasties and governments are, like individuals, mortal; and to provide against the un-churching of the monarchy, is not more disrespectful to it than to introduce a regency bill beforehand, in the prospect of a minority. The Church alone is eternal; and, being such, it must, by the very law of its nature, survive its friends, and is bound calmly to anticipate the vicissitudes of its condition. We are consulting for no affair of the day; we are contemplating our fortunes five centuries to come. We are labouring for the year 2500. By that time we may have buried our temporal guardians: their memory we shall always revere and bless; but the Successors of the Apostles will still have their work—if the world last so long—a work (may be) of greater peril and hardship, but of more honour, than now.

"Nor, on the other hand, is it idle to suppose that former principles, long dormant, may, like seed in the earth, spring up at some distant day. History is full of precedents in favour of such an anticipation. At this very time the nation is beginning to reap the full fruits of the perverse anti-ecclesiastical spirit to which the Reformation on the Continent gave birth. Three centuries and more have not developed it. Again, three centuries and more were necessary for the infant Church to attain her mature and perfect form, and due stature. Athanasius, Basil, and Austin are the fully instructed doctors of her doctrine, discipline, and morals."


I could not but look at Ambrose, and smile at hearing the argument he had used, before the other came up, incidentally made available against himself. Basil continued: {25}

"Again, Hildebrand was the first to bring into use the donations made by Pepin and Charlemagne to the Church; yet these were made between A.D. 750-800, and Hildebrand's papacy did not commence till 1086. The interval was a time of weakness, humiliation, guilt, and disgrace to the Church, far exceeding any ecclesiastical scandals in our own country, whether in the century before or after the Caroline era. Gibbon tells us that the Popes of the ninth and tenth centuries were 'insulted, imprisoned, and murdered by their tyrants;' that the illegitimate son, grandson, and great grandson of Marozia, a woman of profligate character, were seated in St. Peter's chair; and the second of these was but nineteen when elevated to that spiritual dignity. He renounced the ecclesiastical dress, and abandoned himself to hunting, gaming, drinking, and kindred excesses. This, too, was the season of anti-popes, one of whom actually opposed Hildebrand himself, and eventually obliged him to retreat to Salerno, where he died. Yet now that celebrated man stands in history as if the very contemporary and first inheritor of Charlemagne's gifts, and reigns in the Church without the vestige of a rival. So little has time to do with the creations of moral energy, that Guiberto ceases in our associations to have lived with him, or the first Carlovingians to have been before him. He obliterated an interval of three hundred years."

"You were somewhat too conceding, methinks, when you began," said Ambrose, "if you are not exorbitant now. It is not much more to ask that a king like Charles should ascend the throne, than that a mind like Hildebrand's should be given to the Church."

"And yet Father Paul, a sagacious man," Basil answered, "did look with much anxiety towards the English hierarchy of his day (1617), as likely to develop an {26} apostolical spirit which even kings could not control. So far, indeed, he was mistaken in his immediate anticipation, because the English Church was far too loyal to be dangerous to the State; yet it may chance that, in the course of centuries there is no king to whom to be loyal. His words are these:—

'Anglis nimium timeo; episcoporum magna illa potestas, licet sub rege, prorsus mihi suspecta est. Ubi vel regem desidem nacti fuerint, vel magni spiritūs archiepiscopum habuerint, regia authoritas pessundabitur, et episcopi ad absolutam dominationem aspirabunt. Ego equum ephippiatum in Angliā videre videor, et ascensurum propediem equitem antiquum divino.' [Note 8]

"Now, is it not singular that this Church should so close upon these words have developed Laud, a prelate (if any other) aspiring and undaunted? And again, that within fifty years of him the king actually was in the power of the primate, as the umpire between him and the nation, though Sancroft (as he himself afterwards understood) was not alive to his position, nor equal to the emergency? These are omens of what may be still to come, inasmuch as they show the political and moral temper, the presiding genius of the Anglican Church, which had produced, at distant intervals, before Laud, prelates as high-minded, though doubtless less enlightened and more ambitious. It is not one stroke of fortune, one political revolution, which can chase the genius loci from his favourite haunt. Canterbury and Oxford are a match for many Williams of Nassau."

