{397} It may seem strange that, on receipt of a message from your Lordship, I should proceed at once, instead of silently obeying it, to put on paper some remarks of my own on the subject of it; yet, as you kindly permit me to take such a course with the expectation that I may thereby succeed in explaining to yourself and others my own feelings and intentions in the occurrence which has given rise to your interposition, I trust to your Lordship's indulgence to pardon me any discursiveness in my style of writing, or appearance of familiarity, or prominent introduction of myself, which may be incidental to the attempt.

Your Lordship's message is as follows: That you consider that the Tract No. 90 in the Series called the Tracts for the Times, is "objectionable, and may tend to disturb the peace and tranquillity of the Church," and that it is your Lordship's "advice that the Tracts for the Times should be discontinued."

Your Lordship has, I trust, long known quite enough of my feelings towards any such expression of your Lordship's wishes to be sure I should at once obey it, though it were ever so painful to me, or contrary to the course I should have taken if left to myself. And I do most readily and {398} cheerfully obey you in this instance; and at the same time I express my great sorrow that any writing of mine should be judged objectionable by your Lordship, and of a disturbing tendency, and my hope that in what I write in future I shall be more successful in approving myself to your Lordship.

I have reminded your Lordship of my willingness on a former occasion to submit myself to any wishes of your Lordship, had you thought it advisable at that time to signify them. In your Charge in 1838, an allusion was made to the Tracts for the Times. Some opponents of the Tracts said that your Lordship treated them with undue indulgence. I will not imply that your Lordship can act otherwise than indulgently to any one, but certainly I did feel at the time, that in the midst of the kindness you showed to me personally, you were exercising an anxious vigilance over my publication, which reminded me of my responsibility to your Lordship. I wrote to the Archdeacon on the subject, submitting the Tracts entirely to your Lordship's disposal. What I thought about your Charge will appear from the words I then used to him. I said, "A Bishop's lightest word ex Cathedrâ, is heavy. His judgment on a book cannot be light. It is a rare occurrence." And I offered to withdraw any of the Tracts over which I had control, if I was informed which were those to which your Lordship had objections. I afterwards wrote to your Lordship to this effect: that "I trusted I might say sincerely, that I should feel a more lively pleasure in knowing that I was submitting myself to your Lordship's expressed judgment in a matter of that kind, than I could have even in the widest circulation of the volumes in question." Your Lordship did not think it necessary to proceed to such a measure, but I felt and always have felt, that, if ever you determined on it, I was bound to obey.

Accordingly on the late occasion, as soon as I heard that you had expressed an unfavourable opinion of Tract {399} 90, I again placed myself at your disposal, and now readily submit to the course on which your Lordship has finally decided in consequence of it. I am quite sure that in so doing I am not only fulfilling a duty I owe to your Lordship, but consulting for the well-being of the Church and benefiting myself.

And now, in proceeding to make some explanations in addition, which your Lordship desires of me, I hope I shall not say a word which will seem like introducing discussion before your Lordship. It would ill become me to be stating private views of my own, and defending them, on an occasion like this. If I allude to what has been maintained in the Tracts, it will not be at all by way of maintaining it in these pages, but in illustration of the impressions and the drift with which they have been written. I need scarcely say they are thought by many to betray a leaning towards Roman Catholic error, and a deficient appreciation of our own truth; and your Lordship wishes me to show that these apprehensions have no foundation in fact. This I propose to do, and that by extracts from what I have before now written on the subject, which, while they can be open to no suspicion of having been provided to serve an occasion, will, by being now cited, be made a second time my own.


II. First, however, I hope to be allowed to make one or two remarks by way of explaining some peculiarities in the Tracts which at first sight might appear, if not to tend toward Romanism, at least to alienate their readers from that favoured communion in which God's good providence has placed us.

I know it is a prevalent idea, and entertained by persons of such consideration that it cannot be lightly treated, that many of the Tracts are the writing of persons who {400} either are ignorant of what goes on in the world, and are gratifying their love of antiquarian research or of intellectual exercise at any risk; or, who are culpably reckless of consequences, or even find a satisfaction in the sensation or disturbance which may result from such novelties or paradoxes as they may find themselves in a condition to put forward. It is thought, that the writers in question often have had no aim at all in what they have hazarded, that they did not mean what they said, that they did not know the strength of their own words, and that they were putting forth the first crude notions which came into their minds; or that they were pursuing principles to their consequences as a sort of pastime, and developing their own theories in grave practical matters, in which no one should move without a deep sense of responsibility. In fact, that whatever incidental or intrinsic excellence there may be in the Tracts, and whatever direct or indirect benefits have attended them, there is much in them which is nothing more or less than mischievous, and convicts its authors of a wanton inconsiderateness towards the feelings of others.

