(2) CHURCH COMPREHENSION AND CHURCH REFORMERS.
The Latitudinarianism which occupies so conspicuous and important a place in English ecclesiastical history during the half century which followed upon the Revolution of 1688 has been discussed in some of its aspects in the preceding chapter. It denoted not so much a particular Church policy as a tone or mode of thought, which affected the whole attitude of the mind in relation to all that wide compass of subjects in which religious considerations are influenced by difference of view as to the province and authority of the individual reason.
But that which gave Latitudinarianism its chief notoriety, as well as its name, was a direct practical question. The term took its origin in the efforts made in William and Mary's reign to give such increased latitude to the formularies of the English Church as might bring into its communion a large proportion of the Nonconformists. From the first there was a disposition to define a Latitudinarian, much as Dr. Johnson did afterwards, in the sense of 'one who departs from orthodoxy.' But this was not the leading idea, and sometimes not even a part of the idea, of those who spoke with praise or blame of the eminent 'Latitudinarian' bishops of King William's time. Not many were competent to form a tolerably intelligent opinion as to the orthodoxy of this or that learned prelate, but all could know whether he spoke or voted in favour of the Comprehension Bill. Although therefore in the earlier stages of that projected measure some of the strictest and most representative High Churchmen were in favour of it, it was from first to last the cherished scheme of the Latitudinarian Churchmen, and in popular estimation was the visible badge, the tangible embodiment of their opinions.
The inclusiveness of the Reformed Church of England has never been altogether one-sided. It has always contained within its limits many who were bent on separating themselves by as wide an interval as possible from the Church of Rome, and many on the other hand who were no less anxious that the breach of unity should not be greater than was in any way consistent with spiritual independence and necessary reforms. The Reformation undoubtedly derived the greater part of its force and energy from the former of these two parties; to the temperate counsels of the latter it was indebted for being a movement of reform rather than of revolution. Without the one, religious thought would scarcely have released itself from the strong bonds of a traditional authority. Without the other, it would have been in danger of losing hold on Catholic belief, and of breaking its continuity with the past. Without either one or the other, the English Church would not only have lost the services of many excellent men, but would have been narrowed in range, lowered in tone, lessened in numbers, character, and influence. To use the terms of modern politics, it could neither have spared its Conservatives, though some of them may have been unprogressive or obstructionist, nor its Liberals, although the more advanced among them were apt to be rash and revolutionary.
At the opening of the eighteenth century, all notions of a wider comprehension in favour of persons who dissented in the direction of Rome, rather than of Geneva or Glasgow, were utterly out of question. One of the most strongly-marked features in the Churchmanship of the time, was the uncompromising hostility which everywhere displayed itself against Rome. This animosity was relieved by a mitigating influence in one direction only. Churchmen in this country could not fail to feel interest in the struggle for national independence in religious matters which was being carried on among their neighbours and ancestral enemies across the Channel. The Gallican Church was in the height of its fame, adorned by names which added lustre to it wherever the Christian faith was known. No Protestant, however uncompromising, could altogether withhold his admiration from a Fenelon, a Pascal, or a Bossuet. And all these three great men seemed more or less separated, though in different ways, from the regular Romish system. The spiritual and semi-mystical piety of Fenelon detached him from the trenchant dogmatism which, since the Council of Trent, had been stamped so much more decisively than heretofore upon Roman tenets. Pascal, notwithstanding his mediaevalism, and the humble submissiveness which he acknowledged to be due to the Papal see, not only fascinated cultivated readers by the brilliancy of his style, not only won their hearts by the simple truthfulness and integrity of his character, but delighted Englishmen generally by the vigour of the attack with which, as leader of the Jansenists, he led the assault upon the Jesuits. Bossuet's noble defence of the Gallican liberties appealed still more directly to the sympathies of this nation. It reminded men of the conflict that had been fought and won on English soil, and encouraged too sanguine hopes that it might issue in a reformation within the sister country, not perhaps so complete as that which had taken place among ourselves, but not less full of promise. In the midst of the war that was raging between the rival forms of belief, English theologians of all opinions were pleased with his graceful recognition, in the name of the French clergy, of the services rendered to religion by Bishop Bull's learned 'Judgment of the Catholic Church.'
Some time after the death of Bossuet, the renewed resistance which was being made in France against Papal usurpations gave rise to action on the part of the primate of our Church, which in the sixteenth century might have been cordially followed up in England, but in the eighteenth was very generally misunderstood and misrepresented. Archbishop Wake had taken a very distinguished part in the Roman controversy, directing his special attention to the polemical works of Bossuet, but had always handled these topics in a broader and more generous tone than many of his contemporaries. In 1717, at a time when many of the French bishops and clergy, headed by the Sorbonne, and by the Cardinal de Noailles, were indignantly protesting against the bondage imposed upon them by the Bull Unigenitus, and were proposing to appeal from the Pope to a general council, a communication was received by Archbishop Wake, that Du Pin, head of the theological faculty of the Sorbonne, had expressed himself in favour of a possible union with the English Church. The idea was warmly favoured by De Gerardin, another eminent doctor of that university. A correspondence of some length ensued, carried on with much friendly and earnest feeling on either side. Separation from Rome was what the English archbishop chiefly pressed; 'a reformation in other matters would follow of course.' Writing as he did without any official authority, he was wise enough not to commit himself to any details. First of all they ought 'to agree,' he said, 'to own each other as true brethren and members of the Catholic Christian Church;' and then the great point would be to acknowledge 'the independence (as to all matters of authority) of every national Church on all others,' agree with one another, as far as possible, on all matters of moment, and leave free liberty of disagreement on other questions. He did not see anything in our offices so essentially contrary to their principles, that they need scruple to join in them; and if some alterations were made, we also might join in theirs, on a clear understanding that on all such points of disagreement as the doctrine of transubstantiation, either body of Christians should hold the opinions which it approved. Upon such terms, two great national Churches might be on close terms of friendly intercommunion notwithstanding great differences on matters not of the first importance, which might well afford to wait 'till God should bring us to a union in those also.' Du Pin and De Gerardin replied in much the same spirit. The former of the two soon after died; and the incipient negotiation, which was never very likely to be followed by any practical results, fell through. In fact, the resuscitated spirit of independence which had begun to stir in France was itself shortlived.
The correspondence between the English primate and the doctors of the Sorbonne is an episode which stands by itself, quite apart from any other incidents in the Church history of the time. It bears a superficial resemblance to the overtures made by some of the English and Scotch Nonjurors to the Eastern Church. There was, however, an essential difference between them. Without any dishonour to Nonjuring principles, and without passing any judgment upon the grounds of their separation, it must be acknowledged that those of them who renounced the communion of the English Church accepted a sectarian position. They had gained a comparative uniformity of opinion, at the entire expense of that breadth and expansiveness which only national Churches are found capable of. Connection with the Eastern Church, if it could have been carried out (though the difficulties in the way of this were far greater than they were at all aware of), would simply have indicated a movement of their whole body in one direction only, and, in proportion as it was successful, would have alienated them more than ever from those whose religious and ecclesiastical sympathies were of a very different kind. Such communion, on the other hand, of independent national Churches as was contemplated by Du Pin and Wake might have been quite free from one-sidedness of this description. It need not have interfered with or discouraged, it should rather have tended to promote, the near intercourse, which many English Churchmen were greatly desirous of, with the National Church of Scotland and with the reformed Churches of the Continent. A relation of this kind with her sister Churches on either hand would have been in perfect harmony both with the original standpoint of the Church of England, and with an important office it may perhaps be called to in the future. It was in reference to the sympathetic reception given in this country to many of the proscribed bishops and clergy of France at the time of the great revolution, that the Count de Maistre made a remark which has often struck readers as well worthy of notice. 'If ever,' -- he said, 'and everything invites to it -- there should be a movement towards reunion among the Christian bodies, it seems likely that the Church of England should be the one to give it impulse. Presbyterianism, as its French nature rendered probable, went to extremes. Between us and those who practise a worship which we think wanting in form and substance, there is too wide an interval; we cannot understand one another. But the English Church, which touches us with the one hand, touches with the other those with whom we have no point of contact.'
Archbishop Wake, had he lived in more favourable times, would have been well fitted, both by position and character, for this work of mutual conciliation. His disposition toward the foreign Protestant Churches was of the most friendly kind. In a letter to Le Clerc on the subject, he deprecated dissension on matters of no essential moment. He desired to be on terms of cordial friendship with the Reformed Churches, notwithstanding their points of difference from that of England. He could wish they had a moderate Episcopal government, according to the primitive model; nor did he yet despair of it, if not in his own time, perhaps in days to come. He would welcome a closer union among all the Reformed bodies, at almost any price. The advantages he anticipated from such a result would be immense. Any approximations in Church government or Church offices which might conduce to it he should indeed rejoice in. Much to the same effect he wrote to his 'very dear brothers,' the pastors and professors of Geneva. The letter related, in the first instance, to the efforts he had been making in behalf of the Piedmontese and Hungarian Churches. But he took occasion to express the longing desire he felt for union among the Reformed Churches -- a work, he allowed, of difficulty, but which undoubtedly could be achieved, if all were bent on concord. He hoped he might not be thought trenching upon a province in which he had no concern, if he implored most earnestly both Lutherans and Reformed to be very tolerant and forbearing in the mutual controversies they were engaged in upon abstruse questions of grace and predestination; above all, to be moderate in imposing terms of subscription, and to imitate in this respect the greater liberty of judgment and latitude of interpretation which the Church of England had wisely conceded to all who sign her articles. Archbishop Wake addressed other letters on these subjects to Professor Schurer of Berne, and to Professor Turretin of Geneva. He also carried on a correspondence with the Protestants of Nismes, Lithuania, and other countries. 'It may be affirmed,' remarks one of the editors of Mosheim's History, 'that no prelate since the Reformation had so extensive a correspondence with the Protestants abroad, and none could have a more friendly one.' His behaviour towards Nonconformists at home was in his later years less conciliatory, and the inconsistency is a blemish in his character. The case would probably have been different if any schemes for union or comprehension had still been under consideration. In the absence of some such incentive, his mind, liberal as it was by nature and general habit, was overborne by the persistent clamour that the Dissenters were bent upon overthrowing the National Church, and that concession had become for the time impossible.
After the suppression of the Gallican liberties, the hostility between the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches was for a long time wholly unbroken. The theological controversy had abated. Pamphlet no longer followed upon pamphlet, and folio upon folio, as when, a few years before, every writer in divinity had felt bound to contribute his quota of argument to the voluminous stock, and when Tillotson hardly preached a sermon without some homethrust at Popery. But the general fear and hatred of it long continued unmitigated. So long, particularly, as there was any apprehension of Jacobite disturbances, it always seemed possible that Romanism might yet return with a power of which none could guess the force. Additions were still made to the long list of penalties and disabilities attached to Popish recusancy; and when, in 1778, a proposition was brought forward to abate them, it is well known what a storm of riot arose in Scotland and burst through England.
It might be thought that in the dull ebb-tide of spiritual energies which set in soon after the beginning of the eighteenth century, and prevailed wherever the Methodist movement did not reach, Rome, with her strong organisation and her experienced Propaganda, had as great a field before her as Wesley had, -- that she would have made rapid advance in spite of all disabilities, -- and that, in consequence, the Protestant fears, which had been subsiding into indifference, would have arisen again in full force. But Rome shared in the strange religious apathy which was dominant not in England only, but the Continent. Her writers generally acknowledge the greater part of the eighteenth century to have been a period of comparative inactivity, broken at last only by the violent stimulus of the Revolution. Many thought that Romanism continued to gain ground in England, and some cried out that still stricter laws were needed to suppress the Papists. It is doubtful, however, whether advances in some quarters were not more than balanced by losses elsewhere. As the century advanced, Rome gradually ceased to be dreaded as a subtle pervading power, full of mysterious activity, whose force might be felt most severely at the very moment when least preparation had been made to meet it. Later still, fear was sometimes replaced by a confidence no less excessive. 'It is impossible,' said Mr. Windham in the House of Commons, 1791, 'to deem them (the Roman Catholics) formidable at the present period, when the power of the Pope is considered as a mere spectre, capable of frightening only in the dark, and vanishing before the light of reason and knowledge.'
Until the last decade of the century, Roman Catholics were rarely spoken of in any other spirit than as the dreaded enemies of Protestantism. There was very little recognition of their being far more nearly united to us by the tie of a common Christianity, than separated by the differences in it. A man who was not a professed sceptic needed to be both more unprejudiced and more courageous than his neighbours, to speak of Roman Catholics with tolerable charity. In this, as in many other points, Bishop Berkeley was superior to his age. He ventured to propose that Roman Catholics should be admitted to the Dublin College without being obliged to attend chapel or divinity lectures. He could speak of such an institution as Monasticism in a discriminative tone which was then exceedingly uncommon. In Ireland he wisely accepted the fact that the Roman Catholic priests had the heart of the people, and shaped his conduct accordingly. His 'Word to the Wise' was an appeal addressed in 1749 to the priests, exhorting them to use their influence to promote industry and self-reliance among their congregations. This sort of Episcopal charge to the clergy of another Communion was received, it is said, with a no less cordial feeling than that in which it was written.
