« ForrigeFortsett »
who ha from thi hat all », as on th
ing; and, if unmeaning, then capable of the same charitable construction which, under like circumstances, the Judgment has placed on the words adoration,' sacrifice,' and objec*tive presence. In fact there are very few deviations from the formularies which this decision would not cover; and if in the case of Mr. Heath and Mr. Voysey, an acquittal was not found possible, it is enough (without referring to the more special peculiarities of those two prosecutions) to point out that the principles which guided the Gorham Judgment were not on those occasions, as on this, expressly invoked. It is to be hoped that all parties may learn some lessons of moderation from this striking failure of the attempt to convict one who had, even in the favourable judgment of the Dean of the Court of Arches and of his own party, been guilty of crude, rash, and inconsiderate expressions, and whose own exposition of his opinions had been condemned as 'erro'neous by the very divine whose opinions Mr. Bennett seems to • have sought to represent.' The theological disputants of all the various schools within the Church may see that there is a more excellent way of silencing their opponents than by bringing them before a court of law, which is by the very nature of the case precluded from discussing the tendencies and pretensions which are really, or would be deemed by the combatants, the most dangerous. All may learn the wisdom and charity of abstaining from wild defiances and coarse exaggerations, which, though they happily fail in most cases to disturb the unimpassioned atmosphere of a legal tribunal, are needlessly irritating and inflaming to the mass of minds which constitute the public opinion of the Church at large.
VIII. And this leads us to yet one more general conclusion. This decision, received with such exultation by the High Church party, has been delivered in their favour by the very tribunal which, so long as it pronounced in favour of tolerating those whom they were seeking to exclude, was assailed by every species of theological ribaldry, as a disgrace, a wrong, an oppression, which must be subverted at all hazards. Now, for the first time, or nearly for the first time (for it may be remembered that a slight lull in the tempest of vituperation occurred when in like manner the Supreme Court admitted the lawfulness of some of their practices in the case of Westerton v. Liddell), the note is changed. The lay character, the mixed character, the legal character, the regal character, of the tribunal—every one of which were regarded as fatal counts in the indictment against it-are gladly overlooked, and the general exclamation is
'A Daniel come to judgment-yea, a Daniel.
A Daniel, still I say, a second Daniel.' It is not with the view of taunting our opponents with inconsistency that we call attention to this change of front. We are only too happy in this as in all matters to build silver bridges for our flying enemies. Yet it is worth noting, as a proof of the hollowness and futility of these party war-cries. The constitution of the Court of Appeal is not less objectionable now than it was when it was the butt of every sarcasm in Convocation and Church Congress; or than when an anxious crowd of ecclesiastics hung breathless on the debate in the House of Lords which was to determine whether or no it was to be altered. We know now what these declarations really meant. They meant only the excessive, though natural, desire to have a Court which should always decide in the direction agreeable to the partisans of a single school.
But there is a deeper and more universal lesson to be learned from this acquiescence in the judgment of the Court of Appeal. Twice over it has been our lot to show how true and (in the best sense) Catholic-how truly in accordance with the highest and best authorities of the Church itself-have been the decisions of this high tribunal. Twice over it was our duty to show how the Supremacy of the Crown as thus exercised was in fact the best safeguard at once of the order and of the freedom of the Church. Our opinion is now confirmed by the most reluctant witnesses. And, if in the heat of disappointment or alarm, there should now be others who should be tempted by the recent Judgment to attack the tribunal which has tolerated the opinions which they condemn, to them also a few moments' reflection will show that they have no real ground of complaint. It was by the Judgments of 1850 and 1864 that the Puritan and the Liberal schools of the Church were able to hold their ground; and those Judgments proceeded on precisely the same general principles as that which has now acquitted their ancient adversaries. On the occasion of the first of these Judgments, we stated that it proceeded on • the general truth that the Church of England is not High,