I am very far from saying that there is any one evil temper or motive which may not have its share in anything that I write myself; and it does not become me to deny the charge as far as it is brought against me, though I am not conscious of its justice. But still I would direct attention to this circumstance, that what persons who are not in the position of the writers of the Tracts set down to wantonness, may have its definite objects, though those objects be not manifest to those who are in other positions. I am not maintaining that those objects are real, or important, or defensible, or pursued wisely or seasonably; but if they exist in the mind of the writers, I trust they will serve so far as to relieve them from the odious charge of scattering firebrands about without caring for or apprehending consequences. {401}

May I then, without (as I have said) at all assuming the soundness of the doctrines to be mentioned, or by mentioning them seeking indirectly a sanction for them from your Lordship, be allowed to allude to one or two Tracts, merely in illustration of what I have said?


One of the latest Tracts is written upon "The Mysticism attributed to the Early Fathers of the Church." It discusses the subject of the mystical interpretation of nature and Scripture with a learning and seriousness which no one will wish to deny; but the question arises, and has actually been asked, why discuss it at all? why startle and unsettle the Christian of this age by modes of thought which are now unusual and strange; and which being thus fixed upon the Fathers, serve but to burden with an additional unpopularity an authority which the Church of England has ever revered, ever used in due measure in behalf of her own claims upon the loyalty of her children? But the state of the case has been this. For some years the argument in favour of our Church drawn from Antiquity has been met by the assertion, that that same Antiquity held also other opinions which no one now would think of maintaining; that if it were mistaken in one set of opinions, it might be in the other; that its mistakes were of a nature which argued feebleness of intellect, or unsoundness of judgment, or want of logical acumen in those who held them, which would avail against its authority in the instances in which it was used, as well as in those in which it had been passed over. Moreover it was said that those who used it in defence of the Church knew this well, but were not honest enough to confess it. They were challenged to confess or deny the charges thus brought against the Fathers; and, since to deny the fact was supposed impossible, they were bid to {402} draw out a case, such, as either would admit of a defence of the fact on grounds of reason, or of its surrender without surrendering the authority of the Fathers altogether.

Such challenges, and they have not been unfrequent, afford, I conceive, a sufficient reason for any one who considers that the Church of England derives essential assistance from Christian Antiquity in her interpretation of Scripture, to enter upon the examination of the particular objections by which certain authors have assailed its authority. Yet it is plain that by those who had not heard of the writings of these persons, such an examination would be considered a wanton mooting of points which no one had called in question.


Again, much animadversion has been expressed, and in quarters which claim the highest deference, upon the Tract upon "Reserve in Communicating Religious Knowledge." Yet I do not think it will be called a wanton exercise of ingenuity. Not only does it bear marks, which no reader can mistake, of deep earnestness, but it in fact originated in a conviction in the mind of the writer of certain actual moral evils at present resulting from the defective appreciation which the mass of even religious men have of the mysteries and privileges of the Gospel.

And another Tract, which has experienced a great deal of censure, is that which is made up of Selections from the Roman Breviary. I will not here take upon me to say a word in its defence, except to rescue its author from the charge of wantonness. He had observed what a very powerful source of attraction the Church of Rome possessed in her devotional Services, and he wished, judiciously or not, to remove it by claiming it for ourselves. He was desirous of showing, that such Devotions {403} would be but a continuation in private of those public Services which we use in Church; and that they might be used by individuals with a sort of fitness, (removing such portions as were inconsistent with the Anglican creed or practice,) because they were a continuation. He said, in the opening of the Tract,—

"It will be attempted to wrest a weapon out of our adversaries' hands; who have in this, as in many other instances, appropriated to themselves a treasure which was ours as much as theirs ... It may suggest ... character and matter for our private devotions, over and above what our Reformers have thought fit to adopt into our public Services; a use of it which will be but carrying out and completing what they have begun."—Tract 75.

I repeat it, that I have no intention here of defending the proceeding except from the charge of wantonness; and with that view I would add, that though there is a difference not to be mistaken between a book published by authority and an anonymous Tract, yet, as far as its object is concerned, it is not very unlike Bishop Cosin's Hours of Prayer, of which I hope I may be permitted to remind your Lordship in the words of the recent Editor.

"At the first coming of the Queen Henrietta into England, she and her French ladies, it appears, were equally surprised and dissatisfied at the disregard of the hours of Prayer, and the want of Breviaries. Their remarks, and perhaps the strength of their arguments, and the beauty of many of their books, induced the Protestant ladies of the household to apply to King Charles. The King consulted Bishop White as to the best plan of supplying them with Forms of Prayer, collected out of already approved Forms. The Bishop assured him of the ease and the great necessity of such a work, and chose Cosin as the fittest person to frame the Manual. He at once undertook it, and in three months finished it and brought it to the King. The Bishop of London (Mountain), who was commanded to read it over and make his report, is said to have liked it so well, that instead of employing a Chaplain as was usual, he gave it an "imprimatur" under his own hand. There were at first only two hundred copies printed. There was, as Evelyn tells {404} us, nothing of Cosin's own composure, nor any name set as author to it, but those necessary prefaces, &c., touching the times and seasons of Prayer, all the rest being entirely translated and collected out of an Office published by authority of Queen Elizabeth and out of our own Liturgy. 'This,' adds Evelyn, 'I rather mention to justify that industrious and pious Dean, who had exceedingly suffered by it, as if he had done it of his own head to introduce Popery, from which no man was more averse, and who was one who, in this time of temptation and apostasy, held and confirmed many to our Church.'