Dr. Johnson, a man of a very different order of mind, may be mentioned as another who joined a devoted attachment to the Church of England with a candid and kindly spirit towards Roman Catholics. Perhaps his respect for authority, and the tinge of superstition in his temperament, predisposed him to sympathy. In any case, his masculine intellect brushed away with scorn the prejudices, exaggerations, and misconstructions which beset popular ideas upon the subject. He took pleasure in dilating upon the substantial unity that subsisted between them and denominations which, in externals, were separated from them by a very wide interval. 'There is a prodigious difference,' he would say, 'between the external form of one of your Presbyterian Churches in Scotland, and a Church in Italy; yet the doctrine taught is essentially the same.'
Many of the speeches made in favour of relief, at the time of the Irish and English Emancipation Acts, were couched in terms which betoken a marked departure from the bitterness of tone which had long been customary. When the French Revolution broke out, the reaction became, for an interval, in many quarters far stronger still. In the presence of anti-Christian principles exultingly avowed, and triumphantly defiant, it seemed to many Christians that minor differences, which had seemed great before, dwindled almost into insignificance before the light of their common faith. Moreover, there was a widespread feeling of deep sympathy with the wrongs and sufferings of the proscribed clergy. 'Scruples about external forms,' said Bishop Horsley before the House of Lords, 'and differences of opinion upon controvertible points, cannot but take place among the best Christians, and dissolve not the fraternal tie; none, indeed, at this season are more entitled to our offices of love than those with whom the difference is wide in points of doctrine, discipline, and external rites, -- those venerable exiles, the prelates and clergy of the fallen Church of France, endeared to us by the edifying example they exhibit of patient suffering for conscience sake.' Horsley's words were far from meeting with universal approval. There were some fanatics, Hannah More tells us, who said it was a sin to oppose God's vengeance against Popery, and succour the priests who it was His will should starve. And real sympathy, even while the occasion of it lasted, was very often, as may well be imagined, mixed with feelings of apprehension. These refugees might be only too grateful. Thinking that salvation was obtainable only in their own Church, was it not likely they would use their utmost art to extend this first of blessings to those who had so hospitably protected them? Thus interest was blended with anxiety in the nation which gave welcome to the emigrants. But interest there certainly was, and considerable abatement in the bitterness of earlier feeling.
The relations of the Church of England with other Reformed bodies abroad and at home had been, since James II.'s time, a question of high importance. Burnet justly remarks of the year 1685, that it was one of the most critical periods in the whole history of Protestantism. 'In February, a king of England declared himself a Papist. In June, Charles the Elector Palatine dying without issue, the Electoral dignity went to the house of Newburgh, a most bigoted Popish family. In October, the King of France recalled and vacated the Edict of Nantes. And in December, the Duke of Savoy, being brought to it not only by the persuasion, but even by the threatenings of the court of France, recalled the edict that his father had granted to the Vaudois.' It cannot be said that the crisis was an unexpected one. The excited controversy which was being waged among theologians was but one sign of the general uneasiness that had been prevailing. 'The world,' writes one anonymous author in 1682, 'is filled with discourses about the Protestant religion and the professors of it; and not without cause.' 'Who,' says another, 'can hold his peace when the Church, our mother, hath the Popish knife just at her throat!' But the reverses of the Reformed faith abroad greatly increased the ferment, and began to kindle Protestant feeling into a state of enthusiastic fervour. When at last, in the next reign, war was proclaimed with Louis XIV., it was everywhere recognised as a great religious struggle, in which England had assumed her place as the champion of the Protestant interest.
From the very beginning of the Reformation it had been a vexed question how far the cause of the Reformed Church of England could be identified with that of other communions which had cast off the yoke of Rome. In dealing with this problem, a broad distinction had generally been made between Nonconformists at home and Protestant communities abroad. The relation of the English Church to Nonconformity may accordingly be considered separately. So long as it was a question of communion, more or less intimate, with foreign Churches, the intercourse was at all events not embarrassed with any difficulties about schism. The preface to the Book of Common Prayer had expressly declared that 'In these our doings we condemn no other nations, nor prescribe anything but to our own people only. For we think it convenient that every country should use such ceremonies as they shall think best to the setting forth of God's honour and glory.' It was therefore acknowledged with very tolerable unanimity that friendly relationship with Protestant Churches on the Continent was by no means inconsistent with very considerable differences of custom and opinion. Men of all parties in the Church of England were ever inclined to allow great weight to the voice of constituted authority in matters which did not seem to them to touch the very life and substance of religion. Without taking this into consideration, it is impossible to form a right view of the comparative tenderness with which Churchmen passed over what they considered to be defects in reformed systems abroad which they condemned with much severity among Nonconformists at home.
The relations, however, of England with foreign Protestant bodies, though not exactly unfriendly, have been characterised by a good deal of reserve. The kinship has been acknowledged, and the right of difference allowed; but belief in the great superiority of English uses, Nonconformist difficulties, and a certain amount of jealousy and intolerance, had always checked the advances which were sometimes made to a more cordial intimacy. In Henry VIII.'s time, in 1533, and again in 1535, overtures were made for a Foedus Evangelicum, a league of the great reforming nations. The differences between the German and the English Protestants were at that time very great, not only in details of discipline and government, but in the general spirit in which the Reformation in the two countries was being conducted. But an alliance of the kind contemplated would perhaps have been carried out had it not been for the bigotry which insisted upon signature of the Augsburg Confession. Queen Elizabeth was at one time inclined to join on behalf of England the Smalcaldic League of German Protestants, but the same obstacle intervened. Cromwell is said to have cherished a great project of establishing a permanent Protestant Council, in which all the principal Reformed communities in Europe, and in the East and West Indies, would be represented under the name of provinces, and designs for the promotion of religion advanced and furthered in all parts of the world. Such projects never had any important results. Statesmen, as well as theologians, often felt the need of strengthening the whole Protestant body by an organised harmony among its several members, something akin to that which gives the Roman Catholic Church so imposing an aspect of general unity. The idea was perhaps essentially impracticable, as requiring for its accomplishment a closer uniformity of thought and feeling than was either possible or desirable among Churches whose greatest conquest had been a liberty of thinking. As between England and Germany, one great impediment to a cordial understanding arose out of the differences between Lutheran and Reformed. So long as the English Church was under the guidance of Cranmer and Ridley, it was not clear to which of these two parties it most nearly approximated. In the reign of Edward VI. the Calvinistic element gained ground -- a tendency as much resented by the one party abroad as it was welcomed by the other. The English clergymen who found a refuge in the Swiss and German cities were treated with marked neglect by the Lutherans, but received with great hospitality by the Calvinists. At a later period, when Presbyterianism had for the time gained strong ground in England, the attitude had become somewhat reversed. The Reformed or Calvinistic section of German Protestants sided chiefly with the Presbyterians; the Lutherans with the English Churchmen. In a word, notwithstanding all professions of more liberal sentiment, the hankering after an impossible uniformity was, on either side of the Channel, too strong to permit of cordial union or substantial unity. It was often admitted in theory, but not often in practice, that the principles of the Reformation must be left to operate with differences and modifications according to the varying circumstances of the countries in which they were adopted. Bucer and Peter Martyr, Calvin and Bullinger, made it almost a personal grievance that the English retained much which they themselves had cast aside. Laud exhibited the same spirit in a more oppressive form when he insisted that, in spite of the guarantees given by Elizabeth and James I., no foreign Protestants should remain in England who would not conform to the established liturgy.
No doubt the differences between the Reformed Churches of England and the Continent were very considerable. Yet, with the one discreditable exception just referred to, there had been much comity and friendliness in all personal relations between their respective members; and the absence of sympathy on many points of doctrine and discipline was not so great as to preclude the possibility of closer union and common action in any crisis of danger. Before the end of the seventeenth century such a crisis seemed, in the opinion of many, to have arrived. The Protestant interest throughout Europe was in real peril. In England there was as much anxiety on the subject as was compatible with a period which was certainly not characterised by much moral purpose or deep feeling. The people as a mass were not just then very much in earnest about anything, but still they cared very really about their Protestantism. They were not assured of its security even within their own coasts; they knew that it was in jeopardy on the Continent. National prejudices against France added warmth to the indignation excited by the oppressions to which the Protestant subjects of the great monarch had been subjected. National pride readily combined with nobler impulses to create an enthusiasm for the idea that England was the champion of the whole Protestant cause.
There is nothing which tends to promote so kindly a feeling towards its objects as self-denying benevolence. This had been elicited in a very remarkable degree towards the refugees who found a shelter here after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Londoners beheld with a sort of humorous dismay the crowd of immigrants who came to settle among them.
Hither for God's sake and their own they fled;
Some for religion came, and some for bread.
Four hundred thousand wooden pair of shoes,
Who, God be thanked, had nothing left to lose,
To heaven's great praise, did for religion fly,
To make us starve our poor in charity.
But these poverty-stricken exiles were received with warm-hearted sympathy. No previous brief had ever brought in such large sums as those which throughout the kingdom were subscribed for their relief; nor, if the increase of wealth be taken into account, has there been any greater display of munificence in our own times. Churchmen of all views came generously forward. If here and there a doubt was raised whether these demonstrations of friendliness might not imply a greater approval of their opinions than really existed, compassion for sufferers who were not fellow-Christians only, but fellow-Protestants, quickly overpowered all such hesitation. Bishop Ken behaved in 1686 with all his accustomed generosity and boldness. In contravention of the King's orders, who had desired that the brief should be simply read in churches without any sermon on the subject, he ventured in the Royal Chapel to set forth in affecting language the sufferings they had gone through, and to exhort his hearers to hold, with a like unswerving constancy, to the Protestant faith. He issued a pastoral entreating his clergy to do the utmost in their power for 'Christian strangers, whose distress is in all respects worthy of our tenderest commiseration.' For his own part, he set a noble example of liberality in the gift of a great part of 4000l. which had lately come into his possession. We are told of Rainbow, Bishop of Carlisle, that in a similar spirit he gave to French Protestants large sums, and bore 'his share with other bishops in yearly pensions' to some of them.
The burst of general sympathy evoked in favour of the French refugees happened just at a time when Churchmen of all views were showing a more or less hearty desire that the Church of England might be strengthened by the adhesion of many who had hitherto dissented from it. Sancroft was as yet at one with Tillotson in desiring to carry out a Comprehension Bill, and was asking Dissenters to join with him 'in prayer for an universal blessed union of all Reformed Churches at home and abroad.' Undoubtedly there was a short interval, just before the Nonjuring secession, in which the minds not only of the so-called Latitudinarians, but of many eminent High Churchmen, were strongly disposed to make large concessions for the sake of unity, and from a desire of seeing England definitely at the head of the Protestant cause alike in England and on the Continent. They could not but agree with the words of Samuel Johnson -- as good and brave a man as the great successor to his name -- that 'there could not be a more blessed work than to reconcile Protestants with Protestants.' But the opportunity of successfully carrying into practice these aspirations soon passed away, and when it became evident that there could be no change in the relations of the English Church towards Nonconformity, interest in foreign Protestantism began to be much less universal than it had been. The clergy especially were afraid -- and there was justification for their alarm -- that some of the oldest and most characteristic features of their Church were in danger of being swept away. They had no wish to see in England a form of Protestantism nearly akin to that which existed in Holland. But there was a strong party in favour of changes which might have some such effect. The King, even under the new constitution, was still a power in the Church, and it was well known that the forms of the Church of England had no particular favour in his eyes. And therefore the Lower House of Convocation, representing, no doubt, the views of a majority of the clergy, while they professed, in 1689, that 'the interest of all the Protestant Churches was dear to them,' were anxious to make it very clear that they owned no close union with them. There was a perplexity in the mode of expression which thoroughly reflected a genuine difficulty. As even the Highest Churchmen, at the opening of the eighteenth century, were vehemently Protestant, afraid of Rome, and exceedingly anxious to resist her with all their power, they could not help sharing to some extent in the general wish to make common cause with the Protestants abroad. On the other hand, there was much to repel anything like close intercourse. The points of difference were very marked. The English Church had retained Episcopacy. There was no party in the Church which did not highly value it; a section of High Churchmen reckoned it one of the essential notes of a true Church, and unchurched all communions that rejected it. The foreign Reformers, on the other hand, not, in some cases, without reluctance, and from force of circumstances, had discarded bishops. English Churchmen, again, almost universally paid great deference to the authority of the primitive fathers and early councils. The Reformed Churches abroad, under the leading of Daille and others, no less generally depreciated them. Nor could it be forgotten that the sympathies of those Churches had been with the Puritans during the Civil Wars, and that in tone of thought and mode of worship they bore, for the most part, a closer resemblance to English Nonconformity than to the English Church. Lastly, the Protestants of France and Switzerland were chiefly Calvinists, while in the Church of England Calvinism had for some length of time been rapidly declining. The bond of union had need to be strong, and the necessity of it keenly felt, if it was to prevail over the influences which tended to keep the English and foreign Reformed Churches apart.
