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the ground which they felt conscientiously bound to take in opposition to the Purchas judgment. A correspondent of the Times' said (August 1, 1874), there are certain points of ritual which we are prepared to sacrifice anything for: I mean the Eastward position at the altar and the use of lights and vestments; for they involve the doctrine of the Holy Eucharist, and we would as soon give up the one as deny the other.' Nor are such expressions merely the ill-considered utterances of obscure theologians. Dr. Pusey's deliberate judgment we have already quoted (see p. 531); and it was Canon Rawlinson who opened the eyes of Canon Swainson by saying, in a discussion in the Lower House of the Convocation of Canterbury, that little acts might involve the greatest doctrine; that there was no disguising the fact that the observances of the Ritualists were used for that very purpose; they declared that they set doctrines before the people by those external acts.'* With such an array of authorities it is quite natural that our author should have written as he did before this book was published.

"The Eastward position has been adopted, insisted on, and claimed by many as a privilege which cannot be given up, because it has a high and solemn doctrinal and devotional meaning; and others are not to be blamed for accepting that meaning of the ceremony which has thus been forced into it, and which it cannot now lose. Most serious injustice has been done by the co-ordinate accusation of two parties as though they had combined to affix this meaning to the ceremony. The responsibility rests on those who introduced this ceremony and proclaimed its meaning. The old fable of the Wolf and the Lamb has received a new illustration in these times of debate. I quite admit faults in this matter among Evangelicals as well as High Churchmen. But the primary blame does not rest with the former. The water was made turbid higher up the stream.'†

When we have clearly set before us this strong insisting on doctrinal intention, and this determination to communicate teaching by means of ceremony, we begin to see the value of that plea of toleration under which the permission of this particular ceremony is recommended to favourable notice. It is a plea always attractive and specious, and in these days very apt to be persuasive. The contention of Mr. Beresford Hope and his friends is that their view is most consistent with toleration. It is submitted that this is by no means clear. Let us see how the case stands.

It is because the words before the Table' are believed neces

* Swainson's 'Rubrical Question of 1874,' Second Edition, p. 6.

† Letter to the Times,' July 12, 1875.

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sarily to imply an Eastward position during the Prayer of Consecration that the Ritualists, and those who agree with them, have been led to adopt the position at that time. At first sight this view is very plausible; and it is quite right that it should be further sifted and examined, and that the question should be argued again and again decided by the proper authorities. But if it should be decided favourably to their view, it is far from certain that any liberty could be allowed to the officiating minister, in this part of the service, to stand anywhere else than on the West of the Lord's Table. If these terms are once judicially held to have the sense here asserted, the Court (it would seem) must hold that to be the rubrical position of the Minister, and could not permit a departure therefrom. The Act of Uniformity was meant to hinder diversity and choice; and as to any theory of maxima' and 'minima' in ceremony, if the theory were tenable at all, it would hardly be decided that the West is the · maximum' and the North the minimum.' Thus, instead of constraining a comparatively small number of the Clergy, who now adopt the Eastward position, to accept the North-side position -which, as will presently be shown, is a neutral one-the result would be to force the great mass of the Clergy into what, to them, is a new and unwelcome ceremonial attitude-and this in the name of Toleration!



But while a decision in this direction would seem very arbitrary, there would be no such character in a decision equally positive in the other direction. The position at the North side is perfectly neutral. It is expressive of no doctrine. Hence, the person who uses it is under no constraint of conscience whatever. He hold the Ritualist view of the Real may Presence,' or he may not. He may take the sacrificial or the non-sacrificial view of his own act. Indeed, it has sometimes been contended by disputants in this controversy that the Northside position is in itself more properly expressive of sacrifice than any other; and this may possibly be true. But, putting this thought on one side, it is, for the above-mentioned reason, scarcely fair to say, as it has been said, that the change from the East to the North side 'implies a denial' of any 'doctrine.' It simply declares that the acts done in the Public Service of the Church shall not be such as to express one-and one only-of two phases of doctrine concerning the permissibility of which no question is here raised. The opponents of the Eastward position do not seek to enforce an act which symbolises their own view. They merely protest against an act which exclusively symbolises the other view.

And this is precisely in accordance with the principle laid down

That case

down by the Privy Council in Mr. Bennett's case. went undoubtedly very far in tolerating varieties of opinion; but it did so under the express reservation, that the public service must not be made a vehicle for the symbolical inculcation of such varieties of opinion. The Court said

In the public or common prayer and devotional offices of the Church, all her members are expected and entitled to join; it is necessary, therefore, that such forms of worship as are prescribed by authority for general use should embody those beliefs only which are assumed to be generally held by members of the Church. . . . If the minister be allowed to introduce at his own will variations in the rites and ceremonies that seem to him to interpret the doctrine of the service in a particular direction, the service ceases to be what it was meant to be, common ground on which all Church people may meet, though they differ about some doctrines. But the Church of England has wisely left a certain latitude of opinion in matters of belief, and has not insisted on a rigorous uniformity of thought which might reduce her communion to a narrow compass."

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Yet from this Concordat, as it may almost be called, the Ritualists are already claiming to depart. No sooner is it declared that the Church does not forbid their theoretical views, than they claim to interpret the doctrine of the service' in that direction by rites and ceremonies.


