CHARGES BY ARCHBISHOP WHATELY, BISHOP HINDS, AND ARCHDEACON GARBETT.• IT is a natural principle in man, as a progressive being and a member of a race which is collectively progressive, that he should be ever dissatisfied with his present attainments in knowledge and goodness, and should be pressing forward to higher points visible on his horizon. The assertion of this principle is perhaps the most general expression that could be found to sum up all the motive-springs that have operated in making the difference that exists between the most cultivated European and the wild inhabi- tant of primeval forests. A failure in its continued action would, before many centuries had elapsed, send us back to that earlier condition ; and without it, probably, the race would speedily perish from off the face of the earth, devoid as it is of those sharp in- stincts by which the stationary animals preserve their existence from generation to generation. Still, like other laws of our being, undeniably beneficial in their general operation, it involves dan- gers and inconveniences against which experience bids us be upon our guard and take precautions. One of these inconveniences is the tendency that men display, when the principle is un- usually active, to undervalue advantages already secured to them, and disproportionately to overvalue those at which they are aiming ; and along with this, rashly to attach themselves to some particular means accidentally presenting itself as a road to their objects, though it may be neither the only nor the best road to them. Every political revolution exhibits this phenomenon in the highest degree; every political crisis in a degree somewhat lower, but still striking enough when the excitenlent is past, and various better and wiser solutions of the difficulty suggest them- selves to those who in the heat of the struggle, saw but one object and one way of obtaining it. The present pending struggle for the revival or reconstitution of Convocation, would, under the direction of the more violent spirits, furnish a fresh instance ; and the three publications which we have grouped together for review give abundant indication that the evils sought to be remedied by Convocation are in themselves exaggerated, their counterbalancing advantages overlooked, and that the remedy proposed is by no means demonstrated to be the only or the most effectual remedy. The truth would seem to be, that the question, though of late widely and loudly discussed, is not yet ripe for settlement; but that wise and good men see difficulties which, if not, as we hope not, insuperable, are yet not provided with those prospective solu- tions without which no measure can be fitly introduced into the discussions of the Legislature. A great deal has yet to be done in the way of discussion out of doors, and in the way of tentative organization already in the power of the Church authorities, before Parliament can be called on to inaugurate a constituent assembly of the Church of England. The Archbishop of Dublin's Charge does not bear dIrectly upon the subject of Convoection, but treats of the claims of Truth and Unity, with especial reference to the controversy between the Church of England and the Romanists. Romish controversialists have always been fond of pointing the contrast between the unity of their own Church and the divisions among Protestants ; and no argument is supposed to have had greater influence in effecting conversions to that Church. Archbishop Whately points out, that Romanist unity, whatever advantages it may possess is not to be pursued at any cost ; that, while those who make truth their pri- mary object are sure, in so far as they attain it, to arrive at unity, those on the contrary who make unity their primary object may altogether miss truth ; and that even if they accidentally hold truth, still it has none of the salutary effect of truth upon them, because the very elements in which truth alone takes root and flourishes and fructifies are eliminated from their nature by a sys- tem in which truth is a subordinate object. The line of thought thus indicated is indeed the safeguard, not only against Romanist pretensions and plausibilities, but against all tendencies of any community to absorb in its common objects the convictions of the individual. To reconcile the highest degree of social organization with the largest freedom of individual thought and action, is shortly to express the problem of progressive civilization. To make the individual at once most efficient for the purposes of the community and most complete in his own powers and for his own purposes, would be at once to attain the ultimate perfection of the man and of the race. We notice Dr. Whately's Charge because although, as we said before, it does not bear directly on the question of Con- vocation, its line of thought is just the line along which it will do those who wish, by means of a decision of Convocation, to restore what they call unity to the Church, a great deal of good to travel. They will be reminded that there is no short cut, such as the Ro- manists have devised, to a genuine unity ; that this can only come by winning the hearts and convincing the understandings of men,
not b i y any declaration of opinion by a majority. If differences of opinion do n fact exist within the Church, the knot is not to be cut by ignoring those differences and enforcing uniformity of teaching, as the Romanists do, nor on the other hand by splitting the
* The Claims of Truth and Unity, considered in a Charge to the Clergy of Dublin, Ghuidalagh, and Kildare. delivered July 1852. By Richard Whately, D.D., Arch- bishop of Dublin. Published by Parker and Son. A Charge delivered to the Clergy of the Diocese of Norwich. By Samuel Hinds, D.D., Bishop of Norwich, at his Primary Visitation in June and July 1852. Pub- lished by Fellowes.
A Charge delivered to the Clergy and Churchwardens of the Archdeaconry of Chichester, on August 3d and August 5th 1852, and published by Request. By the Venerable J. Garbett, Archdeacon of Chichester. Published by Hatchard. Church into sects, as the Dissenters do. The first leads to dis- honesty, cankering and corrupting the whole moral and intellec- tual life ; the second, to an exaggeration of differences, under the influence of which opinions get confounded with principles, and the foundations of all religion are weakened through the pressure of superincumbent dogmas. There can be no better safeguard against either extreme than habitually to balance the claims of truth and unity. A love of truth for truth's sake, and a reverence for its subjective correlative sincerity of conviction, are what our
• h Churchmen are in danger of letting slip ; and no perfection of Church organization, no uniformity of public profession, would compensate for any weakening of this basis of all manly virtue and noble action. The distinction between the Romanist and Pro- testant use of private judgment, in the controversy upon which is involved the whole difference between the Churches, as well as the essential difference between the High Church and Latitudina- rian theory—the former being Romanism accidentally cleared of its minor developments—has seldom been so clearly expressed or so lucidly illustrated as in this passage from Archbishop Whately's Charge.
