Topic - Church Note on Essay X.

{74} IF the arguments used in the foregoing Essay did not retain me in the Anglican Church, I do not see what could keep me in it; yet the time came, when I wrote to Mr. Keble, "I seem to myself almost to have shot my last arrow [against Rome], in the article on English Catholicity."—Apolog. Ed. 2, p. 134.

The truth is, I believe, I was always asking myself what would the Fathers have done, what would those whose works were around my room, whose names were ever meeting my eyes, whose authority was ever influencing my judgment, what would these men have said, how would they have acted in my position? I had made a good case on paper, but what judgment would be passed on it by Athanasius, Basil, Gregory, Hilary, and Ambrose? The more I considered the matter, the more I thought that these Fathers, if they examined the antagonist pleas, would give it against me.

I expressed this feeling in my Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine. "Did St. Athanasius, or St. Ambrose, come suddenly to life, it cannot be doubted," I said ironically, "what communion they would mistake for their own. All surely will agree that these Fathers, with whatever differences of opinion, whatever protests, if we will, would find themselves more at home with such men as St. Bernard, or St. Ignatius Loyola, or with the lonely priest in his lodgings, or the holy sisterhood {75} of Charity, or the unlettered crowd before the altar, than with the rulers or members of any other religious community. And may we not add, that were the two Saints, who once sojourned in exile or on embassage at Treves, to come more northward still, and to travel until they reached another fair city, seated among groves, green meadows, and calm streams, the holy brothers would turn from many a high aisle and solemn cloister which they found there, and ask the way to some small chapel, where mass was said, in the populous alley or the forlorn suburb? And, on the other hand, can any one who has but heard his name, and cursorily read his history, doubt for one instant, how the people of England, in turn, 'we, our princes, our priests, and our prophets,' Lords and Commons, Universities, Ecclesiastical Courts, marts of commerce, great towns, country parishes, would deal with Athanasius,—Athanasius, who spent his long years in fighting against kings for a theological term?"—P. 138.

I recommend this passage to the consideration of those more than friendly critics of mine, who, in their perplexity to find a motive sufficient for my becoming a Catholic, attribute the step in me personally (without any warrant, I think, from anything that I have said or written) to a desire for a firmer ground of religious certitude, and a clearer view of revealed truth, than is furnished in the Church of England [Note 1]. I should also venture {76} respectfully to offer the same passage to the notice of an eminent statesman and brilliant writer, who has lately gone out of his way to observe that "the secession of Dr. Newman" is an "extraordinary event," which, "has been 'apologized for,' but has never been explained;" except that I doubted whether a genuine politician could possibly enter into any motives of action, not political, and was not likely, even in the province of physics, to demand reasons of state or party interests in explanation of a chimpanzee being delivered of a human baby, or a Caucasian man developing into an Archangel. But to our immediate subject:—

The foregoing Essay calls on me for a reconsideration of its contents in three respects: as regards, first, the validity of Anglican Orders; secondly, the unity of ecclesiastical jurisdiction; thirdly, the apparent exceptions to that unity in the history of the early Church. And first as to Anglican Orders.


As to the Anglican Orders, I certainly do think them doubtful and untrustworthy; and that, independent of any question arising out of Parker's consecration, into which I will not enter. Granting, for argument's sake, that that consecration was in all respects what its defenders say it was, still I feel a large difficulty in accepting the Anglican Succession and Commission of Ministry, arising out of the historical aspect of the Anglican Church and of its prelates, an aspect which suggests a grave suspicion of the validity of their acts from first to last. I had occasion to make some remarks on this subject several years ago; but I left them unfinished, as feeling that I was distressing, without convincing, men whom I love and respect, by impugning {77} an article of their belief, which to them is sacred, in proportion as it is vital. Now, however, when time has passed, and I am opposing not them but my former self, I may be allowed, pace charissimorum virorum, to explain myself, and leave my explanation on record, as regards some points to which exception was then taken. And, in so doing, I do but profess to be setting down a view of the subject which is very clear to my own mind, and which, as I think, ought to be clear to them: but of course I am not laying down the law on a point on which the Church has not directly and distinctly spoken, nor implying that I am not open to arguments on the other side, if such are forthcoming, which I do not anticipate.

First of all, I will attempt to set right what I thought I had set right at the time. A mis-statement was made some time ago in Notes and Queries, to the effect that I had expressed "doubts about Machyn's Diary." In spite of my immediate denial of it in that publication, it has been repeated in a recent learned work on Anglican Orders. Let me then again declare here that I know nothing whatever about Machyn, and that I have never even mentioned his name in anything I have ever written, and that I have no doubts whatever, because I have no opinion at all, favourable or unfavourable, about him or his Diary. Indeed, it is plain that, since, in the letter in which I was supposed to have spoken on the subject, I had dismissed altogether what I called the "antiquarian" question concerning the consecrations of 1559, as one which I felt to be dreary and interminable, I should have been simply inconsistent, had I introduced Machyn or his Diary into it, and should, in point of logic, have muddled my argument.

That argument, which I maintain now as then, is as {78} follows:—That the consecrations of 1559 were not only facts, they were acts; that those acts were not done and over once for all, but were only the first of a series of acts done in a long course of years; that these acts too, all of them, were done by men of certain positive opinions and intentions, and none of those opinions and views, from first to last, of a Catholic complexion, but on the contrary erroneous and heretical. And I questioned whether men of those opinions could by means of a mere rite or formulary, however correct in itself, start and continue in a religious communion, such as the Anglican, a ministerial succession which could be depended on as inviolate. I do not see what guarantee is producible for the faithful observance of a sacred rite, in form, matter, and intention, through so long a period in the hands of such administrators. And again, the existing state of the Anglican body, so ignorant of fundamental truth, so overrun with diversified error, would be but a sorry outcome of Apostolical ordinances and graces. "By their fruits shall ye know them." Revelation involves in its very idea a teaching and a hearing of Divine Truth. What clear and steady light of truth is there in the Church of England? What candlestick, upright and firm, on which it has been set? This seems to me what Leslie calls "a short and easy method;" it is drawn out from one of the Notes of the Church. When we look at the Anglican communion, not in the books, in the imagination, or in the affections of its champions, but as it is in fact, its claims to speak in Christ's Name are refuted by its very condition. An Apostolical ministry necessarily involves an Apostolical teaching.

This practical argument was met at the time by two objections: first, that it was far-fetched, and next, that {79} in a Catholic it was suicidal. I do not see that it is either, and I proceed to say why.