I here interrupted him to corroborate his last remarks, without pledging myself to approve his mode of conveying them. I said that Leslie, one of the last of {27} the line of apostolical divines, had expressed the same opinion concerning the Church at large, in his Case of the Regale and Pontificate. His words are as follows:

'I say, if the Church would trust to Him more than to the arm of flesh, she need not fear the power of kings. No; Christ would give her kings, not as heads and spiritual fathers over her, but as nursing fathers, to protect, love, and cherish her, to reverence and to save her, as the Spouse of Christ. Instead of such fathers as she has made kings to be over herself, and of whom she stands in awe, and dare not exert the power Christ has given her, without their good liking, she should then have "children whom she might make princes in all the earth." Kings would become her sons and her servants, instead of being her fathers.

'My brethren, let me freely speak to you. These promises must be fulfilled, and in this world, for they are spoke of it, and belong not to the state of heaven, but to the condition of the Church in all the earth. All the prophets that have been, since the world began, have spoken of these days; therefore, they will surely come; and "though ye have lien among the pots, yet she shall be as the wings of a dove, that is covered with silver, and her feathers like gold."'

"Having been led to quote from an author who wrote a century since, let me here add the witness of an acute observer of our own century, whose Letters and Remains have been published since the date of the conversation I am relating—Mr. Alexander Knox. The following was written just two centuries after Sarpi's letter:

'No Church on earth has more intrinsic excellence, [than the English Church,] yet no Church, probably, has less practical influence. Her excellence, then, I conceive, gives ground for confiding that Providence will never abandon her; but her want of influence would seem no less clearly to indicate, that Divine Wisdom will not always suffer her to go on without measures for her improvement ... Shall then the present negligence and insensibility always prevail? This cannot be; the rich provision made by the grace and providence of God, for habits of a noble kind, is evidence that {28} those habits shall at length be formed, that men shall arise, fitted, both by inclination and ability, to discover for themselves, and to display to others, whatever yet remains undisclosed, whether in the words or works of God. But if it be asked, how shall fit instruments be prepared for this high purpose, it can only be answered, that in the most signal instances times of severe trial have been chosen for divine communications.—Moses, an exile, when God spoke to him from the bush; Daniel, a captive in Babylon, where he was cheered with those clearest rays of Old Testament prophecy; St. John, a prisoner in Patmos, where he was caught up into heaven, and beheld the apocalyptic vision … My persuasion of the radical excellence of the Church of England does not suffer me to doubt, that she is to be an illustrious agent in bringing the mystical kingdom of Christ to its ultimate perfection.'"


When the conversation had arrived at this point, my friend Ambrose put in a remark. "It must be confessed," he said, "that your triumphant Church will, after all, be very much like what the papal was in its pride of place. The only difference would seem to be, that the Popes deposed kings; but you, in effect, wait till there are no kings to depose, leaving it to the (so-called) 'radical reformers' to bring upon themselves the odium of the acts which are to introduce you. Why not, then, avail ourselves of what is ready to our hands in the Church of Rome? Why attempt, instead, to form a second-best and spurious Romanism?"

"Pardon me," I said, in answer, "Basil thinks the Roman Church corrupt in doctrine. We cannot join a Church, did we wish it ever so much, which does not acknowledge our Orders, refuses us the Cup, demands our acquiescence in image worship, and excommunicates us, if we do not receive it and all other decisions of the Tridentine Council. While she insists on this, there must be an impassable line between her and us; and {29} while she claims infallibility, she must insist on what she has once decreed; and when she abandons that claim she breaks the principle of her own vitality. Thus, we can never unite with Rome."

