A GRAVE DANGER TO THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND. [To THE
EDITOR OF THE " SPECTATOR." j
SIR,—From the kindly note you append to my letter of last week, I rather fear that in one respect I failed to make my meaning quite clear. My remonstrance was in no way directed against the predominance of any one party, or the neglect of any other, in the appointments made. By placing such names as Liddon, Magee, and Fraser side by side, I hoped to prevent that inference being drawn. I am well aware and deeply thankful that each of the three great schools of thought into which our Church is popularly divided insists on truths which are of supreme value, and which are needed, if only as correctives of that "falsehood of extremes" into which opposing schools are ever tempted to fall. It would be a bad day for the Church of England if the special message either of the Evangelical or the High Churchman was allowed to become extinct. And no one, save a fanatic here and there, will deny that we owe something at least to such men as Maurice and Kingsley.
It was not, therefore, of the schools of thought marked out for too exclusive preferment that I was thinking. It was of men, not opinions, that I wished to speak, and of the apparent superstition that possesses the fountains of honour in this country, that when an "Evangelical" See has to be filled up, any Evangelical will do ; or that, on the other hand, when an appointment has to be made to a deanery or living where the Ritualist tradition prevails, any Ritualist will serve, if only he be extreme enough and uncompromising enough.
I am here opening a fresh subject too large to be dealt with in this letter,—I mean the supposed necessity of always ap- pointing men of the same Church party to the same diocese or cathedral. The arrangement is apparently simple, saves trouble, and is, on the face of it, both politic and considerate. Whether it tends to educate the Churchmen of England out of the narrownesses and prejudice incident to all extreme party views, is another question, which I commend to better judges than myself.—I am, Sir, &c., A CHURCHMAN.
P.S.—In the above remark s,1 have said nothing of that yet larger number of appointments of which, as far as the public can judge, no explanation is traceable except the influence of private friendship or political sympathy.