"A Roman Catholic does exercise private judgment, once for all, if (not through carelessness, but on earnest and solemn deliberation) he resolves to place himself completely under the guidance of that Church (as represented by his priest) which he judges to have been divinely appointed for that pur- pose. -
pose. And n so doing, he considers himself, not as manifesting indifference about truth, but as taking the way by which he will attain either complete and universal religious truth, or at least a greater amount of it than could have been attained otherwise. To speak of such a person as indifferent about truth, would be not only uncharitable, but also as unreasonable as to suppose a man indifferent about his health or about his property, because, distrusting his own judgment on points of medicine or of law, he places himself under the direction of those whom he has judged to be the most trustworhy physi- cian and lawyer.
"On the other hand, a Protestant, in advocating private judgment, does not—as some have represented—necessarily maintain that every man should set himself to study and interpret for himself the Scriptures, (which, we should recollect, are written in the Hebrew and Greek languages,) without seeking or accepting aid from any instructors, whether under the title of translators, (for a translator who claims no inspiration is manifestly a human instructor of the people as to the sense of Scripture") or whether called commentators, preachers, or by whatever other name. Indeed, considering the multitude of Tracts, Commentaries, Expositions, and Discourses of various forma, that have been put forth and assiduously circulated by Protestants of all denomi- nations, for the avowed purpose (be it well or ill executed) of giving religious instruction, it is really strange that such an interpretation as I have alluded to should ever have been put on the phrase 'private judgment.' For, to advert to a parallel case of daily occurrence, all would recommend a student of mathematics, for instance, or of any branch of natural philosophy, to seek the aid of a well-qualified professor or tutor. And yet he would be thought to have studied in vain, if he should even think of taking on trust any mathe- matical or physical truth, on the word of his instructors. It is, on the con- trary, their part to teach him how—by demonstration, or by experiment—to verify each point for himself."
The Bishop of Norwich furnishes us with an illustration of the tendency to which we have alluded, among men eager for the ac- complishment of a particular object, to fix their hope exclusively on one means of attaining that object. Diocesan Synods would no doubt be able to effect much that their advocates desire, but their inconveniences are manifest. The Bishop, after pointing out some of them, says—
"Dismissing, then, the experiment of a Diocesan Synod, let us consider whether the object which I have proposed may not be effected by some other method not liable to objections equally strong. Let us pee whether the existing arrangements of the diocese may not be made available for the purpose. These arrangements comprehend three archdeaconries, each sub- divided into a certain number of rural deaneries. Suppose, on any occasion, I desire to ascertain the sentiments of the clergy generally on any matter, I might communicate with the entire body, employing for the purpose the archdeacons as my medium of communication with the rural deans, and the rural deans as, my further medium of communication with the clergy of their respective deaneries. All the clergy of the diocese would thus have the matter brought officially under their consideration ; and all would have a regular and legitimate mode of giving expression to their opinions and wishes. Whether the sentiments of the clergy may, on these occasions, be best collected through rural deanery meetings, or otherwise, would be a question of convenience. Uniformity, in this respect, may not be important. All that would be necessary is the application of our existing ecclesiastical arrangements in some such manner as I have suggested, for bringing the entire body of the clergy into communication and conference with the bishop, and the bishop with them, whenever occasion may require it. At present, individual clergymen consult me (as they still would do) on matters that concern themselves individually, their particular parishes, or their im- mediate neighbourhoods; the archdeacons and rural deans confer with me (as they still would do) on matters belonging to their respective offices ; but there is no consultation as between the bishop and the collective body of his clergy. It is this defect—for I cannot but feel that it is a defect— which I am anxious to see supplied. My proposal for supplying it will be carried into effect, or not, as I find it acceptable or otherwise to the clergy generally."
To listen to the language of some of the more heated advocates of Convocation, one might fancy that the Church of England was rendered useless by its abeyance, and that its abeyance was a mere needless and vexatious tyranny on the part of the State. We commend to such the closing remark of Bishop Hinds.
"It is our duty, and our wisdom as well as our duty, calmly and candidly to estimate the difficulties which must present themselves to the advisers of the Crown whenever such a measure may be mooted. We, recollect, are not merely the Church of the majority of the people, but the Church of _England. Our Church forms part of the aggregate national constitution. What effect may be produced on the Civil Legislature, and on the people -at large, by calling into activity the legislative functions of the Church, is more than any one can venture to predict. We cannot wonder at any Mi- nister shrinking from the responsibility ; and we cannot reasonably expect that any Minister will undertake that responsibility, unless he sees some as- surance of security in the tone of the Church's language and claims. We must be prepared to concede much. This is a necessity arising out of our being the Established Church. That position is, I am persuaded, most ad- vantageous to the great interests of religion in this country ; but it is in-
compatible with the freedom of action which other religious bodies are per- mitted to enjoy. Control and interference on the part of the civil powers, to which they would not submit, we must acquiesce in, if we ever expect to have a legislative body with permission to exercise any functions at all.
