22 APRIL 1882, Page 13


I To THE EDITOR OF THE "SPECTATOR.") SIR,—The interest you have shown in Dean Plumptre's proposed Eirenicon, and your severe, though friendly criticism, tempts me to plead, by your aid, that the Dean's proposal may not be hastily pushed aside, as if no use could be made of it. Many will be found entirely to agree with you that the Eirenicon, as the Dean presents it, cannot be accepted. It would not gain the end at which the Dean aims, viz., to bring peace, by allow- ing to both sides what they may—or at least what they believe they may—justly claim. But may not Convocation welcome the Dean's aim, and ask him to join in carrying it out effectually?

You say, truly, that there are two main " principles " which underlie the Ritualist view of this controversy,—" First, that the celebration of the Eucharist, as the highest act of Christian worship, should be dignified by the use of a special vestment ;" and "secondly, not less important, that this vestment should be that which has the prercriptive sanction of Christendom, East and West, from the earliest times, and which, moreover, is a visible symbol of continuity between the Church of England of to-day and that of pre-Reformation times." These two principles obviously can not be maintained, except by, at least, permitting the use of those " special " vestments which alone possess that " sanction " of which you speak. This is the view of one party, which has to be satisfied by any effectual Eirenicon. On the other hand, the anti-Ritualists have a " principle," which is (as I believe) that they will not wear any " Popish garments," nor symbolise any " Popish doctrine." Whether either garments or doctrine arc " Popish," is a question which need not now be discussed. This principle evidently can not be adhered to, unless it is at least permissible to use some vest- ments other than those thought to be " Popish."

Might not the " principles," as here stated, of both parties be sufficiently met, if the present Ornaments Rubric were to remain precisely as it stands, with some such words added as these ?— " And at all times, when the Holy Communion is celebrated, it shall be lawful for the priest who executeth that office, and his assistants, to have upon them the aforesaid ornaments, namely, those appointed for use at times of Holy Communion in the First Prayer-book of King Edward VI., or a surplice only, with stole and hood at their discretion."

Such a rubric would afford reasonable satisfaction to the diverse principles of both parties. Each might act upon its own principle, and neither could accuse the other of disobeying the law. There are, no doubt, Irreconcilables, who will be satisfied with nothing short of having their own way, and having every one else forced to go with them, or punished for not doing so. To such, the offer of any Eirenicon is hopeless ; but is it hope- less to ask from the great body of sober, reasonable, and right- minded men in Convocation, and in the Church of England at large, such charitable concession, such moderate liberty, such kindly consideration for the convictions, the feelings—perhaps the prejudices—of others, as the above-suggested rubric would involve and demand ?

If there is to be no concession, no liberty, no consideration for the feelings or convictions, except of one side, then any lasting Eirenicon for the Church of England is as hopeless as a lasting peace between Carthage and Rome.—I am, Sir, Sze.,