1. As to its being far-fetched or unreasonable; if so, it is strange that it should have lately approved itself to a writer placed in very different circumstances, who has used it, not indeed against Anglican Orders, for he firmly upholds them, but against Swedish;—I mean, Dr. Littledale. This learned and zealous man, in his late lecture at Oxford, decides that a certain uncatholic act, which he specifies, of the Swedish ecclesiastical Establishment, done at a particular time and place, has so bad a look, as to suffice, independent of all investigation into documents of past history, at once to unchurch it,—which is to go much further in the use of my argument than I should think it right to go myself. "Sweden," he says, "professes to have retained an Apostolical Succession; I am satisfied from historical evidence that she has nothing of the kind; but the late chaplain to the Swedish embassy in London has been good enough to supply me with an important disproof of his own Orders. During a long illness, from which he was suffering some time ago, he entrusted the entire charge of his flock to a Danish pastor, until such time as his own successor was at length sent from Sweden. His official position must have made the sanction of the authorities, both in Church and State, necessary for a delegation of his duties; so that the act cannot be classed with that of an obscure Yorkshire incumbent, the other day, who invited an Anabaptist minister to fill his pulpit. And thus we gather that the quasi-Episcopal Church of Sweden treats Presbyterian ministers on terms of perfect equality."—P. 8.

Here then a writer, whose bias is towards the Church of England, distinctly lays down the principle, that a {80} lax ecclesiastical practice, ascertained by even one formal instance, apart from documentary evidence, or ritual observance, is sufficient in itself to constitute it an important disproof of the claim advanced by a nation to the possession of an Apostolical Succession in its clergy. I speak here only of the principle involved in Dr. Littledale's argument, which is the same as my own principle; though, for myself, I do not say more than that Anglican ordinations are doubtful, whereas he considers the Swedish to be simply null. Nor again should I venture to assert that one instance of irregularity, such as that which he adduces, is sufficient to carry on either me or (much less) him to our respective conclusions. To what indeed does his "disproof" of Swedish orders come but to this: that the Swedish authorities think that Presbyterianism, as a religion, has in its doctrines and ordinances what is called "the root of the matter," and that the Episcopal form is nothing more than what I have called above (vol. i. p. 365) "the extra twopence"? Do the highest living authorities in the Anglican Church, Queen or Archbishop, think very differently from this? would they not, if they dared, do just what the late Swedish chaplain did, and think it a large wisdom and a true charity to do so?

So much on the reasonableness of my argument. I conceive there is nothing evasive in refusing to decide the question of Orders by the mere letter of an Ordination Service, to the neglect of more elementary and broader questions; nothing far-fetched, in taking into account the opinions and practices of its successive administrators, unless Anglicans may act towards the Swedes as Catholics may not act towards Anglicans. Such is the common sense of the matter; and that it is the Catholic sense, too, a few words will show.

It will be made clear in three propositions:—First, the {81} Anglican Bishops for three centuries have lived and died in heresy; (I am not questioning their good faith and invincible ignorance, which is an irrelevant point;) next, it is far from certain, it is at the utmost only probable, that Orders conferred by heretics are valid; lastly, in conferring the sacraments, the safer side, not merely the more probable, must ever be taken. And, as to the proof of these three points,—as regards the first of them, I ask, how many Anglican Bishops have believed in transubstantiation, or in the necessity of sacramental penance? yet to deny these dogmas is to be a heretic. Secondly, as to Orders conferred by heretics, there is, I grant, a strong case for their validity, but then there is also a strong case against it (vid. Bingham, Antiq. iv. 7); so that at most heretical ordination is not certainly, but only probably valid. As to the third point, this, viz., that in conferring sacraments not merely the more probable but the safer side must be taken, and that they must be practically considered invalid, when they are not certainly valid, this is the ordinary doctrine of the Church. "Opinio probabilis," says St. Alfonso Liguori, "est illa, quæ gravi aliquo innititur fundamento, apto ad hominis prudentis assensum inclinandum. In Sacramentorum collatione non potest minister uti opinione probabili, aut probabiliori, de Sacramenti valore, sed tutiores sequendæ sunt, aut moraliter certæ." [Note 2] Pope Benedict XIV. supplies us with an illustration of this principle, even as regards a detail of the rite itself. In his time an answer was given from Rome, in the case {82} of a candidate for the priesthood, who, in the course of his ordination, had received the imposition of hands, but accidentally neglected to receive from the Bishop the Paten and Chalice. It was to the effect that he was bound to be ordained over again sub conditione [Note 3].

What Anglican candidate for the priesthood has ever touched physically or even morally Paten or Chalice in his ordination, from Archbishop Parker to Archbishop Tait? In truth, the Catholic rite, whether it differs from itself or not in different ages, still in every age, age after age, is itself, and nothing but itself. It is a concrete whole, one and indivisible, and acts per modum unius; and, having been established by the Church, and being in present use and possession, it cannot be cut up into bits, be docked and twisted, or split into essentials and {83} non-essentials, genus and species, matter and form, at the heretical will of a Cranmer, or a Ridley, or turned into a fancy ordinal by a royal commission of divines, without a sacrilege perilous to its vitality. Though the delivery of the sacred vessels was not primitive, it was part of the existing rite, three centuries ago, as it is now, and could not, and cannot be omitted, without prejudice to the ecclesiastical status of those who are ordained without it.

Whether indeed, as time goes on, the Pope, in the plenitude of his power, could, with the aid of his theologians, obtain that clearer light, which the Church has not at present, on the whole question of ordination, for which St. Leo IX. so earnestly prayed, and thereby determine what at present is enveloped in such doubtfulness, viz., the validity of heretical ordination, and, what is still more improbable than the abstract proposition, the validity of Anglican Orders in particular, is a subject on which I do not enter. As the matter stands, all we see is a hierarchical body, whose opinions through three hundred years compromise their acts, who do not themselves believe that they have the gifts which their zealous adherents ascribe to them, who in their hearts deny those sacramental formulas which their country's law obliges them to use, who conscientiously shudder at assuming real episcopal or sacerdotal power, who resolve "Receive the Holy Ghost" into a prayer, "Whose sins ye remit are remitted" into a license to preach, and "This is My Body, this is My Blood" into an allegory.

And then, supposing if ever, these great difficulties were overcome, after all would follow the cardinal question, which Benedict XIV. opens, as I have shown, about the sufficiency of their rite itself.

Anyhow, as things now stand, it is clear no Anglican {84} Bishop or Priest can by Catholics be recognized to be such. If indeed earnestness of mind and purity of purpose could ever be a substitute for the formal conditions of a sacrament, which Apostles have instituted and the Church maintains, certainly in that case one might imagine it to be so accepted in many an Anglican ordination. I do believe that, in the case of many men, it is the one great day of their lives, which cannot come twice, the day on which, in their fresh youth, they freely dedicated themselves and all their powers to the service of their Redeemer,—solemn and joyful at the time, and ever after fragrant in their memories:—it is so; but devotion cannot reverse the past, nor can good faith stand in the stead of what is true; and it is because I feel this, and in no temper of party, that I refuse to entertain an imagination which is neither probable in fact, nor Catholic in spirit. If we do not even receive the baptism of Anglicans, how can we receive their ordinations?