"The book soon grew into esteem, and justified the judgment which had been passed upon it, so that many who were at first startled at the title, 'found in the body of it so much piety, such regular forms of divine worship, such necessary consolations in special exigencies, that they reserved it by them as a jewel of great price and value.' 'Not one book,' it was said, 'was in more esteem with the Church of England, next to the Office of the Liturgy itself.' It appears, in fact, to have become exceedingly popular, and ran through ten editions, the last of which was published in 1719." Preface to Cosin's Devotions, p. xi.-xiii.


III. There has been another, and more serious peculiarity in the line of discussion adopted in the Tracts, which, whatever its merits or demerits, has led to their being charged, I earnestly hope groundlessly, with wanton innovation on things established. I mean the circumstance that they have attempted to defend our Ecclesiastical system upon almost first principles. The immediate argument for acquiescing in what is established is that it is established: but when what has been established is in course of alteration, (and this evil was partly realized, and feared still more, eight years since,) the argument ceases, and then one is driven to considerations which are less safe because less investigated, which it is impossible at once to survey in all their bearings, or to use with a sure confidence that they will not do a disservice to the cause for which they are adduced rather than a benefit. It seemed safe {405} at the period in question, when the immediate and usual arguments failed, to recur to those which were used by our divines in the seventeenth century, and by the most esteemed writers in the century which followed, and down to this day. But every existing establishment, whatever be its nature, is a fact, a thing sui simile, which cannot be resolved into any one principle, nor can be defended and built up upon one idea. Its position is the result of a long history, which has moulded it and stationed it in the form and place which characterize it. It has grown into what it is by the influence of a number of concurrent causes in time past, and in consequence no one fundamental truth can be urged in its defence, but what in some other respect or measure may also possibly admit of being urged against it. This applies, I conceive, as to other social institutions, so to the case of our religious establishment and system at this day. It is a matter of extreme difficulty and delicacy, to say the least, so to defend them in an argumentative discussion in one respect as not to tend to unsettle them in another. And none but minds of the greatest powers, or even genius, will find it possible, if they do attempt it, to do more than to strike a balance between gain and loss, and to aim at the most good on the whole.


I must not be misunderstood, in thus speaking, as if I meant to justify to your Lordship certain consequences which have followed under the circumstances from the attempts of the Tracts for the Times in defence of the Church. I do but wish to show that, even if evil has resulted, it need not have been wanton evil. Nor am I at all insinuating, that our established system is necessarily in fault, because it was exposed to this inconvenience; rather, as I have said, the cause lies in the nature of things, abstract principles being no sufficient measure of {406} matters of fact. There cannot be a clearer proof of this than will be found in a reference to that antagonist system, which it has been the object of the Tracts in so great a measure to oppose. The case of Rome and her defenders is not parallel to that between the Tracts and our own Church, of course; it would be preposterous so to consider it; but it may avail as an à fortiori argument, considering how systematic and complete the Roman system is, and what transcendent ability is universally allowed to Bossuet. Yet even Bossuet, so great a controversialist, could not defend Romanism, so perfect a system, without doing a harm while he did a service. At least we may fairly conclude, that what the authorities of the Church of Rome thought to be a disservice to it, really was so at the time, though in the event it might prove a benefit. Dr. Maclaine in a note on his translation of Mosheim, observes of Bossuet's Exposition: "It is remarkable that nine years passed before this book could obtain the Pope's approbation. Clement X. refused it positively. Nay, several Roman Catholic Priests were rigorously treated and severely persecuted for preaching the doctrine contained in the Exposition of Bossuet, which was moreover formally condemned by the University of Louvain in the year 1685, and declared to be scandalous and pernicious. The Sorbonne also disavowed the doctrine contained in that book." (Vol. v. p. 126.) [Note 1]

I am not presuming to draw an illustration from the history of Bossuet, except as regards his intention and its result. No one can accuse him of wantonness. What happened to him in spite of great abilities, may happen to others in defect of them. {407}


Several obvious illustrations may be given from the controversies to which the Tracts for the Times have given rise. Much attention, for instance, has of late years been paid by learned men to the question of the origin of our public Services. The Tracts have made use of the results of their investigations with a view of exalting our ideas of the sacredness of our Eucharistic Rite; but in proportion as they have brought to view what may be truly called an awful light resting on its component parts, they have revealed also that those parts have experienced some change in their disposition and circumstances by the hand of time; and accordingly, the higher is the appreciation which those Tracts tend to create in the minds of their readers of the substance of the Service, the greater regret do they also incidentally inspire of necessity, were it ever so far from their aim, that any external causes should have had a part in determining the shape in which we at this day receive it. The effect then has been greatly to raise our reverence towards the whole, yet to fling around that reverence somewhat of a melancholy feeling. I am not defending either process or result, but showing how good and evil have gone together.