Thus, at the beginning of the eighteenth century, while there was a very general wish that the English Church should take its place at the head of a movement which would aim at strengthening and consolidating the Protestant cause throughout Europe, there was much doubt how far such a project could be carried out consistently with the spirit and principles of the Church. The hopes of High Churchmen in this direction were based chiefly on the anticipation that the reformed churches abroad might perhaps be induced to restore Episcopacy. It was with this view that Dodwell wrote his 'Paraenesis to Foreigners' in 1704. A year or two afterwards, events occurred in Prussia which made it seem likely that in that country the desired change would very speedily be made. Frederick I., at his coronation in 1700, had given the title of bishop to two of his clergy -- one a Lutheran, the other Reformed. The former died soon after; but the latter, Dr. Ursinus, willingly co-operated with the King in a scheme for uniting the two communions on a basis of mutual assimilation to the Church of England. Ernestus Jablonski, his chaplain, a superintendent of the Protestant Church, in Poland, zealously promoted the project. He had once been strongly prejudiced against the English Church; but his views on this point had altered during a visit to England, and he was now an admirer of it. By the advice of Ursinus and Jablonski, the King caused the English Liturgy to be translated into German. This was done at Frankfort on the Oder, where the English Church had many friends among the professors. Frederick then directed Ursinus to consult further with the Archbishop of Canterbury, and suggested that, if the plan was encouraged in England, the Liturgy should be introduced into the King's Chapel and the Cathedral Church on the 1st Sunday in Advent, 1706. It was to be left optional to other Churches to follow the example. After debate in the King's consistory, letters and copies of the version were sent to the Queen of England and to Archbishop Tenison. The former returned her thanks, but the primate appeared not to have received the communication; and the King, offended at the apparent slackness, allowed the matter to drop. Early, however, in 1709, communications were reopened. On January 14 of that year, the following entry occurs in Thoresby's 'Diary:' 'At the excellent Bishop of Ely's [Moore]. Met the obliging R. Hales, Esq., to whose pious endeavour the good providence of God has given admirable success in reconciling the Reformed Churches abroad [Calvinists and Lutherans] one to another (so that they not only frequently meet together, but some of them join in the Sacrament), and both of them to the Church of England; so that in many places they are willing to admit of Episcopacy, as I am creditably informed.' The negotiations continued. Jablonski's recommendations were translated into English, and attracted considerable attention both in England and Prussia. They were promoted by many persons of eminence, especially by Archbishop Sharp, Bishop Smalridge (who thought 'the honour of our own Church and the edification of others much interested in the scheme'), Bishop Robinson and Lord Raby, ambassador at Berlin. Secretary St. John, afterwards Lord Bolingbroke, wrote to Raby in behalf of this 'laudable design,' informing him that the Queen was 'ready to give all possible encouragement to that excellent work,' and that if previous overtures had received a cold reception, yet that the clergy generally were zealous in the cause. Bonel, the Prussian king's minister in London, wrote in 1711 to Frederick that he thought the service of the Church of England was 'the most perfect, perhaps, that is among Protestants,' that conformity between the Prussian and English Churches would be received with great joy in England, but that the conformity desired related more to Church government than to any ritual or liturgy, and that Episcopacy was generally looked upon as the only apostolical and true ecclesiastical form of government. Later in the year, Jablonski placed in the hands of Baron Prinz his more matured 'Project for introducing Episcopacy into the King of Prussia's dominions.' Leibnitz engaged to interest the Electress of Hanover in the proposal. He was afraid, however, that the thirty-nine articles would be considered 'a little too much Geneva stamp' at Berlin. The negotiations continued, but the interest of the King had slackened; the proceedings of the Collegium Charitativum at Berlin, which sat under the presidency of Bishop Ursinus, were somewhat discredited by the wilder schemes started by Winkler, one of its chief members; the grave political questions debated at Utrecht diverted attention from ecclesiastical matters; Archbishop Sharp, who had taken an active part in the correspondence, became infirm; and the conferences were finally brought to a termination by the death, early in 1713, of Frederick I. Frederick William's rough and contracted mind was far too much absorbed in the care of his giant regiment, and in the amassing of treasure, to feel the slightest concern in matters so entirely uncongenial to his temper as plans for the advancement of Church unity.
With the earlier years of the century all ideas of a closer relationship between English and foreign Protestantism than had existed heretofore passed away. The name of Protestant was still as cherished in popular feeling as ever it had been; but soon after the beginning of the Georgian period little was heard, as compared with what lately had been the case, of the Protestant cause or the Protestant interest. In truth, when minds were no longer intent upon immediate dangers, the bond was severed which had begun to keep together, notwithstanding all differences, the Reformed Churches in England and on the Continent. A few leading spirits on either side had been animated by larger aspirations after Christian unity. But self-defence against aggressive Romanism had been the main support of all projects of combination. In the eighteenth century there was plenty of the monotonous indifferentism which bears a dreary superficial resemblance to unity, but there was very little in the prevalent tone of thought which was adapted to encourage its genuine growth. And even if it had been otherwise -- if the National Church had ever so much widened and deepened its hold in England, and a sound, substantial unity had gained ground, such as gains strength out of the very differences which it contains -- insular feeling would still, in all probability, have been too exclusive or uninformed to care much, when outward pressure was removed, for ties of sympathy which should extend beyond the Channel and include Frenchmen or Germans within their hold. Quite early in the century we find Fleetwood and Calamy complaining of a growing indifference towards Protestants abroad. A generation later this indifference had become more general. Parliamentary grants to 'poor French Protestant refugee clergy' and 'poor French Protestant laity' were made in the annual votes of supply almost up to the present reign, but these were only items in the public charity; they no longer bore any significance.
In 1751 an Act was brought forward for the general naturalisation of foreign Protestants resident in England. Much interest had been felt in a similar Bill which had come before the House in 1709. But the promoters of the earlier measure had been chiefly animated by the sense of close religious affinity in those to whom the privilege was offered; and those who resisted it did so from a fear that it might tend to changes in the English Church of which they disapproved. At the later period these sympathies and these fears, so far as they existed at all, were wholly subordinate to other influences. The Bill was supported on the ground of the drain upon the population which had resulted from the late war; it was vehemently resisted from a fear that it would unduly encourage emigration, and have an unfavourable effect upon English labour. Considerations less secular than these had little weight. Religious life was circulating but feebly in the Church and country generally; it had no surplus energy to spare for sisterly interest in other communions outside the national borders.
The remarks that have been made in this chapter upon the relations of the English Church in the eighteenth century, especially in its earlier years, towards Rome on the one hand and the foreign Reformed Churches on the other, began with a reference to those principles of Church comprehensiveness which, however imperfectly understood, lay very near the heart of many distinguished Churchmen. But all who longed to see the Church of England acting in the free and generous spirit of a great national Church were well aware that there was a wider and more important field at home for the exercise of those principles. It was one, however, in which their course seemed far less plain. Many who were very willing to acknowledge that wide differences of opinion or practice constituted no insuperable bar to a close friendly intercourse between Churches of different countries, regarded those same variations in quite another light when considered as occasions of schism among separatists at home. Archbishop Sharp, for example, willingly communicated with congregations of foreign Protestants, wherever he might be travelling on the Continent, but could discuss no terms of conciliation with English Dissenters which were not based upon a relinquishment of Nonconformity. Liberty of opinion was not to be confused with needless infractions of Church unity.
The Latitudinarian party in the English Church had, almost without exception, a slight bias toward Puritan opinions. To them, the differences by which they were separated from moderate Nonconformists appeared utterly immaterial, and not worthy to be balanced for an instant against the blessings of unity. Hence while, on the one hand, they did their utmost to persuade the Dissenters to give up what seemed to them needless, and almost frivolous scruples, they were also very anxious that all ground for these scruples should be as far as possible removed. 'Sure,' they argued, ''tis not ill-becoming an elder (and so a wiser) brother in such a case as this to stoop a little to the weakness of the younger, in keeping company still; and when hereby he shall not go one step the further out of the ready road unto their Father's house.' On points of Church order and discipline, mitigate the terms of uniformity, do not rigidly preclude all alternatives, admit some considered system which will allow room for option. Frankly acknowledge, that in regard of the doctrine of the sacraments, divers opinions may still, as has ever been the case, be legitimately held within the Church and modify here and there an expression in the Liturgy, which may be thought inconsistent with their liberty, and gives needless offence. Let it not be in anywise our fault if our brethren in the same faith will not join us in our common worship. They appealed to the apostolic rule of Charity, that they who use this right despise not them who use it not; and those who use it not, condemn not them that use it. They appealed to the example of the primitive Church, and bade both Churchmen and Dissenters remember how both Polycarp and Irenaeus had urged, that they who agree in doctrine must not fall out for rites. The early Church, said Stillingfleet, showed great toleration towards different parties within its communion, and allowed among its members and ministers diverse rites and various opinions. They appealed again to the practice and constitution of the English Church since the Reformation. They did not so much ask to widen its limits, as that the limits which had previously been recognised should not now be restricted. There had always been parties in it which differed widely from one another, Anglican and Puritan, Calvinist and Arminian. There never had been a time when it had not included among its clergy men who differed in no perceptible degree from those who were now excluded. They appealed to the friendly feeling that prevailed between moderate men on either side; and most frequently and most urgently they appealed to the need of combination among Protestants. It was a time for mutual conciliation among Protestants in England and abroad, not for increasing divisions, and for imposing new tests and passwords which their fathers had not known. The National Church ought to make a great effort to win over a class of men who, as citizens, were prominent, for the most part, for sobriety, frugality, and industry, and, as Christians, for a piety which might perhaps be restricted in its ideas, and cramped by needless scruples, but which at all events was genuine and zealous. A very large number of them were as yet not disaffected towards the English Church, and would meet with cordiality all advances made in a brotherly spirit. It would be a sin to let the opportunity slip by unimproved.
The force of such arguments was vividly felt by the whole of that Latitudinarian party in the Church, which numbered at the end of the seventeenth century so many distinguished names. There was a time when some of the High Church leaders were so far alarmed by Roman aggressiveness, as to think that union among Protestants should be purchased even at what they deemed a sacrifice, and when Sancroft, Ken, and Lake moved for a bill of comprehension, and Beveridge spoke warmly in favour of it. The moderate Dissenters were quite as anxious on the subject as any of their conformist friends. 'Baxter protested in his latest works, that the body to which he belonged was in favour of a National State Church. He disavowed the term Presbyterian, and stated that most whom he knew did the same. They would be glad, he said, to live under godly bishops, and to unite on healing terms. He deplored that the Church doors had not been opened to him and his brethren, and pleaded urgently for a |healing Act of Uniformity.| Calamy explicitly states that he was disposed to enter the establishment, if Tillotson's scheme had succeeded. Howe also lamented the failure of the scheme.' The trusts of their meeting-houses were in many instances so framed, and their licences so taken out, that the buildings could easily be transferred to Church uses. The Independents, who came next to the Presbyterians, both in influence and numerical strength, were more divided in opinion. Many remained staunch to the principles of their early founders, and were wholly irreconcilable. Others, perhaps a majority, of the 'Congregational Brethren,' as they preferred to call themselves, were very willing to 'own the king for head over their churches,' to give a general approval to the Prayer Book, and to be comprehended, on terms which would allow them what they considered a reasonable liberty, within the National Church. They formed part of the deputation of ministers to King William, by whom an ardent hope was expressed that differences might be composed, and such a firm union established on broad Christian principles 'as would make the Church a type of heaven.' How far they would have accepted any practical scheme of comprehension is more doubtful. But, as Mr. Skeats remarks of the measure proposed in 1689, 'Calamy's assertion, that if it had been adopted, it would in all probability have brought into the Church two-thirds of the Dissenters, indicates the almost entire agreement of the Independents with the Presbyterians, concerning the expedience of adopting it.'
The Baptists showed little or no disposition to come to an agreement with the Church. They were at this time a declining sect, who held little intercourse with other Dissenters, and were much engaged in petty but very acrimonious controversies among themselves. They had been divided ever since 1633 into two sections, the Particular and General Baptists. The former of the two were Calvinists of the most rigorous and exclusive type, often conspicuous by a fervent but excessively narrow form of piety, and illiterate almost on principle on account of their disparagement of what was called 'human learning.' The General Baptists, many of whom merged, early in the eighteenth century, into Unitarians, were less exclusive in their views. But the Baptists generally viewed the English Church with suspicion and dislike. In many cases their members were forbidden to enter, an any pretext whatever, the national churches, or to form intermarriages or hold social intercourse with Churchmen. Yet some may not have forgotten the example and teaching of the ablest defender, in the seventeenth century, of Baptist opinions. 'Mr. Tombs,' says Wall, quoting from Baxter, 'continued an Antipaedobaptist to his dying day, yet wrote against separation for it, and for communion with the parish churches.' When Marshall, in the course of controversy, reproached the Baptists with separation, Tombs answered that he must blame the persons, not the general body. For his own part he thought such separation a 'practice justly to be abhorred. The making of sects upon difference of opinions, reviling, separating from their teachers and brethren otherwise faithful, because there is not the same opinion in disputable points, or in clear truths not fundamental, is a thing too frequent in all sorts of dogmatists, &c., and I look upon it as one of the greatest plagues of Christianity. You shall have me join with you in detestation of it.' He himself continued in communion with the National Church until his death.