nor Low, but Broad.' This has been confirmed by each of the two great Judgments that have succeeded. It is Broad, not because it includes a school to which from the days of Cudworth downwards that proud name has justly been awarded, but because it includes all the other elements of ecclesiastical life, without which a Church consisting merely of latitudinarians would become as narrow as they. This, we have repeatedly said, is the essential condition, the high vocation, of a National Church. Each body of Nonconformists in England—the Free Church, the United Presbyterians of Scotland --the would-be Anglo-Catholic Nonjuring sect, whether in the past or the future of the English Church, has its being only by virtue of sustaining one single mode of thought and of excluding all besides.* A remarkable example of this has lately been given in the burst of fury against the Established Church of Scotland lately exhibited by the Scottish Dissenters on the express ground that it had consented to admit a wider, larger, teaching of Christian truth. It has been the glory of the Church of Scotland that in its pale have been nurtured the most liberal elements of Scottish theology, the very existence of which within the borders of the seceding Church the chief officer of that Church has recently repudiated as a shocking impossibility. It has been the glory of the Church of England that, taking it not at its real worst but at its ideal best—not according to the clamorous representations of the partisans of its various sections, but according to the inherent virtue of the constitution which it has derived from the mixed character of the English Commonwealth—it has ‘room'for all. It is by their juxtaposition, by their friction, by the mutual toleration of each other, expressed by the fact that they are all alike subject to the supreme law of the land, and to that only, that the existence of the National Church is justified, and that the best hopes are afforded of its ultimate enlargement, purification, and elevation. It is not the High Church school, nor even the Church of England itself, which is the chief gainer by the recent decision ; it is the general cause of Christian moderation and Christian truth. Had the Gorham decision ejected the Evangelical school, the nation of England would not have been quit of them. They would have remained, but in a lower and narrower phase of bitter nonconformity. Had the · Essays and Reviews'' Judgment ejected the advocates of free inquiry, free inquiry would not have been suppressed, it would only have assumed a fiercer, wilder, more destructive character. Had the Bennett Judgment ejected Mr. Bennett and his friends, they would still have remained a thorn in our sides not the less provoking and irritating, because they would have been goaded from without into every fantastic reprisal, both in act and word. It has been happily ordered otherwise ; and
act ded, from wind irritatind a thor
* This is well discussed in the recent Bampton Lectures of the Rev. G. H. Curteis, on 'Dissent in relation to the Church.'
though we dare not presume on the softening effects even of justice and mercy on the inveteracy of party zeal; though we dare not expect toleration from a school whose usual practice has been only to recognise the word as applied to itself; though this moderation may possibly be abused, and its sweet natural fruits poisoned and embittered by the violence of faction -yet we shall never regret that we have stood by the sound principles which in its three principal decisions have inspired the hopes and guided the policy of this august tribunal; we shall yet look hopefully forward to the general atmosphere of calm content which such a concurrence of Judgments so gravely, impartially, and wisely expressed is likely to produce.
No. CCLXXVIII, will be published in October,
Art. I.-1. Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States.
(Papers presented to Congress. Washington: 1868 and
2. Vie de Monseigneur Berneur, Evêque de Capse in partibus
Infidelium, Vicaire apostolique de Corée. Par M. L'ABBÉ
Pichon. Paris : 1868. 3. Journeys in North China. By the Rev. ALEXANDER
WILLIAMSON, B.A. London: 1870. 4. Commercial Reports of Her Majesty's Consuls in China
and Japan, 1864-1866. 5. Kwang Yu Ki (Geography of the Chinese Empire and its
Tributaries). TRUITFUL as the decade in which we are living has shown
itself in great and unprecedented episodes of history, it may be said to exhibit no feature more strongly marked than the accomplishment (as it would seem) of the task of forging links of communication between the most widely sundered corners of the earth, and of casting down the few barriers that remain interposed between nation and nation. Viewed in this light, it is not a little singular that the very last of the strongholds of exclusion and rigid abhorrence of men from afar' should be found in a long and narrow peninsula jutting out into seas that have been furrowed for years past by the keels of European vessels, and offering in its long and deeply-indented coast-line no less an incentive to navigation than that with which the British Isles are proverbially blessed; but nevertheless preserving a fixed resolve that no stranger shall set foot within its bounds, and holding its people in the grip of
VOL. CXXXVI. NO. CCLXXVIII.