Again, as regards the doctrine of Purgatory, that the present Roman doctrine was not Catholically received in the first ages, is as clear as any fact of history. But there is an argument which Roman controversialists use in its favour, founded on a fact of very early Antiquity, the practice of praying for the faithful departed. To meet this objection, the Tracts gave a reprint of Archbishop Ussher's chapter on the subject in his Answer to a Jesuit, in which he shows that the objects of those prayers were very different from those which the Roman doctrine of Purgatory requires. Thus the argument against us is {408} effectually overthrown, but at the expense of incidentally bringing to light a primitive practice confessedly uncongenial to our present views of religion. In other words, if the Churchman is by the result of the discussion confirmed against Romanism, he has also been incidentally, and for the moment, (I cannot deny it,) unsettled in some of his existing opinions.

Or again, the charge brought against the defenders of Baptismal Regeneration has commonly been, that such a doctrine explained away regeneration, and made a mere name and a shadow of that gift of which Scripture speaks so awfully. We answer, "So far from it, every one is in a worse condition for being regenerate, if he is not in a better. If he resist the grace he has received, it is a burden to him, not a blessing. He cannot take it for granted, that all is right with his soul, and think no more about it; for the gift involves responsibilities as well as privileges." And thus, while engaged in maintaining the truth, that all Christians are in a covenant of grace, we incidentally elicit the further truth, that sin after Baptism is a heavier matter than sin before it; or, in maintaining the doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration, we introduce the doctrine of formal Repentance. We fortify our brethren in one direction; and may be charged with unsettling them in another.

Or again, in defending such doctrines and practices of the Church as Infant Baptism or the Episcopal Succession, the Tracts have argued that they rested on substantially the same basis as the Canon of Scripture, viz. the testimony of ancient Christendom. But to those who think this basis weak, the argument becomes a disparagement of the Canon, not a recommendation of the Creed.

My Lord, I have not said a word to imply that this disturbing and unsettling process is indissolubly connected with argumentative efforts in defence of our own system. {409} I only say that the good naturally runs into the evil; and so, without entering into the question whether or how they might have been kept apart in the Tracts, I am accounting for what looks like wantonness, yet I trust is not.


And perhaps I may be permitted to add, that our difficulties are much increased in a place like this, where there are a number of persons of practised intellects, who with or without unfriendly motives are ever drawing out the ultimate conclusions in which our principles result, and forcing us to affirm or deny what we would fain not consider or not pronounce upon. I am not complaining of this as unfair to us at all, but am showing that we may at times have said extreme things, and yet not from any wanton disregard of the feelings and opinions of others. The appeal is made to reason, and reason has its own laws, and does not depend on our will to take the more or less; and this is not less the case as regards the result, even though it be false reason which we follow, and our conclusions be wrong from our failing to detect the counteracting considerations which would avert the principles we hold from the direction in which we pursue them. And a conscientious feeling sometimes operates to keep men from concealing a conclusion which they think they see involved in their principles, and which others see not; and moreover a dread of appearing disingenuous to others, who are directing their minds to the same subjects.

An instance has occurred in point quite lately as regards a subject introduced into Tract 90, which I am very glad to have an opportunity of mentioning to your Lordship. I have said in the Postscript of a Letter which I have lately addressed to Dr. Jelf, that the "vagueness and deficiency" of some parts of the Tract, in the conclusions drawn from the premisses stated, arose in great measure from the {410} author's being "more bent on laying down his principle than defining its results." In truth I was very unwilling to commit the view of the Articles which I was taking, to any precise statement of the ultimate approaches towards the Roman system allowed by our own. To say how far a person may go, is almost to tempt him to go up to the boundary-line. I am far from denying that an evil arose from the vagueness which ensued, but the vagueness arose mainly from this feeling. Accordingly I left, for instance, the portion which treated of the Invocation of Saints without any definite conclusion at all, after bringing together various passages in illustration. However, friends and opponents discovered that my premisses required, what I was very unwilling to state categorically, for various reasons, that the ora pro nobis was not on my showing necessarily included in the Invocation of Saints which the Article condemns. And in my Letter to Dr. Jelf, I have been obliged to declare this (viz., that the lawfulness of this invocation was an open question,) under a representation made to me that to pass it over would be considered disingenuous. I avail myself, however, of the opportunity which this Letter to your Lordship affords me, without any suggestion, as your Lordship knows, from yourself, or from any one else, to state as plainly as I can, lest my brethren should mistake me, my great apprehension concerning the use even of such modified invocations [Note 2]. Every feeling which interferes with God's sovereignty in our hearts, is of an idolatrous nature; and, as men are tempted to idolize their rank and substance, or their talent, or their children, or themselves, so may they easily be led to substitute the thought of Saints and Angels for the one {411} supreme idea of their Creator and Redeemer, which should fill them. It is nothing to the purpose to urge the example of such men as St. Bernard in defence of such invocations. The holier the man, the less likely are they to be injurious to him; but it is another matter entirely when ordinary persons do the same. There is much less of awe and severity in the devotion which rests upon created excellence as its object, and worldly minds will gladly have recourse to it, to be saved the necessity of lifting up their eyes to their Sanctifier and Judge. And the multitude of men are incapable of many ideas; one is enough for them, and if the image of a Saint is admitted into their heart, he occupies it, and there is no room for Almighty God. And moreover there is the additional danger of presumptuousness in addressing Saints and Angels; by which I mean cases when men do so from a sort of curiosity, as the heathen might feel towards strange and exciting rites of worship, not with a clear conscience and spontaneously, but rather with certain doubts and misgivings about its propriety, and a secret feeling that it does not become them, and a certain forcing of themselves in consequence.