"This is true and certain," said Basil; "but even though Rome were as sound in faith as she is notoriously unsound, our present line would remain the same. What, indeed, might come to pass at a distant era, when monarchies had ceased to be, it would be impertinent to ask; but, though I have been anticipating the future, we have nothing really to do with the future. Our business is with things as they are. We want to begin at once, and must not, dare not start upon a basis which is not to be realized for some hundred years to come. Of course;—and to do anything effectually, we must build upon principles and feelings already recognized among us. I grant all this: let us leave the future to itself: we are concerned, not with illusions, (as the French politicians say,) but with things that are. But this holds of other illusions besides those against which you have warned such as me. For what we know, by the time we are without kings Rome may be without a Pope; and it would be a strange policy to go over to them now, by way of anticipating a distant era, which, for what we know, may, in the event, be preceded by their coming over to us. You have heard of the two brothers in the seventeenth century, papist and puritan, who disputed together and convinced each other. Let us take warning from them.

"I repeat, to do anything effectually, certainly we must start upon recognized principles and customs. Any other procedure stamps a person as wrong-headed, ill-judging, or eccentric, and brings upon him the contempt and ridicule of those sensible men by whose opinions {30} society is necessarily governed. Putting aside the question of truth and falsehood—which of course is the main consideration—even as aiming at success, we must be aware of the great error of making changes on no more definite basis than their abstract fitness, their alleged scripturalness, their adoption by the ancients. Such changes are rightly called innovations; those which spring from existing institutions, opinions, or feelings, are called developments, and may be recommended without invidiousness as being improvements. I adopt, then, and claim as my own, that position of yours, 'that we must take and use what is ready to our hands.' To do otherwise, is to act the doctrinaire and to provide for simple failure: for instance, if we would enforce observance of the Lord's Day, we must not, at the outset, rest it on any theory (however just) of Church authority, but on the authority of Scripture. If we would oppose the State's interference with the distribution of Church property, we shall succeed, not by urging any doctrine of Church independence, or by citing decrees of General Councils, but by showing the contrariety of that measure to existing constitutional and ecclesiastical precedents among ourselves. Hildebrand found the Church provided with certain existing means of power; he vindicated them, and was rewarded with the success which attends, not on truth as such, but on this prudence and tact in conduct. St. Paul observed the same rule,—whether preaching at Athens or persuading his countrymen. It was the gracious condescension of our Lord Himself, not to substitute Christianity for Judaism by any violent revolution, but to develop Judaism into Christianity, as the Jews might bear it. Now, Popery is not here ready to our hands; on the contrary, we find among us, at this day, an intense fear and hatred of Popery; and {31} that, ill-instructed as it confessedly is, still based upon truth. It is mere headstrong folly, then, to advocate the Church of Rome. It is to lose our position as a Church, which never answers to any, whether body or individual. If, indeed, salvation were not in our Church, the case would be altered; as it is, were Rome as pure in faith as the Church of the Apostles, which she is not, I would not join her, unless those about me did so too, lest I should commit schism. Our business is to take what we have received, and build upon it: to accept, as a legacy from our forefathers, this 'Protestant' spirit which they have bequeathed us, and merely to disengage it from its errors, purify it, and make it something more than a negative principle; thus only have we a chance of success. All your arguments, then, my dear Ambrose, in favour of Romanism, or rather your regrets on the subject—for you are not able to go so far as to design, or even to hope on the subject—seem to me irrelevant, and recoil upon your own professed principle; and, instead of persuading others, only lead them to ask the pertinent question, 'Why do you stay among us, if you like a foreign religion better?'"

The other smiled with an expression which showed that he was at once entertained and as unconvinced as before. For myself, I was not quite pleased with the tone of political expedience which my friend had assumed, though I agreed in his general sentiment; except, indeed, in his patience towards the word "Protestant," which is a term as political as were his arguments.

