5 JUNE 1909, Page 16

[To THE EDITOR Or THIN "SPECTATOR...1 SIR,—I have only just

seen the letter signed "B. M. L." in your issue of May 22nd, with your comments upon it in a leading article, and ask your leave to say something on the other side lest it go by default. I dare hardly hope to bring any of your accustomed readers over to the High Church or definite Church point of view, but I have a very real hope of persuading some to make a resolution not to judge such actions as those of "B. M. L's" present rector too precipi- tately. Let me acknowledge frankly at once that if I were the rector of that parish I should first have consulted the Bishop, and if he had thought it impossible to make any exception to the Church's rules, I should have considered myself bound to act just as the rector has acted. But, Sir, it would be a grave injustice to think that men who take this strict line take a kind of savage, self-righteous pleasure in it. No! the easy thing is to wink at infringements of rules by good people like "E. M. L." The hard thing is to be faithful to principle at all costs. Does any one imagine that it is nothing to a priest to know that lie will be considered harsh and censorious P Do you imagine that the rector or any one else finds it easy to face the cry of a mother who has lost her child and loves the Church for his sake ? No, Sir I for myself, I fear lest the temptation might be too great, and that I might do the apparently kind thing rather than the right thing. All honour, then, to those men who follow conscience and obey principle rather than do the easy thing, though their actions make them odious in the eyes of their fellow-men. Believe me, the good opinion of others is as dear to a priest as to a doctor; blessed is he, then, when he is hated for conscience' sake. My point is this, and I think readers of the Spectator will appreciate it : the right thing to do is to form principles, and to act upon them whatever may happen, unless they can be proved to be wrong. That was what the rector did. He had nothing to gain, but much to lose, by his conduct; for the last rector's ability and " liberal views" won him prefer- ment. The correctness of the rector's principles depends on what Confirmation is, and there again you and we differ.—