IV. Unless your Lordship had ordered me to speak my mind on these subjects, I should feel that in these reflections I was adopting a tone very unlike that which becomes a private Clergyman addressing his Diocesan; but, encouraged by the notion that I am obeying your wishes, I will proceed in what I feel it very strange to allow myself in, though I do so. And, since I have been naturally led into the subject of Romanism, I will continue it, and explain the misapprehension which has been widely entertained of my views concerning it. {412}

I do not wonder that persons who happen to fall upon certain portions of my writings and them only, and who in consequence do not understand the sense in which I use certain words and phrases, should think that I explain away the differences between the Roman system and our own, which I hope I do not. They find in what I have written, no abuse, at least I trust not, of the individual Roman Catholic, nor of the Church of Rome, viewed abstractedly as a Church. I cannot speak against the Church of Rome, viewed in her formal character as a true Church, since she is "built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief Cornerstone." Nor can I speak against her private members, numbers of whom, I trust, are God's people, in the way to Heaven, and one with us in heart, though not in profession. But what I have spoken, and do strongly speak against is, that energetic system and engrossing influence in the Church, through which she acts towards us, and meets our eyes, like a cloud filling her extent, to the eclipse of all that is holy, whether in her ordinances or her members. This system I have called in what I have written, Romanism or Popery, and by Romanists or Papists I mean all her members, so far as they are under the power of these principles; and, while and so far as this system exists, and it does exist now as fully as heretofore, I say that we can have no peace with that Church, however we may secretly love her particular members. I cannot speak against her private members; I should be doing violence to every feeling of my nature if I did, and your Lordship would not require it of me. I wish from my heart we and they were one; but we cannot, without a sin, sacrifice truth to peace; and, in the words of Archbishop Laud, "till Rome be other than it is," we must be estranged from her.

This view which, not inconsistently, I hope, with our {413} chief divines, I would maintain against the Roman errors, seems to me to allow at once of zeal for the truth, and charity towards individuals and towards the Church of Rome herself. It presents her under a twofold aspect, and while recognizing her as an appointment of God on the one hand, it leads us practically to shun her, as beset with heinous and dangerous influences on the other. It is drawn out in the following extracts, under which I have thought it best to set it before your Lordship, rather than in statements made for the occasion, for the reason I have given above. I think they will serve to show, consistently with those which I made in my Letter to Dr. Jelf, both the real and practical stand I would make against Romanism, yet the natural opening there is for an unfounded suspicion that I feel more favourably towards it than I do.


I have said in my Lectures on the Prophetical Office of the Church,—

"Our controversy with Romanists turns more upon facts than upon first principles; with Protestant sectaries it is more about principles than about facts. This general contrast between the two religions, which I would not seem to extend beyond what the sober truth warrants, for the sake of an antithesis, is paralleled in the common remark of our most learned controversialists, that Romanism holds the foundation, or is the truth overlaid with corruptions," &c. [Note 3]


"I have been speaking of Romanism, not as an existing political sect among us, but considered in itself, in its abstract system, and in a state of quiescence. Viewed indeed in action, and as realized in its present partisans, it is but one out of the many denominations which are the disgrace of our age and country. In temper and conduct it does but resemble that unruly Protestantism which lies on our other side," &c. &c. [Note 4] {414}

And again,—

"They profess to appeal to primitive Christianity; we honestly take their ground, as holding it ourselves; but when the controversy grows animated, and descends into details, they suddenly leave it, and desire to finish the dispute on some other field. In like manner in their teaching and acting, they begin as if in the name of all the Fathers at once, but will be found in the sequel to prove, instruct, and enjoin, simply in their own name," &c. &c. [Note 5]

In the following passage the Anglican and Roman systems are contrasted with each other.

"Both we and Romanists hold that the Church Catholic is unerring in its declarations of Faith, or saving doctrine; but we differ from each other as to what is the faith, and what is the Church Catholic. They maintain that faith depends on the Church, we that the Church is built on the faith. By Church Catholic, we mean the Church Universal, as descended from the Apostles; they those branches of it which are in communion with Rome," &c. &c. [Note 6]

And I show, in one of the Tracts, the unfairness of detaching the Canons of Trent from the actual conduct of the Roman Church for any practical purposes, while things are as they are, as follows:—

"An equally important question remains to be discussed; viz. What the sources are, whence we are to gather our opinions of Popery," &c. &c. [Note 7]

And in the following passage in an Article in the British Critic written in the course of last year, the contrariety between the Primitive and Roman systems is pointed out.

"Allowing the Church Catholic ever so much power over the faith, allowing that it may add what it will, so that it does not contradict what has been determined in former times, yet let us come to the plain question, Does the Church, according to Romanists, know more now than the Apostles knew?" &c. &c. [Note 8]

It is commonly urged by Romanists, that the Notes {415} of their Church are sufficiently clear to enable the private Christian to dispense with argument in joining their Communion in preference to any other. Now in the following passage it is observed, that that Communion has Notes of error upon it, serving in practice quite as truly as a guide from it, as the Notes which it brings forward can be made to tell in its favour.