2. But now, secondly, comes the question, whether the argument, used above against Anglican, may not be retorted on Catholic ordinations;—for it may be objected that, however Catholics may claim to themselves the tradition of doctrine and rite, they do not profess to be secure against bad ecclesiastics any more than Protestants; that there have been times of ignorance, violence, unscrupulousness, in the history of the Catholic Church; and that, if Anglican Orders are untrustworthy because of the chance mistakes in three hundred years, much more so are Catholic, which have run a whole eighteen hundred. In short, that I have but used against the Anglican ministry the old notorious argument of Chillingworth and Macaulay, an argument, which is of a sceptical character in them, and, in a Catholic, suicidal also. {85}

Now I do not well know what is meant by calling such an argument sceptical. It seems to me a very fair argument. Scepticism is the refusal to be satisfied with reasons which ought to satisfy. To be sceptical is to be unreasonable. But what is there unreasonable, what extravagant in idea, or inconsistent with experience, in recognizing the chance of important mistakes, here or there, in a given succession of acts? I do certainly think it most probable, that an intricate series of ordinations through three hundred years, and much more through eighteen hundred, will have flaws in it. Who does not think so? It will have them to a certainty, and is in itself untrustworthy. By "untrustworthy in itself," I mean, humanly speaking; for if indeed there be any special protection promised to it, beyond nature, to secure it against errors and accidents, that of course is another matter; and the simple question is, whether this or that particular Succession has such a promise, or in other words, whether this or that Succession is or is not apostolical. It is usual for Anglicans to say, as we say, that they have "the Apostolical Succession;" but that is begging the question; if a Succession be apostolical, then indeed it is protected from errors; but it has to be proved apostolical before such protection can be claimed for it; that is, we and they, both of us, must give reasons in our own case respectively for this our critical assumption of our being apostolical. We, Catholics, do produce our reasons,—that is, we produce what are commonly called "the Notes of the Church,"—by virtue of those reasons, we consider we belong to that Apostolical Church, in which were at the beginning stored the promises; and therefore our Succession has the apostolic promise of protection and is preserved from accidents, or is apostolic; on the other hand, Anglicans must give {86} reasons on their part for maintaining that they too belong to the Apostolic Church, and that their Succession is Apostolic. There is then nothing unfair in Macaulay's argument, viewed in itself; it is fair to both of us; nor is it suicidal in the hands of a Catholic to use it against Anglicans, if, at the same time, he gives reasons why it cannot by opponents be used against himself. Let us look, then, at the objection more closely.

Lord Macaulay's remarks on the "Apostolic Succession," as contained in one of his Reviews, written with the force and brilliancy for which he is so well known, are far too extended to admit of insertion here; but I will quote a few words of his argument from its beginning and ending. He begins by laying down, first, that, whether an Anglican clergyman "be a priest by succession from the Apostles depends on the question, whether, during that long period, some thousands of events took place, any one of which may, without any gross impropriety, be supposed not to have taken place;" and next "that there is not a tittle of evidence for any one of these events." Then after various vivid illustrations of his argument, he ends by a reference to Chillingworth's "very remarkable words," as he calls them. "That of ten thousand probables no one should be false, that of ten thousand requisites, whereof any one may fail, not one should be wanting, this to me is extremely improbable, and even cousin-german to impossible."

I cannot deny, certainly, that Catholics, as well as the high Anglican school, do believe in the Apostolic Succession of ministry, continued through eighteen hundred years; nor that they both believe it to be necessary to an Apostolical ministry; nor that they act upon their belief. But, as I have said, though so far the two parties agree, still they differ materially in their respective positions, {87} relatively towards that Succession, and differ in consequence in their exposure respectively to the force of the objection on which I have been dwelling. The difference of position between the two may be expressed in the following antithesis:—Catholics believe their Orders are valid, because they are members of the true Church; and Anglicans believe they belong to the true Church, because their Orders are valid. And this is why Macaulay's objection tells against Anglicans, and does not tell against Catholics.

In other words, our Apostolical descent is to us a theological inference, and not primarily a doctrine of faith; theirs with them is a first principle in controversy, and a patent matter of fact, the credentials of their mission. That they can claim to have God's ministers among them, depends directly and solely upon the validity of their Orders; and to prove their validity, they are bound to trace their Succession through a hundred intermediate steps till at length they reach the Apostles; till they do this their claim is in abeyance. If it is improbable that the Succession has no flaws in it, they have to bear the brunt of the improbability; if it is presumable that a special Providence precludes such flaws, or compensates for them, they cannot take the benefit of that presumption to themselves; for to do so would be claiming to belong to the true Church, to which that high Providence is promised, and this they cannot do without arguing in a circle, first proving that they are of the true Church because they have valid Orders, and then that their Orders are valid because they are of the true Church.

Thus the Apostolical Succession is to Anglican divines a sine quâ non, not "necessitate præcepti" sed "necessitate medii." Their Succession is indispensable to their position, as being the point from which they start; and {88} therefore it must be unimpeachable, or else, they do not belong to the Church; and to prove it is unimpeachable by introducing the special Providence of God over His Church, would be like proving the authority of Scripture by those miracles of which Scripture alone is the record. It must be unimpeachable before, and without taking that special Providence into account, and this, I have said above, it cannot be. We, on our side, on the contrary, are not in such a dilemma as this. Our starting-point is not the fact of a faithful transmission of Orders, but the standing fact of the Church, the Visible and One Church, the reproduction and succession of herself age after age. It is the Church herself that vouches for our Orders, while she authenticates herself to be the Church not by our Orders, but by her Notes. It is the great Note of an ever-enduring cœtus fidelium, with a fixed organization, a unity of jurisdiction, a political greatness, a continuity of existence in all places and times, a suitableness to all classes, ranks, and callings, an ever-energizing life, an untiring, ever-evolving history, which is her evidence that she is the creation of God, and the representative and home of Christianity. She is not based upon her Orders; she is not the subject of her instruments; they are not necessary for her idea. We could even afford, for argument's sake, to concede to Lord Macaulay the uncertainty of our Succession. If Providence had so willed, she might have had her ministers without any lineal descent from the Apostles at all. Her mere nomination might have superseded any rite of Ordination; there might have been no indelible character in her ministers; she might have commissioned them, used them, and recalled them at her pleasure. She might have been like a civil state, in which there is a continuation of office, {89} but not a propagation of official life. The occupant of the See of St. Peter, himself made such by mere election, might have made bishops and unmade them. Her Divine Founder has chosen a better way, better because He has chosen it. A transmission of ministerial power ever has been, and ever shall be; and He who has so ordained, will carry out His ordinance, preserve it from infraction or make good any damage to it, because it is His ordinance, but still that ordinance is not simply of the essence of the Church; it is not more than an inseparable accident and a necessary instrument. Nor is the Apostolic descent of her priests the direct warrant of their power in the eyes of the faithful; their warrant is her immediate, present, living authority; it is the word of the Church which marks them out as the ministers of God, not any historical or antiquarian research, or genealogical table; and while she is most cautious and jealous that they should be ordained aright, yet it is sufficient in proof of their ordination that they belong to her.

Thus it would appear, that to Catholics the certainty of Apostolical Orders is not a point of prime necessity, yet they possess it; and for Anglicans it is absolutely indispensable, yet they have it not.

On such grounds as these it is, that I consider the line of argument, which I have adopted against Anglican Orders, is neither open to the charge of scepticism, nor suicidal in the hands of a Catholic.


