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Common Prayer. Another declaration | his own free will, there could be no posmade by a newly-inducted minister was, sible hardship in calling upon him to dethat he would act in conformity with the clare his adherence to the doctrines which rubric in reading the services on Sun- it was one of the duties of his profession days, and on certain other days. Now, to inculcate. The noble Lord had three it was perfectly possible for a clergyman times brought the question of a reform to act formally in accordance with that in our liturgy before their Lordships, pledge without really believing or in his and, on the last occasion, had almost doctrine upholding the Book of Common stood alone. Since then the noble Lord Prayer. The real question involved in the had placed two Bills on their Lordships' noble Lord's statement appeared to him to table, with regard to one of which, he had be, Whether any profession of faith on no hesitation in saying, had it become the the part of the clergy of the Established law of the land, it would have produced Church was necessary or not? That a nothing but schism in every parish in the profession and declaration of faith was kingdom. For this reason he thought their considered necessary was evidenced by the Lordships were bound to look with great history of the early Church, and they also care at the measure which the noble Lord had in the Holy Scriptures the declaration proposed. He could not but hope that that such a profession was required. With their Lordships would reject the Bill. He these precedents, it was unnecessary for looked on it as one productive of nothing him to say more on this point. The objec- but evil, and the forerunner of greater and tion urged against this profession seemed to even more dangerous innovations. Ile be this, that it fettered the ministers of the felt, as a Churchman, that he was bound Church, and imposed a chain on Christian to oppose this measure, believing conscienlabour. But surely it would be admitted tiously that some restriction ought to be that society could not be carried on without put on those who sought to become memcertain restrictions being placed upon its bers of the Established Church as minismembers; and how could the Church ters of the Gospel. He could not allow to continue, unless the duties of her minis- those gentlemen that latitude which he did ters and their obligations were defined not begrudge to the Dissenters; and so and limited by some such rules as these? long as he was spared, and had a seat in It appeared to him that the question re- their Lordships' House, he would resist solved itself into this-was it right, or not any attempt at innovation on the rules and right, that the people at large should know ordinances of the Church. It was perin what manner the ministers of religion fectly idle to say, that because the Church were restricted in respect of the doctrines was strong in the affections of the people which they promulgated? Was it neces- these restrictions should be withdrawn. sary, or not, that the congregations should That the Church was strong was owing know that the clergyman had acknow- to the fact that her bishops and her ledged his belief in the doctrines which clergy had done their duty; and it must he formally taught? Undoubtedly, if it be remembered that this declaration of were supposed that the minister did not faith had been made by the greatest orbelieve in the doctrines he taught, and naments that ever existed within its pale. did not in his heart confirm the Prayer But, strong as the Church was in the affecBook he read to them, his influence with tions of the people, it had yet insidious his congregation would be very greatly enemies within it-witness the Essays and diminished. If their Lordships looked at Reviews, the publication of which, emanatthe state of the German Protestant Church, ing as they did from ordained ministers of they would find that the latitude allowed our Church, those moreover intrusted with in it had given rise to serious and never- the education of the youth of the country, ending dissensions. Was this, he would afforded no unreasonable ground for alarm; ask, the time when the Church ought and it was, on that very ground, more into relax in its rules and discipline? For, cumbent on their Lordships not to admit although he believed that the Church any innovations which might give an adreigned pre-eminent in the affections of vantage to their attacks. For these reathe country, there were reasons why they sons he must give his strenuous opposition should be careful not to do anything tend- to the Bill now before the House. He ing to impair its efficiency. Moreover, gave the noble Lord credit for the most no one was compelled to enter into holy pure and conscientious intentions, but beorders; therefore, when a man did so of lieved his views on this matter were fear
Amendment moved, to leave out “ now," and insert" this day six months."