"Our Lord said of false prophets, 'By their fruits shall ye know them;' and, however the mind may be entangled theoretically, yet surely it will fall upon certain marks in Rome which seem intended to convey to the simple and honest enquirer a solemn warning to keep clear of her, while she carries them about her. Such are her denying the Cup to the laity, her idolatrous worship of the Blessed Virgin, her Image-worship, her recklessness in anathematizing, and her schismatical and overbearing spirit," &c. &c. [Note 9]

And in one of the Tracts for the Times, speaking of certain Invocations in the Breviary, I say,—

"These portions of the Breviary carry with them their own plain condemnation, in the judgment of an English Christian. No commendation of the general structure and matter of the Breviary itself will have any tendency to reconcile him to them; and it has been the strong feeling that this is really the case, that has led the writer of these pages fearlessly and securely to admit the real excellencies, and to dwell upon the antiquity of the Roman Ritual. He has felt that, since the Romanists required an unqualified assent to the whole of the Breviary, and that there were passages which no Anglican ever could admit, praise the true Catholic portion of it as much as he might, he did not in the slightest degree approximate to a recommendation of Romanism."—Tract 75, pp. 9, 10.

"They" [the Antiphons to the Blessed Virgin] "shall be here given in order to show clearly, as a simple inspection of them will suffice to do, the utter contrariety between the Roman system, as actually existing, and our own; which, however similar in certain respects, are in others so at variance, as to make any attempt to reconcile them together in their present state, perfectly nugatory. Till Rome moves towards us, it is quite impossible that we should {416} move towards Rome; however closely we may approximate to her in particular doctrines, principles, or views."—Tract 75, p. 23.

In the foregoing passages, protests will be found against the Roman worship of St. Mary, Invocation of Saints, Worship of Images, Purgatory, Denial of the Cup, Indulgences, and Infallibility; besides those which are entered against the fundamental theory out of which these errors arise.


V. And now having said, I trust, as much as your Lordship requires on the subject of Romanism, I will add a few words, to complete my explanation, in acknowledgment of the inestimable privilege I feel in being a member of that Church over which your Lordship, with others, presides. Indeed, did I not feel it to be a privilege which I am able to seek nowhere else on earth, why should I be at this moment writing to your Lordship? What motive have I for an unreserved and joyful submission to your authority, but the feeling that the Church which you rule is a divinely-ordained channel of supernatural grace to the souls of her members? Why should I not prefer my own opinion, and my own way of acting, to that of the Bishop's, except that I know full well that in matters indifferent I should be acting lightly towards the Spouse of Christ and the Awful Presence which dwells in her, if I hesitated a moment to put your Lordship's will before my own? I know full well that your kindness to me personally, would be in itself quite enough to win any but the most insensible heart, and, did a clear matter of conscience occur in which I felt bound to act for myself [Note 10], my personal feelings towards your Lordship would become a most severe trial to me, independently of the higher considerations to which I have referred; but I trust I have {417} given token of my dutifulness to you apart from the influence of such personal motives, and I have done so because I think that to belong to the Catholic Church is the first of all privileges here below, as involving in it heavenly privileges, and because I consider the Church over which you preside to be the Catholic Church in this country. Surely then I have no need to profess in words, I will not say my attachment, but my deep reverence towards the Mother of Saints, when I am showing it in action; yet that words may not be altogether wanting, I beg to lay before your Lordship the following extract from the Article already mentioned, which I wrote in defence of the English Church against a Roman controversialist in the course of the last year.

"The Church is emphatically a living body, and there can be no greater proof of a particular communion being part of the Church, than the appearance in it of a continued and abiding energy, nor a more melancholy proof of its being a corpse than torpidity. We say an energy continued and abiding, for accident will cause the activity of a moment, and an external principle give the semblance of self-motion. On the other hand, even a living body may for a while be asleep. And here we have an illustration of what we just now urged about the varying cogency of the Notes of the Church according to times and circumstances. No one can deny that at times the Roman Church itself, restless as it is at most times, has been in a state of sleep or disease, so great as to resemble death, &c. &c." [Note 11]


VI. This extract may be sufficient to show my feelings towards my Church, as far as statements on paper can show them. I have already, however, referred to what is much more conclusive, viz. a practical evidence of them; and I think I can show your Lordship besides without difficulty that my present conduct is no solitary instance of such obedience, but that I have in times past observed an habitual submission to things as they are, and have {418} avoided in practice, as far as might be, any indulgence of private tastes and opinions, which left to myself perhaps I should have allowed.