My second point does not require so many words. I have been urging that there is no security for the transmission of the Apostolical Ministry, except as continued in that Church which has the promises. We must first {90} be sure that we are in that Church, and then we shall inherit the Church's security about her Orders. If we are in the Church, in that case we know well that He, who overrules everything for her good, will have taken full account of the infirmity of her human instruments, and have prevented or remedied, in His own way, any faults which may have occurred in past centuries in the administration of His own ordinance, and will prevent or remedy them still. Thus the Orders depend on the Church, not the Church on the Orders.

This argument presupposes that there is in fact a Church, that is, a visible body corporate, gifted with supernatural privileges, present and future; and if there be not, then the Apostolical Succession has no meaning or object, and vanishes out of theology with the Church itself of which it is a function. But I am assuming that there is a Church, for the high school of Anglicans, against whom these remarks are directed, upholds the existence of a visible Church as firmly as Catholics, and the only question between the two parties is, what and where the Church is; in what it consists; and on this point it is that they differ. This Church, this spiritually endowed body, this minister of the sacraments, teacher of Gospel truth, possessor of that power of binding and loosing, commonly called the power of the keys, is this Divine creation coincident, as Catholics hold, with the whole extended body of Christians everywhere, so as to be in its essence one and only one organized association,—or, on the other hand, as insisted on in the above Essay, is every separate bishopric, every diocesan unit, of which that whole is composed, properly and primarily the Church which has the promises, each of them being, like a crystallization, only a repetition of the rest, each of them in point of privileges as much the perfect {91} Church as all together, each equal to each, each independent of each, each invested with full spiritual powers, in solidum, as St. Cyprian speaks, none subject to any, none bound to union with other by any law of its being or condition of its prerogatives, but all free from all except as regards the duty of mutual love, and only called one Church, when taken in the aggregate or in its catholicity, though really multiform, by a conversational misnomer, or figure of speech, or abstraction of the mind, as when all men, viewed as one, are called "man"? In taking in my Essay this view of the Church, I followed in the main, not only Dodwell and Hickes, whom I cited, but such high authorities as Pearson, Barrow, Stillingfleet, and Bingham.

Now it is very intelligible to deny that there is any divinely established, divinely commissioned, Church at all; but to hold that the one Church is realized and perfected in each of a thousand independent corporate units, co-ordinate, bound by no necessary intercommunion, adjusted into no divine organized whole, is a tenet, not merely unknown to Scripture, but so plainly impossible to carry out practically, as to make it clear that it never would have been devised, except by men, who conscientiously believing in a visible Church and also conscientiously opposed to Rome, had nothing left for them, whether they would or would not, but to entrench themselves in the paradox, that the Church was one indeed, and the Church was Catholic indeed, but that the one Church was not the Catholic, and the Catholic Church was not the one.

1. First, as to the scriptural view of the subject. That the writers of the New Testament speak of many local Christian bodies, called churches, is indisputable; but the question is, whether these various local bodies, so-called, {92} were, or were not, brought together by divine command into a higher unity than any local association, and into a union rendered imperative by the special privileges attached to its observance; whether by the word "Church" was not properly and really denoted, not any local body, but one and only one large association extending as widely as the Christian name, including in it all merely local bodies, having one organization, a necessary intercommunion, fixed mutual relations between its portions, and supernatural powers and gifts lodged primarily in it, the association itself, and thence communicated, by aggregation and incorporation, to each subdivision and each individual member of it. This latter view is the teaching of Scripture.

That is, in the lifetime of the Apostles, according to the Scripture record, the Church of the promises, the Church of Christ, was a body, (1) visible; (2) one; (3) Catholic, and (4) organized.

1. That it is visible, is allowed on all hands, for even the churches or congregations of Independents or Unitarians are visible; the word "Ecclesia" means an assembly of men, and if men are visible, their assembling must be visible also.

2. Next it is one: true though it be that St. Paul, St. Luke, and St. John, when engaged on historical fact speak of many "churches," the style of Scripture changes when it speaks of the great Christian gifts doctrinally. In presence of these gospel prerogatives there is but one body with many members. Our Lord builds, upon the rock of Peter and of Peter's faith, not churches, but "My Church;" St. Paul speaks of the "House of God, the Church of the Living God" in which St. Timothy is called to be a ruler, and not of "churches;" of the Church "being the pillar and ground of the truth." {93} Again he speaks, as of "One God and Father of all, one Lord, one Spirit, one faith, one hope, one baptism," so also of but "one body;" and again our Lord as "the Head of the body, the Church," not of the churches.

3. This one Church, as it necessarily follows, is Catholic, because it embraces all Christians at once in one extended whole, its catholicity being coincident with its unity. This is a subject on which St. Paul delights to expatiate. Where has he a word of dioceses or bishoprics, each a complete whole, each independent of the rest, each with the power of the keys, each a facsimile of each? On the contrary, he declares "we are all baptized by one Spirit into one body," the Spirit who is one, being the pledge of the body's unity, and the one body being the condition of the Spirit's presence. Both Jews and Gentiles "are fellow-heirs, and of the same body;" are "framed together and grow into a holy temple," "a habitation of God through the Spirit." "There is neither Jew nor Greek, ye are all one in Christ Jesus." "To the peace of God ye are called in one body." We, being many, are one body in Christ." "The body is one and hath many members; ye are the body of Christ and members in particular." Is it not clear then that according to St. Paul, the whole Church comes first, and its portions or individual members come second, that its portions are not wholes, that they are accidents, but the one whole body is no accident, no conglomerate, but the object of Apostolic zeal, and the direct and primary recipient of divine grace?

4. Once more, this visible, one, and whole or Catholic body, is, as indeed the word "body" implies, an organization, with many members converging and concurring into one ecclesiastical corporation or power. I mean, this the Church was, in matter of fact, in the days of {94} the Apostles. Even Apostles, though each of them had a universal jurisdiction, had not the power to break up the one Church into fragments, and each of them to make a communion of his own in it. "Who is Paul, who is Apollos," says the Apostle, "but ministers"? "Ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building, ye are the temple of God." In like manner St. Luke tells us that those who were baptized "continued steadfastly in the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship;" and St. Paul that the many members of the body have not the same office, nor are all equally honourable,—implying in all he writes a formed ecclesiastical polity. On this point I cannot do better than make an extract from one of the early Tracts for the Times, which runs as follows:

"Some time ago I drew up the Scripture proof of the doctrine of the Visible Church, which I will here transcribe. I am not arguing for this or that form of polity, nor for the Apostolical Succession, but simply for the duties of order, union, and ecclesiastical obedience. I limit myself to these points, as being persuaded that, when they are granted, the others will eventually follow.

"I. That there was a Visible Church in the Apostles' day.

"1. General texts. Matt. xvi. 18, xviii. 17; 1 Tim. iii. 15; Acts passim, etc.

"2. Organization of the Church.

"(1) Diversity of ranks. 1 Cor. xii; Eph. iv. 4-12; Rom. xii. 4-8; 1 Peter iv. 10, 11.

