Imatges de pÓgina

as in their wisdom has been seriously shaken, and the old plea of toleration for their work's sake will no longer be found to avail them. These passionate demonstrations for disestablishment, and still more the frightful glimpses which recent matters have disclosed to us of priests in absolution, and of implicated societies—all these things will predispose even the higher school of Churchmen to range themselves on the side of declared law, and no longer to aid by a mistaken sympathy men whose whole system and principles are not those of the Apostolic and Reformed Church of England. In the end, as we said in a former article, they will be quietly squeezed out, and find their home either where they will make their own laws—and, we hope, learn to obey them—or in that severe school where anarchy is crushed out and individualism extinguished.

In regard of those that remain, and the great body of English Churchmen generally, the results of the judgment will indisputably be good. The more that it is studied, the more reasonable and equitable it will be felt to be. No sound High Churchman will deem himself injured by it. He will wish, perhaps, that his favourite midtable position had been a little more emphatically sustained; but he will still feel that he can conform in his quiet parish church to wbat he may deem to be the chief symbolical usage of the whole Catholic Church. As the coloured light of the eastern window, that his own liberality may have restored, falls on his honest eastward-looking brow, he will be allowed undisturbedly to cherish happy dreams of corporate reunions, which he may deem his own position in some degree to foreshadow. He will also be permitted to realise, by that which is external, that the Church of which he is a minister has never taken any narrow or exclusive view of that holy service in which he is now taking his solemn and responsible part. All this he will owe to the Ridsdale judgment; and he will increasingly speak of it and think of it with approval and with thankfulness.

At present the influence of these silent and honourable spirits these men of whom the Church of England is latently proud-is but little felt. Only the strife of tongués as yet is heard. The literary gladiator, the newspaper correspondent, the self-asserting pamphleteer, are all having it their own way ; but the God of peace and love has yet for us, in the treasure-house of his mercies, the fruit-bearing hours of a great calm. No one who really believes in the Church of England can ever for a moment suppose that her mighty mission is to be ultimately stayed by the infinite littleness of a cope and chasuble war, or her vast powers of entrusted usefulness to be for ever frittered away in such conflicts as those which have degraded the last fifteen years. It is absolutely impossible; and so it is that, trusting in this, we look forward hopefully and serenely to the future.

The course, then, seems tolerably plain. On the one hand it must be made perfectly clear that the matter, as regards these vestments, is now over, and the case finally closed. Seriously to listen to any of the really childish requests that all action should be stayed, and all matters be allowed to go on till Convocation puts the close to the controversy, is simply and plainly impossible; and the sooner this is made clear by those in authority the better. Any weakness on this point would be something worse than folly. For is there any person of moderate intelligence who can for one moment conceive it possible that the present Parliament, or any Parliament that could be imagined as likely to succeed it, would ratify any rule, rubric, ordinance, or canon of Convocation--supposing, what is again extremely improbable, that it was passed by the Upper Houses of both Convocations—by which the vestments would be allowed to be generally used in the churches of this country? And if so, is it not really unimaginable that any one credited with a position of authority, and with still some lingering shreds of power, could be guilty of such a grave misuse of a position as to stay the course of the law for such an indefinite future as that Arcadian future of our Ritualistic friends, in which Convocation and Parliament are each to take their happy share in vesting each young Catholic priest with chasuble and alb and all the symbols and insignia of-sacerdotalism and reaction ?

It should be made then perfectly plain that there will not be any dallying with usages at length plainly and unmistakably forbidden. The whole country, and, what is more important, the whole religious feeling of the country, will be ranged on the side of such a manifestation. But, on the other hand, every effort must be made at first to secure by persuasion that obedience to the law which now must be rendered, whenever the call to obedience is authoritatively made. Let us remember-our Protestant friends will perhaps say that we are very weak for remembering anything of the kind—that a certain number of conscientious but utterly mistaken persons are in an eminently unenviable position. They wear now upon their backs certain garments, often made provokingly fulgent, which, if they are to continue to minister at the altars of the Church of England, they must take off, and that somewhat speedily. Now to divest themselves of all these splendours is about as unpalatable a proceeding as any one, priest or no priest, could be called upon to adopt. No Englishman, especially when he has made a great fuss about a matter, and used a good deal of showy rhetoric in support of it, likes publicly to take a backward step. Self-respect is felt to be involved ; and in this case it is sacerdotal self-respect, a psychological variety of the feeling which all experience shows to be particularly touchy and sensitive.

We must then still have a little patience with these good people. We do not want to see all the dogs of religious war at once let loose upon them. They have been, no doubt, very wilful, very tiresome, not always very wise, and certainly not prostrately obedient; but they are now in a painful and humiliating position. They must give up practices that they have declared over and over again to be symbolical and expressive of what they teach and preach, or they must be removed from the positions they occupy in the Church of England. They may try to repudiate this alternative, but it is now in vain. They may try and make the most of their numbers, and trust for a time to the apparent difficulty of dealing with two or three hundred pledged recusants. But they must know as well as we do that, with the exception of one diocese, there are only some eight or ten of these irreconcilables in each of the rest of the dioceses—and this is in several cases an outside reckoning—and that these eight or ten can now be locally dealt with in a perfectly easy manner, whenever complaints are made. They cannot conceal from themselves that they are in a painful position, and that the law is silently becoming too strong for them. Well, then, now seems the very time when a little firmness and a little kindness-not the one without the other—will have great effect. We want no fire-andsword policy, but simply an unmistakable intimation that if, within a reasonable time, the law is not obeyed, the law will be appealed to, and carried out resolutely, whatever may be the result.