And first, as regards my public teaching; though every one has his peculiarities, and I of course in the number, yet I do hope that it has not on the whole transgressed that liberty of opinion which is allowed on all hands to the Anglican Clergyman. Nay, I might perhaps insist upon it, that in the general run of my Sermons, fainter and fewer traces will be found than might have been expected of those characteristics of doctrine, with which my name is commonly associated. I might without offence have introduced what is technically called High-Church doctrine in much greater fulness; since there are many who do not hold it to my own extent, or with my own eagerness, whose public teaching is more prominently coloured by it. My Sermons have been far more practical than doctrinal; and this, from a dislike of introducing a character and tone of preaching very different from that which is generally to be found among us. And I hope this circumstance may serve as my reply to an apprehension which has been felt, as if what I say in Tract 90 concerning a cast of opinions which is not irreconcileable with our Articles, involves an introduction of those opinions into the pulpit. But who indeed will go so far as to maintain, that what merely happens not to be forbidden or denied in the Articles, may at once be made the subject of teaching or observance? There is nothing concerning the Inspiration of Scripture in the Articles; yet would a Bishop allow a Clergyman openly to deny it in the pulpit? May the Scripture Miracles be explained away, because the Articles say nothing about them? Would your Lordship allow me to preach in favour of duelling, gaming, or simony? or to revile persons by name from the pulpit? or be grossly and violently political? Every one will {419} surely appreciate the importance and sacredness of Pulpit instruction; and will allow, that though the holding certain opinions may be compatible with subscription to the Articles, the publishing and teaching them may be inconsistent with ecclesiastical station.

Those who frequent St. Mary's, know that the case is the same as regards the mode in which worship is conducted there. I have altered nothing I found established; when I have increased the number of the Services, and had to determine points connected with the manner of performing them for myself, if there was no danger of offending others, then indeed I have followed my own judgment, but not otherwise. I have left many things, which I did not like, and which most other persons would have altered. And here, with your Lordship's leave, I will make allusion to one mistake concerning me which I believe has reached your Lordship's ears, and which I only care to explain to my Bishop. The explanation, I trust, will be an additional proof of my adherence to the principle of acquiescing in the state of things in which I find myself. It has been said, I believe, that in the Communion Service I am in the practice of mixing water with the wine, and that of course on a religious or ecclesiastical ground. This is not the case. We are in the custom at St. Mary's of celebrating the Holy Communion every Sunday, and most weeks early in the morning. When I began the early celebration, communicants represented to me that the wine was so strong as to distress them at that early hour. Accordingly I mixed it with water in the bottle. However, it did not keep. On this I mixed it at the time. I speak honestly when I say that this has been my only motive. I have not mixed it when the Service has been in the middle of the day [Note 12]. {420}


If I were not writing to my Bishop, I should feel much shame at writing so much about myself; but confession cannot be called egotism. Friend and stranger have from time to time asked for my co-operation in the attempt to gain additional power for the Church. I have been accustomed to answer that it was my duty to acquiesce in the state of things under which I found myself, and to serve God, if so be, in it. New precedents indeed, confirming or aggravating our present Ecclesiastical defects, I have ever desired to oppose; but as regards changes, persons to whom I defer very much, know that, rightly or wrongly, I have discountenanced, for instance, any movement tending to the repeal even of the Statutes of Præmunire, which has been frequently agitated, under the notion that such matters were not our business, and that we had better "remain in the calling wherein we were called." Of course I cannot be blind to the fact that "time is the great innovator;" and that the course of events may of itself put the Church in possession of greater liberty of action, as in time past it has abridged it. This would be the act of a higher power; and then I should {421} think it a duty to act according to that new state in which the Church found itself. Knowledge and virtue certainly are power. When the Church's gifts were doubled, its influence would be multiplied a hundred-fold; and influence tends to become constituted authority. This is the nature of things, which I do not attempt to oppose; but I have no wish at all to take part in any measures which aim at changes.

And in like manner I have set my face altogether against suggestions which zealous and warm-hearted persons sometimes have made of reviving the project of Archbishop Wake, for considering the differences between ourselves and the foreign Churches with a view to their adjustment. Our business is with ourselves—to make ourselves more holy, more self-denying, more primitive, more worthy our high calling. Let the Church of Rome do the same, and it will come nearer to us, and will cease to be what we one and all mean, when we speak of Rome. To be anxious for a composition of differences, is to begin at the end. Did God visit us with large measures of His grace, and the Roman Catholics also, they would be drawn to us, and would acknowledge our Church as the Catholic Church in this country, and would give up whatever offended and grieved us in their doctrine and worship, and would unite themselves to us. This would be a true union; but political reconciliations are but outward and hollow, and fallacious. And till they on their part renounce political efforts, and manifest in their public measures the light of holiness and truth, perpetual warfare is our only prospect. It was the prophetic announcement concerning the Elijah of the first Advent, that he should "turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers." This is the only change which promises good or is worth an effort. {422}