"(2) Governors. Matt. xxviii. 19; Mark xvi. 15, 16; John xx. 22, 23; Luke xxii. 19, 20; Gal. ii. 9, etc.

"(3) Gifts. Luke xii. 42, 43; John xx. 22, 23; Matt. xviii. 18.

"(4) Order. Acts viii. 5, 6, 12, 14, 15, 17; ix. 27; {95} xi. 2-4, 22, 23; xv. 2, 4, 6, 25; xvi. 4; xviii. 22; xxi. 17-19. Comp. Gal. i. 1-12; 1 Cor. xiv. 40; 1 Thess. v. 14.

"(5) Ordination. Acts vi. 6; 1 Tim. iv. 14, v. 22; 2 Tim. i. 6; Titus i. 5; Acts xiii. 3; cf. Gal. i. 1-12.

"(6) Ecclesiastical obedience. 1 Thess. v. 12, 13; Heb. xiii. 17; [1] Tim. v. 17.

"(7) Rules and discipline. Matt. xxviii. 19; Matt. xviii. 17; 1 Cor. v. 4-7; Gal. v. 12, etc.; 1 Cor. xvi. 1, 2; 1 Cor. xi. 2, 16, etc.

"(8) Unity. Rom. xvi. 17; 1 Cor. i. 10; iii. 3; xiv. 26; Col. ii. 5; 1 Thess. v. 14; 2 Thess. iii. 6.

"II. That the Visible Church, thus instituted by the Apostles, was intended to continue.

"1. Why should it not? The onus probandi lies with those who deny this position. If the doctrines and precepts already cited be obsolete at this day, why should not the following texts? e.g., 1 Peter ii. 13; or e.g., Matt. vii. 14; John iii. 3.

"2. Is it likely so elaborate a system should be framed, yet with no purpose of its continuing?

"3. The objects to be obtained by it are as necessary now as then. (1) Preservation of the faith. (2) Purity of doctrine. (3) Edification of Christians. (4) Unity of operation. Vid. Epistles to Tim. and Tit. passim.

"4. If system were necessary in a time of miracles, much more is it now.

"5. 2 Tim. ii. 2. Matt. xxviii. 20, etc."

So far the Tract. If then the New Testament is to be our guide in matters ecclesiastical, one thing at least is certain. We may doubt whether Bishops are of obligation, whether there is an Apostolical Succession, whether presbyters are priests, whether St. Stephen and {96} his six associates were the first deacons, whether the Sacraments are seven or two; but of one thing we cannot doubt, that all Christians were in that first age bound together in one body, with an actual intercommunion and mutual relations between them, with ranks and offices, and with a central authority; and that this organized association was "the body of Christ," and that in it, considered as One, dwelt the "One Spirit." This external unity is a duty prior in order and idea to Episcopacy; in it, and not in Episcopacy, lies the transmission and warrant of Divine privilege. It is emphatically a "Sacramentum Unitatis," and is presupposed, typified, required by the Sacraments properly so-called; and divines who substitute a diocese for the orbis terrarum as the first rudiment of the Church, must in consistency be prepared to answer those who, going a little farther, substitute a congregation for a diocese; for Episcopalians are only one species of Independents, with far less to say for themselves from Scripture.

2. Secondly, this theory is as impracticable, as an ecclesiastical system, as it is unknown to Scripture. Not only has it never worked, but it never has been fairly attempted, or even imagined, at least for any length of time or on a large scale. Regarded in its probable results and actual tendencies, it is a sure and easy way of not effecting those very ends which ecclesiastical arrangements are intended to subserve. The first idea of the Gospel is Revelation,—that is, right faith, certain knowledge, truth and light; the first precept of the New Law is charity,—that is, mutual goodwill, brotherly love, peace: now if our Lord had intended to promote, not these merciful ends, but ignorance, confusion, unbelief, discord, strife, enmity, mutual alienation, could He have provided a better way, than that {97} of ordaining by express command, and sanctioning by supernatural privilege, a thousand or two local Episcopates, all over the earth, each sovereign, each independent of the rest? Of course it might be His will to manifest His overruling might amid human pride, passion, and selfishness, and to work by miracle; nor again do I deny that history tells us of great abuses and disorders in religious matters, arising out of despotic power, and the indignant re-action of the oppressed. Certainly there is no form of polity which is safe from the inroads of human infirmity and sin; but at the same time there are some forms which can withstand or prevent these evils better than others;—the present British Constitution, for instance, is more conducive to peace, internal and external, than was the Heptarchy, nor should we be so happy in temporal respects as we are, were each of our cities a sovereign state, as some are just now scheming to bring about in France;—but if there be any polity, ecclesiastical or civil, which has proved itself above others a working system, strong, coherent, enduring, and full of resource, surely it is the world-wide ecclesiastical power which alone, among forms of Christianity, has ever preserved and carried on that Unity in Catholicity which we see initiated in Scripture. Natural gifts and virtues, statesmanlike principles, sagacious policy, have found large room for their development in that organization which inspired Apostles commenced; it alone, as Protestant writers have confessed, has carried civilization and Christianity across the gulf which separates the old world from the modern; and, while it is only a matter of opinion whether it has on any important subject added to the faith once delivered, it has beyond all question, and in matter of fact, answered the ends of its institution, in preserving to us every page {98} of inspired Scripture, every doctrine of the primitive Church, a host of immemorial rites and traditions, and the voluminous writings of the Ancient Fathers. This has been the result of ecclesiastical unity.

On the other hand, as to the Anglican theory, how is it even to be put upon the course? how is it to start? how are we to find for it life and strength enough even to allow of its attempting and breaking down? It has an initial difficulty before it comes into the region of fact: its necessary church unit is diocesan; what is diocesan is local; what is local must have boundaries; boundaries do not come by nature, but by positive enactment; who is to draw them? Suppose two neighbouring Bishops draw lines intersecting each other, who is to enforce a settlement between them? suppose each of them thinks that the two dioceses naturally form but one diocese, then we have altar set up against altar. And further, who is to map out a whole province? Is it not very plain that the civil power must come in from the first, either as guiding or compelling an arrangement? Thus, from the first, episcopal autonomy is close upon erastianism.

But there may be Councils held, laws passed, oaths taken, and a central authority created;—of course; but that authority is after all human and conventional; how is it a match for that episcopal magisterium which on the hypothesis is divine? Each Bishop has the power of the keys; each can bind and loose; each can excommunicate all his brethren. Each can proclaim and defend a heresy. What then can keep them in the unity of the faith, but to suppose each of them alike infallible? Yet must a theory, which protests against one infallibility, fall back upon a thousand? Would Christianity, as regards truth and peace, faith and charity, fare worse, would it not {99} fare better, without any Church at all, than with a thousand Churches, scattered through the world, all supreme and independent?