was the gravity of the subject that he ventured to urge the noble Lord not to divide the House on the present occasion. The noble Lord had said that no petitions had been presented against his proposal; but that might be accounted for by the fact that it was not known throughout the country, for it was only a week ago that he (the Bishop of London) had been able to obtain a copy of the Bill. Two other Bills, which professed to have a similar object, had been introduced in the course of the Session; but this Bill was of a very different character-it was very important because it had much in it that was good, and at the same time it touched on very delicate ground. He did not think, therefore, that during the week which had elapsed since the Bill was printed the country had had a sufficient opportunity THE BISHOP OF LONDON said, he ven- of considering what would be its probable tured to present himself to their Lord- effects. It seemed to him that their Lordships, because in this matter he felt that ships and the country should have more he, in some respects, differed from many time for consideration before they pledged of those with whom on all matters of im- themselves to a decision on so important portance he should desire always to concur. a matter. A few petitions had been preHe confessed himself obliged to the noble sented on the other side, but they were Lord the proposer of the Bill, not only from persons with whom the noble Lord for the temperate way in which he had co-operated. There was one very imintroduced it to their Lordships, but for portant principle which seemed to be the distinct form in which his propo- embodied in the remarks of the noble sitions were stated. The noble Lord had Lord-namely, that persons ought not to reduced his attempts on this subject to make solemn declarations which did not very simple points; but these points, how- perfectly express in their plain and obever small and simple they might appear, vious sense the sentiments of those who were of very great and grave importance. were called upon to make them. No He thought it a very serious thing, to doubt, when they received old forms of tamper with an Act of Parliament which subscription prepared in days of controhad existed now for 200 years, notwith-versy long past, they must take them in standing the attempts made at different their general sense as honest men rather times to subvert it. An attempt of that than in their strict grammatical sense; kind was made only twenty-five years but still they were always glad when there after the time when it was originally was not a single syllable which did not adopted; but it passed safely through exactly express the conscientious views of the epoch of the Great Revolution, when the men who were to be bound by them. many were desirous to conciliate as much Far be it from him to say that there were as possible the Protestant Dissenters. any clergymen in the Church of England He considered, likewise, that it was a who did not unfeignedly assent to the Book very grave matter indeed, when they re- of Common Prayer. He was convinced that garded this Act as not only a time-ho- those who found a difficulty in signing that noured Act, but as partaking of the cha- declaration would very generally find an racter of a charter by which the Church equal difficulty in using the prayers which and State were united. Therefore he felt that declaration prescribed. But they gratitude, he repeated, for the plain and were not to judge of men's consciences distinct manner in which the proposed as if all were alike, and he had no doubt alterations had been introduced to their of the truth of what the noble Lord had Lordships, and it was with great pain and stated, that there were many excellent hesitation that he differed from several men who had been tormented by scruples of those whom in a matter of this kind he with regard to the words of the existing should desire always to follow. So great declaration-men whom they would desire Viscount Dungannon
fully erroneous and mistaken. If such innovations were to be allowed, there would soon be an end to the Established Church in this country, for how could it flourish without discipline and without government? Such a measure as the present would annihilate Church discipline and Church government; and without them how was it possible that the Established Church could continue to be, as it now was, a visible society? He hoped their Lordships would on this, as they had on other occasions, prove themselves the true guardians of the interests of the Church, and of its liturgy and admirable formulas. He would move, as an Amendment, that the Bill be read a second time that day six months.
to retain in the Church of England, but who, from what appeared to him unnecessary scruples, had felt obliged to withdraw from her communion. He called those scruples unnecessary, because he thought that there was in this matter a fallacy into which the noble Lord and persons who had written on the subject had fallen. They were told that that declaration had been inserted in the Act of Uniformity for the distinct purpose of causing the Puritans to give up their livings; and no doubt it had that effect. But there was another clause in that Act which grated far more against their consciences-a clause which was removed in 1688-a clause to which he believed not one of their Lordships would have subscribed-that under no pretence whatsoever was it lawful for a Christian man to take up arms in defence of his liberty against the civil power. He believed that when Baxter and others gave up their livings they were influenced to some extent by the clause in question; but they were influenced to a far greater extent by the latter clause, which ac quiesced in would have made all their previous lives a lie. He thought that any man who calmly studied the history of the times would arrive at the conclusion that it was the two clauses united which had driven those men from their livings. It was generally stated that the proposal of the noble Lord would altogether change the subscription made by clergymen at their ordination. But one reason why he was disposed to give his approval to the proposal was that it would do nothing of the kind. He himself for twelve years had had to discharge responsible duties in the University of Oxford, and during that time he had never made this declaration. He believed there were instances of other right rev. Prelates who had never made it. Why, then, was every man instituted into a living called upon to make it? His approval of the proposal was grounded on this, that it put an end to a partial and foolish arrangement. The fact was, the declaration was not to be made at ordination, nor by persons in the Universities who were intrusted with grave duties; it was simply to be made by a man when taking possession of a benefice; and the distinction was probably accounted for by the fact that the persons who framed the Uniformity Act had principally in view to turn obnoxious persons out of their livings. The noble Lord, therefore, would scarcely relieve as many as he expected; and he either meant a
