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over, one of the minor controversialists of our time should have charged him with having been a party to the hounding of • Dr. Newman out of the Church of England a quarter of a
century ago.'* It is due to the fame of the great champion of the other side of the controversy to add that Dr. Newman himself, after he had joined the Church of Rome, noticed the • kindness' of Bishop Bagot and the courtesy' of Bishop Thirlwall, as marked exceptions to the general treatment he had received at the hands of the English Episcopate.f. In a letter published in the Guardian'he admitted, indeed, that the strong terms used by the Bishop in his Charge of 1845 would have modified his language; but as he' never heard' of that Charge till .quite recently' (he writes in February 1873), it could have had nothing to do with his leaving the Church of his fathers.
The later Charges of Bishop Thirlwall presented, in some respects, a marked contrast to the first in their tone towards the portion of the Oxford or Tractarian party that remained in the Church of England, after two of its four great leaders had passed over to that of Rome, and remained, it must be added, with the avowed intention of un-Protestantising her worship and her formulæ, and bringing her back, so far as the law allowed, and farther, if they thought it necessary, to her pre-Reformation state. He saw that the party was not broken up by the loss it had sustained, that it was not held back by the more moderate counsels of the leaders who remained, that it was aggressive, determined, restless; that it drew closer and closer to the theology of Rome, with the solitary exception of the two last figments of that theology, the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and of Papal Infallibility; and that it was bent on emancipating the clergy from all State control as exercised through our highest tribunals in matters ecclesiastical, even at the cost of disruption and disestablishment; and as this danger became more imminent, his warnings and protests, though they rose far above the panic cries of the vulgar, and were judicial even in their severity, became stronger and more frequent. So, for a like reason, looking to the increased and victorious activity of the Ultramontane party in the Church of Rome during the last ten years, he became, in his later Charges, pre-eminently in those of 1866 and 1872—the
* MacColl's ' Damnatory Clauses,' p. 18. It fair to add that the charge was afterwards, partially, at least, retracted.
† Lectures on · Difficulties of Anglicans,' p. 133, ed. 4.
last of the series—more distinctly polemic in his assertion of the Protestant side of the formularies of the English Church; and it would be hard, we believe, to find any more masterly discussion of the great controversy as to the Presence of Christ in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper than that in these Charges, and, we may add, in that of 1857. It is not easy to say, in the wilderness of thorns and briars which a survey of that controversy opens to our view, how far any path traced by this or that writer is absolutely new; but, so far as we can call to mind, no one has pointed out with such subtle acuteness that the language of the Tridentine Catechism goes beyond the scholastic dogma of Transubstantiation in affirming that the “ totus et integer Christus,' i.e. the accidents' as well as the substance' of His human nature—body, flesh, and bones, and blood—are present in the consecrated elements ;* and that the morbid rhetoric and half-delirious verse of the Ritualistic school in speaking of the visible Presence,'—the Presence manifested on the altar'-goes even beyond the Tridentine language or the ‘ latens Deitas' of Roman hymns. The habitual fairness and caution of his mind led him, in the Charge of 1866, to admit that “ apart from the express admis•sion of Transubstantiation, or of the grossly carnal notions to • which it gave rise
there could hardly be any description of the Real Presence, which, in some sense or other, * is universally allowed, that would not be found to be authorised
by the language of eminent divines of our Church;' and that he was not aware, and did not believe, “ that our most advanced * Ritualists have in fact overstepped these very ample bounds.' The point on which he laid most stress was that it was not equally possible to reconcile their view of the Eucharistic · Sacrifice with that of the Church of England, or to distinguish • it from that of the Church of Rome, and he looked with alarm on their liturgical ceremonials, because it seemed to him deliberately adopted to symbolise the latter.' It was with the thought of these dangers present to his mind, as letters before us show, that he could not bring himself to assent to Mr. Gladstone's plea on behalf of the Ritualist school as to the eastward position and the use of vestments, or to adopt the language in which one writer, who in some respects may be looked upon as his disciple, has urged that the agitation on these questions should be left to wear itself out, as being of the nature of a tempest in a tea-cup, a dispute in which the 'infinitely little' has been magnified by fear and
* Charge of 1854.
passion into the proportions of the infinitely great. Thus, as regards the Public Worship Regulation Bill, he wrote at first with some hesitation :
"I am waiting to see in what form it will finally pass through the House of Commons, before I pass a judgment on its merits and value. I have always felt a doubt, which perhaps only experience can solve, as to its operation. I am afraid that, even as a check to further innovations, its effect will be but partial and precarious, while, if applied to the past, it will provoke attempts at retaliation, which, whether successful or not, will disturb and weaken the Church. The best thing about it seems to me to be that it must sooner or later lead to a revision of the Canons and to some relaxation or enlargement of the terms of communion.'
At a later date, however, and after Mr. Gladstone's memorable speech and abortive resolutions on the Public Worship Bill, he expressed his satisfaction that the Bill had passed the House of Commons, as it did, without a division :
'I consider this fact as a decisive and most valuable proof of the interest felt by the great majority of the House of Commons in the concerns of the Church, and of their attachment to it, on the condition of its remaining a Protestant Church. I cannot yet forgive Gladstone for overlooking or ignoring the radical and all-important distinction between the High and Low party, with regard to the observance of the Rubrics. It is, I think, notorious that the Low party drifted into a departure from the Rubrics from manifold causes, without the slightest consciousness of any doctrinal bearing in their practice. The Tractarian ritualistic party, on the other hand, have introduced innovations avowedly for the sake of their doctrinal significance and with a most distinct and deliberate design, which is no other than that of transforming the character of our Church until it becomes ripe for union with Rome. Those who do not at present contemplate this step would do something still worse. They would inflict upon us all the evils of a thorough adhesion to "all Roman doctrine"-except, perhaps, the Papal Infallibility, as to which Orby Shipley seems to be still hesitating without any of the social advantages which might result from the union.'