If it be asked of me how, with my present views of the inherent impracticability of the Anglican theory of Church polity, I could ever have held it myself, I answer that, though swayed by great names, I never was without misgivings about the difficulties which it involved; and that as early as 1837, in my Volume in defence of Anglicanism as contrasted with "Romanism and popular Protestantism," I expressed my sense of these difficulties. I said much on the subject in my Introductory Chapter. Among other things, "The proof of reality in a doctrine," I said, "is its holding together when actually attempted … Not till Christianity was tried, could the coherence of its parts be ascertained. Now the class of doctrines in question as yet labours under the same difficulty. Indeed, they are in one sense as entirely new as Christianity when first preached. The Via Media, viewed as an integral system, has scarcely had existence, except on paper ... Bystanders accuse us of tendering no proof to show that our view is not self-contradictory, and, if set in motion, would not fall to pieces, or start off in different directions at once … It still remains to be tried whether what is called Anglo-Catholicism, the religion of Andrewes, Laud, Hammond, Butler, and Wilson, is capable of being professed, acted on, and maintained on a large sphere of action, and through a sufficient period, or whether it be a mere modification or transition-state either of Romanism or of popular Protestantism, according as we view it."—Pp. 19-22.

This, I said, in honesty, though it was in a measure an unravelling of the work which I was then completing, {100} and in consequence, when published, a cause of deep offence to the late Mr. Rose, nay, of an estrangement from me, for some months, of a friend whom I so much valued and respected. But he had forgiven me by February 1838, and, when he left England for good in October of that year, in the kindness of his heart, he would not go away without bidding me farewell; and he wrote to me a friendly letter, wishing me all success in the British Critic, which I was then undertaking, I on my part dedicating to him, with his leave, and with all my heart, my fourth volume of Parochial Sermons.


The doctrine of the unity of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, which I have been dwelling upon from Scripture and from the reason of the case, might also be copiously illustrated from the Fathers; but this is not denied in the Essay which has given rise to these remarks. Rather, the witness of the Fathers in its favour is granted, by the very fact that it does no more than bring forward, as if exceptions to the rule, certain passages from their writings, or facts in their history, which admit or perhaps teach a contrary doctrine, and thereby suggest that the unity of jurisdiction was not always insisted on in fact, and that a local Church, as the Anglican, may withdraw from the Catholic jurisdiction without necessarily and at once forfeiting its claim to Catholic communion. On these exceptional passages I shall now say a few words.

The argument in the Essay is of the following kind: There are strong passages in the Fathers against schism and separatism certainly, but then there is no rule but has exceptions; and these strong passages only embody general truths, proverbial sayings, aspects, types, symbols of Catholic doctrine, principles applicable to particular {101} subjects, times, and places, and are sometimes in their letter even contradictory to each other, showing that they carry with them an antecedent or presumptive force and nothing more. Thus our Lord sometimes says, "Follow Me," at another "Count the cost;" and "He that is not with Me, is against Me," yet also, "He that is not against us, is for us." And He says, "Blessed are the poor;" "Woe unto you rich;" yet no one would deny that such enunciations do need a careful handling, and may be grievously misapplied. Therefore, in like manner, though St. Augustine, after St. Cyprian, says, "Break the branch from the tree, it will not bud," or "The universal Church is in its judgments secure of truth," it does not thence follow for certain that the Church of England may not be a living Church amid its supreme isolation, or is ipso facto condemned because it has the whole East and West absolutely against it and its doctrines. So much as to the doctrines of the Fathers; next, as to facts in their history. It is certain, that Eusebius of Samosata is a saint in the Roman calendar, though for years and almost till his death he was in the ranks of the Semi-Arians; Meletius, a saint also, died out of communion with Rome; Lucifer died in schism, yet is called "Beatus" by Jerome, and up to the seventeenth century was honoured as a saint in Sardinia and parts of Italy; and Paschasius to the last adhered to the anti-Pope Laurence against Pope Symmachus, yet he too is in the Roman calendar. If these men are saints, in spite of their separation from Rome, why may not England, though accidentally in a state of protest, enjoy, as those primitive saints enjoyed, the communion and the blessings of the Catholic Church? Such is the argument, and now I shall give my answer to it.

1. And first as to the examples adduced:—I begin by {102} drawing attention to what I conceive to be an erroneous assumption in an earlier Essay, which this is the proper place to set right. I said in my remarks upon Mr. Palmer (supr., vol. i., pp. 164-5). "If division is not ipso facto formal schism, length of time cannot make it such. If thirty-five years do not deprive a separated branch of its Catholicity, neither does a hundred." This is what I have said above; but now I venture to suggest, that the truth is just the contrary to this statement, while the distinction, which it denies to exist, is just that which forms the critical contrast between those instances of ecclesiastical differences which occur in ancient times, and the utter alienation which exists at this time between England and Rome. In the early centuries there were frequent quarrels among Christians: Pope Victor declared the Asian Bishops excommunicate, by reason of their Quartodeciman observance of the Easter Festival; Stephen threatened the Easterns, on the question of heretical baptism, and Firmilian of Cæsarea retorted in sharp words; Acacius of Constantinople, as favouring the Monophysite party, drew on him the anathema of Pope Felix; first the African bishops, and then the ex-archate of Ravenna and the churches of Istria refused the decrees of the fifth Ecumenical Council. Such acts implied separation, and sometimes those separations were long; but it is difficult to treat any of them as perfected schisms. They were the threatenings and beginnings of schism; they tended to schism, as disorders of the body, not in themselves fatal, yet, if neglected, may terminate in death. Estrangements, in early times, were often but "amantium iræ;" and there was sooner or later an "amoris integratio."

Such were the instances of schismatical proceedings in early times, the like of which I have adduced above {103} in my Essay; but very different surely from these is the chasm which has long yawned between England and the Catholic world. This separation is surely no lover's quarrel; arising today, spent and over tomorrow. Each of the contending parties has broken off from the other now for long centuries; each has for centuries continued on in its own territory supreme, and thus grown into its own shape; each has formally turned its back upon the other, or has recognized it only to affront it; each has framed decrees and passed laws against the faith and the claims of the other. The whole of England, with its multitude of sects, tolerant for the most part of each other, protests against Rome: its Court, its legislators, its judicial bench, its public press, its literature and science, its populace, forcibly repudiate, view with intense jealousy, any advance, in any quarter, even of a hair's breadth, towards the Roman Church. Its Bishops at home and from abroad, once in a way assembled in a Pan-Anglican Synod, cannot part in peace with mutual good wishes, without a parting fling at the Holy See. All this animosity against Catholicism is conscious, deliberate, and hearty, the coagulate of bitter experiences and of festering resentments. Year after year, the conscience of our great country more determinately confronts and defies the principles and the practices of the Roman Curia. At the era of Elizabeth, this opposition was founded on passion or policy; in Victoria's time it is an intellectual and moral antipathy. It is as different now from what it was then, as the severe but transient influenza, which is the first step of a consumption, differs from the hectic fever and organic ruin, in which it ends. All things are possible to God; I am not saying that this antagonism between Rome and England must last for ever, because it is so energetic now; but I am stating {104} what it is at this time; and I protest that to compare it to the coolness between Meletius and Athanasius, or the jealousies between Basil and Damasus, or the parties and partizanship which the untoward act of Lucifer created at Antioch, is to do what Catholics are on certain other questions charged with doing,—to pervert history in the interest of controversy. Say that Luther and Leo quarrelled no worse than Paul and Barnabas, and then you will be consistent in maintaining that Rome does not wish the Church of England dead and buried, and England does not fear and detest the See of Rome.