Ultimately, and we have a striking instance to guide us, no lasting pity will be felt for those who may defy the law.

In conclusion, let us entreat all who may be interested in these questions not to be disturbed by the visions of a disestablishment that is to be precipitated by this handful of Intransigents. The question of disestablishment we have fully dealt with in a former number, and we do not in these closing pages intend to revert to it. If it does come, it will come from the action of vast social and political forces, which will do a great many other things besides disestablishing the Church of England. The share that these Ritualists will have in it will be as 'inconsiderable and harmless'-to use the most prosaic simile that perhaps ever has been used by a great poet

As & sneeze
To man's less universe.

And they will utterly and mischievously deceive themselves if they cherish the idea that such action on their part will retard, for one single minute, the hour of final choice between submission and removal from a forfeited position, or will bring about the results they are aiming at in sufficient time for the necessity for that choice to be swallowed up in the general catastrophe.

It is perfectly natural that those who are resolved not to obey should desire some violent change which might seem to leave retention of position or office and non-obedience compatible; but it would be well for them to ask themselves this very homely questionwhether the changes they advocate would really insure to them the freedom they desire. We hear a great deal about 'a free Church in a free State, though what is exactly meant by the expression remains to us as entirely obscure as it probably does to those who are unwise enough to use it. If by a 'free State'we are to understand a state of things politically little different from the present, we at once ask, what there is in the general aspect of the laity of this country to lead us to think that if the Established Church were to become a so-called free Church, within a year from this time, it would tend to become a whit less Protestant than we now find it to be. If, however, we are to understand a free State' as simply an euphemism for a republic (and this we suppose is what those who use the expression really mean), then we ask whether, in the one example that seems to be most distinctly illustrative, the Episcopal Church of America, there is anything so very broad and inclusive as to render the probable future of our Ritualists one atom more hopeful in republican England than it is at present under the constitutional government of Queen Victoria.

But we fear all argument is now practically useless. The time for attempting to reason with the unreasonable is over. Other and practical matters now especially claim our attention. Order has to be maintained in the Church of England; and that must be the present and immediate care of all who are placed in positions of responsibility. The law is now made clear, and that law must be obeyed whenever it is formally invoked. For a short time there may be conflict and difficulty ; but firmness, tempered with consideration, will ultimately prevail. Rome will perhaps be partially the gainer ; but the fear of this must not lead us to adopt any weak or concessive course, which, after all, would only ultimately augment the numbers of the outgoing company. Rome will probably not be the haven of all; but it is plainly to Rome that all Ritualism steadily points, and it is to Rome that individuals are now silently migrating. In spite of all reclamations and disavowals, the plainly counter-Reformation character of the Ritualist movement is made, year by year, increasingly apparent, and its Romeward tendency is becoming more and more inevitably disclosed.

The free Church in the free State will pass, like all ideals, into that concrete and partially antithetical reality of which it has all along been a conscious or unconscious adumbration. The real analogue of the 'free State ' will at last be found in that wide area of the world which Rome has ever claimed to be the area of its spiritual empire ; the free Church' will pass, by the stern action of the law of extremes and opposites, into that mighty ecclesiastical system with which freedom is incompatible, and in which self-will and disobedience will at last find their Nemesis and chastisement.




In admitting into the pages of the Nineteenth Century a narrative of an amateur voyage of circumnavigation, I fear that the Editor runs a risk of descending into a sphere too narrow in its scope to deserve the attention of a large public.

But as he decides to run that risk I make no further apology, and address myself at once to the task which I have been requested to undertake. I commence with a general outline of the voyage, and shall subsequently fill in the details of the picture, which, unless connected together at the commencement by a slight sketch of the whole cruise, would be seen in a disjointed and fragmentary aspect.

The expedition was in some respects unprecedented; and the most exceptional feature was the little company of passengers. They included Mrs. Brassey and our four children. The youngest was less than two years of age, and has returned to England in robust health. A voyage of circumnavigation is an ordinary undertaking for a professional seaman; but it was no inconsiderable effort for a lady to exchange the luxuries of an English home for an uneasy residence of eleven months on the rolling sea. And what shall be said of the nurses? True daughters of their Scandinavian forefathers, they accepted the unusual and trying conditions of their sea life with undaunted spirit, and showed no symptoms either of fear or discontent from the day of their departure to the hour of their final disembarkation. A circumnavigation of 35,400 miles has never before been made in the short period of 46 weeks, from which must be deducted 112 days of well-earned repose in harbour. We had, it is true, the advantage of steam, without which such a performance would have been an impossibility; but we travelled 20,517 miles under sail alone, and the consumption of coal has not exceeded 400 tons.

1 With the exception of the introductory remarks, the following paper is wholly composed of extracts from the author's note-book, written afloat and for the most part at sea,

« AnteriorContinua »