So again, later on, of Mr. Gladstone's article on Ritualism in the Contemporary Review':
'It wholly overlooks and ignores the great, and, in my view, by far the most important practical question of the day, which is this : Shall any section of the Church, or any clergyman be permitted to conduct the public services of the Church in such a way as to make it appear that the Church gives its sanction to a doctrine-I mean that of the Sacrifice in the Romish or Tractarian sense-- which the greater part of her members reject as false and mischievous ? So long as the Church is secured from this flagrant wrong, I, for one, am ready to allow the widest possible latitude that any heart can desire, both as to the quantity and the quality of Ritual.'
And once more, in one of the letters which he dictated (for blindness had deprived him of the power to write) but two or three weeks before his death, in answer to the argument that neither chasuble nor surplice, neither eastward or southward position, could affect the validity of the sacrament:
Might not they' (the partisans on either side) say that though the reality of the Sacrament was not affected by the mode of its celebration, its efficacy and value depended in a very great measure upon it, and might be greatly impaired, if not utterly lost, if it were made to convey inadequate and, above all, erroneous notions of its nature? They might, perhaps, observe that after all, a sacrament is nothing more than a means to an end, namely, the communication of grace, and that when this end is in any way defeated, it can matter little that the rite is notwithstanding a real sacrament. It might be still neither acceptable to God, nor edifying to man, as our Church does not admit the notion of an opus operatum,” but makes the efficacy of a sacrament, though not its reality, to depend on the inward condition of the communicant.'
It might, we think, have been urged in answer even to this keenly-reasoned plea for judicial rigour in dealing with the ‘ineptiæ ' of Ritualism, as being not even “tolerabiles,' (1) that the points of ritual specified, though they may be vaguely associated in men's minds with this or that phase of doctrine, and may indeed have been adopted for the purpose of expressing them, have yet (as Mr. Gladstone, and more recently the Bishop of Winchester, have urged) no necessary connexion with them, and that, if adopted also by those who represent a different school of theology, their symbolic associations would at once be modified; and (2) that they are, to say the least, perfectly compatible with the repentance, faith, and charity which we are accustomed to regard as the only indispensable and sufficient conditions of the efficacy of the Sacrament of which liturgical positions and vestments are the separable accidents. For our own part, therefore, we are free to own, while we admit that the spirit of defiant lawlessness in too many instances calls for some strong measure of repression, that we view with little hope or satisfaction the prosecutions with which we are threatened by the Church Association, turning, as they do, on rubrics that are obsolete or obscure, and which, even if their meaning were clear, are but a small portion of a code of rules which no one pretends to keep in its entirety. We confess, if we may speak in parables, that we are reminded, as we read the declamations on either side in such controversies, of those exhibitions in which we see projected on a disc a scene of horrid warfare, and strange monstrous forms ready to de
vour. Children cry at such sights, and women of weak nerves are startled, but we look behind the lens of prejudice and fear, and we see only a drop of stagnant water, in which the creeping things that have life, though their presence indicates a taint that may become putrescence, need cause no panic-fear, and which may be purified, either by the moving of the waters, or, if necessary, by a judicious filtration.
For the most part, however, the work of Bishop Thirlwall in these periodical counsels was to allay, not to excite, the panic to which the clerical mind is from time to time subject. In regard to the now forgotten controversy as to the Management Clauses (Charge of 1848), which once threatened the disruption of the National Society ; to the Conscience Clause Charge of 1866), which after having been resisted, except by the more temperate few, with a petulant defiance, has now become universal and been accepted with hardly a protest or a murmur; to the alarm created, by the decision of the Judicial Committee on the Gorham Controversy, as though it sapped the very foundations of the Faith (Charge of 1851); we find him consistent in his assertion of the calm equilibrium of thought and judgment of which the history of the last thirty years supplies so few examples. So, in like manner, he put to flight, as far, i.e., as reason can banish prejudice and fear, the superstition that the Christianity of the nation depended on the exclusion of Jews from Parliament, or that its Protestantism was sacrificed by the Endowment of Maynooth, or that the Church of England was committed to a denial of the Faith, unless the Bishops gathered for quite a different purpose at the so-called Pan-Anglican Synod of Lambeth * plunged into the
vast field of difficult questions opened somewhat rashly by Bishop Colenso's publications on the Pentateuch. Lastly, in the closing act of his legislative life, he was found alone among his brethren of the Bench in voting for the Bill for the Disestablishment of the Irish Church, accepting it as just in itself and as an inevitable necessity, though his own preference would have led him, with many others of our wiser statesmen of both the Liberal and Conservative parties, and
We are reminded by the publication of Bishop Grey's Life, that Bishop Thirlwall was one of the four members of the English Episcopate (the others being the present Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and Bishop Prince Lee of Manchester) who dissented from the resolution to inhibit Bishop Colenso from preaching in their dioceses, and that he stood alone in withholding his signature from the address requesting him to resign his see.