"You have surely been somewhat carried beyond your own excellent judgment," I said, "by your earnestness in advocating a view. A person who did not know you as well as I do would take such avowals as the offspring {32} of a Florentine, not an English school. It is certainly safer in so serious a matter to go upon more obvious, more religious grounds than those you have selected; for I agree with you most entirely in the conclusion you arrive at. I will give you a reason, which has had particular weight with me. Of course, one must not say, 'Whatever is, is right,' in such a sense as to excuse what is wrong, whether committed or permitted, violence or cowardice; yet, at the same time, it certainly is true, that the external circumstances under which we find ourselves, have a legitimate influence, nay, a sort of claim of deference, upon our conduct. St. Paul says that every one should remain in the place where he finds himself. This, so far, at least, applies to our ecclesiastical position, that, unless where conscience comes in, it is our duty to submit to what we are born under. I do not insist here on the engagements of the clergy to administer the discipline of Christ as the Church and Realm have received the same; here, I only assert that we find the Church and State united, and must therefore maintain that Union."

"The said Union," interrupted Ambrose, "being much like the union of the Israelites with the Egyptians, in the house of bondage."

"So it may be," I replied,—"but recollect that the chosen people were not allowed to disenthral themselves without an intimation of God's permission. When Moses attempted, of himself, to avenge them, he only got into trial and distress. It was in vain he killed the Egyptian, there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded. Providence always says, 'Stand still, and see the salvation of God.' We must not dare to move, except He bids us. How different was the success of Moses afterwards, when God sent him! In like manner, {33} the deliverers of Israel, in the period of the Judges, were, for the most part, expressly commissioned to their office. At another time, 'the Lord delivered Sisera into the hand of a woman.' It is not for us 'to know the times and the seasons which the Father hath put in His own power.'

"And so, once more, Daniel, though he prayed towards the Temple during his captivity, made no attempt to leave Babylon for his own country, to escape from the mass of idolaters and infidels, scorners and profligates, among whom his lot was cast in this world. We, too, who are in captivity, must bide our time."


Here there was a pause in the conversation, as if our minds required rest after sharing in it, or leisure to digest it. We were in the terrace walk overlooking the Trastevere: we stood still, and made such disconnected remarks as the separate buildings and places in the view suggested. At length, the Montorio, where St. Peter was martyred, and some discourse it suggested, recalled us to our former subject, and we began again with fresh life.

"Hildebrand," said Ambrose, "had a basis to go upon; and we, in matter of fact, have none. However true your policy may be of our availing ourselves of things existing, I repeat we have no church basis,—we have nothing but certain merely political rights. Hildebrand had definite powers, though dormant or obsolete. The Exarchate of Ravenna had been formally ceded to the popedom by Pepin, though virtually wrested from it in the interval. The supposed donation of Constantine and the Decretals were recognized charters, which churchmen might fall back upon. We have nothing of this kind now." {34}

"Let us make the most of what we have," returned the other; "and surely we have enough for our purpose. Let us consider what that purpose is, and what it is we want: our one tangible object is to restore the connexion, at present broken, between bishops and people;—for in this everything is involved, directly or indirectly, which it is a duty to contend for;—and to effect this, we want no temporal rights of any sort, as the Popes needed, but merely the recognition of our Church's existing spiritual powers. We are not aiming at any kingdom of this world; we need no Magna-Chartas or Coronation oaths for the object which we have at heart: 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. Now let us see what materials we have for a similar spiritual structure, if we keep what, through God's good providence, has descended to us.

"First, we have the Ordination Service, acknowledging three, and three only, divinely appointed Orders of ministers, implying a Succession, and the bishop's divine commission for continuing it, and assigning to the presbytery the power of retaining and remitting sins: these are invaluable, as being essential, possessions.

"Next, we have the plain statements of the general necessity of the sacraments for salvation, and the strong language of the services appointed for the administration of them. We have Confirmation and Matrimony {35} recognized as spiritual ordinances. We have forms of absolution and blessing.

"Further, we have the injunction of daily service, and the solemnization of fast and festival days.

"Lastly, we have a yearly confession of the desirableness of a restoration of the primitive discipline.

