3 NOVEMBER 1866, Page 13


[To THE EDITOR OF THE "SPECTATOR."] SIR,—Your recent observations on the so-called Athanasian Creed induce me to believe that you will not regard the following obser- vations as unsuitable to the Spectator, though not a theological publication. I propose that in each parish in England there should be a petition to the following effect:—" We, the undersigned, residents in — Parish, respectfully request ills'.

caiI,-4 ate Athamtsian Creed be ciib,:ontinued from all the services of the Church." I do not know whether it ought to be addressed to the Archbishops and Bishops or to the Privy Council, nor whether the above sentence is worded with perfect accuracy, but these questions might easily be settled. My object is to exonerate clergy and laity from a burden which I am sure is in many cases hard to endure. I generally absent myself from the church on the days to which so arbitrarily the reading of this document is assigned. Yesterday, however, I inadvertently was present, and I could not but feel distressed at observing thoughtless boys, and bright, happy-looking girls hearing, and in some cases repeating, sentences which they could not possibly be expected to understand, but which they followed up with such tremendous sanctions in case any one of them should be found deficient.

The form in which the proposed petition is expressed involves no condemnation of those to whom the Creed may appear va'uable, nor does it of necessity imply any unusual amount of theological acumen in "greengrocers," rather the reverse ; it may be re- garded as a petition from " greengrocers " and charity boys, te be released from the authoritative enunciation of that which they do not profess to understand or to judge.

It is surely not quite fair to require " greengrocers " to assert the positive, and at the same time to deny them the capacity of forming an opinion.—Your obedient servant, October 29, 1866. M. D.