What I have been saying as regards Roman Catholics, I trust I have kept steadily before me in ecclesiastical matters generally. While I have considered that we ought to be content with the outward circumstances in which Providence has placed us, I have tried to feel that the great business of one and all of us is, to endeavour to raise the moral tone of the Church. It is sanctity of heart and conduct which commends us to God. If we be holy, all will go well with us. External things are comparatively nothing; whatever be a religious body's relations to the State—whatever its regimen—whatever its doctrines—whatever its worship—if it has but the life of holiness within it, this inward gift will, if I may so speak, take care of itself. It will turn all accidents into good, it will supply defects, and it will gain for itself from above what is wanting. I desire to look at this first, in all persons and all communities. Where Almighty God stirs the heart, there His other gifts follow in time; sanctity is the great Note of the Church. If the Established Church of Scotland has this Note, I will hope all good things of it; if the Roman Church in Ireland has it not, I can hope no good of it. And in like manner, in our own Church, I will unite with all persons as brethren, who have this Note, without any distinction of party. Persons who know me can testify that I have endeavoured to co-operate with those who did not agree with me, and that again and again I have been put aside by them, not put them aside. I have never concealed my own opinions, nor wished them to conceal theirs; but I have found that I could bear them better than they me. And I have long insisted upon it, that the only way in which the members of our Church, so widely differing in opinion at this time, can be brought together in one, is by a "turning of heart" {423} to one another. Argumentative efforts are most useful for this end under this sacred feeling; but till we try to love each other, and what is holy in each other, and wish to be all one, and mourn that we are not so, and pray that we may be so, I do not see what good can come of argument.


VII. Before concluding, there is one more subject on which I wish briefly to address your Lordship, though it is one which I have neither direct claim nor encouragement to introduce to your Lordship's notice. Yet our Colleges here being situated in your Lordship's diocese, it is natural for me to allude to the lately expressed opinion of the Heads of Houses upon the Tract which has given rise to this Letter. I shall only do so, however, for the purpose of assuring your Lordship of the great sorrow it gives me to have incurred their disapprobation, and of the anxiety I have felt for some time past from the apprehension that I was incurring it. I reverence their position in the country too highly to be indifferent to their good opinion. I never can be indifferent to the opinion of those who hold in their hands the education of the classes on which our national well-being, spiritual and temporal, depends; who preside over the foundations of "famous men" of old, whose "name liveth for evermore;" and from whom are from time to time selected the members of the sacred order to which your Lordship belongs. Considering my own peculiar position in the University, so much have these considerations pressed upon me for a long while, that, as various persons know, I seriously contemplated, some time since, the resignation of my Living, and was only kept from it by the advice of a friend to whom I felt I ought to submit myself. I say this, moreover, in explanation of a Letter I lately addressed to the Vice-Chancellor, {424} lest it should seem dictated either by a mere perception of what was becoming in my situation, or from some sudden softening of feeling under an unexpected event. It expressed my habitual deference to persons in station.


And now, my Lord, suffer me to thank your Lordship for your most abundant and extraordinary kindness towards me, in the midst of the exercise of your authority. I have nothing to be sorry for, except having made your Lordship anxious, and others whom I am bound to revere. I have nothing to be sorry for, but everything to rejoice in and be thankful for. I have never taken pleasure in seeming to be able to move a party, and whatever influence I have had has been found not sought after. I have acted because others did not act, and have sacrificed a quiet which I prized. May God be with me in time to come, as He has been hitherto! and He will be, if I can but keep my hand clean and my heart pure. I think I can bear, or at least will try to bear, any personal humiliation, so that I am preserved from betraying sacred interests, which the Lord of grace and power has given into my charge.

I am, my dear Lord,
Your Lordship's faithful and affectionate Servant,
ORIEL COLLEGE, March 29, 1841.

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1. [These statements of Maclaine's like others which he makes will not bear examination; vid. supr. p. 116 note, and also the Catholic Institute's edition of Bossuet's Exposition, in the Introduction to which Maclaine is refuted point by point.]
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2. [I have said in a private letter of 1845, Apolog., p. 231, "Invocations are not required in the Church of Rome; somehow, I do not like using them except under the sanction of the Church, and this makes me unwilling to admit them in members of our Church."]
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3. Vid. the passage, supr. in vol. i. pp. 40-43.
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4. Supr. vol. i. pp. 44, 45.
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5. Supr. vol. i. pp. 47, 48.
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6. Supr. vol. i. pp. 212-3.
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7. Supr. p. 105.
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8. Vid. Essays, vol. ii. pp. 12-14.
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9. Vol. i. p. 265.
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10. [This was intended as a hint that that day might come.]
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11. [Vid. Essays, vol. ii. pp. 53-59 for the whole passage.]
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12. [When this letter was published, it was at once circulated in reply, that in Littlemore Chapel I had on one occasion in the middle of the day mixed water with the wine in Communion. It was true: writing as I was to the Bishop about St. Mary's and my doings there, and what had been told him about them there, I forgot what had once accidentally happened at Littlemore several years before; but the pitiless eyes, which during those years were upon me almost from daybreak to nightfall, had noted the occurrence and had taken care to record it. And now the fact was circulated through Oxford to destroy the effect of this Letter. It had taken place at our Anniversary Feast; I had had no intention at all myself of using water, but the clergyman assisting me in the service, at the time I placed the wine on the Table, put into my hand a water-cruet, and I, taken by surprise, knowingly but indeliberately poured some into the cup. As to the disadvantage under which this Letter was written, I will quote my words in a Letter to a friend, as they stand in my Apologia:—"The Bishop sent me word on Sunday to write a Letter to him instanter. So I wrote it on Monday, on Tuesday it passed through the Press; on Wednesday it was out; and today," Thursday, "it is in London."]
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