I had occasion to insist upon the principle, on which these remarks are grounded, in Lectures published in 1850, apropos of the Gorham decision, and I will extract a portion of what I then said in answer to two writers of name, now both deceased, Archdeacon Hare and Dr. Neale.

"I have spoken of the tests," I said, "which the last twenty years have furnished, of the real character of the Establishment; for I must not be supposed to be inquiring whether the Establishment has been unchurched during that period, but whether it has been proved to be no Church already. The want of congeniality which now exists between the sentiments and ways, the moral life of the Anglican communion, and the principles, doctrines, traditions of Catholicism,—of this I speak in order to prove something done and over long ago, in order to show that the movement of 1833 was from the first engaged in propagating an unreality. The eloquent writer just quoted, in ridicule of the protest made by twelve very distinguished men, against the Queen's recent decision concerning the sacrament of baptism, contrasts 'logical dreams' and 'obscure and perplexing questions of dogmatic theology' with 'the promise' in the Establishment {105} of a large family 'of daughters, spread round the earth, shining and brightening every year.' Now I grant that it has a narrow and technical appearance to rest the Catholicity of a religious body on particular words, or deeds, or measures, resulting from the temper of a particular age, accidentally elicited, and accomplished in minutes or in days. I allow it, and feel it; that a particular vote of Parliament, endured or tacitly accepted by bishops and clergy, or by the metropolitans, or a particular appointment, or a particular omission, or a particular statement of doctrine, should at once change the spiritual character of the whole body, and ipso facto cut it off from the centre of unity and the source of grace, is almost incredible. In spite of such acts, surely the Anglican Church might be today what it was yesterday, with an internal power and a supernatural virtue, provided it had not already forfeited them, and would go about its work as of old time. It would be today pretty much what it was yesterday, though in the course of the night it had allowed an Anglo-Prussian see to be set up in Jerusalem, and subscribed to a disavowal of the Athanasian creed.

"This is the common sense of the matter, to which the mind recurs with satisfaction, after zeal and ingenuity have done their utmost to prove the contrary. Of course I am not saying that individual acts do not tend towards, and a succession of acts does not issue in, the most serious spiritual consequences; but it is so difficult to determine the worth of each ecclesiastical act, and what its position is relatively to acts and events before and after it, that I have no intention here of urging any argument deduced from such acts. A generation may not be long enough for the completion of an act of schism or heresy. Judgments admit of repeal or reversal; {106} enactments are liable to flaws and informalities; laws require promulgation; documents admit of explanation; words must be interpreted either by context or by circumstances; majorities may be analyzed; responsibilities may be shifted. I admit the remark of another writer in the present controversy, though I do not accept his conclusion. 'The Church's motion,' he says, 'is not that of a machine, to be calculated with accuracy, and predicted beforehand,—where one serious injury will disturb all regularity, and finally put a stop to action. It is that of a living body, whose motions will be irregular, incapable of being exactly arranged and foretold, and where it is nearly impossible to say how much health may co-exist with how much disease.' And he speaks of the line of reasoning which he is opposing as being 'too logical to be real.' 'Men,' he observes, 'do not, in the practical affairs of life, act on such clear, sharp, definite theories. Such reasoning can never be the cause of any one leaving the Church of England. But it looks well on paper, and therefore may perhaps be put forward as a theoretical argument by those who, from some other feeling, or fancy, or prejudice, or honest conviction, think fit to leave us.'

"Truly said, except in the imputation conveyed in the concluding words. I will grant that it is by life without us, by life within us, by the work of grace in our communion and in ourselves, that we are all of us accustomed practically to judge whether that communion be Catholic or not; not by this or that formal act, or historical event. I will grant it, though of course it requires some teaching, and some discernment, and some prayer, to understand what spiritual life is, and what is the working of grace. However, at any rate, let the proposition pass; I will allow it at least for argument's sake; for I am not {107} here going to look out, in the last twenty years, for dates when, and ways in which, the Establishment fell from Catholic unity, and lost its divine privileges. No; the question before us is nothing narrow or technical; it has no cut and dried premisses, and peremptory conclusions; it is not whether this or that statute or canon at the time of the Reformation, this or that '‘further and further encroachment' of the State, this or that 'Act of William IV.,' constituted the Establishment's formal separation from the Church; not whether the Queen's recent decision binds it to heresy; but, whether these acts and abundant others are not, one and all, evidences, in one out of a hundred heads of evidence, that whatever were the acts which constituted, or the moment which completed the schism, or rather the utter disorganization, of the National Church, cut off and disorganized it is."—Difficulties of Anglicanism, Lect. 2.

2. On the principles, then, enforced in this extract I consider such passages in ecclesiastical history, as are adduced in my foregoing Essay, to be merely instances of inchoate schism, proceedings and arrangements which were reversed before they issued in a formal state of schism. For this reason they cannot fairly be taken to constitute precedents and pleas for the present and past position of the Anglican communion. Schism indeed, abstractedly speaking, is separation from the orbis terrarum, but a schism cannot be completed in a day or a year. The abstract proposition requires various corrections when viewed in the medium of the concrete, corrections and supplements varying with each case to which it is applied. And thus I am brought to notice, or I rather have anticipated, what I have to say on the second point questioned in my Essay, viz., the argumentative value of the strong dicta of the Fathers which I there employ myself in {108} explaining and modifying. I am willing to modify them still. I admit without any difficulty, as the Essay maintains, that such dicta are not to be taken in the bare letter, but are general truths, which do not at once and definitively apply to the particular cases which seem to fall under them, but are of the nature of antecedent probabilities and presumptions against each particular case as it comes. I should be as little disposed to decide against England in 1560 as against Antioch in 362, that it was at once summarily excluded from the Catholic Church because of St. Jerome's famous words to Pope Damasus: "Ego nullum primum nisi Christum sequens, Beatitudini tuæ, id Cathedræ Petri, communione consocior. Non novi Vitalem, Meletium respuo, ignoro Paulinum. Quicunque tecum non colligit, spargit, hoc est, qui Christi non est, Antichristi est." I should be dealing violently with a great truth, if I so used them. Nor again, because "Life is a note of the true Church," should I therefore at once unchurch the Rome of John XII. and Boniface VII., or include the Nestorians of the middle ages within the pale of Catholicism. The sun is the source and centre of light, but clouds may darken the day, and the moon illuminates the night.