Unitarians have always differed from one another so very widely, that they can hardly be classed or spoken of under one name. Their opinions have always varied in every possible degree, from such minute departure from generally received modes of expression in speaking of the mystery of the Godhead, as needs a very microscopic orthodoxy to detect, down to the barest and most explicit Socinianism. There were some who charged with Unitarianism Bishop Bull, whose learned defence of the Nicene faith was famous throughout all Europe. There were many who made it an accusation against Tillotson, and the whole of the Low or Latitudinarian party in the Church of England. The Roman Controversialists of the seventeenth century used to go further still, and boldly assert that to leave Rome was to go to Socinianism; and the Calvinists, on their side, would sometimes argue that 'Arminianism was a shoeing horn to draw on Socinianism.' A great number of the Unitarians of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were themselves scarcely distinguishable from the orthodox. 'For peace sake they submit to the phrase of the Church, and expressly own Three Persons, though they think the word person not so proper as another might be. If the Three Persons should be defined by three distinct minds and spirits, or substances, the Unitarian will be lost; but if person be defined by mode, manifestation, or outward relation, he will be acquitted.... They believe all the articles of the Apostles' Creed.... They believe the law of Christ contained in the four gospels to be the only and everlasting rule, by which they shall be judged hereafter.... They thankfully lay hold of the message of Redemption through Christ.' Some of the Unitarians, we are told, even excommunicated and deposed from the ministry such of their party as denied that divine worship was due to Christ. Of Unitarians such as these, if they can be called by that name, and not rather Arians or Semi-Arians, the words of Dr. Arnold may properly be quoted: 'The addressing Christ in the language of prayer and praise is an essential part of Christian worship. Every Christian would feel his devotions incomplete, if this formed no part of them. This therefore cannot be sacrificed; but we are by no means bound to inquire whether all who pray to Christ entertain exactly the same ideas of His nature. I believe that Arianism involves in it some very erroneous notions as to the object of religious worship; but if an Arian will join in our worship of Christ, and will call Him Lord and God, there is neither wisdom nor charity in insisting that he shall explain what he means by these terms; nor in questioning the strength and sincerity of his faith in his Saviour, because he makes too great a distinction between the Divinity of the Father and that which he allows to be the attribute of the Son.' This was certainly the feeling of Tillotson and many other eminent men of the same school. If an Unitarian chose to conform, as very many are accustomed to do, they gladly received him as a fellow worshipper. Thomas Firmin the philanthropist, leader of the Unitarians of his day was a constant attendant at Tillotson's church of St. Lawrence Jewry, and at Dr. Outram's in Lombard Street. Yet both these divines were Catholic in regard of the doctrine of the Trinity, and wrote in defence of it. In fact, the moderate Unitarians conformed without asking or expecting any concessions. Latitudinarian Churchmen, as a party, entertained no idea of including Unitarians in the proposed act of comprehension. For his own part, said Burnet, he could never understand pacificatory doctrines on matters which seemed to him the fundamentals of Christianity. So far from comprehension, Socinians were excluded even from the benefits of the act of toleration; and more than thirty years later, in 1697, a severe Act of outlawry was passed against all who wrote or spoke against the divinity of Christ. Until about 1720, Unitarians scarcely took the form of a separate sect. Either they were scarcely distinguishable from those who professed one or another form of Deism, and who assumed the title of a Christian philosophy rather than of a denomination; or they were proscribed heretics; or they conformed to the Church of England and did not consider their opinions inconsistent with loyalty to it.
Little need be said, in this connexion, of the Quakers. Towards the end of the seventeenth century they increased in wealth and numbers, and had begun to hold far more mitigated tenets than those of a previous age. For this they were much indebted to Robert Barclay, who wrote his 'Apology' in Latin in 1676, and translated it with a dedication to Charles II. in 1678. A few Churchmen of pronounced mystical opinions were to some extent in sympathy with them; but, as a rule, both among Conformists and Nonconformists they were everywhere misunderstood, ridiculed, and denounced. If it had not been so, their vehement repudiation of all intervention of the State in religious matters would have compelled them to hold aloof from all overtures of comprehension, even if any had been proffered to them.
The Nonconformists, therefore, who in the latter part of the seventeenth century might have been attached by a successful measure of comprehension to the National Church, were the Presbyterians -- at that time a large and influential body -- a considerable proportion, probably, of the Independents, and individual members of other denominations. The most promising, though not the best known scheme, appears to have been that put forward by the Presbyterians, and earnestly promoted by Sir Matthew Hale, Bishop Wilkins, and others, in 1667. Assent only was to be required to the Prayer Book; certain ceremonies were to be left optional; clergymen who had received only Presbyterian ordination were to receive, with imposition of the bishop's hands, legal authority to exercise the offices of their ministry, the word 'legal' being considered a sufficient salvo for the intrinsic validity of their previous orders; 'sacramentally' might be added after 'regenerated' in the Baptismal service, and a few other things were to be made discretional. Here was a very tolerable basis for an agreement which might not improbably have been carried out, if the House of Commons had not resolved to pass no bill of comprehension in that year.
Even this scheme, however, had one essential fault common to it with the projects which were brought forward at a somewhat later period. No measure for Church comprehension on anything like a large scale is ever like to fulfil its objects, unless the whole of the question with all its difficulties is boldly grasped and dealt with in a statesmanlike manner. Nonconformist bodies, which have grown up by long and perhaps hereditary usage into fixed habits and settled frames of thought, or whose strength is chiefly based upon principles and motives of action which are not quite in accordance with the spirit of the larger society, can never be satisfactorily incorporated into a National Church, unless the scheme provides to a great extent for the affiliation and maintenance in their integrity of the existing organisations. The Roman Church has never hesitated to utilise in this sort of manner new spiritual forces, and, without many alterations of the old, to make new additions to her ecclesiastical machinery at the risk of increasing its complexity. The Church of England might in this respect have followed the example of her old opponent to very great advantage. But neither in the plan of 1689, nor in any of those which preceded or followed it during the period which elapsed between the Act of Uniformity and the close of the century, was anything of the kind attempted.
Much, no doubt, could be done and was proposed to be done, in the way of removing from public services, where other words, not less to the purpose and equally devotional, could be substituted for them, some expressions which gave offence and raised scruples. Where this can be done without loss, it must needs be a gain. A concession to scruples which in no way impairs our perception of Christian truth, is a worthy sacrifice to Christian charity. Such a work, however, of revision demands much caution and an exceptional amount of sound discretion. Least of all it can be done in any spirit of party. In proposing a change of expression which would be in itself wholly unobjectionable, the revisers have not only to consider the scruples of those whom they wish to conciliate; they must respect even more heedfully, feelings and sentiments which they may not themselves share in, but which are valued by one or another party already existing in the Church. A revision conducted by the moderates of a Church would plainly have no right to meet scruples and objections on the part of Puritans, outside their Communion, only by creating new scruples and objections among High Churchmen within it; just as, reversely, it would be equally unjustifiable to conciliate High Sacramentalists, or the lovers of a grander or more touching ceremonial, who hovered on the borders of a Church, by changes which would be painful to its Puritan members already domiciled within it. When men of all the leading parties in a Church are sincerely desirous (as they ought, and, under such contingencies, are specially bound to be,) of removing unnecessary obstacles to Church Communion, the work of revision will be comparatively easy; and changes, which to unwilling minds would be magnified into alarming sacrifices, will become peace offerings uncostly in themselves, and willingly and freely yielded. Much then can be done in this way, but only where the changes, however excellent and opportune in themselves, are promoted not merely by a party, but by the Church in general.
Alterations, however, of this kind, although they may constitute a very important part of a measure of Church comprehension, will rarely, if ever, prove sufficient to fulfil in any satisfactory manner the desired purpose. It would be simply ruinous to the vitality of any Church to be neutral and colourless in its formularies. Irritating and polemical terms may most properly be excluded from devotional use; but no Church or party in a Church which has life and promise in it will consent, in order to please others, to give up old words and accustomed usages which give distinctiveness to worship and add a charm to the expression of familiar doctrines.
One, therefore, of two things must be done as a duty both to the old and to the incoming members. Either much must be left optional to the clergy, or to the clergy acting in concert with their congregations, or else, as was before said, the National Church must find scope and room for its new members, not as a mere throng of individuals, but as corporate bodies, whose organisations may have to be modified to suit the new circumstances, but not broken up. When it is considered how highly strict uniformity was valued by the ruling powers at the end of the seventeenth century, the ample discretionary powers that were proposed to be left are a strong proof how genuine in many quarters must have been the wish to effect a comprehension. The difficulties, however, which beset such liberty of option were obvious, and the opponents of the bill did not fail to make the most of them. It was a subject which specially suited the satirical pen and declamatory powers of Dr. South. He was a great stickler for uniformity; unity, he urged, was strength; and therefore he insisted upon 'a resolution to keep all the constitutions of the Church, the parts of the service, and the conditions of its communion entire, without lopping off any part of them.' 'If any be indulged in the omission of the least thing there enjoined, they cannot be said to |speak all the same thing.|' And then, in more forcible language, he descanted upon what he called 'the deformity and undecency' of difference of practice. He drew a vivid picture how some in the same diocese would use the surplice, and some not, and how there would be parties accordingly. 'Some will kneel at the Sacrament, some stand, some perhaps sit; some will read this part of the Common Prayer, some that -- some, perhaps, none at all.' Some in the pulpits of our churches and cathedrals 'shall conceive a long crude extemporary prayer, in reproach of all the prayers which the Church with such admirable prudence and devotion hath been making before. Nay, in the same cathedral you shall see one prebendary in a surplice, another in a long coat, another in a short coat or jacket; and in the performance of the public services some standing up at the Creed, the Gloria Patri, and the reading of the Gospel; and others sitting, and perhaps laughing and winking upon their fellow schismatics, in scoff of those who practise the decent order of the Church.' Irreconcilable parties, he adds, and factions will be created. 'I will not hear this formalist, says one; and I will not hear that schismatic (with better reason), says another.... So that I dare avouch, that to bring in a comprehension is nothing else but, in plain terms, to establish a schism in the Church by law, and so bring a plague into the very bowels of it, which is more than sufficiently endangered already by having one in its neighbourhood; a plague which shall eat out the very heart and soul, and consume the vitals and spirit of it, and this to such a degree, that in the compass of a few years it shall scarce have any being or subsistence, or so much as the face of a National Church to be known by.' South's sermon was on the appropriate text, 'not give place, no, not for an hour.' His picture was doubtless a highly exaggerated one. The discretionary powers which some of the schemes of comprehension proposed to give would not have left the Church of England a mere scene of confusion, an unseemly Babel of anarchy and licence. A sketch might be artfully drawn, in which nothing should be introduced but what was truthfully selected from the practices of different London Churches of the present day, which might easily make a foreigner imagine that in the National Church uniformity and order were things unknown. Yet practically, its unity remains unbroken; and the inconveniences arising from such divergences are very slight as compared with the advantages which result from them, and with the general life and elasticity of which they are at once both causes and symptoms. Good feeling, sound sense, and the natural instinct of order would have done much to abate the disorders of even a large relaxation of the Act of Uniformity. In 1689, before yet the course taken by the Revolution had kindled the strong spirit of party, there was nothing like the heat of feeling in regard of such usages as the wearing of the surplice, kneeling at the Communion, and the sign of the cross at Baptism, as there had been in the earlier part of Elizabeth's reign. When prejudices began to pass away, prevailing practice would probably have been guided, after an interval, by the rule of the 'survival of the fittest,' -- of those customs, that is, which best suited the temper of the people and the spirit of the Church. The surplice, for instance, would very likely have become gradually universal, much in the same manner as in our own day it has gradually superseded the gown in the pulpit. A concession to Nonconformist scruples of some discretionary power in regard of a few ceremonies and observances would certainly not have brought upon the National Church the ruin foreboded by Dr. South. Possibly a licensed variety of usage might have had indirectly a somewhat wholesome influence. The mild excitement of controversies about matters in themselves almost indifferent might have tended, like a gentle blister, to ward off the lethargy which, in the eighteenth century, paralysed to so great an extent the spiritual energies of the Church. No one can doubt that Dr. South's remarks expressed in vigorous language genuine difficulties. But it was equally obvious that if the National Church were to be laced on a wider basis, as the opportunities of the time seemed to demand, a relaxation of uniformity of some kind or another was indispensable. It did not seem to occur to the reformers and revisionists of the time that a concession of optional powers was a somewhat crude, nor by any means the only solution of the difficulty; and that it might be quite possible to meet all reasonable scruples of Nonconformists without in any way infringing upon customs which all old members of the Church of England were well satisfied to retain.
But even if the schemes for comprehension had been thoroughly sound in principle, and less open to objection, the favourable opportunity soon passed by. While there yet lingered in men's minds a feeling of uneasiness and regret that the Restoration of 1660 should have been followed by the ejection of so many deserving clergy; while the more eminent and cultured of the sufferers by it were leavening the whole Nonconformist body with principles and sentiments which belong rather to a National Church than to a detached sect; while Nonconformity among large bodies of Dissenters was not yet an established fact; while men of all parties were still rejoicing in the termination of civil war, in the conspicuous abatement of religious and political animosities, and in the sense of national unity; while Protestants of all shades of opinion were knit together by the strong band of a common danger, by the urgent need of combination against a foe whose advances threatened the liberties of all; while High Churchmen like Ken and Sancroft were advocating not toleration only, but comprehension; while the voices of Nonconformists joined heartily in the acclamations which greeted the liberation of the seven bishops; while the Upper House of Convocation was not yet separated from the Lower, nor the great majority of the bishops from the bulk of the clergy, by a seemingly hopeless antagonism of Church principles; while High Churchmen were still headed by bishops distinguished by their services to religion and liberty; and while Broad Churchmen were represented not only by eminent men of the type of Stillingfleet and Tillotson, Burnet, Tenison and Compton, but by the thoughtful and philosophic band of scholars who went by the name of the Cambridge Platonists -- under circumstances such as these, there was very much that was highly favourable to the efforts which were being made in favour of Church comprehension. These efforts met at all times with strong opposition, especially in the House of Commons and among the country clergy. But a well-considered scheme, once carried, would have been welcomed with very general approval, and might have been attended with most beneficial results.