"And if I therefore counsel you to take that calm and dispassionate view of our position which appears to me to lead to this conclusion, permit me further to counsel you against being led into that disparaging mode of speaking about our Church, as if in its present condition its energies were fettered and crippled. No, thank God ! The absence of a Church Legis- lature has not deprived the Church of England of its privilege of being guided, governed, and made efficient for its best and holiest purposes by its Supreme Head in Heaven, and by the Spirit He has given us. Are our ener- gies crippled, when we are year by year strengthening and enlarging our Church's ministrations at home, and spreading its institutions to the ends of the world ? Do we lack scope within our several spheres of duty for labouring amongst the flock of Christ which we are appointed to feed ? Can we even say that we are altogether without what is called synodical action ? Is there not something of it real, vital, felt by all, and powerful in its influence, in the meetings held for our religious societies, and in the assembling and deliberating of those who are intrusted with their management ; and this without any jealous control or interference from se- cular authority ? A Church Legislature would be a valuable privilege ; but let not any dissatisfaction which we may feel at being debarred that pri- vilege, lead us to undervalue far higher and more essential functions of the Church than those which are dependent on this part of our ecclesiastical constitution ; nor let us be diverted thereby from exercising those functions contentedly, and with joy and thanksgiving to the Lord, for all we have, and all we are enabled through Him to do, and for all the fruits of our labours which He permits us to see. Blessed be the Lord for all."
Archdeacon Garbett's Charge enters much more fully into con- troversial topics of the day than either of the other two. It argues exhaustively against both. Diocesan Synods and Convocation in any form which would satisfy its advocates. Among many striking passages, the selection of which might induce the reading of the whole pamphlet, this one is remarkable as taking an extreme counter-position to the Convocationists.
"Is there not some radical mistake in that view which makes synodical action at once the main organ and most vivid evidence of the Church's life ? Cons- pare us, I say, not with God's'iiwn standard, but with any Christian church of any age or of any nation, and in what vital spiritual function, measurable by Scripture rules, do we fail or languish ? At no previous epoch, either be- fore or smee her emancipation from the Papacy, has the Church of England poured herself out in such profuse and diversified energies, the unmistakable fruits of life. Look where you please, at home or abroad ; look at the pro- lific power developed in her missionary enterprises enlightening the heathen, feeding with Church ordinances her own expatriated population, and girdling the globe with her episcopate. Then, amidst our own dark multitudes, our domestic heathendom, look at the multiplication of churches schools, and training institutions, the munificence and heroic self-denial of her children, the intense interest awakened on every question that affects her welfare, and the manifold abilities with which the battle of theological truth is waged against her enemies. Finally, it is impossible to deny the gigantic advance which this land has made upon the principles and practice of our forefathers, in moral great- ness and goodness, and in that nghteousness by which a nation is exalted, since the suspension of that synodical action which ex hypothesis is the foun- tain of Church life. The highest rank and the most exalted offices are adorned not only by personal virtue and domestic purity, but by Christian holiness, and the devotion of great faculties, unknown in former generations, to social amelioration and the elevation of humanity. Persecution is extin- guished. Slavery is no more. Duelling is branded with shame. Contempt no longer persecutes devotion and saintliness of life, though once a laughing- stock both in the Church and in the world ; and the noble ambition to raise the lowest and enlighten the darkest, once the outcasts of society, inspires not demagogues and zealots, but parliaments and princes. Whence has flowed forth all this Christian light, and these blessed influences of Christian knowledge ? To what do we owe our incomparable social and political su- periority over former generations—all that intervened, in fact, between the Restoration and the end of last century—but to the spread of the gospel, the reanimation through the land's length and breadth of our once dead spiritual faculties, and of the blunted sensibilities of a merely secular conscience! And this we owe to God's grace, .not to the decrees of Synods ; by God's grace working on the hearts and lives of holy men within the Church, and developing itself, as all intellectual and spiritual energies ought to do, with- out let or hinderance. This is Church life.
"And can all these unparalleled energies of holiness have sprung up and embodied themselves, if we were really destitute of the heart, the prime pulsating organ of Church life, or if it languished within us? Where is the evidence of the syncope ? I believe it exists not. The heart beats, and we have long felt its mighty throbs. Convocation may have its province and its duties, and I believe that it has ; but that of awakening, or even of regu- lating Church life, is not one of them. On the contrary, according to the theological tendencies of the party in possession, all analogy and history assure us, that had it been a living power, it would have crushed in turn each successive school which, unfashioned on the prevailing type of Church- manship, has been an instrument in this national regeneration. We have progressed by antagonism. It is the paralysis of the powers of Convocation, and the free field hereby opened to living energy, which has been the indis- pensable condition of this spiritual development. The hand of God is in it."