great deal more than he said, or he wished. for something which was scarcely worth taking. There were numerous other declarations, and why should a man who made them hesitate to make this one also? The Bill of the noble Lord, therefore, was chiefly important as enunciating an important principle that these declarations should be made as simple and as plain as possible. He had also enunciated the principle that their forms should be divested as speedily as possible of everything which would remind men of departed and painful controversy. Now, it was only two Sessions ago that their Lordships had agreed to expunge certain services which were painful to the feelings, because they reminded men of bitter discussions and controversies long past. It would therefore only be following up the same principle which had induced their Lordships to do away with those services, if they were to agree that this clause, so far as it was a memorial of a departed controversy, should also be abolished. He had heard it said that there was now more difficulty than formerly in inducing young men of talent to enter on holy orders. This was a more thoughtful age than many which had preceded it, and he was glad that young men took more time to consider before they made the declaration required. He should rejoice to simplify the forms of declaration in respect to such men; but they must not magnify the principle involved. His experience would not lead him to suppose that there was a gradual deterioration in the qualifications of the persons taking orders. His experience was that the young men whom he ordained this year and last year were superior in learning and attainments to those whom he had ordained five years ago. For his own part, he believed there never was a time when the Church of England held a more important place in the estimation of the country. The clergy were zealous in the discharge of their peculiar duties, and he doubted also whether there ever were more men of literary taste and sound thought who sought to enter the ministry than now. He believed that the same complaint was made in other professions. It was said the young men who entered the profession of the law, or gave themselves to political life, were not equal to their predecessors; and there was a general fear lest if those honoured names which had long been before the country were removed, they would find no worthy successors. He had no such
fears as to the clergy. He did not doubt, | abstained from addressing their Lordships that if himself and all his right rev. Brethren on the present occasion. But although he were removed to-morrow, there would be no fully agreed that more time ought to be want of properly-qualified men to fill their allowed, in order that public attention places. He saw nothing of this gradual should be drawn to this subject, still he deterioration, and he would advise the noble must own his mind was not in that state Lord not to lay too much stress on this of suspense and fluctuation with regard to argument. Whilst, therefore, it was quite the merits of the question which appeared right that they should endeavour to conci- to be the case with his right rev. Brother. liate the scruples of young men who were He therefore asked their Lordships' perdesirous of entering into holy orders, at mission to state how far he was prepared the same time they ought not to magnify to go along with the noble Lord who the importance of the change now under brought forward the measure, and at what consideration. With respect to the effect precise turning-point he felt compelled to of removing these declarations on the Dis- part company with him. He would first senters, he believed, that if not only the say that he not only gave the noble Lord declarations but also the Liturgy were the fullest credit for the purity and excelswept away, a good many Dissenters would lence of his intentions, but that he sympabe just as far from the Church of England thized with him in the general tenor of his as at present, because they announced observations. He sincerely deplored, in that the one vital question was the separa- common with the noble Lord and the mation of Church and State; and they would jority of the Christian world, the character continue to hold aloof from the Church so of the times which gave birth to the Act long as the clergy of the Establishment of Uniformity, and the spirit in which that accepted the hire and pay of the State. It act was framed. It must not, however, be was hopeless, therefore, to suppose that by forgotten that it was enacted at a period any concession of the kind now contempla- of very great excitement and reaction. ted it would be possible to conciliate these Still, he would remind their Lordships that persons, They, however, formed only it was not the substance of the declaration to small fraction of those who separated from which objection was made, but its phraseothe Church of England, and he was hope-logy and form, which might possibly offend ful enough to believe that a day would some tender consciences. Undoubtedly, come when a large portion of those who if their Lordships were now for the first now dissented from the Church of England time considering the form of declaration, would return to it, and be gathered within he should oppose the introduction of the its pale. He believed, that if the Church declaration now imposed. But this Bill acted not hastily, but ou mature considera- was grounded on a proposition to which tion, it might, without any sacrifice of he for one could not assent. He was reprinciple, gradually conciliate many who quired by the Bill to assert that of the two now kept at a distance from its services. declarations cited in the present Bill one The day might come when that