The turn taken by the Revolution of 1688 destroyed the prospect of bringing these labours to a really successful issue. They were pushed on, as is well known, with greater energy than ever. They could not, however, fail of being infected henceforth with a partisan and political spirit which made it very doubtful whether the ill consequences of an Act of Comprehension would not have more than counterbalanced its advantages. The High Church party, deprived of many of their best men by the secession of the Nonjurors, and suspected by a triumphant majority of Jacobitism and general disaffection, were weakened, narrowed, and embittered. Broad Churchmen, on the other hand, were looked upon by those who differed from them as altogether Latitudinarians in religion, and Whigs in politics -- terms constantly used as practically convertible. Danger from Rome, although by no means insignificant, was no longer so visible, or so pressing, as it had been in James II.'s reign. Meanwhile, it had become apparent that the Church of England was menaced by a peril of an opposite kind. Not High Churchmen only, but all who desired to see the existing character of the Church of England maintained, had cause to fear lest under a monarch to whom all forms of Protestantism were alike, and who regarded all from a political and somewhat sceptical point of view, ideas very alien to those which had given the National Church its shape and colour might now become predominant. If the Royal Supremacy was no longer the engine of power it had been under some previous rulers, and up to the very era of the Revolution, the personal opinions of the sovereign still had considerable weight, especially when backed, as they now were, by a strong mass of opinion, both within the English Church, and among Nonconformists. There were many persons who drew back with apprehension from measures which a year or two before they had looked forward to with hope. They knew not what they might lead to. Salutary changes might be the prelude to others which they would witness with dismay. Moreover, changes which might have been salutary under other circumstances, would entirely lose their character when they were regarded as the triumph of a party and caused distrust and alienation. They might create a wider schism than any they could heal. The Nonjuring separation was at present a comparatively inconsiderable body in numbers and general influence; and there was a hope, proved in the issue to be well founded, that many of the most respected members of it would eventually return to the communion which they had unwillingly quitted. The case would be quite reversed, if multitudes of steady, old-fashioned Churchmen, disgusted by concessions and innovations which they abhorred and regarded as mere badges of a party triumph, came to look upon the communion of Ken and Kettlewell and Nelson as alone representing that Church of their forefathers to which they had given their attachment. It would be a disastrous consequence of efforts pressed inopportunely in the interests of peace if the ancient Church of England were rent in twain.
Thus, before the eighteenth century had yet begun, the hopes which had been cherished by so many excellent men on either side of the line which marked off the Nonconformists from their conforming friends, had at length almost entirely vanished. The scheme of 1689, well-meaning as it was, lacked in a marked degree many of the qualities which most deserve and command success. But when once William and Mary had been crowned, and the spirit of party had become strong, the best of schemes would have failed.
Church comprehension never afterwards became, in any direct form, a question for much practical discussion. The interest which the late efforts had excited lingered for some time in the minds, both of those who had promoted the measure and of those who had resisted it. There was much warm debate upon the subject in the Convocation of 1702. Sacheverell and the bigots of his party in 1709 lashed themselves into fury at the very thought that comprehension could be advocated. It was treachery, rank and inexcusable; it was bringing the Trojan horse into the Holy City; it was converting the House of God into a den of thieves. Such forms of speech were too common just about that period to mean much, or to attract any particular notice. As Swift said, if the zealots of either party were to be believed, their adversaries were always wretches worthy to be exterminated. Party spirit, at this period, ran so high, both in political and ecclesiastical matters, and minds were so excited and suspicious, that most men ranged themselves very definitely on one or another side of a clearly-marked line, and genuinely temperate counsels were much out of favour. To the one party 'moderation,' that 'harmless, gilded name,' had become wholly odious, as ever 'importing somewhat that was unkind to the Church, and that favoured the Dissenters.' There was a story that 'a clergyman preaching upon the text, |Let your moderation be known unto all men,| took notice that the Latin word |moderor| signified rule and government, and by virtue of the criticism he made his text to signify, let the severity of your government be known unto all men.' Yet it was not to be wondered at that they had got to hate the word. The opposite party, adopting moderation jointly with union as their password, and glorifying it as 'the cement of the world,' 'the ornament of human kind,' 'the chiefest Christian grace,' 'the peculiar characteristic of this Church,' would pass on almost in the same breath to pile upon their opponents indiscriminate charges of persecution, priestcraft, superstition, and to inveigh against them as 'a narrow Laudean faction,' 'a jealous-headed, unneighbourly, selfish sect of Ishmaelites.' Evidently, so long as the spirit of party was thus rampant, any measure of Church comprehension was entirely out of question. Many Low Churchmen were as anxious for it as ever. But they were no longer in power; and had they been a majority, they could only have effected it by sheer weight of numbers, and under imminent peril of disrupture in the Church. Therefore, they did not even attempt it, and were content to labour toward the same ends by more indirect means.
In the middle of the century -- at a time when, except among the Methodists, religious zeal seemed almost extinct, and when (to use Walpole's words) 'religious animosities were out of date, and the public had no turn for controversy' -- thoughts of comprehension revived both in the English Church and among the Nonconformists.
'Those,' wrote Mosheim in 1740, 'who are best acquainted with the state of the English nation, tell us that the Dissenting interest declines from day to day, and that the cause of Nonconformity owes this gradual decay in a great measure to the lenity and moderation that are practised by the rulers of the Established Church.' No doubt the friendly understanding which widely existed about this time between Churchmen and Dissenters contributed to such a result. Herring, for instance, of Canterbury, Sherlock of London, Secker of Oxford, Maddox of Worcester, as well as Warburton, who was then preacher at Lincoln's Inn, Hildersley afterwards Bishop of Sodor and Man, and many other eminent Churchmen, were all friends or correspondents with Doddridge, the genial and liberal-minded leader of the Congregationalists, the devout author of 'The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul.' Much the same might be said of Samuel Chandler, the eminent Presbyterian minister. An old school fellow of Secker and Butler, when they were pupils together at a dissenting academy in Yorkshire, he kept up his friendship with them, when the one was Primate of the English Church, and the other its ablest theologian. Personal relations of this kind insured the recognition of approaches based on more substantial grounds. There was real friendly feeling on the part of many principal Nonconformists not only towards this or that bishop, this or that Churchman, but towards the English Church in general. They coveted its wider culture, its freer air. With the decline of prejudices and animosities, they could not but feel the insignificance of the differences by which they were separated from it. Many of them were by no means unfavourable to the principle of a National Church. This was especially the case with Doddridge. While he spoke with the utmost abhorrence of all forms of persecution, he argued that regard alike to the honour of God and to the good of society, should engage rulers to desire and labour that the people should be instructed in matters of religion, and that they could not be thus instructed without some public provision. He held, however, that such an establishment should be as large as possible, so that no worthy or good man, whose services could be of use, should be excluded. If the majority agreed in such an establishment, the minority, he thought, might well be thankful to be left in possession of their liberties. He did not see that it was more unfair that they should be called upon to assist in supporting such a Church, than that they should have to contribute to the expenses of a war or any other national object of which they might disapprove. It must be added that the Nonconformists of that time were drawn towards the National Church not only by its real merits. They were in very many instances attracted rather than repelled, by what was then its greatest defect, for it was a defect which prevailed no less generally among themselves than in it. A stiff and cold insistence upon morals and reasonable considerations, to the comparative exclusion of appeals to higher Christian motive, was the common vice of Nonconformist as well as of national pulpits. At a time, therefore, when the great cardinal doctrines of Christianity were insufficiently preached, it followed as a matter of course that differences of opinion upon religious questions of less moment dwindled in seeming importance.
Such was the frequent relation between the English Church and Dissent when a charge happened to be delivered by Gooch, Bishop of Norwich, which gave rise to some remonstrance on the part of Dr. Chandler, who had been one of his auditors. Correspondence resulted in an interview, in which Gooch, though generally considered a High Churchman, showed himself not unfavourable to comprehension. Another time Bishop Sherlock joined in the discussion. There were three points, he said, to be considered -- Doctrine, Discipline, and Ceremonies. Discipline was already in too neglected and enfeebled a state, too much in need of being recast, to be suggestive of much difficulty. Ceremonies could be left indifferent. As for doctrine, both bishops were quite willing to agree with Dr. Chandler that the Articles might properly be expressed in Scripture words, and that the Athanasian Creed should be discarded. Chandler, for his part, thought that dissenting clergy would consent to a form of Episcopal ordination if it did not suggest any invalidity in previous orders. Archbishop Herring was then consulted. The Primate had already had a long conversation with Doddridge on the subject, and had fallen in with Doddridge's suggestion, that, as a previous step, an occasional interchange of pulpits between Churchmen and Dissenters might be desirable. He thought comprehension 'a very good thing;' he wished it with all his heart, and considered that there was some hope of its success. He believed most of the bishops agreed with him in these opinions.
No practical results ensued upon these conversations. They are interesting, and to some extent they were characteristic of the time. It is not known whether Herring and his brethren on the Episcopal bench suggested any practical measure of the kind to the Ministry then in power. If they had done so, the suggestion would have met with no response. 'I can tell you,' said Warburton, 'of certain science, that not the least alteration will be made in the Ecclesiastical system. The present ministers were bred up under, and act entirely on, the maxims of the last. And one of the principal of theirs was, Not to stir what is at rest.' Pelham was a true disciple of Sir Robert Walpole, without his talent and without his courage -- a man whose main political object was to glide quietly with the stream, and who trembled at the smallest eddies. He was the last man to give a moment's countenance to any such scheme, if it were not loudly called for by a large or powerful section of the community. This was far from being the case. Indifference was too much the prevailing spirit of the age to allow more than a very negative kind of public feeling in such a matter. A carefully planned measure, not too suggestive of any considerable change, would have been acquiesced in by many, but enthusiastically welcomed by very few, while beyond doubt there would have been much vehement opposition to it.
Or, if circumstances had been somewhat different, and Herring and Sherlock, Doddridge and Chandler, had seen their plans extensively advocated, and carried triumphantly through Parliament, the result would in all probability have been a disappointing one. It would infallibly have been a slipshod comprehension. Carelessness and indifference would have had a large share in promoting it; relaxation, greater than even then existed, of the order of the Church, would have been a likely consequence. The National Church was not in a sufficiently healthy and vigorous condition to conduct with much prospect of success an enlarged organisation, or to undertake, in any hopeful spirit, new and wider responsibilities. Nor would accessions from the Dissenting communities have infused much fresh life into it. They were suffering themselves under the same defect; all the more visibly because a certain vigour of self-assertion seemed necessary to justify their very existence as separatist bodies. The Presbyterians were rapidly losing their old standing, and were lapsing into the ranks of Unitarianism. A large majority of the general Baptists were adopting similar views. The ablest men among the Congregationalists were devoting themselves to teaching rather than to pastoral work. Unitarianism was the only form of dissent that was gaining in numbers and influence. The more orthodox denominations were daily losing in numbers and influence, and were secluding themselves more and more from the general thought and culture of the age.
After all, the greatest question which arose in the eighteenth century in connection with Church Comprehension was that which related to the Methodist movement. Not that the word 'Comprehension' was ever used in the discussion of it. In its beginnings, it was essentially an agitation which originated within the National Church, and one in which the very thought of secession was vehemently deprecated. As it advanced, though one episcopal charge after another was levelled against it; though pulpit after pulpit was indignantly refused to its leaders; though it was on all sides preached against, satirised, denounced; though the voices of its preachers were not unfrequently drowned in the clanging of church bells; though its best features were persistently misunderstood and misrepresented, and all its defects and weaknesses exposed with a merciless hand, Wesley, with the majority of his principal supporters, never ceased to declare his love for the Church of England, and his hearty loyalty to its principles. 'We do not,' he said, 'we dare not, separate from the service of the Church. We are not seceders, nor do we bear any resemblance to them.' And when one of his bitterest opponents charged him with 'stabbing the Church to her very vitals,' 'Do I, or you,' he retorted, 'do this! Let anyone who has read her Liturgy, Articles, and Homilies, judge.... You desire that I should disown the Church. But I choose to stay in the Church, were it only to reprove those who betray her with a kiss.' He stayed within it to the last, and on his deathbed, in 1791, he implored his followers even yet to refrain from secession.
Comprehension had always related to Dissenters. The term, therefore, could hardly be used in reference to men who claimed to be thorough Churchmen, who attended the services of the Church, loved its Liturgy, and willingly subscribed to all its formularies. The Methodist Societies bore a striking resemblance to the Collegia Pietatis established in Germany by Spener about 1670, which, at all events in their earlier years, simply aimed at the promotion of Christian holiness, while they preserved allegiance to the ecclesiastical order of the day; or we may be reminded of that Moravian community, by which the mind of Wesley was at one time so deeply fascinated, whose ideal, as Matter has observed, was to be 'Calviniste ici, Lutherienne la; Catholique partout par ses institutions episcopales et ses doctrines ascetiques, et pourtant avant tout Chretienne, et vraiment apostolique par ses missions.' 'At a very early period of the renewed Moravian Church,' writes the translator of Schleiermacher's Letters, 'invitations were sent from various quarters of Europe for godly men to labour in the National Churches. These men did not dispense the Sacraments, but visited, prayed, read the Bible, and kept meetings for those who, without leaving the National Churches, sought to be |built up in communion| with right-minded pious persons.' These words are exactly parallel to what Wesley wrote in one of his earlier works, and requoted in 1766. 'We look upon ourselves not as the authors or ringleaders of a particular sect or party, but as messengers of God to those who are Christians in name, but heathens in heart and life, to lead them back to that from which they are fallen, to real genuine Christianity.' His followers, he added, in South Britain, belong to the Church of England, in North Britain to the Church of Scotland. They were to be careful not to make divisions, not to baptize, nor administer the Lord's Supper.