On the other hand, I use the admission I have made, as in the case of the just-mentioned medieval Popes, on the Catholic side of the controversy. Vincent's famous dictum, "Quod semper, quod ubique," etc., admits of exceptions, and must not be pushed to an extremity against our theology, as if doctrines did not admit of development. And again, as to "securus judicat orbis terrarum," while no Catholic would contend that this aphorism precludes or supersedes the appeal to Antiquity, at the same time it avails at least for as much as this, which is all that is needed, viz., in proof that other tests of revealed {109} truth exist, besides Antiquity; and those other tests may sometimes be more easy of application. The general reception, for instance, of the definition of an Ecumenical Council may avail to determine for us what the records of Antiquity now extant leave doubtful, or only imperfectly testify.


I think it well to append the letter referred to at p. 77. I have now somewhat altered the words in which mention is made of Mr. Knox.

August 5th, 1868.
You ask me what I precisely mean, in my Apologia, Appendix, p. 26, by saying, apropos of Anglican Orders, that "Antiquarian arguments are altogether unequal to the urgency of visible facts." I will try to explain:—

I. The inquiry into Anglican Orders has ever been to me of the class which I must call dreary; for it is dreary surely to have to grope into the minute intricate passages and obscure corners of past occurrences, in order to ascertain whether this man was ever consecrated, whether that man used a valid form, whether a certain sacramental intention came up to the mark, whether the report or register of an ecclesiastical act can be cleared of suspicion. On giving myself to consider the question, I never have been able to arrive at anything higher than a probable conclusion, which is most unsatisfactory except to antiquarians, who delight in researches into the past for their own sake.

II. Now, on the other hand, what do I mean by "visible facts"? I mean such definite facts as throw a broad antecedent light upon what may be presumed, in a case in which sufficient evidence is not forthcoming. For instance—

1. The Apostolical Succession, its necessity, and its grace, {110} is not an Anglican tradition, though it is a tradition found in the Anglican Church. By contrast, our Lord's divinity is an Anglican tradition—every one, high and low, holds it. It is not only in Prayer Book and Catechism, but in the mouths of all professors of Anglicanism. Not to believe it, is to be no Anglican; and any persons in authority, for three hundred years, who were suspected to doubt or explain it away, were marked men, as Dr. Colenso is now marked. And they have been so few that they could be counted. Not such is the Apostolic Succession; and, considering the Church is the columna et firmamentum veritatis, and is ever bound to stir up the gift that is in her, there is surely a strong presumption that the Anglican body has not, what it does not profess to have. I wonder how many of its bishops and deans hold the doctrine at this time; some who do not, occur to the mind at once. One knows what was the case thirty or forty years ago by the famous saying of Blomfield, Bishop of London.

2. Where there is a true Succession, there is a true Eucharist, if there is not a true Eucharist, there is no true Succession. Now what is the presumption here? I think it is Mr. Alexander Knox who says or suggests that, if so great a gift be given, it must have a rite. I add, if it has a rite, it must have a custos of the rite. Who is the custos of the Anglican Eucharist? The Anglican clergy? Could I, without distressing or offending an Anglican, describe what sort of custodes they have been, and are, to their Eucharist? "O bone custos," in the words of the poet, "cui commendavi Filium Meum!" Is it not charitable towards the bulk of the Anglican clergy to hope, to believe, that so great a treasure has not been given to their keeping? And would our Lord leave Himself for centuries in such hands? Inasmuch, then, as "the sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ" in the Anglican communion is without protective ritual and jealous guardianship, there seems to me a strong presumption that neither the real gift, nor its appointed guardians, are to be found in that communion.

3. Previous baptism is the condition of the valid administration of the other sacraments. When I was in the Anglican Church I saw enough of the lax administration of baptism, even among High Churchmen, though they did not of course intend it, to fill me with great uneasiness. Of course there are definite persons whom one {111} might point out, whose baptisms are sure to be valid. But my argument has nothing to do with present baptisms. Bishops were baptized, not lately, but as children. The present bishops were consecrated by other bishops, they again by others. What I have seen in the Anglican Church makes it very difficult for me to deny that every now and then a bishop was a consecrator who had never been baptized. Some bishops have been brought up in the north as Presbyterians, others as Dissenters, others as Low Churchmen, others have been baptized in the careless perfunctory way once so common; there is then much reason to believe that some consecrators were not bishops, for the simple reason that, formally speaking, they were not Christians. But at least there is a great presumption that where evidently our Lord has not provided a rigid rule of baptism, He has not provided a valid ordination.

By the light of such presumptions as these, I interpret the doubtful issues of the antiquarian argument, and feel deeply that, if Anglican Orders are unsafe with reference to the actual evidence producible for their validity, much more unsafe are they when considered in their surroundings.

Most sincerely yours,
(Signed) JOHN H. NEWMAN.

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1. Mr. Hutton, in his recently published most interesting Essays, speaking of converts, wonders "what is the charm which has power to retain them, after experience of Rome's coarse splendours and of her vigilant and oppressive rule." I suppose he is contemplating in Rome what I had in mind in 1850 when I spoke of her aspect as "peremptory, stern, resolute, overbearing, and relentless;" but this is what I felt, as I then expressly said, before "experience" of her "rule," and an impression which did not deter me from becoming a Catholic, or rather helped me to become one, can have no power to affect me unfavourably now, when I have been a Catholic so long.
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2. The principle of the "tutior" opinion applies also to the rule of three bishops for a consecration, about which Hallier says: "An consecratio episcopi omnino nulla, irrita, et invalida sit, vel solum illegitima, quæ à paucioribus tribus episcopis peracta fuerit: Caietanus, Bellarminus, Vasquez, et alii affirmantem partem sequuntur (nisi ecclesiæ dispensatio acciderit); negantem vero Paludanus ... Sylvester . . et alii ... Difficilis utique hæc controversia est, in quâ tamen posterior longe probabilior et fortioribus innixa mihi videtur argumentis, ... tamen prior communis est, et hocce tempore magis recepta."—De S. Ordin. t. 2, pp. 299, 308.
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3. Benedict says, Syn. Diœc. VIII., 10: "Quidam sacerdotio initiandus, etsi omnes consuetas manuum impositiones ab Episcopo accepisset, ad Episcopum tamen, solita patenæ cum hostiâ et calicis cum vino instrumenta porrigentem, ad alia tunc temporis distractus, non accessit. Re postea detectâ, quid facto opus esset, dubitatum, atque a S. Congregatione petitum est." After giving his own opinion, "Nihil esse iterandum, sed cautè supplendum, quod per errorem prætermissum," he states the decision of the Sacred Congregation, "Sacra Congregatio totam Ordinationem sub conditione iterandam rescripsit." And Scavini Theol. Mor. t. 3, p. 278, referring to the passage in Benedict, says of the "libri traditio" as well as the "manuum impositio" in the ordination of a deacon: "Probabile est libri traditionem esse de essentiâ … quare pro praxi concludimus, utramque esse adhibendam, cùm agatur de Sacramentis; et, si quidpiam ex istis fuerit omissam, sub conditione ordinationem iterandam esse."
It is true that Father Perrone in 1863, on his asking as to the necessity of the "physicus tactus" (as Father Ephrem before him in 1661) received for answer as Ephrem did, that to insist on it was a scruple (Gury de Ord.); but we are here concerned, not with the mere physical "tactus," but the moral "traditio instrumentorum."
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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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