26 OCTOBER 1867, Page 15



Sru,—I but ,saw your paper of the 5th inst. yesterday,—that in which you ,express surprise at my having signed the late Address from Lambeth, and seem to invite an explanation from me which I gladly give, as above all things I feel that it is needful that public teachers should be counted honest. I myself had no part in the composition of the address, and when the passage to which you allude (" reconciled the Father to us ") was read out to us, I was myself so grieved at the expression, as inserted there, that I did come to the resolution of not signing the address, and remained for twenty-four hours in that determination ; but finally I agreed to append my signature on the following considerations :-1. That we had met for friendly conference, and not to lay down doctrinal definitions. 2. That our address was mainly a salutation to the brethren, couched in the general language of our formularies, with the intention not of teaching, but of recognizing and keep- lug together the unity of a body—the Church of England—which, constituted as it now is, as you have well remarked in your article of the 19th (on "The Exultation of Free-Churchisus "), is of inestimable value for the maintenance of truth and charity in this country. I felt, too, that I should go out of my way, and act un- fairly to those of my brethren who were of the same mind as I was on this point, and to the excellent Archbishop who had called us together—(I believe for objects of peace)—if I went off on that which did not seem to offend others probably wiser, and better, and certainly superior in years and station to myself, and decline to sign. The terms used were also, no doubt, those of our formularies. Quoted without their context, I do not think, however, they gave the true meaning of them—as is well set forth in the generous and diacritninating letter of your correspondent, "An English Clergy- man "—but quoted as words from them, I could hardly expect to have them altered for me, but felt I must be content to be allowed simply to put my own interpretation on them if I might do so. With this understanding I signed the paper. The above reasons convinced myself that I should sign. I fain hope that they may convince others that I ought to have done so.

At the same time, there is much to mourn over in the need, at any time—if it be a need—to sacrifice one point of truth for the sake of others. It is ever, of course, a question of comparative value, a question which, of two considerations, is of most value ? And I do not feel satisfied that in this min a true statement as to the nature of the Atonement is not of greater value than anything else which could be given at this moment. Perhaps, however, the address was not the place for such a statement, or, at any rate, if one was made there, it must have been made in the language of the formularies, and this, no doubt, was done; but done as it was, I heartily wish that it had been done otherwise, had been made, that is, in both more extended and more accurate terms, terms in con- nection with the rest of the Article from which it was taken, if that was the course which was to have been pursued. But the address, as I have stated, was not the receptacle for conveying such a statement ; it was intended only to satisfy the general aspect of a salutation and exhortation from the heads of the Church to a common and united body, of which the standards are made so general that, in the language of their preface, it is said, "men of all sorts take the Articles to be for them." To teach inquirers among them, or inquirers without, it was not, I presume, intended. For such teaching we must look elsewhere. It is probable that amendments of these standards, formularies, and new translations of Holy Scripture itself are not far off, and when such amendments take place, no doubt the formularies treating of the subject now under consideration will share in the general amendment ; but it is easy to see why men of all parties and men of no party, but simply worshippers in the Church, should shrink from hastening a step which, if productive of much good, as it would be no doubt, must yet be attended with much loss and anxiety also.

As to the expression, "reconciled the Father to us," quoted from the Second Article, I will not here enlarge or detain your readers. Standing apart, as it does there, it does not give the meaning of the Article, nor of the Scriptures to which it points, and is incon- sistent also with the nature of things and the analogy of the Gospel. We must understand it (as it stands there, therefore) to refer us to the Articles and the Scriptures themselves. And it will be productive of benefit if this it does. For it is not too much to say,—although it is, no doubt, because a false view of it lies at the root of the perversions of the Roman " masa " and the Calvinistic "substitutions,"—that the study of the nature of the Atonement has had as yet too small a place in our theology. We search in vain for a proper treatment of it in the Fathers. Luther, no doubt, recognized it in its truth, although stating it obscurely, but it is yet for us a great and glorious, but half-open volume, for us to open more fully. He who knows most now, knows best also that he knows it not as he ought to know.* Shortly, however, we may, without much study, be sine that it was a manifestation of the love of God to man, and not the history of a work of the Son opening a fountain of mercy in the heart of the Father, which is the basis of the Atonement. It was not a conflict of Divine attributes harmonized by the work of the Son, but a victory of good over evil, of divine righteousness over human sin. It is God manifest in Christ : the heart of God opened, and mercy and judgment seen enduring for ever, no way for escape from punish- ment, but from sin, and so by this means from its consequences. The Atonement was a way of escape, not from punishment, but from sin, and an act for the behoof of man, not of God. But I must conclude, and will only say in addition, that the quotation from the Second Article which has raised this question, must not be taken to raise the general question of the Atonement (which has no part in the Article), but only to be a reference to the sense of its completeness and adequacy, as embracing actual as well as original sin. This is DO doubt the meaning of its place in the Article, if we look at the history of the Article, which was written at the time and had reference to the controversy between the Reformers and the Church of Rome then going on; the Church

of Rome limiting the intention of the Atonement to original leaving all peacemaking as to our actual personal sins to be accomplished by penances and the due observance of the Church's institutions for that end, and the Reformers including in the Atonement the whole relation of man with sin. This, I believe, was the meaning of the reference in the Article to the Atonement, and it must be taken to be our meaning in the passage from it which occurs in the Address. At all events, it is mine.—I am, Sir, faith- fully yours,