The difficulties in the way of comprehending within the National Church men such as these, and societies formed upon such principles, ought not to have been insurmountable. Yet it must be allowed that in practice the difficulties would in no case have been found trivial. As with Zinzendorf and his united brethren, so with Wesley and his co-workers and disciples. Their aims were exalted, their labours noble, the results which they achieved were immense. But intermingled with it all there was so much weakness and credulity, so much weight given to the workings of a heated and over-wrought imagination, so many openings to a blind fanaticism, such morbid extravagances, so much from which sober reason and cultivated intellect shrank with instinctive repulsion, that even an exaggerated distrust of the good effected was natural and pardonable. Wesley's mind, though not by any means of the highest order of capacity, was refined, well trained, and practical; Whitefield was gifted with extraordinary powers of stirring the emotions by his fervid eloquence. But they often worked with very rude instruments; and defects, which were prominent enough even in the leaders, were sometimes in the followers magnified into glaring faults. Wesley himself was a true preacher of righteousness, and had the utmost horror of all Antinomianism, all teaching that insisted slightly on moral duties, or which disparaged any outward means of grace. But there was a section of the Methodists, especially in the earlier years of the movement, who seemed much disposed to raise the cry so well known among some of the fanatics of the Commonwealth of 'No works, no law, no Commandments.' There were many more who, in direct opposition to Wesley's sounder judgment, but not uncountenanced by what he said or wrote in his more excited moments, trusted in impressions, impulse, and feelings as principal guides of conduct. Wesley himself was never wont to speak of the Church of England or of its clergy in violent or abusive terms. Whitefield, however, and, still more so, many of the lesser preachers, not unfrequently indulged in an undiscriminating bitterness of invective which could not fail to alienate Churchmen, and to place the utmost obstacles in the way of united action. Seward was a special offender in this respect. How was it possible for them to hold out a right hand of fellowship to one who would say, for example, that 'the scarlet whore of Babylon is not more corrupt either in principle or practice than the Church of England;' and that Archbishop Tillotson, of whom, though they might differ from him, they were all justly proud, was 'a traitor who had sold his Lord for a better price than Judas had done.' Such language inevitably widened the ever-increasing gap. It might have been provoked, although not justified, by tirades no less furious and unreasoning on the part of some of the assailants of the Methodist cause. In any case, it could not fail to estrange many who might otherwise have gladly taken a friendly interest in the movement; it could not fail to dull their perception of its merits and of its spiritual exploits, and to incline them to point out with the quick discernment of hostile critics the evident blots and errors which frequently defaced it.
At the beginning of the eighteenth century, when projects of Church Comprehension had come to an end, a great deal of angry controversy in Parliament, in Convocation, and throughout the country at large was excited by the practice of occasional conformity. Never was a question more debased by considerations with which it ought not to have had anything to do. In itself it seemed a very simple one. The failure of the schemes for Comprehension had left in the ranks of Nonconformity a great number of moderate Dissenters -- Presbyterians and others -- who were separated from the Low Churchmen of the day by an exceedingly narrow interval. Many of them were thoroughly well affected to the National Church, and were only restrained by a few scruples from being regular members of it. But since the barrier remained -- a slight one, perhaps, but one which they felt they could not pass -- might they not at all events render a partial allegiance to the national worship, by occasional attendance at its services, and by communicating with it now and then? The question, especially under the circumstances of the time, was none the less important for its simplicity. Unhappily, it was one which could not be answered on its merits. The operation of the Test Act interfered -- a statute framed for the defence of the civil and ecclesiastical constitution of the country, but which long survived to be a stain and disgrace to it. A measure so miserably false in principle as to render civil and military qualifications dependent upon a sacramental test must in any case be worse than indefensible. As all feel now, and as many felt even then, to make
The symbols of atoning grace
An office key, a pick-lock to a place,
A blot that will be still a blot, in spite
Of all that grave apologists may write;
And though a bishop toil to cleanse the stain,
He wipes and scours the silver cup in vain.
This Act, thus originated, which lingered in the Statute Book till the reign of George IV., which even thoroughly religious men could be so blinded by their prejudices as to defend, and which even such friends of toleration as Lord Mansfield could declare to be a 'bulwark of the Constitution,' put occasional conformity into a very different position from that which it would naturally take. Henceforth no Dissenter could communicate in the parish churches of his country without incurring some risk of an imputation which is especially revolting to all feelings alike of honour and religion. He might have it cast in his teeth that he was either committing or countenancing the sacrilegious hypocrisy, the base and shuffling trick, of communicating only to qualify for office.
It is needless here to enter into the details of the excited and discreditable agitation by which the custom of occasional conformity was at length, for a time, defeated. The contest may be said to have begun in 1697, when Sir Humphrey Edwin, upon his election as Lord Mayor, after duly receiving the Sacrament according to the use of the Church of England, proceeded in state to the Congregational Chapel at Pinner's Hall. Exactly the same thing recurred in 1701, in the case of Sir T. Abney. The practice thus publicly illustrated was passionately opposed both by strict Dissenters and by strict Churchmen. De Foe, as a representative of the former, inveighed against it with great bitterness, as perfectly scandalous, and altogether unjustifiable. The High Church party, on their side, reprobated it with no less severity. A bill to prevent the practice was at once prepared. In spite of the strength of the Tory and High Church reaction, the Whig party in the House of Lords, vigorously supported by the Liberal Bishops, just succeeded in throwing it out. A conference was held between the two houses, 'the most crowded that ever had been known -- so much weight was laid on this matter on both sides,' with a similar result. The Commons made other endeavours to carry the Act in a modified form, and with milder penalties; a somewhat unscrupulous minority made an attempt to tack it to a money bill, and so effect their purpose by a manoeuvre. The Sacheverell episode fanned the strange excitement that prevailed. A large body of the country gentry and country clergy imagined that the destinies of the Church hung in the balance. The populace caught the infection, without any clear understanding what they were clamouring for. The Court, until it began to be alarmed, used all its influence in support of the proposed bill. Everywhere, but especially in coffee-houses and taverns, a loud cry was raised against the Whigs, and most of all against the Whig Bishops, for their steady opposition to it. At last, when all chance of carrying the measure seemed to be lost, it was suddenly made law through what appears to have been a most discreditable compromise between a section of the Whigs and the Earl of Nottingham. Great was the dismay of some, great the triumph of others. It was 'a disgraceful bargain,' said Calamy. To many, Nottingham was eminently a 'patriot and a lover of the Church.' Addison makes Sir Roger 'launch out into the praise of the late Act of Parliament for securing the Church of England. He told me with great satisfaction, that he believed it already began to take effect, for that a rigid Dissenter, who chanced to dine at his house on Christmas-day, had been observed to eat very plentifully of his plum-porridge.' The Act which received the worthy knight's characteristic panegyric was repealed seven years afterwards.
Nothing could well be more alien -- it may be rather said, more repugnant -- to the general tenor of present thought and feeling than this controversy of a past generation. Its importance, as a question of the day, mainly hinged upon the Test Act; and there is no fear of history so repeating itself as to witness ever again the operation of a law consigned, however tardily, to such well-merited opprobrium. Unquestionably, when Dissenters received the Sacrament in the parish churches, the motive was in most cases a secular one. 'It is manifest,' says Hoadly, 'that there is hardly any occasional communicant who ever comes near the Church but precisely at that time when the whole parish knows he must come to qualify himself for some office.' This was a great scandal to religion; but it was one the guilt of which, in many, if not in most cases, entirely devolved upon the authors and promoters of the test. As the writer just quoted has elsewhere remarked, a man might with perfect integrity do for the sake of an office what he had always held to be lawful, and what some men whom he much respected considered to be even a duty. It was a very scandalous thing for a person who lived in constant neglect of his religious duties to come merely to qualify. But plainly this was a sin which a Conformist was quite as likely to commit as a Nonconformist.
The imposition of a test on all accounts so ill-advised and odious in principle was the more unfortunate, because, apart from it, occasional conformity, though it would never have attracted any considerable attention, might have been really important in its consequences. Considered in itself, without any reference to external and artificial motives, it had begun to take a strong hold upon the minds of many of the most exemplary and eminent Nonconformists. When the projects of comprehension failed, on which the moderates in Church and Dissent had set their heart, the Presbyterian leaders, and some of the Congregationalists, turned their thoughts to occasional conformity as to a kind of substitute for that closer union with the National Church which they had reluctantly given up. It was 'a healing custom,' as Baxter had once called it. There were many quiet, religious people, members of Nonconformist bodies, who, as an expression of charity and Christian fellowship, and because they did not like to feel themselves entirely severed from the unity of the National Church, made a point of sometimes receiving the Communion from their parish clergyman, and who 'utterly disliked the design of the Conformity Bill, that it put a brand upon those who least interest themselves in our unhappy disputes.' This was particularly the custom with many of the Presbyterian clergy, headed by Calamy, and, before him, by three men of the highest distinction for their piety, learning, and social influence, of whose services the National Church had been unhappily deprived by the ejection of 1662 -- Baxter, Bates, and Howe. Some distinguished Churchmen entirely agreed with this. 'I think,' said Archbishop Tenison, 'the practice of occasional Conformity, as used by the Dissenters, is so far from deserving the title of a vile hypocrisy, that it is the duty of all moderate Dissenters, upon their own principles, to do it.' However wrong they might be in their separation, he thought that everything that tended to promote unity ought to be not discountenanced, but encouraged. And Burnet, among others, argued in the same spirit, that just as it had commonly been considered right to communicate with the Protestant churches abroad, as he himself had been accustomed to do in Geneva and Holland, so the Dissenters here were wholly right in communicating with the National Church, even, though they wrongly considered it less perfect than their own. He has elsewhere remarked upon the unseemly inconsistency of Prince George of Denmark, who voted in the House of Lords against occasional Conformity, but was himself in every sense of the word an occasional Conformist, keeping up a Lutheran service, but sometimes receiving the Sacrament according to the English rites.
There were of course many men of extreme views on either side to whom, if there had been no such thing as a Test Act, the practice of occasional conformity was a sign of laxity, wholly to be condemned. It was indifference, they said, lukewarmness, neutrality; it was involving the orthodox in the guilt of heresy; it was a self-proclaimed confession of the sin of needless schism. Sacheverell, in his famous sermon, raved against it as an admission of a Trojan horse, big with arms and ruin, into the holy city. It was the persistent effort of false brethren to carry the conventicle into the Church, or the Church into the conventicle. 'What could not be gained by comprehension and toleration must be brought about by moderation and occasional conformity; that is, what they could not do by open violence, they will not fail by secret treachery to accomplish.' Much in the same way, there were Dissenters who would as soon hear the mass as the Liturgy, who would as willingly bow themselves in the house of Rimmon as conform for an hour to the usages of the English Church; and who, 'if you ask them their exceptions at the Book, thank God they never looked at it.' By a decree of the Baptist conference in 1689, repeated in 1742, persons who on any pretext received the Sacrament in a parish church were to be at once excommunicated.
But, had it not been for the provisions of the Test Act, extreme views on the subject would have received little attention, and the counsels of men like Baxter, Bates, and Calamy would have gained a far deeper, if not a wider, hold on the minds of all moderate Nonconformists. The practice in question did, in fact, point towards a comprehension of which the Liberal Churchmen of the time had as yet no idea, but one which might have been based on far sounder principles than any of the schemes which had hitherto been conceived. Under kindlier auspices it might have matured into a system of auxiliary societies affiliated into the National Church, through which persons, who approved in a general way of the doctrine and order of the Prayer Book and Articles, but to whom a different form of worship was more edifying or attractive, might be retained by a looser tie within the established communion. A comprehension of this kind suggests difficulties, but certainly they are not insurmountable. It is the only apparent mode by which High Anglicans, and those who would otherwise be Dissenters, can work together harmoniously, but without suggestion of compromise, as brother Churchmen. And in a great Church there should be abundant room for societies thus incorporated into it, and functions for them to fulfil, not less important than those which they have accomplished at the heavy cost of so much disunion, bitterness, and waste of power. If, at the opening of the eighteenth century, the test had been abolished, and occasional conformity, as practised by such men as Baxter and Bates, instead of being opposed, had been cordially welcomed, and its principles developed, the English Church might have turned to a noble purpose the popularity it enjoyed.