"On these foundations, properly understood, we may do anything."

"Still you have not touched upon the real difficulty," interrupted Ambrose. "Hildebrand governed an existing body, and was only employed in vindicating for it certain powers and privileges; you, on the other hand, have to make the body, before you proceed to strengthen it. The Church in England is not a body now, it has little or no substantiveness; it has dwindled down to its ministers, who are as much secular functionaries as they are rulers of a Christian people. What reason have you to suppose that the principles you have enumerated will interest an uninstructed, as well as edify an already disciplined, multitude? Still the problem is, How to do it?"


When he stopped, Basil looked at me. "Cyril," said he, mentioning my name, "has much to say on this argument, and I leave it to him to tell you how to do it." Thus challenged, I began in my turn.

"I will tell you," I said, "Hildebrand really had to create as well as we. If the Church was not in his time laid prostrate before the world, at least it was incorporated into it—so I am told, at least, by those who have studied the history of his times: the clergy were dissolved in secular vocations and professions; a bishop was a powerful baron, the feudal vassal of a temporal prince, of whom he held estates and castles, his Ordination being {36} virtually an incidental form, necessary at the commencement of his occupancy; the inferior clergy were inextricably entangled in the fetters of secular alliances, often criminal and scandalous. In planting his lever, which was to break all these irreligious ties, he made the received forms and rules of the Church his fulcrum. If master-minds are ever granted to us, to build us up in faith and unity, they must do the same; they must take their stand upon that existing basis which Basil has just now described, and must be determined never to extravagate from it. They must make that basis their creed and their motive; they must persevere for many years, in preaching and teaching, before they proceed to act upon their principles, introducing terms and names, and impressing members of the Church with the real meaning of the truths which are her animating element, and which her members verbally admit. In spite of opposition, they must persevere in insisting on the episcopal 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.

"So far well; 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 striking and 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; it will supply the desideratum which exists in the actual teaching of this day. Clergymen at present are subject to the painful experience of losing the more religious portion of their flock, {37} whom they have tutored and moulded as children, but who, as they come into life, fall away to the dissenters. Why is this? Because 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 a reality and substance to religion. He who is told that the Church is the treasure-house of spiritual gifts, comes for a definite privilege; he who has been taught that it is merely a duty to keep united to the Church, gains nothing, and is tempted to leave it for the meeting-house, which promises him present excitement, if it does nothing more. He who sees Churchmen identified with the world, naturally looks at dissent as a separation from it. The first business, then, of our Hildebrand will be to stop this continual secession to the dissenters, by supplying those doctrines which nature itself, I may say, desiderates in our existing institutions, and which the dissenters attempt to supply. This should be well observed, for it is a remarkable circumstance, that most of the more striking innovations of the present day are awkward and unconscious imitations of the provisions of the old Catholic system. 'Texts for every day in the year' are the substitute for the orderly calendar of Scripture Lessons; prayer-meetings stand for the daily service; farewell speeches to missionaries take the place of public Ordinations; public meetings for religious oratory, the place of the ceremonies and processions of the middle ages; charitable societies are instead of the strict and enthusiastic Religious Institutions. Men know not of the legitimate Priesthood, and therefore are condemned to hang upon the judgment of individual and self-authorized preachers; they defraud their children {38} of the initiatory sacrament, and therefore are forced to invent a rite of dedication instead of it; they put up with legends of private Christians, distinguished for an ambiguous or imperfect piety, narrow-minded in faith, and tawdry and discoloured in their holiness, in the place of the men of God, the meek martyrs, the saintly pastors, the wise and winning teachers of the Catholic Church. One of the most striking illustrations of this general remark, is the existing practice and feeling about psalmody:—formerly great part of the public service was sung; part of this, as the Te Deum, being an exhibition of the peculiar gospel doctrines. We let this practice go out; then, feeling the want of singing, we introduce it between the separate portions of the services. There is no objection to this, so far; it has primitive sanction. But observe,—we have only time for one or two verses, which cannot show the drift and spirit of the Psalm, and are often altogether unintelligible, or grammatically defective. Next, a complaint arises, that no Christian hymns constitute part of the singing; so, having relinquished the Te Deum, we have recourse to the rhymes of Watts, Newton, and Wesley. Moreover, we sing as slow as if singing were a penitential exercise. Consider how the Easter hymn affects a congregation, and you will see their natural congeniality to musical services of a more animated, quicker, and more continued measure. The dissenters seem to feel this in their adoption of objectionable secular tunes, or of religious tunes of a cantabile character; our slow airs seem to answer no purpose, except that of painfully exhausting the breath—they will never allure a congregation to sing. So, again, as to the Services generally; they are scarcely at all adapted to the successive seasons and days of the Christian year: the Bible is rich in materials for illustrating {39} and solemnizing these as they come; but we make little use of it. Consider how impressive the Easter anthem is, as a substitute for the Venite: why should not such as this be appointed at other Seasons, in the same and other parts of the service? How few prayers we possess for particular occasions! Reflect, for instance, upon Jeremy Taylor's prayers and litanies, and I think you will grant that, carefully preserving the Prayer Book's majestic simplicity of style, we might nevertheless profitably make additions to our liturgical services. We have but matins and evensong appointed: what if a clergyman wishes to have prayers in his church seven times a day?

