Chapter 18.

{296} CAMPBELL had been much pleased with Reding, and his interest in him was not lessened by a hint from Bateman that his allegiance to the English Church was in danger. He called on him in no long time, asked him to dinner, and, when Charles had returned his invitation, and Campbell had accepted it, the beginning of an acquaintance was formed between the rectory at Sutton and the family at Boughton which grew into an intimacy as time went on. Campbell was a gentleman, a travelled man, of clear head and ardent mind, candid, well-read in English divinity, a devoted Anglican, and the incumbent of a living so well endowed as almost to be a dignity. Mary was pleased at the introduction, as bringing her brother under the influence of an intellect which he could not make light of; and, as Campbell had a carriage, it was natural that he should wish to save Charles the loss of a day's reading and the trouble of a muddy walk to the rectory and back by coming over himself to Boughton. Accordingly it so happened that he saw Charles twice at his mother's for once that he saw him at Sutton. But whatever came of these visits, nothing occurred which particularly {297} bears upon the line of our narrative; so let them pass.

One day Charles called upon Bateman, and, on entering the room, was surprised to see him and Campbell at luncheon, and in conversation with a third person. There was a moment's surprise and hesitation on seeing him before they rose and welcomed him as usual. When he looked at the stranger he felt a slight awkwardness himself, which he could not control. It was Willis; and apparently submitted to the process of reconversion. Charles was evidently de trop, but there was no help for it; so he shook hands with Willis, and accepted the pressing call of Bateman to seat himself at table, and to share their bread and cheese.

Charles sat down opposite Willis, and for a while could not keep his eyes from him. At first he had some difficulty in believing he had before him the impetuous youth he had known two years and a half before. He had always been silent in general company; but in that he was changed, as in everything else. Not that he talked more than was natural, but he talked freely and easily. The great change, however, was in his appearance and manner. He had lost his bloom and youthfulness; his expression was sweeter indeed than before, and very placid, but there was a thin line down his face on each side of his mouth; his cheeks were wanting in fulness, and he had the air of a man of thirty. When he entered into conversation, and became animated, his former self returned.

"I suppose we may all admire this cream at this {298} season," said Charles, as he helped himself, "for we are none of us Devonshire men."

"It's not peculiar to Devonshire," answered Campbell; "that is, they have it abroad. At Rome there is a sort of cream or cheese very like it, and very common."

"Will butter and cream keep in so warm a climate?" asked Charles; "I fancied oil was the substitute."

"Rome is not so warm as you fancy," said Willis, "except during the summer."

"Oil? so it is," said Campbell; "thus we read in Scripture of the multiplication of the oil and meal, which seems to answer to bread and butter. The oil in Rome is excellent, so clear and pale; you can eat it as milk."

"The taste, I suppose, is peculiar," observed Charles.

"Just at first," answered Campbell; "but one soon gets used to it. All such substances, milk, butter, cheese, oil, have a particular taste at first, which use alone gets over. The rich Guernsey butter is too much for strangers, while Russians relish whale-oil. Most of our tastes are in a measure artificial."

"It is certainly so with vegetables," said Willis; "when I was a boy I could not eat beans, spinach, asparagus, parsnips, and I think some others."

"Therefore your hermit's fare is not only the most natural, but the only naturally palatable, I suppose—a crust of bread and a draught from the stream," replied Campbell.

"Or the Clerk of Copmanhurst's dry peas," said Charles. {299}

"The macaroni and grapes of the Neapolitans are as natural, and more palatable," said Willis.

"Rather they are a luxury," said Bateman.

"No," answered Campbell, "not a luxury; a luxury is in its very idea a something recherché. Thus Horace speaks of the 'peregrina lagois'. What nature yields sponte suâ around you, however delicious, is no luxury. Wild ducks are no luxury in your old neighbourhood, amid your Oxford fens, Bateman; nor grapes at Naples."

"Then the old women here are luxurious over their sixpenn'rth of tea," said Bateman; "for it comes from China."

Campbell was posed for an instant. Somehow neither he nor Bateman were quite at their ease, whether with themselves or with each other; it might be Charles's sudden intrusion, or something which had happened before it. Campbell answered at length that steamers and railroads were making strange changes; that time and place were vanishing, and price would soon be the only measure of luxury.