A chapter dealing in any way with Latitudinarianism in the last century would be incomplete if some mention were not made of discussions which, without reference to the removal of Nonconformist scruples, related nevertheless to the general question of the revision of Church formularies. Even if the Liturgy had been far less perfect than it is, and if abuses in the English Church and causes for complaint had been far more flagrant than they were, there would have been little inclination, under the rule of Walpole and his successors, to meddle with prescribed customs. Waterland, in one of his treatises against Clarke, compared perpetual reforming to living on physic. The comparison is apt. But it was rather the fault of his age to trust overmuch to the healing power of nature, and not to apply medicine even where it was really needed. There was very little ecclesiastical legislation in the eighteenth century, except such as was directed at first to the imposition, and afterwards to the tardy removal or abatement, of disabilities upon Roman Catholics and Dissenters. Statesmen dreaded nothing much more than 'a Church clamour.' Their dread was in a great measure justified by the passions which had been excited in the times of the Sacheverell and Church in Danger cries, and by the unreasoning intolerance which broke furiously out afresh when the Bill for naturalising Jews was brought forward in 1753, and when relief to Roman Catholics was proposed in 1778. At the end of the century the panic excited by the French Revolution was an effectual bar against anything that partook in any degree of the nature of innovation. Throughout the whole of the period very little was done, except in improvement of the marriage laws, even to check practices which brought scandal upon the Church or did it evident injury; next to nothing was done with a serious and anxious purpose of promoting its efficiency and extending its popularity. The best considered plans of revision and reform would have found but small favour. It was not without much regret that the Low or Latitudinarian party gave up all hope of procuring any of those alterations in the Prayer Book for which they had laboured so earnestly in the reign of William III. Or rather, they did not entirely give up the hope, but gradually ceased to consider the subject as any longer a practical one. After them the advocacy of such schemes was chiefly left to men who suffered more or less under the imputation of heterodoxy. This, of course, still further discredited the idea of revision, and gave a strong handle to those who were opposed to it. It became easy to set down as Deists or Arians all who suggested alterations in the established order. The 'Free and Candid Disquisitions,' published in 1749 by John Jones, Vicar of Alconbury, did something towards reviving interest in the question. It was mainly a compilation of opinions advanced by eminent divines, past and living, in favour of revising the Liturgy, and making certain omissions and emendations in it. Introductory essays were prefixed. The book was addressed to 'the Governing Bodies of Church and State,' more immediately to the two Houses of Convocation, and commended itself by the modest and generally judicious spirit in which it was written. Warburton wrote to Doddridge that he thought the 'Disquisitions' very edifying and exemplary. 'I wish,' he added, 'success to them as much as you can do.' Some of the bishops would gladly have taken up some such design, and have done their best to further its success. But there was no prospect whatever of anything being done. It was evident that the prevailing disposition was to allow that there were improvements which might and ought to be made, but that all attempts to carry them out should be deferred to some more opportune season, when minds were more tranquil and the Church more united. The effect of the 'Disquisitions' was also seriously injured by the warm advocacy they received from Blackburne and others, who were anxious for far greater changes than any which were then proposed. Blackburne, in the violence of his Protestantism, insisted that in the Reformed Church of England there ought not to be 'one circumstance in her constitution borrowed from the Creeds, Ritual, and Ordinaries of the Popish system.' A little of the same tendency may be discovered in the proposals put forward in the Disquisitions. In truth, in the eighteenth, as in the seventeenth century, there was always some just cause for fear that a work of revision, however desirable in itself, might be marred by some unworthy concessions to a timid and ignorant Protestantism.
Revision of the Liturgy, although occasionally discussed, cannot be said to have been an eighteenth-century question. Subscription, on the other hand, as required by law to the Thirty-nine Articles, received a great deal of anxious attention. This was quite inevitable. Much had been said and written on the subject in the two previous centuries; but until law, or usage so well established and so well understood as to take the place of law, had interpreted with sufficient plainness the force and meaning of subscription, the subject was necessarily encompassed with much uneasiness and perplexity. Through a material alteration in the law of the English Church, the consciences of the clergy have at last been relieved of what could scarcely fail to be a stumbling-block. By an Act passed by Parliament in 1865, and confirmed by both Houses of Convocation, an important change was made in the wording of the declaration required. Before that time the subscriber had to 'acknowledge all and every the Articles ... to be agreeable to the word of God.' He now has to assent to the Articles, the Book of Common Prayer, and of the ordering of priests and deacons, and to believe the doctrine therein set forth to be agreeable to the Word of God. The omission of the 'all and every,' and the insertion of the word 'doctrine' in the singular, constituted a substantial improvement, as distinctly recognising that general adhesion and that liberty of criticism, which had long been practically admitted, and in fact authorised, by competent legal decisions, but which scarcely seemed warranted by the wording of the subscription.
Dr. Jortin, in a treatise which he published about the middle of the last century, summed up under four heads the different opinions which, in his time, were entertained upon the subject. 'Subscription,' he said, 'to the Articles, Liturgy, &c., in a rigid sense, is a consent to them all in general, and to every proposition contained in them; according to the intention of the compiler, when that can be known, and according to the obvious usual signification of the words. Subscription, in a second sense, is a consent to them in a meaning which is not always consistent with the intention of the compiler, nor with the more usual signification of the words; but is consistent with those passages of Scripture which the compiler had in view. Subscription, in a third sense, is an assent to them as to articles of peace and conformity, by which we so far submit to them as not to raise disturbances about them and set the people against them. Subscription, in a fourth sense, is an assent to them as far as they are consistent with the Scriptures and themselves, but no further. Jortin's classification might perhaps be improved and simplified; but it serves to indicate in how lax a sense subscription was accepted by some -- the more so, as it was sometimes, in the case, for instance, of younger undergraduates, evidently intended for a mere declaration of churchmanship -- and how oppressive it must have been to the minds and consciences of others. From the very first this ambiguity had existed. There can, indeed, be no doubt that the original composers of the Articles cherished the vain hope of 'avoiding of diversities of opinion,' and intended them all to be understood in one plain literal sense. Yet, in the prefatory declaration, His Majesty 'takes comfort that even in those curious points in which the present differences lie, men of all sorts take the Articles of the Church of England to be for them,' even while he adds the strangely illogical inference that 'therefore' no man is to put his own sense or meaning upon any of them.
Those who insisted upon a stringent and literal interpretation of the Articles were able to use language which, whatever might be the error involved in it, could not fail to impress a grave sense of responsibility upon every truthful and honourable man who might be called upon, to give his assent to them. 'The prevarication,' said Waterland, 'of subscribing to forms which men believe not according to the true and proper sense of words, and the known intent of imposers and compilers, and the subtleties invented to defend or palliate such gross insincerity, will be little else than disguised atheism.' Winston, and other writers, such as Dr. Conybeare, Dean Tucker, and others, spoke scarcely less strongly. It is evident, too, that where subscription was necessary for admission to temporal endowments and Church preferment, the candidate was more than ever bound to examine closely into the sincerity of his act.
But the answer of those who claimed a greater latitude of interpretation was obvious. 'They,' said Paley, 'who contend that nothing less can justify subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles than the actual belief of each and every separate proposition contained in them must suppose the Legislature expected the consent of ten thousand men, and that in perpetual succession, not to one controverted position, but to many hundreds. It is difficult to conceive how this could be expected by any who observed the incurable diversity of human opinions upon all subjects short of demonstration.' Subscription on such terms would not only produce total extinction of anything like independent thought, it would become difficult to understand how any rational being could subscribe at all. Practically, those who took the more stringent view acted for the most part on much the same principles as those whom they accused of laxity. They each interpreted the Articles according to their own construction of them. Only the one insisted that the compilers of them were of their mind; the others simply argued that theirs was a lawful and allowable interpretation. Bishop Tomline expressed himself in much the same terms as Waterland had done; but was indignantly asked how, in his well-known treatise, he could possibly impose an altogether anti-Calvinistic sense upon the Articles without violation of their grammatical meaning, and without encouraging what the Calvinists of the day called 'the general present prevarication.' A moderate Latitudinarianism in regard of subscription was after all more candid, as it certainly was more rational. Nor was there any lack of distinguished authority to support it. 'For the Church of England,' said Chillingworth, 'I am persuaded that the constant doctrine of it is so pure and orthodox, that whosoever believes it, and lives according to it, undoubtedly he shall be saved, and that there is no error in it which may necessitate or warrant any man to disturb the peace or renounce the communion of it. This, in my opinion, is all intended by subscription.' Bramhall, Stillingfleet, Sanderson, Patrick, Fowler, Laud, Tillotson, Chief Justice King, Baxter, and other eminent men of different schools of thought, were on this point more or less agreed with Chillingworth. Moreover, the very freedom of criticism which such great divines as Jeremy Taylor had exercised without thought of censure, and the earnest vindication, frequent among all Protestants, of the rights of the individual judgment, were standing proofs that subscription had not been generally considered the oppressive bondage which some were fain to make it.
Nevertheless, the position maintained by Waterland, by Whiston, by Blackburne, and by some of the more ardent Calvinists, was strong, and felt to be so. In appearance, if not in reality, there was clearly something equivocal, some appearance of casuistry and reserve, if not of insincerity, in subscribing to formularies, part of which were no longer accepted in the spirit in which they had been drawn up, and with the meaning they had been originally intended to bear. The Deistical and Arian controversies of the eighteenth century threw these considerations into more than usual prominence. Since the time of Laud, Arminian had been so generally substituted for Calvinistical tenets in the Church of England, that few persons would have challenged the right of subscribing the Articles with a very different construction from that which they wore when the influence of Bucer and Peter Martyr was predominant, or even when Hales and Ward, and their fellow Calvinists, attended in behalf of England at the Synod of Dort. On this point, at all events, it was quite unmistakable that the Articles (as Hoadly said) were by public authority allowed a latitude of interpretation. But it was not quite easy to see where the bounds of this latitude were to be drawn, unless they were to be left to the individual conscience. And it was a latitude which had become open to abuse in a new and formidable way. Open or suspected Deists and Arians were known to have signed the Articles on the ground of general conformity to the English Church. No one knew how far revealed religion might be undermined, or attacked under a masked battery, by concealed and unsuspected enemies. The danger that Deists, in any proper sense of the word, might take English orders appears to have been quite overrated. No disbeliever in Revelation, unless guilty of an insincerity which precautions were powerless to guard against, could give his allegiance to the English liturgy. But Arian subscription had become a familiar name; and a strong feeling arose that a clearer understanding should be come to as to what acceptance of Church formularies implied. In another chapter of this work the subject has come under notice in its relation to those who held, or were supposed to hold, heretical opinions upon the doctrine of the Trinity. The remarks, therefore, here made need only be concerned with the uneasiness that was awakened in reference to subscription generally. The society which was instituted at the Feathers Tavern, to agitate for the abolition of subscription, in favour of a simple acknowledgment of belief in Scripture, and which petitioned Parliament to this effect in 1772, was a very mixed company. Undoubtedly there were many Deists, Socinians, and Arians in it. But it also numbered in its list many thoroughly orthodox clergymen, and would have numbered many more, had it not been for the natural objection which they felt at being associated, in such a connection, with men whose views they greatly disapproved of. Archdeacon Blackburne himself, the great promoter of it, held no heretical opinions on the subject of the Trinity. There was a great deal in the doctrine, discipline, and ritual of the Church of England which he thought exceptionable, but his objections seem to have been entirely those which were commonly brought forward by ultra-Protestants. His vehement opposition to subscription rested on wholly general grounds. He could not, he said, accept the view that the Articles could be signed with a latitude of interpretation or as articles of peace. They were evidently meant to be received in one strictly literal sense. This, no Church had a right to impose upon any of its members; it was wholly wrong to attempt to settle religion once for all in an uncontrollable form. The petition, however, had not the smallest chance of success. The Evangelicals -- a body fast rising in numbers and activity -- and the Methodists were strongly opposed. So were all the High Churchmen; so also were a great number of the Latitudinarians. Dr. Balguy, for instance, after the example of Hoadly, while he strongly insisted that the laws of the Church and realm most fully warranted a broad construction of the meaning of the Articles, was entirely opposed to the abolition of subscription. It would, he feared, seriously affect the constitution of the National Church. The Bill was thrown out in three successive years by immense majorities. After the third defeat Dr. Jebb, Theophilus Lindsey, and some other clergymen seceded to the Unitarians. The language of the earlier Articles admits of no interpretation by which Unitarians, in any proper sense of the word, could with any honesty hold their place in the English Communion.
Thus the attempt to abolish subscription failed, and under circumstances which showed that the Church had escaped a serious danger. But the difficulty which had led many orthodox clergymen to join, not without risk of obloquy, in the petition remained untouched. It was, in fact, aggravated rather than not; for 'Arian subscription' had naturally induced a disposition, strongly expressed in some Parliamentary speeches, to reflect injuriously upon that reasonable and allowed latitude of construction without which the Reformed Church of England would in every generation have lost some of its best and ablest men. Some, therefore, were anxious that the articles and Liturgy should be revised; and a petition to this effect was presented in 1772 to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Among the other names attached to it appears that of Beilby Porteus, afterwards Bishop of London and a principal supporter of the Evangelical party. Some proposed that the 'orthodox Articles' only -- by which they meant those that relate to the primary doctrines of the Christian creed -- should be subscribed to; some thought that it would be sufficient to require of the clergy only an unequivocal assent to the Book of Common Prayer. It seems strange that while abolition of subscription was proposed by some, revision of the Articles by others, no one, so far as it appears, proposed the more obvious alternative of modifying the wording of the terms in which subscription was made. But nothing of any kind was done. The bishops, upon consultation, thought it advisable to leave matters alone. They may have been right. But, throughout the greater part of the century, leaving alone was too much the wisdom of the leaders and rulers of the English Church.
