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Not that this proof of our Protestantism will make the Church of Rome one whit the less persevering or less confident: but it may weaken the inclination so commonly felt to side with what is thought a rising cause. But if nothing more be done: if no progress is made in diminishing the religious and other influences which Rome brings to bear on the minds of men, the vehement protests of last autumn may be but the convulsions which precede death. Lord Shaftesbury indeed promised much. Amidst enthusiastic applause he gave a pledge, that, if the Tractarian treason were not rooted out by the bishops, the laity of England would take up the work in earnest, and obtain safety by an efficient Church reform. The Tractarian disloyalty remains, and Lord Shaftesbury makes no move. We are not bringing an accusation against Lord Shaftesbury. For though our difficulties might be partially removed by legislation, heavy indeed would be the responsibilities which would lie on a real church-reformer. To attempt a reform worthy of the name would be to put the whole Church of England into the crucible: and for this, neither the statesmanship, nor the religious intelligence and feeling of the country, are yet prepared. In our judgment, therefore, Lord Shaftesbury acted more wisely in suspending than he would have done in fulfilling his pledge. Only let us distinctly recognise our real position, that no bar has as yet been opposed to the advance of Popery, either within or without the Church.

At the same time, it must be admitted that the Tractarian or Anglo-Catholic party has sustained a serious discouragement. The agitation of the public mind has decided the waverings of not a few important persons among the Tractarians. Whether it has been that their doubts had become ripe for resolution, or that the reproaches of Protestants have drawn their attention more forcibly to the ambiguity and untenableness of their position; whatever may have been the immediate cause, they have renounced the communion of the Church of England, and have been reconciled, as it is termed, to that of Rome. Two consequences have followed this act. In the first place, the of many have been opened to the tendency and ultimate effects of Tractarian principles. But a second and a not less impressive result has ensued: the Tractarians have been made to feel distrust of themselves and their position. A party which loses its leaders by continual defections, just in proportion as they are distinguished by learning, ability, and earnestness, must have its confidence shaken, as to the soundness of its views and its power of sustaining them. What can be more damaging to a cause, than to be abandoned in unbroken succession by those who have


1851. Anglo-Catholicism not extinguished by the Secessions. 531

fought at its head with the sincerest enthusiasm, and have enjoyed the best opportunities, and have possessed the greatest capacity, for appreciating its merits? A disquieting suspicion of the hollowness of their position has come over the most honest of the Anglo-Catholics: fresh secessions are taking place and men of equal ability cannot be found to fill up the gaps which have been thus made. Who, among the foremost of the AngloCatholic school, except Dr. Pusey and a few of his immediate friends, if even these are to be excepted, can be now considered safe by the Anglo-Catholics themselves?

But we must not fall into the enormous blunder of inferring from the fact of a certain amount of disorganisation having overtaken the Anglo-Catholic party, that the mischief has been destroyed at its root. The eminent men, who have left it for the Romish communion, possessed, if not greater sincerity, at least a clearer intellectual vision and a higher consistency of thinking, than the mass of their former associates. Their condemnation of the Church of England is evidently not acquiesced in by the main body of those whom they have abandoned. As a party, they must be startled and disturbed by the secession of their leaders; but it will not drive the majority of them from their opinions. Any explanation of the fact will be accepted rather than the true, but most unpalatable one, that the principles of Anglo-Catholicism are incompatible with those of the Church of England, as a separate body from the Church of Rome. The parties in question are exposed to the strongest motives which can act on the mind of man to shut their eyes, if possible, to the cogency of the reasoning of which the practical conclusion is secession. If they admit the validity of the premises and the argument, they impose upon themselves the most painful duty of abandoning the religion in which they were bred, and in which they found so much to satisfy their spiritual natures. If they conceded the accuracy of the logic, but escape its force by impugning the premises, they would be compelled to renounce their principles and replace them by the odious doctrines of Protestantism. So they adopt neither the one nor the other of these reasonable, but distressing courses. They keep their understandings in a twilight of ambiguity, neither disowning the principles, nor yet choosing to observe what they involve. The Anglo-Catholic Clergy not only naturally cling with extreme tenacity to a theory which singularly exalts the clergy, but they also find, in the charm which that theory has for clerical minds generally, a support to which they are not fairly entitled, and which is not very creditable to those from whom they obtain it. There is a sound sweet even to many Low-church ears in

opinions which represent episcopally ordained clergymen as the successors of the Apostles, and separate them so flatteringly from Dissenters, by the possession of the awful power of being alone entitled to give efficacy to the Sacraments. Hence a want of heartiness in many of its adversaries in pushing Anglo-Catholicism home: a faintness of resolution in pressing the inmost principles of Protestantism. This secret sympathy is of great value to Anglo-Catholics. It gives them boldness in the enunciation of their views. They are saved by it from a deadly strife of antagonistic principles. By its help they are enabled, in meetings of the clergy, to assume that their doctrines are those of the Church: they feel that they will not be closely challenged, and thus are left apparently in possession of the field. No wonder, in such a state of things, that a sufficient number remain behind to keep each other in countenance, and avoid being driven from their pulpits, by an overwhelming sense of insincerity, in the steps of their more logical and consistent chiefs.

Meanwhile, the consequences to the nation are most disastrous. The stream of conversions to Popery flows on, fed by waters which flow from the Church of England.