"This seems the measure also of grasso and magro food in Italy," said Willis; "for I think there are dispensations for butcher's meat in Lent, in consequence of the dearness of bread and oil."

"This seems to show that the age for abstinences and fastings is past," observed Campbell; "for it is absurd to keep Lent on beef and mutton."

"Oh, Campbell, what are you saying?" cried Bateman; "past! are we bound by their lax ways in Italy?"

"I do certainly think," answered Campbell, "that {300} fasting is unsuitable to this age, in England as well as in Rome."

"Take care, my fine fellows," thought Charles; "keep your ranks, or you won't secure your prisoner."

"What, not fast on Friday!" cried Bateman; "we always did so most rigidly at Oxford."

"It does you credit," answered Campbell; "but I am of Cambridge."

"But what do you say to Rubrics and the Calendar?" insisted Bateman.

"They are not binding," answered Campbell.

"They are binding," said Bateman.

A pause, as between the rounds of a boxing-match. Reding interposed: "Bateman, cut me, please, a bit of your capital bread—home-made, I suppose?"

"A thousand pardons!" said Bateman:—"not binding?—Pass it to him, Willis, if you please. Yes, it comes from a farmer, next door. I am glad you like it.—I repeat, they are binding, Campbell."

"An odd sort of binding, when they have never bound," answered Campbell; "they have existed two or three hundred years; when were they ever put in force?"

"But there they are," said Bateman, "in the Prayer Book."

"Yes, and there let them lie and never get out of it," retorted Campbell; "there they will stay till the end of the story."

"Oh, for shame!" cried Bateman; "you should aid your mother in a difficulty, and not be like the priest and the Levite." {301}

"My mother does not wish to be aided," continued Campbell.

"Oh, how you talk! What shall I do? What can be done?" cried poor Bateman.

"Done! nothing," said Campbell; "is there no such thing as the desuetude of a law? Does not a law cease to be binding when it is not enforced? I appeal to Mr. Willis."

Willis, thus addressed, answered that he was no moral theologian, but he had attended some schools, and he believed it was the Catholic rule that when a law had been promulgated, and was not observed by the majority, if the legislator knew the state of the case, and yet kept silence, he was considered ipso facto to revoke it.

"What!" said Bateman to Campbell, "do you appeal to the Romish Church?"

"No," answered Campbell; "I appeal to the whole Catholic Church, of which the Church of Rome happens in this particular case to be the exponent. It is plain common sense, that, if a law is not enforced, at length it ceases to be binding. Else it would be quite a tyranny; we should not know where we were. The Church of Rome does but give expression to this common-sense view."

"Well, then," said Bateman, "I will appeal to the Church of Rome too. Rome is part of the Catholic Church as well as we: since, then, the Romish Church has ever kept up fastings the ordinance is not abolished; the 'greater part' of the Catholic Church has always observed it." {302}

"But it has not," said Campbell; "it now dispenses with fasts, as you have heard."

Willis interposed to ask a question. "Do you mean then," he said to Bateman, "that the Church of England and the Church of Rome make one Church?"

"Most certainly," answered Bateman.

"Is it possible?" said ‘Willis; "in what sense of the word one?"

"In every sense," answered Bateman, "but that of intercommunion."

"That is, I suppose," said Willis, "they are one, except that they have no intercourse with each other."

Bateman assented. Willis continued: "No intercourse; that is, no social dealings, no consulting or arranging, no ordering and obeying, no mutual support; in short, no visible union."

Bateman still assented. "Well, that is my difficulty," said Willis; "I can't understand how two parts can make up one visible body if they are not visibly united; unity implies union."

"I don't see that at all," said Bateman; "I don't see that at all. No, Willis, you must not expect I shall give that up to you; it is one of our points. There is only one visible Church, and, therefore, the English and Romish Churches are both parts of it."

Campbell saw clearly that Bateman had got into a difficulty, and he came to the rescue in his own way.

"We must distinguish," he said, "the state of the case more exactly. A kingdom may be divided, it may be distracted by parties, by dissensions, yet be {303} still a kingdom. That, I conceive, is the real condition of the Church; in this way the Churches of England, Rome, and Greece are one."