"I touched just now on the subject of the Religious Institutions of the middle ages. These are imperatively called for to stop the progress of dissent; indeed, I conceive you necessarily must have dissent or monachism in a Christian country;—so make your choice. The more religious minds demand some stricter religion than that of the generality of men; if you do not gratify this desire religiously and soberly, they will gratify it themselves at the expense of unity. I wish this were better understood than it is. You may build new churches, without stint, in every part of the land, but you will not approximate towards the extinction of Methodism and dissent till you consult for this feeling; till then, the sectaries will deprive you of numbers, and those the best of your flock, whom you can least afford to lose, and who might be the greatest strength and ornament to it. This is an occurrence which happens daily. Say that one out of a number of sisters in a family takes a religious turn; is not her natural impulse to join either the Wesleyans or the irregulars within our pale? And why? all because the Church does not provide innocent {40} outlets for the sober relief of feeling and excitement: she would fain devote herself immediately to God's service—to prayer, almsgiving, attendance on the sick. You not only decline her services yourself,—you drive her to the dissenters: and why? all because the Religious Life, though sanctioned by Apostles and illustrated by the early Saints, has before now given scope to moroseness, tyranny, and presumption."


"I will tell you," interrupted Basil, "an advantage which has often struck me as likely to result from the institution (under sober regulations) of religious Sisterhoods—viz., the education of the female portion of the community in Church principles. It is plain we need schools for females: so great is the inconvenience, that persons in the higher ranks contrive to educate their daughters at home, from want of confidence in those schools in which alone they can place them. It is speaking temperately of these to say, that (with honourable exceptions, of course, such as will be found to every rule) they teach little beyond mere accomplishments, present no antidotes to the frivolity of young minds, and instruct in no definite views of religious truth at all. On the other hand, what an incalculable gain would it be to the Church were the daughters, and future mothers, of England educated in a zealous and affectionate adherence to its cause, taught to reverence its authority, and to delight in its ordinances and services! What, again, if they had instructors, who were invested with even more than the respectability which collegiate foundations give to education in the case of the other sex, instructors placed above the hopes and fears of the world, and impressing the thought of the Church on their pupils' {41} minds, in association with their own refinement and heavenly serenity! But, alas! so ingrained are our unfortunate prejudices on this head, that I fear nothing but serious national afflictions will give an opening to the accomplishment of so blessed a design."

