31 MAY 1930, Page 20


[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] SIR,—I am interested to notice that Mr. Pollard no longer continues to assert that there are only" minor and unimportant differences " between the " official teaching of the Church of England and the Greek Church," but instead concentrates on a few isolated and highly controversial statements in our Liturgy, on which he puts his own peculiar interpretation, in order to show that they would be repugnant to Free Churchmen. I would remind him that the " teaching of the Church of England " is to be drawn from its clearly defined Articles of Religion, rather than from isolated extracts from its Manual of Devotion. Mr. Pollard endefivours to put a sacerdotal interpretation on the word " priest," although he must be perfectly aware, as is every intelligent student of Anglican history, that it is used throughout our Formularies as etymologically the contraction of " presbyter " or of the French word pretre which is never employed as equivalent to sacrificateur or sacrificer. As Hooker told the Puritans ".the name priest no more draweth the minds of people to any cogitation of sacrifice than the name senator causes them to think of old age."

Mr. Pollard also fails to notice that the functions outlined in our Ordinal for that Order of " Priesthood " declared " to be necessary in. the Church of Christ," are only those of preachers and " messengers, watchmen and stewards of the Lord," in striking contrast to those previously given to the medieval " sacrificing priest," who was directly empowered " to offer sacrifice and celebrate masses for the living and the dead." He also forgets the warning of our official Homily of the Sacrament : " Herein thou needest no sacrificing priest, no mass." It is also well to remember that the authority " to remit and retain sins " does not convey a necessary character to the Order, since this commission found no place in any Ordinal till the twelfth century and is still an optional form in the American Episcopal Ordinal. Mr. Pollard tries to force a mechanical ex opere operato interpretation on . the language of our Baptismal service, but he forgets that this service was compiled by distinctly Protestant Reformers and was perfectly acceptable both to Puritans and the later Evangelicals and High Churchmen. It should, therefore, present no necessary doctrinal barrier to Free Churchmen to-day, since the Presbyterian " West- minster Confession " defines Baptism as a " sign and seal " of " regeneration and of remission of sins " and declari that " grace is" really exhibited and conferred by the Holy Ghost " in the sacrament.

Again,- is Mr. Pollard quite sure that the language of our Catechism concerning " the Body and Blood of Christ which are verily and, indeed, taken and received by the faithful in the Lord's Supper," constitutes a " line of deep cleavage ' between us- and our Free Church brethren ? Is he aware that similar symbolical language is used in the definitely Puritan Prayer Book of 1584 which says " Take and eat, this bread is the body. of -Christ which was broken for us." Both. the Presbyterian " Directory " of 1645 and Baxter's " Savoy Liturgy " also said " Take ye, eat ye, this is the body of Christ which is broken for you.".

-Surely, also, Mr. pollard must know that the Continental Reformers, equally with the English, insisted strongly on the retention of the Catholic Creeds, while we have sufficient definite evidence that our Reformers retained Episcopacy only as. an Apostolic and historic form of " better 7 government for the Church and with no intention of " unchurching "