"I suppose you will grant," said Willis, "that in proportion as a rebellion is strong, so is the unity of the kingdom threatened; and if a rebellion is successful, or if the parties in a civil war manage to divide the power and territory between them, then forthwith, instead of one kingdom, we have two. Ten or fifteen years since, Belgium was part of the kingdom of the Netherlands: I suppose you would not call it part of that kingdom now? This seems the case of the Churches of Rome and England."

"Still, a kingdom may be in a state of decay," replied Campbell; "consider the case of the Turkish Empire at this moment. The Union between its separate portions is so languid, that each separate Pasha may almost be termed a separate sovereign; still it is one kingdom."

"The Church, then, at present," said Willis, "is a kingdom tending to dissolution?"

"Certainly it is," answered Campbell.

"And will ultimately fail?" asked Willis.

"Certainly," said Campbell; "when the end comes, according to our Lord's saying, 'When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?' just as in the case of the chosen people, the sceptre failed from Judah when the Shiloh came."

"Surely the Church has failed already before the end," said Willis, "according to the view you take of failing. How can any separation be more complete {304} than exists at present between Rome, Greece, and England?"

"They might excommunicate each other," said Campbell.

"Then you are willing," said Willis, "to assign beforehand something definite, the occurrence of which will constitute a real separation."

"Don't do so," said Reding to Campbell; "it is dangerous; don't commit yourself in a moral question; for then, if the thing specified did occur, it would be difficult to see our way."

"No," said Willis; "you certainly would be in a difficulty; but you would find your way out, I know. In that case you would choose some other ultimatum as your test of schism. There would be," he added, speaking with some emotion, "'in the lowest depth a lower still'."

The concluding words were out of keeping with the tone of the conversation hitherto, and fairly excited Bateman, who, for some time, had been an impatient listener.

"That's a dangerous line, Campbell," he said, "it is indeed; I can't go along with you. It will never do to say that the Church is failing; no, it never fails. It is always strong, and pure, and perfect, as the Prophets describe it. Look at its cathedrals, abbey-churches, and other sanctuaries, these fitly typify it."

"My dear Bateman," answered Campbell, "I am as willing as you to maintain the fulfilment of the prophecies made to the Church, but we must allow the fact that the branches of the Church are divided, while {305} we maintain the doctrine that the Church should be one."

"I don't see that at all," answered Bateman; "no, we need not allow it. There's no such thing as Churches, there's but one Church everywhere, and it is not divided. It is merely the outward forms, appearances, manifestations of the Church that are divided. The Church is one as much as ever it was."

"That will never do," said Campbell; and he stood up before the fire in a state of discomfort. "Nature never intended you for a controversialist, my good Bateman," he added to himself.

"It is as I thought," said Willis; "Bateman, you are describing an invisible Church. You hold the indefectibility of the invisible Church, not of the visible."

"They are in a fix," thought Charles, "but I will do my best to tow old Bateman out;" so he began: "No," he said, "Bateman only means that one Church presents, in some particular point, a different appearance from another; but it does not follow that, in fact, they have not a visible agreement too. All difference implies agreement; the English and Roman Churches agree visibly and differ visibly. Think of the different styles of architecture, and you will see, Willis, what he means. A church is a church all the world over, it is visibly one and the same, and yet how different is church from church! Our churches are Gothic, the southern churches are Palladian. How different is a basilica from York Cathedral! yet they visibly agree together. No one would mistake either {306} for a mosque or a Jewish temple. We may quarrel which is the better style; one likes the basilica, another calls it pagan."

"That I do," said Bateman.

"A little extreme," said Campbell, "a little extreme as usual. The basilica is beautiful in its place. There are two things which Gothic cannot show—the line or forest of round polished columns, and the graceful dome, circling above one's head like the blue heaven itself."

All parties were glad of this diversion from the religious dispute; so they continued the lighter conversation which had succeeded it with considerable earnestness.

"I fear I must confess," said Willis, "that the churches at Rome do not affect me like the Gothic; I reverence them, I feel awe in them, but I love, I feel a sensible pleasure at the sight of the Gothic arch."