great mis- was sufficient. It would thus be enough take which sent the whole Wesleyan body if a clergyman, on taking possession of any adrift from the Church of England might benefice, promised to conform to the Liturgy be remedied, and that this body, whose of the Church, instead of, as now, being great founder and leader was a minister of obliged to declare his assent and consent the Church, would return to strengthen the to everything contained in the Prayer Book. hands of the clergy. It might be said This declaration was a quite different one that he had spoken on both sides; but, as from that required to be made on admission he had been forced to express his opinion to holy orders; and though, if the declaraat so short a notice, their Lordships would, tion had to be prepared over again, he he trusted, forgive him for the manner in should not frame it in the same way, he which he had spoken. With regard to the could not admit that on such an occasion Bill, he trusted that his noble Friend as a clergyman taking charge of a parish would wait until the country had had an he should not be required to make some opportunity of fairly considering this profession of his adhesion to the Common question. Prayer book. If he were not required to make some such declaration, an external and mechanical conformity with the terms of the Liturgy would be all that would be obtained. He could not but think that
THE BISHOP OF ST. DAVID'S said, that if he could accept what had been said by his right rev. Brother as a full expression of his own sentiments, he should have The Bishop of London
the effect would be to give a Parliamentary | England while he held all Roman doeauthority to men conforming to rites and trine; and there were other similar cases doctrines which did not correspond with in that and in the opposite direction. their inward convictions. Therefore, how- It was true these cases were exceptional; ever much he might disapprove the terms but if all securities were abolished, they of the declaration, and might desire to see might cease to be exceptional. He also some modification introduced, he could not deprecated the initiation by Parliament of assent to the proposition of the noble Lord, measures directly or indirectly affecting which he thought would deal a heavy blow the doctrines of the Church of England, to the Church of England. He concurred and he thought that the present measure in the wish that had been expressed by did indirectly affect those doctrines. The his right rev. Brother, that the noble Lord Church had never been looked upon as would upon this occasion withdraw his Bill; liable to be dealt with by the civil Legisla but in giving utterance to that desire he ture without any voice on the part of the wished it to be understood that he did so, Church itself. In former times the voice not because he did not sympathize with of the clergy was heard in Convocation, the object, but because he believed that and the voice of the laity in Parliament; the form in which it was proposed to attain but Parliament could not be said now in any it would completely defeat that object. sense to represent the laity of the Church of England. He did not mean to say that Convocation was a satisfactory representation; but such as it was, it was the only representative, not only of the clergy, but of the Church. He did not desire to give that body greater executive power; but he thought that before any measure affecting the doctrines of the Church of England was proposed, it ought to be referred by the Crown to Convocation for their opinion, which opinion must necessarily carry much weight in the ultimate decision of Parliament.
LORD LYTTELTON said, that while he felt bound to oppose the Bill, he did not wish to be understood as holding that the present declaration might not be modified with advantage to the Church; for he was inclined to think that it was drawn up in terms somewhat too stringent. He might remark, in reference to that point, that the Royal declaration prefixed to the Articles of Religion in the Prayer Book required that all who accepted that important portion of the book should accept them in their usual and literal sense. But it was a fallacy to suppose that the usual was always the literal sense. No one could be bound to accept in every case the words of the Scriptures in their literal sense. He thought the Clergy ought not to be bound to adhere to the Prayer Book in any such way as to prevent them from consider. ing any amendment in its terms, the substance being adhered to; and therefore he was willing to consider whether a de-out seeing that principles and feelings claration from the clergy that they adhered were now at work which threatened, to the substance of the Prayer Book would sooner or later, to issue in something not be sufficient. But there was a wide very serious to the Church of England. gulf between those views and the views It was perfectly true that for a very long which had been advocated by the noble time past there never was a period when Lord who moved the second reading. The that Church stood so well as it did now noble Lord proposed, not a revision of the with the country, or in which it showed itAet of Uniformity, but the abolition self so active or was so safe. Nevertheless, of all securities to congregations that there were springing up around her dangers their clergy adhered to the Prayer Book. of great intensity and force, and which It might be said that a clergyman con- were pushed forward by persons of great forming outwardly to the Prayer Book zeal and intelligence. One of the greatest might be assumed to agree with it in sub- of those dangers, in his mind, was the stance; but such a matter was not to be demand for what was known by the name dealt with in the abstract, but according of liturgical revision; and unless someto the light of experience. Some years thing analogous to this proposal-he would ago a reverend gentleman claimed the right not say precisely this Bill-were adopted of remaining a minister of the Church of to satisfy tender consciences, he was con
THE EARL OF SHAFTESBURY said, he should deeply regret if this Motion were pressed to a division, because he knew the extreme delicacy and difficulty of this subject, and how little the clergy and the public were yet prepared for its decision. At the same time, it was impossible to have mixed much with the clerical, and what was called the religious world, with