16 JUNE 1877, Page 13


find my name occurring so frequently in your columns in connection with this subject, that I think I may offer, without being considered obtrusive, a few remarks.

Mr. Lee-Warner has characterised the High-Church clergy as 4' the moat intolerant section within the Church " ; and this opinion he founds in particular on the action taken by the High-Church party on the question of the Athanasian Creed. What was the basis of that action ? It was to leave matters as they are. Numbers of English clergy—I do not know whether Mr. Lee- Warner is one of them—disregard the plain rubric which orders the use of the Athanasian Creed. But I never heard of any High Churchman who proposed to prosecute them on that account. I have never heard even of any High Churchman who stigmatised them as "traitors," "mutineers," or any of the other epithets which have been so freely showered upon the High-Church party. In a book which I published in the course of the controversy, I suggested that the Bishops might specially dispense the clergy from the use of the Athanasian Creed, whenever any legitimate cause was really shown for such dispensation.

These being the facts of the case, I venture to think that Mr.

Lee-Warner's notion of " intolerance " is somewhat peculiar. At all events, I shall feel much gratified if he and his friends will be good enough to imitate, with respect to the Ornaments Rubric, the " intolerance " which the High-Church party showed in the matter of the Athanasian Creed.

Mr. Lee-Warner thinks that because only "a little over 3,000 -clergy" petitioned in favour of conceding vestments, therefore all the rest of the clergy would oppose such concession. How, then, does he explain the fact that the Lower House of Convo- cation, by a large majority, passed a resolution in favour of the vestments? Curates are not represented at all in Convocation, and a considerable number of members are official. If the clergy were fairly represented in Convocation the majority against the 'compulsory disuse of the vestments would certainly, I believe, not be less than 6 to 1.

Your correspondent, "J. S. P.," has stated, "briefly and suc- cinctly, the argument of those who maintain that the Eucharistic vestments are illegal." Suffer me to state, as briefly as I can, the argument of those who maintain the contrary :-

1. The only occasion on which it is agreed on all hands that the disputed vestments were forbidden was in the Prayer-book of 1552. On that occasion they were forbidden in language so plain that a child can understand it. Those who uphold the Ridsdale Judgment have therefore to explain why, on all sub-

sequent occasions, the framers of the Rubrics should have used language which, construed by the ordinary rules of English grammar, plainly enjoins the use of the vestments which it is supposed to forbid.

2. After the Advertisements were drawn up, one of the chief authors of them explicitly declared that the legal use of the vestments could not be abolished by any authority short of an Act of Parliament, an authority which he hoped to obtain "next Session." No such authority has been obtained from that day to this. Now, I hold it to be simply incredible that the Advertise- ments should have been intended to abolish the vestments, yet that one of the leading authors of the Advertisements should have been entirely ignorant of the fact.

3. I challenge the production of a single scrap of evidence to

prove, or even to suggest, that the "other order" of Elizabeth's Act of Uniformity was intended to abolish any part of the ritual of the second year of Edward VI. On the contrary, the very clause which hints at some "other order" goes on to explain its own language as meaning "further ceremonies or rites," in the event of "any contempt or irreverence" being shown "by the misusing of the orders appointed in this book." The Puritans did show the " contempt " and " irreverence " contemplated, and the threatened "other order" followed, first in the Injunctions, which ordered, among other matters, the use of wafer-bread ; secondly, in the Advertisements, which, on pain of suspension and deprivation, imposed a minimum of "ornaments "on the Puritans, namely, the surplice in ordinary parish churches, and the cope in cathedral and collegiate churches.

4. That this was the intention of the Advertisements is plain from two facts,—(a), the language of the explanatory preface to the Advertisements, where it is expressly declared that the Advertisements were intended to repress "all diversities and varieties" which were at that time "against the laws, good usage, and ordinances of the realm." But no one, not even the Ridsdale Judgment, disputes that the vestments Were then entirely legal. Therefore it follows by a logical necessity that the Advertisements were not aimed at those who obeyed the law by wearing the vestments, but at those who violated it by not wearing them. (b) This was the sense in which the Advertise- ments were universely understood at the time. When Elizabeth succeeded, the vestments were used in every church in England. The Act of Uniformity admittedly "retained" their use. The number of clergy in England at the time was over 9,000. Out of that number all conformed with the exception of less than 100, who resigned their cures from scruples of a Papal char- acter. The recalcitrant Puritans from abroad, on the other hand, were in comparison but a handful. Bishop Horn, one of their leaders, describes them as a "tiny flock (pusillus grex)." But though insignificant in point of num- bers, they were influential from having powerful friends at Court, and it was because the Advertisements were aimed ex-

clusively at them that the Queen was dissuaded by Leicester and other friends at Court from having ever given them her royal imprimatur. On the theory of the Ridsdale Judgment, we have the following unexampled phenomenon to account for. The Advertise- ments, says that judgment, were an edict against the Ritualists of that day. They prohibited and banished the vestments out of every church and cathedral in the kingdom. If so, I submit that we must have some explanation to account for the extraordinary fact that this draconic edict elicited no remonstrance from the 9,000 clergy who were affected by it ; while the Puritans, on the other hand, raised a howl of anguish, and called heaven and earth to witness that they, and they alone, suffered from the Advertisements. If at this moment the Low-Church party protested and agitated against the Ridsdale Judgment as regards the vestments, while the Ritualists made no sign, what would be the inevitable inference?

5. In 1641 a Committee of the House of Lords recommended the emendation of the Ornaments Rubric, on the specific ground that it ordered the use of "all vestments in time of divine ser- vice" "which were used 2 Edward VI." This Committee con- sisted of ten earls, ten bishops, and ten lay barons, with a goodly band of the most learned divines in the kingdom to assist them as assessors. The inference is irresistible that nobody in England at that time had any idea that the vestments were illegal,—a clear proof that they were not then illegal.

6. In 1644, "copes, surplices, superstitious vestments," &c.,

were formally abolished by Act of Parliament,—another clear proof that vestments were legal up to that date. But if they were legal up to 1644, they are legal now. This is admitted by the Ridsdale Judgment.

Here I stop, for I maintain that unless the facts which I have stated above can be overthrown, the case against the Ridsdale Judgment is complete. I now beg to reply to two of "J. S. P.'s" objections.

1. He puts a non.natural construction, as does the Ridsdale

Judgment, on the phrase, "at all times of their ministration." The plain and natural meaning of the rubric is that in all the ministrations of the clergy the same vestments shall be used which in such ministrations were in legal use in the second year of Edward VI. It is, however, enough for my purpose to show that my interpretation is grammatically admissible, even though another should also be admissible.

2. Your correspondent's reference to the division of opinion

among the Judges in " Twycross v. Grant" is not to the point. If some of the Judges in that case were known to have very strong opinions against Baron Grant, and had, before the trial, publicly denounced him as a swindler, your correspondent's analogy would hold good. The two most influential members of the Court in the Ridsdale case are well known to have very strong opinions against the vestments on religious grounds, and one of them had publicly denounced the Ritualists as "revolutionists," for acting on that traditional interpretation of the Ornaments Rubric which the Court has condemned. Is it so very surprising, under these cir- cumstances, that the personal bias of some of the Judges should be supposed to have had some influence on a judgment which reverses the plain meaning of a statutable enactment, and which is demonstrably inconsistent with historical facts?—! am, Sir, &c.,

M. MecCom.