To some minds all legal decisions on ecclesiastical questions are so repugnant, that the judicial statement quoted above will, on that account only, be rejected at once. Let the appeal then be made to calm common-sense. Is it not quite evident that there is the greatest difference between freedom to hold, or even to announce in words, a religious opinion, and freedom to incorporate an expression and inculcation of that opinion in the ceremonial usages which belong to a general congregation? The distinction was very well stated by Mr. Droop, in the pamphlet from which we have already quoted—

'I shall not attempt to determine how far it is or is not lawful for a clergyman of the Church of England to promulgate these doctrines in a book, or even to preach them in the pulpit (I have no wish to unduly curtail the liberty of opinion necessarily allowed within certain limits to the clergy of a national church); but this is altogether different from a clergyman's expressing such doctrines in dumb show, by an action interpolated into the performance of Divine service, when he is acting, not in his individual capacity, but as the minister, the official organ of the Church. In a religious community formed on the voluntary principle, with ministers not only appointed but removable at pleasure by the congregation, it might be possible

* 'Six Privy Council Judgments,' pp. 231, 232.


to allow the ministers a certain latitude as to introducing alterations into the services, either with a view of expressing particular doctrines, or for other reasons; but so long as the present organisation of the Church of England is maintained, that is, so long as all the Churchof England buildings and endowments in each parish or district, and the entire control of the Church of England worship and teaching there, are confided to a single clergyman, who, as a general rule, is not appointed by the inhabitants of the district, or with any reference to their opinions or wishes, and who is in no case removable except for some definite offence proved against him; it seems to me absolutely essential, that not only the language of the prayers, &c., but everything to which any doctrinal importance is commonly attached, should be definitely prescribed by law, and that, as regards questions of convenience or taste, the parishioners, and even a minority of the parishioners, should be protected against arbitrary alterations on the part of the incumbent.'--Pp. 45, 46.

The principle here laid down seems most obviously true. Yet we find it continually disregarded in the course of discussions on the subject before us. Thus in a very recent criticism of the Dean of Chester's book, it is urged that if certain doctrines may be lawfully held,' they may be lawfully taught' in the Church of England: and then, it is asked, if this be so, why should not the further freedom be recognised of expressing the doctrine by ceremony and ritual?' Here then it is worth while to remark that this critic is in utter opposition to no less considerable a person than the late Bishop Wilberforce, who spoke in Convocation as follows?

'I do not hold that the liberty of introducing unusual rites into the Church stands in the least on the same footing as the liberty of preaching doctrine. Now that is an important distinction, and one which the persons concerned seem to me to forget. When a ritual long established and standing on the Mos pro Lege principle is altered in a church, it is not only that the man who does it advances his view as a teacher of the Church, but taking advantage of his position to make actual manual alterations in the services, he makes all the congregation of the Church who acquiesce in these alterations parties with him in his particular view; and there must be a distinction between the largest licence given in preaching, and the smaller licence given in any alterations of an existing ritual."†

We have dwelt at some length upon this point. But it is of the utmost importance that the reader should see how the suggestions of common sense are supported alike by legal opinions, both private and official, and by the utterances of that Bishop

*The 'Guardian,' Dec. 22, 1875.

↑ Quoted in 'Principles at Stake,' p. 266.


to whose authority High Churchmen are accustomed to bow with greatest deference.

These passages introduce another consideration of no small importance in connection with this plea of liberty. Ritualists plead for the Eastward Position, as if the incumbent were the only person who could claim toleration. This is true, too, of some who are not Ritualists at all. Thus Archdeacon Harrison, who writes in a spirit of admirable forbearance, and who, contending that the words 'before the Table' refer only to the ordering of the elements, yet concedes any doubt that may be imagined in the remainder of the rubric, seems to be thinking of liberty for the Clergy alone, and to have forgotten the Laity. The words above cited from one of the judgments of the Privy Council show that the great end of the rubrics is, that the service may be common ground on which all Church people may stand ;' in other words, that the consciences of the congregation may be respected. Now, it is evident that if the minister be tolerated' when introducing ceremonies or acts which express his own peculiar views, and are, in fact, valued by him precisely because they do express and inculcate them, the result may be grievously to offend the congregation who do not hold the same tenets. Mr. Morton Shaw's escape from this difficulty is singular. He is writing, it will be remembered, concerning the Eastward position:

The congregation are under no necessity whatever to alter their position, in consequence of any position that he [the Clergyman] may choose to take up. Nay, more. They have only to shut their eyes, which most people do, at this time, and which any one can do, if he pleases, quite easily and without being observed; and they need hardly know even what the position of the celebrant is.' *

If this mode of argumentation is duly considered, it will be seen that the liberty of the Clergy, acting with their eyes open, may be tyranny over the Laity, presumed to be blindfold. The Clergyman is a public officer, performing public duties on behalf of the people; and for a person in such a position toleration cannot in all cases mean a right to carry into effect all his own sentiments, but will more commonly be found to mean only that his public duties shall be so arranged as not to conflict with his private conscience by requiring of him overt acts of which he disapproves. It will therefore be consistent with his adopting a colourless and inexpressive position at the North side, but will not justify his being allowed to enforce on his parishioners his

The Position of the Celebrant,' p. 119.


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