In all the course of its long history, before and after the Reformation, the National Church of England has never, perhaps, occupied so peculiarly isolated a place in Christendom as at the extreme end of the last century and through the earlier years of the present one. At one or another period it may have been more jealous of foreign influence, more violently antagonistic to Roman Catholics, more intolerant of Dissent, more wedded to uniformity in doctrine and discipline. But at no one time had it stood, as a Church, so distinctly apart from all other Communions. If the events of the French Revolution had slightly mitigated the antipathy to Roman Catholicism, there was still not the very slightest approximation to it on the part of the highest Anglicans, if any such continued to exist. The Eastern Church, after attracting a faint curiosity through the overtures of the later Nonjurors, was as wholly unknown and unthought of as though it had been an insignificant sect in the furthest wilds of Muscovy. All communications with the foreign Protestant Churches had ceased. It had beheld, after the death of Wesley, almost the last links severed between itself and Methodism. It had become separated from Dissenters generally by a wider interval. Its attitude towards them was becoming less intolerant, but more chilled and exclusive. The Evangelicals combined to some extent with Nonconformists, and often met on the same platforms. But there was no longer anything like the friendly intercourse which had existed in the beginning and in the middle of last century between the bishops and clergy of the 'moderate' party in the Church on the one hand, and the principal Nonconformist ministers on the other. Comprehension -- until the time of Dr. Arnold -- was no longer discussed. Occasional conformity had in long past time received the blow which deprived it of importance. Again, the Church of England was still almost confined, except by its missions, within the limits of the four seas. Pananglicanism was a term yet to be invented. The Colonial empire was still in its infancy, and its Church in tutelage. There was a sister Church in the United States. But the wounds inflicted in the late war were scarcely staunched; and the time had not arrived to speak of cordiality, or of community of Church interests. It was from Scottish, not from English hands, that America received her first bishop.
Perhaps, in the order of that far-reaching Providence which is traced in the history of Churches as of States, it may, after all, have been well that, in the century under our review, the somewhat sluggish stream of life which circulated in the English Church had not sought out for itself any new channels. A more diffusive activity might be reserved to it for better times. In the eighteenth century there would always have been cause for fear that, in seeking to embrace more, it might lose some valuable part of what it already had, and which, once lost, it might not be easy to recover. There were many to whom 'moderation' would have been another word for compromise; and who, not so much in the interests of true unity as for the sake of tranquil days, would have made concessions which a later age would regret in vain. Moreover, the Churchmen of that period had a great work before them of consolidation, and of examination of fundamental principles. They did not do that part of their work amiss. Possibly they might have done it not so well, had their energies been less concentrated on the special task which employed their intellects -- if they had been called upon to turn their attention to important changes in the ecclesiastical polity, or to new schemes of Church extension. Faults, blunders, shortcomings, are not to be excused by unforeseen good ultimately involved in them; yet it is, at all events, an allowable and pleasant thing to consider whether good may not have resulted in the end. Throughout the eighteenth century the principles of the Church of England were retained, if sometimes inactive, yet at least intact, ready for development and expansion, if ever the time should come. Already, at the end of the century, our National Church was teeming with the promise of a new or reinvigorated life. The time for greater union, in which this Church may have a great part to do, and for increased comprehensiveness, may, in our day, be ripening towards maturity. Even now there is little fear that in any changes and improvements which might be made, the English Church would relax its hold either on primitive and Catholic uses, or on that precious inheritance of liberty which was secured at the Reformation. There may be difficulties, too great to be overcome, in the way either of Church revision or Church comprehension; but if they should be achieved, their true principles would be better understood than ever they were in the days of Tillotson and Calamy, or of Secker and Doddridge.
[Footnote 301: Alison's Life of Marlborough, i.199. Seward's Anecdotes, ii.271. Jortin's Tracts, ii.43. E. Savage's Poems, 'The Character,' &c.]
[Footnote 302: Spectator, No.116.]
[Footnote 303: Nelson's Life of Bull, 329-30.]
[Footnote 304: Mosheim's Church History, Maclaine's edition, vol. v. 'Letter of Beauvoir to Wake,' December 11, 1717, Ap.2, No.2, p.147.]
[Footnote 305: Id. Dupin to Wake, February 11.1718. 'Unum addam, cum bona venia tua, me vehementer optare, ut unionis inter ecclesias Anglicanam et Gallicam via aliqua inveniri possit,' &c.]
[Footnote 306: Wake to Dupin, October 1, 1718. Id.134, 152, 156.]
[Footnote 307: Wake to Dupin, October 1, 1718, Ap.3, No.8, p.158.]
[Footnote 308: De Maistre: Considerations sur la France, chap. ii. p.30.]
[Footnote 309: April, 1719. Mosheim, v.169. Ap.3, No.19.]
[Footnote 310: Ap.8, 1719. Id.171-3, Ap.3, No.20.]
[Footnote 311: Maclaine's edition of Mosheim, v.143.]
[Footnote 312: Quarterly Review, 89, 475.]
[Footnote 313: Id.]
[Footnote 314: Berkeley's Life and Works, ed. A.C. Fraser, iv.243.]
[Footnote 315: Life and Works, iv.321.]
[Footnote 316: Boswell's Johnson, ii.154, 104.]
[Footnote 317: Sermon, January 30, 1793.]
[Footnote 318: Burnet's Life and Works, 420.]
[Footnote 319: State and Fate of the Protestant Religion, 1682, 3.]
[Footnote 320: Endeavour for Peace, &c.1680, 15.]
[Footnote 321: Froude's History of England, ii.405.]
[Footnote 322: Hallam's Constitutional History, i.172, note.]
[Footnote 323: Burnet's History of His Own Times, 51.]
[Footnote 324: Hallam's Constitutional History, i.171.]
[Footnote 325: Life of Archbishop Sharp, vol. ii.186, App.2.]
[Footnote 326: Hallam's Constitutional History, i.102.]
[Footnote 327: Perry, G.G., History of the Church of England, i.453.]
[Footnote 328: De Foe's True-born Englishman (Ed. Chalmers' series), vol. xx.19.]
[Footnote 329: Hallam's Constitutional History, iii.55.]
[Footnote 330: Life of Bishop Ken, by a Layman, 319-27.]
[Footnote 331: Life of Rainbow, 1688. Quoted in id.326.]
[Footnote 332: Fleetwood's Works, 483.]
[Footnote 333: Birch's 'Life of Tillotson.' -- Works, i. xciv.]
[Footnote 334: Birch's 'Life of Tillotson.' -- Works, i. cxxxv.]
[Footnote 335: J.J. Blunt's Early Fathers, 20.]
[Footnote 336: Ralph Thoresby, Diary, ii.22.]
[Footnote 337: The full history of this correspondence is given in the Life of Archbishop Sharp, ed. Newcomb, i.410-49.]
[Footnote 338: Works, 368.]
[Footnote 339: Life and Times, ii.368, 482.]
[Footnote 340: Life of Ken, by a Layman, 330.]
[Footnote 341: Mahon's History of England, chap. xxxi.]
[Footnote 342: Endeavour for Peace, &c. 1680, 20.]
[Footnote 343: Irenicum. Hunt, ii.136. Endeavour &c., 22-7.]
[Footnote 344: Burnet's Own Times, 528. Birch's Life of Tillotson, cix. Life of Ken, by a Layman, 501. Hunt, Religious Thought, ii.70.]
[Footnote 345: Macaulay's History of England, chap. xiv.]
[Footnote 346: Skeats, 147.]
[Footnote 347: Id.166.]
[Footnote 348: Hallam's Constitutional History of England, ii.317. Hunt, Religious Thought in England, i.213.]
[Footnote 349: Hunt, Religions Thought in England, ii.22.]
[Footnote 350: Skeats' History of the Free Churches, 147.]
[Footnote 351: Calamy's Baxter, 655 (quoted by Skeats), 149. Thoresby's Diary, 399.]
[Footnote 352: Skeats, 158-65.]
[Footnote 353: Id.186.]
[Footnote 354: Wall's Dissuasive from Schism, 477.]
[Footnote 355: Tombs against Marshall, p.31, quoted by Wall.]
[Footnote 356: Nelson's Life of Bull, 240, 260.]
[Footnote 357: Birch's Tillotson, ccvii. Leslie's Works, ii.533-600, &c.]
[Footnote 358: Leslie, ii.659.]
[Footnote 359: Chillingworth's Works, vol. i. Preface, Sec.9.]
[Footnote 360: The Principles of the Reformation concerning Church Communion, 1704.]
[Footnote 361: An Apology for the Parliament, &c., 1697, part i.]
[Footnote 362: Leslie's Works, ii.656.]
[Footnote 363: Dr. Arnold, Principles of Church Reform, 285.]
[Footnote 364: Birch's Life of Tillotson, ccxxvii.]
[Footnote 365: Burnet's Four Discourses to the Clergy of Sarum, 1694, Pref. v.]
[Footnote 366: Skeats, 185.]
[Footnote 367: R. South's Sermons, vol. iv.174-95.]
[Footnote 368: Sermon of November 5, 1709. Hunt, 3, 12.]
[Footnote 369: Works, vol.8, 264.]
[Footnote 370: South's Sermons, iv.227.]
[Footnote 371: Burnet's Own Times, 751. Hoadly's Works, i.24]
[Footnote 372: A Brief Defence of the Church, 1706.]
[Footnote 373: Id.]
[Footnote 374: Id.]
[Footnote 375: Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History (Maclaine's Trans.), 5, 95.]
[Footnote 376: Hunt, 3, 247.]
[Footnote 377: Doddridge's Works, iv.503-4.]
[Footnote 378: Doddridge's Correspondence, v.167. Perry's Church History, 3, 377.]
[Footnote 379: Lord Mahon's History, chap.31.]
[Footnote 380: 'Answer to Bailey,' 1750, -- Works, vol. ix.83.]
[Footnote 381: Corner's History of Protestant Theology, ii.204-6. Rose's Protestantism in Germany, 46-9. A.S. Farrer's History of Religious Thought, note 17, p.600. M.J. Matter's Histoire de Christianisme, 4, 346.]
[Footnote 382: Matter's Histoire de Christianisme, 4, 368.]
[Footnote 383: T. Rowan's Life and Letters of Schleiermacher, i.30.]
[Footnote 384: 'Remarks on the Defence to Aspasio,' &c., 1766, -- Works, 10, 351.]
[Footnote 385: Idem.]
[Footnote 386: Wesley's 'Answer to Lavington,' -- Works, vol. ix.3.]
[Footnote 387: Seward's 'Journal,' 45, quoted by Lavington. Enthusiasm of Methodists and Papists Compared, 11.]
[Footnote 388: Seward's 'Journal,' 62. Lavington, Id.]
[Footnote 389: Seward's Anecdotes, vol. ii. (ed.1798), 437.]
[Footnote 390: Calamy's Life and Times, i.404. Perry's History of the Church of England, 3, 145.]
[Footnote 391: Calamy, i.465. Skeats' History of the Free Churches, 187.]
[Footnote 392: Calamy, i.465.]
[Footnote 393: Burnet's History of his Own Times, 721.]
[Footnote 394: Hoadly, 'Letter to a Clergyman,' &c. -- Works, i.19.]
[Footnote 395: Calamy, ii.243.]
[Footnote 396: Guardian, No.41.]
[Footnote 397: Spectator, No.269.]
[Footnote 398: Hoadly, 'Reasonableness of Conformity.' -- Works, i.284.]
[Footnote 399: 'Letter to a Clergyman,' &c. -- Works, i.30.]
[Footnote 400: Matthew Henry, in Thoresby's Correspondence, i.438.]
[Footnote 401: Speech in the House of Lords, 1704.]
[Footnote 402: Burnet's Life and Times, 741.]
[Footnote 403: Ibid.721.]
[Footnote 404: At this date, as White Kennet's biographer remarks, 'the name of Presbyterian was liberally bestowed on one of the archbishops, on several of the most exemplary bishops, as well as on great numbers among the interior clergy.' -- Life of Kennet, 102.]
[Footnote 405: Sermon before the Lord Mayor, &c. November 5, 1709.]
[Footnote 406: The Church of England free from the Imputation of Popery, 1683.]
[Footnote 407: Skeats' History of the Free Churches, 160.]
[Footnote 408: Id.346.]
[Footnote 409: Horace Walpole's Memoirs, &c.366.]
[Footnote 410: They are carefully summarised in a series of papers in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1750, vols. xix and xx. It is clear from the correspondence on the subject how much interest they aroused. -- See also Nichols' Lit. An., vol.3.]
[Footnote 411: Hunt's Religious Thought in England, iii.300.]
[Footnote 412: Blackburne's Historical View, &c., Introduction, xx.]
[Footnote 413: Canon 36, Sec.3.]
[Footnote 414: 'Strictures on the Articles, Subscriptions, &c.,' Jortin's Tracts, ii.417.]
[Footnote 415: Quoted in The Church of England Vindicated, &c., 1801, p.2.]
[Footnote 416: Whiston's Life of Clarke, &c., 11, 40; Memoirs, 157, &c.]
[Footnote 417: Hunt's Religious Thought in England, 3, 305.]
[Footnote 418: Id.312.]
[Footnote 419: Paley's Moral and Political Philosophy, chap. xxii.]
[Footnote 420: Mr. Buxton, Parl. Speech, June 21, 1865.]
[Footnote 421: Church of England Vindicated, &c., 52, 161.]
[Footnote 422: Works, vol. i.35.]
[Footnote 423: Quoted in Jortin's Tracts, ii.423, and Hunt's Religious Thought in England, ii.25.]
[Footnote 424: Quoted in Malone's note to Boswell's Johnson, ii.104.]
[Footnote 425: Review of Maizeaux' 'Life of Chillingworth,' Guardian, November 30, 1864.]
[Footnote 426: 'Sense of the Articles,' &c. Works, vol. xv., 528-33. 'Moral Prognostication,' &c. id. xv., 440.]
[Footnote 427: Answer to Rep. of Con. chap. i. Sec.20. -- Works, ii.534.]
[Footnote 428: Blackburne's Historical View, Introd. xxxix.]
[Footnote 429: H. Walpole, Memoirs of the Reign of George III. (Doran), i.7, 8.]
[Footnote 430: Consideration of the Present State of Religion, &c.1801, 11.]
* * * * *