"For myself," said I, "I confess my hopes do not extend beyond the vision of the rise of this Religious Life among us; not that even this will have any success, as you well observe, till loss of property turns the thoughts of the clergy and others from this world to the next. As to the rise of a high episcopal system, that is, again to use your notion, a dream of A.D. 2500. We can but desire in our day to keep alive the lamp of truth in the sepulchre of this world till a brighter era: and surely the ancient system I speak of is the providentially designed instrument of this work. When Arianism triumphed in the sees of the eastern Church, the Associated Brethren of Egypt and Syria were the witnesses prophesying in sackcloth against it. So it may be again. When the day of trial comes, we shall be driven from the established system of the Church, from livings and professorships, fellowships and stalls; we shall (so be it) muster amid dishonour, poverty, and destitution, for higher purposes; we shall bear to be severed from possessions and connexions of this world; we shall turn our thoughts to the education of those middle classes, the children of farmers and tradesmen, whom the Church has hitherto neglected; we shall educate a certain number, for the purpose of transmitting to posterity our principles and our manner of life; we shall turn ourselves to the wants of the great towns, and attempt to be evangelists in a population almost heathen.

"Till then, I scarcely expect that anything will be devised of a nature to meet the peculiar evils existing in {42} a densely peopled city. Benevolent persons hope, by increasing our instruments of usefulness, to relieve them. Doubtless they may so relieve them; and no charitable effort can fail of a blessing. New churches and lay co-operation will do something; but, I confess, I think that some instrument different in kind is required for the present emergency: great towns will never be evangelized merely by the parochial system. They are beyond the sphere of the parish priest, burdened as he is with the endearments and anxieties of a family, and the secular restraints and engagements of the Establishment. The unstable multitude cannot be influenced and ruled except by uncommon means, by the evident sight of disinterested and self-denying love, and elevated firmness. The show of domestic comfort, the decencies of furniture and apparel, the bright hearth and the comfortable table, (good and innocent as they are in their place,) are as ill-suited to the missionary of a town population as to an Apostle. Heathens, and quasi-heathens, (such as the miserable rabble of a large town,) were not converted in the beginning of the Gospel, nor now, as it would appear, by the sight of domestic virtues or domestic comforts in their missionary. Surely Providence has His various means adapted to different ends. I think that Religious Institutions, over and above their intrinsic recommendations, are the legitimate instruments of working upon a populace, just as argument may be accounted the medium of conversion in the case of the educated, or parental authority in the case of the young.


"I have been watching with some interest," said Ambrose, who had been silent all this while, "how near, with all your protestations against Popery, you would {43} advance towards it in the course of your speculations. I am now happy to see you will go the full length of what you yourselves seem to admit is considered one of its most remarkable characteristics—monachism."

"I know," answered I, "that is at present the popular notion; but our generation has not yet learned the distinction between Popery and Catholicism. But, be of good heart; it will learn many things in time."

The other laughed; and, the day being now someway advanced into the afternoon, we left the garden, and separated.

March, 1836.

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1. [The discussion in this Paper is carried on by two speculative Anglicans, who aim at giving vitality to their Church, the one by uniting it to the Roman See, the other by developing a nineteenth-century Anglo-Catholicism. The narrator sides on the whole with the latter of these.]
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2. Ep. 49, Ed. Benedict.
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3. De vera Rel., c. 7, n. 12.
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4. Cyril Hieros. Catech., xviii. 12.
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5. [Vid. Note on "Essays Crit. And Histor.," vol. i. p. 288 [Note 5—NR]; also p. 308.]
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6. [By Mr. Keble.]
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7. ["As to the resemblance of the author's opinions to Romanism,—if Popery be a perversion or corruption of the Truth, as we believe, it must, by the very force of the terms, be like that Truth which it counterfeits, and therefore the fact of a resemblance, as far as it exists, is no proof of any essential approximation in his opinions to Popery. Rather, it would be a serious argument against their primitive character, if to superficial observers they bore no likeness to it. Ultra-Protestantism could never have been silently corrupted into Popery."—Advert. 3rd vol. Par. Serm., Ed. 1.]
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8. [I think this is to be found in Sarpi's Letters, a book lent to me by Dr. Routh.]
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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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