"There are other reasons for that in Rome," said Campbell; "the churches are so unfinished, so untidy. Rome is a city of ruins! the Christian temples are built on ruins, and they themselves are generally dilapidated or decayed; thus they are ruins of ruins." Campbell was on an easier subject than that of Anglo-Catholicism, and, no one interrupting him, he proceeded flowingly: "In Rome you have huge high buttresses in the place of columns, and these not cased with marble, but of cold white plaster or paint. They impart an indescribable forlorn look to the churches."

Willis said he often wondered what took so many foreigners, that is, Protestants, to Rome; it was so {307} dreary, so melancholy a place; a number of old crumbling, shapeless brick masses, the ground unlevelled, the straight causeways fenced by high monotonous walls, the points of attraction straggling over broad solitudes, faded palaces, trees universally pollarded, streets ankle deep in filth or eyes and mouth deep in a cloud of whirling dust and straws, the climate most capricious, the evening air most perilous. Naples was an earthly paradise; but Rome was a city of faith. To seek the shrines that it contained was a veritable penance, as was fitting. He understood Catholics going there; he was perplexed at Protestants.

"There is a spell about the limina Apostolorum," said Charles; "St. Peter and St. Paul are not there for nothing."

"There is a more tangible reason," said Campbell; "it is a place where persons of all nations are to be found; no society is so varied as the Roman. You go to a ballroom; your host, whom you bow to in the first apartment, is a Frenchman; as you advance your eye catches Massena's granddaughter in conversation with Mustapha Pasha; you soon find yourself seated between a Yankee chargé d'affaires and a Russian colonel; and an Englishman is playing the fool in front of you."

Here Campbell looked at his watch, and then at Willis, whom he had driven over to Melford to return Bateman's call. It was time for them to be going, or they would be overtaken by the evening. Bateman, who had remained in a state of great dissatisfaction since he last spoke, which had not been for a quarter {308} of an hour past, did not find himself in spirits to try much to detain either them or Reding; so he was speedily left to himself. He drew his chair to the fire, and for a while felt nothing more than a heavy load of disgust. After a time, however, his thoughts began to draw themselves out into series, and took the following form: "It's too bad, too bad," he said; "Campbell is a very clever man—far cleverer than I am; a well-read man, too; but he has no tact, no tact. It is deplorable; Reding's coming was one misfortune; however, we might have got over that, we might have even turned it to an advantage; but to use such arguments as he did! how could he hope to convince him? he made us both a mere laughing-stock ... How did he throw off? Oh, he said that the Rubrics were not binding. Who ever heard such a thing—at least from an Anglo-Catholic? Why pretend to be a good Catholic with such views? better call himself a Protestant or Erastian at once, and one would know where to find him. Such a bad impression it must make on Willis; I saw it did; he could hardly keep from smiling; but Campbell has no tact at all. He goes on, on, his own way, bringing out his own thoughts, which are very clever, original certainly, but never considering his company. And he's so positive, so knock-me-down; it is quite unpleasant, I don't know how to sit it sometimes. Oh, it is a cruel thing this—the effect must be wretched. Poor Willis! I declare I don't think we have moved him one inch, I really don't. I fancied at one time he was even laughing at me ... What was it he said afterwards? {309} there was something else, I know. I recollect; that the Catholic Church was in ruins, had broken to pieces. What a paradox! who'll believe that but he? I declare I am so vexed I don't know what to be at." He jumped up and began walking to and fro. "But all this is because the Bishops won't interfere; one can't say it, that's the worst, but they are at the bottom of the evil. They have but to put out their little finger and enforce the Rubrics, and then the whole controversy would be at an end … I knew there was something else, yes! He said we need not fast! But Cambridge men are always peculiar, they always have some whim or other; he ought to have been at Oxford, and we should have made a man of him. He has many good points, but he runs theories, and rides hobbies, and drives consequences to death."

Here he was interrupted by his clerk, who told him that John Tims had taken his oath that his wife should not be churched before the congregation, and was half-minded to take his infant to the Methodists for baptism; and his thoughts took a different direction.

Chapter 2-19

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