30 MAY 1863, Page 5


THE quaint person who is now Rector of Claydon is uncon- sciously doing his Church a service by pointing out a weak place in her armour. Incumbent of an agricultural living in one of the least advanced of English counties, and near a town in which "society" is mkt' by half-educated "the Devil's Deformation under arch heretics," and every- equally worthless, for, as there are persons above, so there body who does not happen to be as silly as Father Ignatius are men below, the influence of any ideas but their own, and called pig-headed. the clergymen who can believe that a Protestant agricultural Under ordinary circumstances, it would not be necessary or parish in Suffolk can be profited by performances such as those even advisable th notice such a ease as this. There arc minds of Whit-Sunday, and who can justify the subterfuge which which are gratified, if not elevated, by the symbolic ritualism affirms that an address on the miracle of Pentecost, delivered for which, as for all other forms of aspiration after the divine, in church, is "not preaching," must belong to the second the Church of England was intended to afford some scope ; category. The only effective remedy would be to cheapen and its degeneracy in Claydon to a piece of ecclesiastical the action of the Ecclesiastical Courts, and even that would tomfoolery might have been charitably ascribed to the open the door to an amount of litigation which would rend mental atmosphere of the place acting upon the idiosyn- the Church in pieces, and make men, in utter weariness of crasy of the rector. There are plenty of rotten eggs in judgments on dogma, abandon theology altogether. The case Claydon, and the mock friars who choose a church for a seems almost hopeless, yet it cannot be that the Church of masquerade and the Communion Service as fitting moment for England—the strongest of Protestant organizations—is bound a pantomime, might well be left to that election-day version to bear in its churches scenes which read, when described, of extreme unction. But the occurrence has revealed a like a bad operatic version of Romanist services, which the truth infinitely more important than Mr. Drury's actions, Bishop has condemned, which the parishioners detest, and at the utter powerlessness of Church organization to face indi- which all the irreligious chuckle with hope and exultation.

vidual whims. The two authorities supposed to have some influence in the Church are both equally set at defiance.

The Bishop is the Bishop of Norwich, Dr. Pelham, a Palmer- ston Bishop, attached, if to nothing higher, at least to decency and order. The parish raves at its rector, covers the walls with cynical caricatures, pens squibs so good as to show that insult can develop sarcasm even in Suffolk, and loudly petitions the Bishop. Both authorities are, however, nearly powerless. The churchwardens either agree with Mr. Drury, or dare not fight the few people of property who stand by him, and the little the Bishop can do is all in the wrong direction. He has forbidden Father Ignatius to preach in his diocese on account of these exhibitions, but let the stage play go on,—prohibited an appeal to the reason, which preaching, however violent, must always be, but allowed the appeal to the senses through fine raiment and posture-making. Mr. Drury himself being a beneficed clergyman may preach as much as he likes, the Bishop having no power whatever, except to try him before an Ecclesiastical Court, with a very doubtful chance of a verdict, and a very certain bill for some thousands of pounds expenses. As for the parishioners, they could, of course, do nothing in any case, except use the afore- said eggs or guarantee the Bishop, and they are unwilling to do either ; and so Mr. Drury drives his people into the curates of ultra-Calvinistic opinions an1*. little knowledge nearest chapel, not by his teaching, but by eccentrii of men, Mr. G. Drury, either from aversion to them, or the which almost make one doubt his sanity, without a fear of study ofmediteval literature, or the natural influence of such straint. Indeed, if he chose to dance down the chancel in th a spot, has apparently lost his head. Supported by an old clothing worn by King David, and pleaded that ecclesiastical woman or two of property, and a few farmers who like excite- precedent in justification, we do not see how he is to be ment, he has carried the follies of his sect to a point which stopped. It would be months, unless the civil power inter- has at last given him the notoriety which we are willing fered, before the scandal could end ; and what is to guarantee to believe is not his primary object. After a series of the Church against a secret lunatic in the pulpit? experiments which set the decent bumpkins of his parish The evil is a grievous one, for half-a-dozen Mr. Drurys by the ears, be at last, on Ascension Day and Whit-Sunday, would endanger the existence of the Establishment more than essayed two finished performances. On the latter day the calm fifty of Sir M. Peto's " anti-monopoly " Bills. A wide and decorous worship of the Church of England was ex- measure of independence is, and ought to be, secured to her changed for a sort of miracle play, a bad parody of the sort ministers, but they must keep in some sort of relation with of worship seen now only in churches where Romish priests the opinion of those they have to teach, or they cease to be think it necessary to impress pagans or poor German peasants ministers of a church in any sense national. Yet how is through the medium of the senses alone. Claydon Church this test to be secured ? Certainly not by subscriptions, for was decorated for the nonce, like some suburban casino of Mr. Drury, like all men who add to the Articles Paris, with flowers and gilt letters, and loud-coloured scrolls. instead of detracting from them, is entirely unaffected Thirty candles stood on the table, two of them ten feet high, by their propositions, and would sign fifty instead of thirty- before and beside an equally enormous crucifix. Little nine with great additional zest. Certainly not by increasing banners were flapping about the church, and amidst all the the power of the Bishops, for they would use it simply to millinery moved the rector, dressed in parti-coloured robes, a check every deviation from the most common-place groove of large alb with a yellow border, a bright red chasuble banging doctrine. Nor could power safely be entrusted to the vestry, down his back, and girdle, and amice, and stole all visible for the churchwardens, as in this case, are often overridden, beneath, the exact counterpart, in short, of the imaginary and to increase the authority of the ratepayers is only to place priest of an opera. His aide, apparently a curate, called the uncultivated above the cultivated,—a result which is at ecclesiastically Father Ignatius, wore the habit of a Bene- this moment the Nonconformist danger. Usually a mere letter dictine friar, as did a number of men employed as acolytes, from the Diocesan is obeyed, as part of a voluntary but need- and he received the sacrament first. The Service, which corn- ful discipline, but Mr. Drury would probably reply, like meneed at eight o'clock in the morning, was diversified by Father Ignatius, that the Bishop had been deceived by "evil- incessant singing, described as "very good;" by the waving disposed persons," and, like him, evade the order by offering, of censers, with which Father Ignatius smoked, among other instead of "a sermon, a few remarks on the event of that people, the rector ; by frequent prostrations, and apparently day, the Descent of the Holy Ghost." The simple and easy by some mode of administering the Sacraments unknown remedy of leaving the Church, and allowing the rector topreach equally to Rome and England. In the evening there was a to the clerk and the footstools, is also in such cases inoperative. procession, with cross and banners and censers, and all People like Father Ignatius would much rather strive to "con- those scenic appurtenances which, useful possibly in vert" the congregation gathered by curiosity or amusement, or places where the spectators can still understand their symbolic a love of fine music, than any stated congregation whatever. meaning, are to English Protestant eyes simply accessories to a The annoyance only increases with time, while the parish- very degrading bit of stage play. This sort of performance, ioners are driven out of the church to which they have a right varied as to the millinery, is repeated every Sunday and of entry, and for which they are taxed. Hissing, the worldly Saint's day, the interstices being filled up with letters to a cure for bad acting, is forbidden by law and immovable local journal, in which the Reformation is denounced as etiquette, and the usual final remedy, outside public opinion, is