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a position is only too apt to engender. Before his elevation he was regarded as a man of Evangelical views, though not associated with the Evangelical party in the Church, and was held in deserved esteem for the sound principles and solid learning of his Biblical exegesis. He was classed in the same category as Archbishop Trench, as a man with High-Church notions, which were held
in check by his love to the Gospel, his geniality of spirit, and his breadth of view. Unhappily they are to be placed in the same rank, for the deterioration of the one has been as decided and as sad as that of the other. The Bishop of Gloucester's charge, and his subsequent withdrawal from his office as Vice-President of the Bible Society, are among the more ominous circumstances of this anxious time. They awaken the fear that, even among those dignitaries of the Church of whom the highest hopes might have been entertained, there is either an inability to perceive the real gravity of the crisis, or an indisposition decidedly to resist the encroachments of those who are rapidly working an entire revolution in the Anglican Church, if not a lurking tendency to regard them with favour. We fear also that this indicates a feeling that in the more influential circles of society, in which they principally mingle, there is not that feeling of stern antagonism to these Popish usages, with which a prudent man would not think it safe to trifle, and there are not a few proofs that such a view is only too true. Our one consolation is that there is in the classes with which the Bishops have not an intimate personal acquaintance, but which nevertheless wield an influence not second to that of the “ Upper Ten Thousand ” a very different sort of sentiment, not always very intelligent in its notions, nor very wise in its mode of action, but very firm and uncompromising, whose power Romanizing priests and their Episcopal abettors may some day discover to their own disappointment and cost. The splendid shows and spectacles of Anglican churches, the “histrionic” exhibitions, on which, according to Dr. Littledale, he and his friends mainly rely for the conversion of the masses of the people, have not yet so utterly corrupted the popular mind as to destroy the old Protestant sympathies. There are multitudes who are greatly delighted with the moving strain of a choral festival, who admire the floral decorations of Christmas and Easter, who perhaps look with a hardly-defined sentiment of wonder and curiosity on a priest in his gorgeous array, who need only to comprehend the thorough Popery of the whole to turn from it in disgust. The feelings of this class are already beginning to make themselves manifest, and the Bishops of Salisbury, Gloucester, and Oxford, are only giving them greater intensity. The action of the T'imes is very significant.
It is a very short time since it said that “strictly and philosophically speaking, the peculiar views of the Church of Rome are a merely infinitesimal addition to the stupendous doctrines which the Church of England holds in common with it.” It writes in a very different strain now, and from the change we may form some idea as to the prevailing tone of public opinion. The Times may sometimes be carried too far by its strong Conservative instincts, and may fail rightly to estimate the force of that democratic sentiment with which it has so little sympathy; but it is not likely to be mistaken in such a question as this, especially as its own prejudices would rather have disposed it to espouse the side of high authority.
The truth is the Protestant-call it, if you will, the Puritanfeeling of the middle classes is awakened, and it has listened with something of resentful surprise to the utterances of Bishop Ellicott. It is true that he has not declared himself a Ritualist, and has even condemned some of the excesses of the school. But as there is a faint praise which damns, so there is a censure which serves rather to encourage those against whom it is directed, and it certainly is so in the present instance. The priest, whose performances, at Northmoor Church, have attracted so much notice, and his party need not be very much disheartened by the gentle words of the Bishop. His condemnation was very light, and it was qualified by so many words of approbation that there could hardly be any sting left behind. Even the sin of " disloyalty to the Prayer-book, and a scarcely-concealed dissatisfaction with the principles on which it is based,” which is about the gravest charge the Bishop brings against the school, may sit very easily on the consciences of those who are commended for their special holiness and remarkable self-devotion, and whose very errors are traced to causes which are rather praiseworthy than otherwise. They may have been somewhat contemptuous and disdainful in their repudiation of Protestantism, but it has been because of their desire for Catholic union. They have introduced the doctrine of a Real Presence in a form hitherto unknown to the Anglican Church, but even this may be regarded rather as a protest against the Socinianism of the day. They have, in fact, been fighting against “the self-satisfied Calvinism of a former time, and the Rationalistic disbelief in the supernatural so prevalent in this, and if they have fallen into errors, they are the necessary results of the strong reaction into which they have been forced. These men, who have been regarded as teachers of strange doctrines and disturbers of the Church's peace, are, apparently among her best friends; and those who accuse them are pretty significantly told that they had better look to themselves. If the Bishop's censures had been much more severe than they were, we fancy the Ritualists would have forgiven and forgotten them for the sake of the very pleasant wigging which their “ Evangelical brethren” received. Such an utterance from such a man can only be a heavy blow, and great discouragement to the friends of Protestant truth. The condition of things around us certainly called for no hesitating or uncertain declaration on this subject, and Bishop Ellicott's is hardly even that. He may talk about Protestantism, and tell us never “ to shrink from speaking of our Church as Protestant," but it is quite certain that earnest Protestantism cannot hope much from him. Indeed we know not whether the very use of the word is not itself a delusion; for might not the Pope profess to be a Protestant in the sense in which Bishop Ellicott applies it to the Anglican Church—“ Protestant in its attitude to false teachings and doctrinal error."