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The garrison appointed to guard the city, though they do not dare to open the gates, undermine the walls so as to let in the enemy. And great indeed is the calamity of subjection to Romish bondage. Our fathers found it insufferable; and we ourselves have had a foretaste of its misery already. Who that has experienced the misfortune of seeing his sons or daughters becoming Papists has not felt that he has lost them altogether that they are his no longer-that they have become the property of the Confessional, of the Priest, of the Roman Catholic Church? And how, in most cases, have they been lost? by a cruel abuse practised upon their piety. They listened reverently to the pastor, to whose care their Church had confided them; and from him they imbibed doctrines which they were told were the strength and foundation of that Church, but which, on reflection, were seen to command the transfer of their allegiance to Rome.

This then is the grievous malady under which we now suffer. Anglo-Catholicism cannot refute the reasoning of its departed chiefs: yet, undeterred, it perseveres in the same teaching with the same activity, we might say with the same audacity, as ever. It occupies our parishes, our pulpits, our universities, and our sees; and from this vantage-ground does the work of Rome more effectually than Rome could do it herself. Rome would have to make her advances as an open adversary against men who were on their guard. Anglo-Catholicism seizes on confiding hearers, who are thinking only of the Church of Eng

1851. The Authority of the Church the Cause of Secessions. 533

land, whilst they are being inoculated with the doctrines of the Church of Rome. Among the clergy it lifts up its head proudly, and summons the priest, as it styles him, to assert that dignity with which Christ has invested him. The younger clergy eagerly put faith in the grandeur which they are told belongs to them. They announce themselves as the appointed mediators between God and man, the dispensers of absolution and pardon, the holders of the keys of the kingdom of heaven. The tone of the whole profession thus sets in strongly in favour of clerical prerogative. Protestantism is fast becoming an object of shame, except where an uncorrupted laity sternly reminds its ministers of those truths which they were ordained to defend.

The evil is intolerable. Let Papists preach Popery freely with all their might; but let a Protestant Church preach the Protestant faith. Above all, it ought not to be made a nursery for rearing converts for transplantation to Rome. The evil must be cut off at its source. Now that source is not religious dogma. What Englishman of our days has forsaken the Church of England because he has become convinced of the doctrine of Transubstantiation, or Purgatory, or Mariolatry, or any other religious tenet peculiar to Rome? The indifference to pure doctrine, which has characterised this movement, has been most remarkable. Theological dogma neither attracts nor repels the minds which are agitated by this movement. They do not fly to Rome to gain a religious truth: nor do those tenets of that Church, which seem most revolting to common sense, cause their steps to falter as they cross the frontier between the two Churches. No dissenter, accordingly, has gone over.


It is well known,' says the Duke of Argyll, that the individual corrupt doctrines of the Romish Church have not been generally. not perhaps in any case the causes or sources of conviction. On the contrary, it is notorious that these have often been hindrances impediments in the way of that passage through which so many have advanced from "Oxford to Rome." The worship, or honour, or whatever it may be called, paid to the Virgin, for example, has, to the very last, been a cause of difficulty and doubt; and this, and other such points of doctrine and practice, have only at last been accepted in submission to one great law of spiritual bondage, under whose yoke the victims had passed before. And what, let me ask you, is that law? Ask some of those to whom I allude, how they have overcome all those objections to the Romish worship and teaching, which you have often heard them express so strongly? Ask them, how they could acquiesce in practices which they used to call, as you now call them, "idolatrous?" You will always get one answer, "the au"thority of the Church."'

It is wholly a question of the legitimacy and authority of the two corporations. The thoughtful disciple learns from AngloCatholicism principles which teach him that to continue in the Church of England is to remain outside of the Church of Christ; thereupon he carries out the lesson of unreasoning obedience, which has been diligently inculcated upon him as the essence of piety; and resolves to submit to the true Church first, and then inquire for and believe her doctrines afterwards. The Romanist and the Anglo-Catholic concur in warning him at the peril of his soul against trusting his reason in religious matters except for one single act of private judgment: our reason was endowed with spiritual light, say they, for the single purpose of discerning the notes of the true Church. He has learnt from Anglo-Catholic teaching what those notes are: his reason shows him that the Church of England does not possess them-that they apply to the Church of Rome only. His duty becomes plain and tory: he must get safety (where alone it is to be had) in the one true Church. Why should views of doctrine embarrass him? The apparent reasonableness of Protestant opinions may be the effect of that separation from Christ which alarms him: and the apparent absurdity of Catholic dogma may be imputable to the blindness of that reason, from which he has been instructed by his Anglo-Catholic pastor never to accept his creed. When a man has once been persuaded that religion depends on the authority of the Church- and this is the Anglo-Catholic teaching-he will be little influenced by doctrine in determining which is the true Church: and instead of judging of the tree by its fruits of the Christian character of a Church by the faith it professes he may possibly rather be attracted by the very repulsiveness of its doctrine, as a proof of its mission to subjugate the understanding by supernatural truth.


Why, -in spite of enormous doctrinal differences,' asks the Duke of Argyll, is Rome the only refuge to which men leaving you are forced to go? Simply because, on the principles from which they start, the authority of a priesthood is more essential than the truth of its doctrinal teaching-or, which comes to the same thingthe truth can only be judged of under the guidance of its authority."

These facts enable us to perceive that the source of the mischief is that theory of ecclesiastical polity which is commonly known by the name of Church Principles. This is the lever with which Anglo-Catholics pull down the Protestant fabric of the Church of England; this the instrument by which they enrich Rome with spoils gathered from her communion. Church Principles, we are aware, is a comprehensive term, including certain views of theology as well as of ecclesiastical polity: in

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