12 MAY 1923, Page 13


[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.]

Sia,—The comments of " An Anglo-Catholic Journalist " on my letter on " Prayer Book Revision " seem to be based on a "somewhat cursory reading of it. I did not speak of ".pro- hibitions "—which might suggest the Decalogue—but of " Piohibition," in the sense in which the word is used in connexion with the liquor trade in the United States ; nor did I refer to " revelations from the beyond " in the sense of revealed as opposed to naturally acquired knowledge, but to something very different—i.e., to Mr. Vale Owen's Remla- lions from the Beyond, published in and reprinted from a

widely circulated Sunday paper, the Weekly Dispatch. '

Those who distrust the proposed scheme for Prayer Book Revision will find much to confirm their misgivings in the substance, and even more in the style, of your correspondent's remarks. What prospect is there of a reasonable measure of reform when the subject is approached in such a temper, when prejudice and passion so completely exclude the dry light which the discussion demands ?

To writers of this school the Bishop of Durham appears to be what King Charles's head was to Mr. Dick ; and " An Anglo-Catholic Journalist " deals as drastically with less highly placed delinquents. The Bishop, he tells us, " looks forward eagerly to a new orgy of persecution " ; and, magnis componere parva, I find myself set down as " a Laodicean," " an unbeliever," and " a wealthy Protestant who buys advowsons and robs the people of their rights and privileges," because I prefer " ethical " to unethical sermons, and the accustomed Morning Service of the Church of England to what a Conservative statesman described, rather candidly than sympathetically, as " Mass in masquerade." I am, indeed, a Protestant ; but I am certainly not a wealthy one, and I trust that the local Surveyor of Taxes will not be misled by your correspondent's flattering but unfor- tunately mistaken suggestion to that effect.

" An Anglo-Catholic Journalist " is no doubt humble as a Christian. But he appears to be the reverse, very much the reverse, as an Anglo-Catholic. I sincerely hope—and I trust that he will accept my assurance of this—that neither he nor anyone else who can conscientiously remain in the Church of England may be " driven out of it." It is, and must remain, a comprehensive Church. But, should Anglo- Catholics insist on excluding themselves, because they arc not permitted either to undo the work of the Reformation or to ride roughshod over " the little corner of rationality " (to use Warburton's phrase) which it still retains, I find it difficult to think that " the Church will lose more than 50 per cent. of its pious laity, and of its mystics and saints ; most of its considerable theologians ; 70 per cent. of its effective parish priests ; and the majority of its really capable apologists." " Lord, gi'c us a gude conceit of oorselves ! " was the prayer of a Scottish preacher. It would appear to be that of an influential section of our own communion. It would also appear to have been answered to the full.- -