The Bishop of Oxford has very much in sympathy with his brother of Bristol. Like him, he gives a side-blow at those whose ecclesiastical notions are of a less pronounced character than his own, impliedly rebuking some even of his Fpiscopal brethren, when he tells them that no diocese, perhaps, from various causes, has risen more than his own, in the generally improved Church tone, while none has been more free from these peculiar excesses. Like him, too, he believes that Ritualism is but an ephemeral growth, or, as he puts it, a mere temporary excrescence on the face of a great movement, which has his full sympathy—“some brilliant fantastic corruscation, which has cast itself forth from the surface of the weltering mass of molten metal, which, unaffected by such exhalations, flows on in its full stream into its appointed mould." Like him, too, he recognizes many of the high qualities which Ritualists have developed, and would deal with them in a gentle and kindly spirit. Perhaps, however, he regards them with somewhat less favour because of his own more intense faith in the infallibility of Anglicanism, and consequently his stronger feeling of dissatisfaction with any acts of disloyalty or rebellion.
It is very interesting, indeed, to mark the earnestness with which the Bishop protests against Romanism. The most intense Orange zealot could hardly express himself in stronger terms against Popery and Popish usages. Whether the Protestantism which he would give us would be any improvement upon Romanism-less dogmatic in its tone, less insidious in its spirit, less superstitious at the core or whether, in fact, Samuel of Oxford would make a much better Pope than Pius the Ninth, is another question. But, at least, we have from his lips the strongest condemnation of Romanism, and consequently of the Ritualists, because of their Romish proclivities, and there is some
little advantage in having a testimony from such a quarter to the unquestionable fact that, in some instances, there has been “a studied introduction of names and usages, which seem to have nothing else to commend them than their distinctively Roman character.” At the same time this zeal against Rome can deceive none but the most unwary. As to the Bishop's real stand-point there can be no doubt. He would simply reverse the positions of the Anglican and the Roman Churches, for, whereas the Pope proclaims himself the head of the Catholic Church, and treats the English Communion as schismatical and heretical, the Bishop returns the compliment. The one would exact just as implicit a submission as the other, and, though their doctrines might slightly vary, both would be far enough removed from the simplicity that is in Christ.
Thus, in regard to Ritual, his sympathies are clearly with the Ritualists in everything but their resemblance to Rome. He would not copy anything from the Romanist pattern, but he is very careful to indicate his intense dislike of Puritanism, and his repugnance to the influence which it has exerted upon the ceremonial of the Church. He contends against Rome, not in the interests of Protestantism, but of what he chooses to call Catholicity, and cannot express even his anti-Romanist feelings without one of those contemptible insults to Dissenters, in which he appears to find so much zest. Of the same type, as the old allusion to Beer-shops and Dissent, is the sentence in his late charge—“If the real rule was that the farther from Rome, the nearer to truth, we must equally give up Scripture, Creeds, and Sacraments, and become Rationalists, Infidels, or Brownists." His own notions as to the desirableness of a more imposing Ritual he does not attempt to conceal. It is a mistake to suppose that the present simplicity is the result of an anti-Papal sentiment-it is the fruit of that Puritan spirit which we fancy the Bishop hates even more than Romanism itself. “The ceremonial of antiquity was far richer than ours." We should be glad to know what antiquity this lordly prelate means; was it antiquity of the upper room at Jerusalem, or of the Church at Antioch, or of any other Church in apostolic times? Neither the Puritan nor the Romanist will suffer him to draw his own line of demarcation, but will require that he either abide by the “antiquity” of the New Testament, or that he accept the authority of ecclesiastical tradition with all its consequences. If he takes the former, what becomes of his grander ceremonial?—if the latter, with what justice can he contend against Rome? This assuming Anglican is in a somewhat ludicrous position, bringing in his own notion of antiquity when he wants to resist the Puritan, and repudiating its authority altogether when it seems to favour Rome. He can, in fact, only defend his own ground by claiming for his own Church that infallibility against which he so loudly protests when it is claimed by Rome, for, if not, who is to decide as to the “antiquity” to which the appeal is to be made ? There is a sufficient demarcation between the precedent of Scripture and that even of the first century ; but once pass that boundary, and who is to decide where the limit is to be drawn ? Answer the question as you will, and you are involved in difficulties, which can only be solved by accepting the idea of Anglican infallibility, which is, though unconfessed, the point to which the Bishop's teaching really comes.
But let us follow his reasonings:—"The ceremonial of antiquity was far richer than ours; so was that in use by such great Anglican Bishops, to name no others, as Cosin and Andrewes. The real influence which, at the season of the Reformation, lowered our customary Ritual was the presence, not of the anti-Papal, but of the Puritan element-of that element which wrought on according to its nature, and never rested till it brought down in one common ruin our Altar, our Prayerbook, and our Crown.” We know not what Ritualists need desire more than this, especially when taken in connection with the Bishop's remarkable declarations on the subject of the Real Presence. He has his own idea as to the views of the Reformers on the subject of the ground of their protest against the Roman teaching on this subject :-" The protest of our Reformers against the Roman teaching as to that great sacrament was not that it was lifted up thereby too high in men's estimation, but that its simple grandeur was defaced by human additions ; that the doctrine of Transubstantiation was a modern Rationalistic mode of explaining what God has left unexplained ; that it was not making the transcendental 'presence more real, but more material” The expression “our Reformers” is conveniently vague, for it leaves the speaker at liberty to select a small number of those who agree in his opinion, and then to quote their declaration as the testimony of our Reformers. Undoubtedly there was great diversity of opinion among the early Reformers on this point, as might naturally have been expected from men emerging from the superstitions and corruptions of Rome. We should doubt, however, whether he can find any evidence to substantiate his notion. Certainly the words of Ridley, which he quotes, however exceptionable they may be, are far from establishing the position. The following is the Bishop's own view, which contains the essence of the very worst teaching of Ritualism : " There need not, then, be any tendency towards Rome, but, on the contrary, a safeguard against her wiles, in rites which showed that we value as highly as herself this great culmina