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* Jesus Christ, which was given for thee, preserve thy body and • soul unto everlasting life.' In the second Prayerbook of Edward VI., when the Swiss influence had taken complete possession of the English Reformers, this clause was dropped, and in its place was substituted the words, “Take and eat
this in remembrance that Christ died for thee, and feed on · Him in thy heart by faith with thanksgiving.'. In the Prayerbook of Elizabeth, and no doubt by her desire, the two clauses were united, and so have remained ever since. • Excellently well done was it,' says an old Anglican divine,*
of Queen Elizabeth and her Reformers, to link both to'gether; for between the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist, and the Sacramental Commemoration of His Passion, there is so inseparable a league as subsist they cannot, except they consist. • Excellently well done was it, we may add, to leave this standing proof, in the very heart of our most solemn service, that the two views which have from the earliest times divided the Christian Church are compatible with joint Christian communion—so that in the Church of England at least Luther and Zwingli might feel themselves at one; that the Puritan Edward and the Roman Mary might, had they lived under the Latitudinarian though Lutheran Elizabeth, have thus far worshipped together; that neither the one view nor the other can be ejected from the Church without rending asunder part of the tissue of its most sacred ordinance.
VI. Such was the general state of the controversy down to the commencement of the Oxford movement of 1834—we may almost say down to the revival of that movement in 1864. We pointed out in our notice of “ Ritualism ’ how large a part has been played in the hierarchical and æsthetical agitation which bears that name, by the exaltation of the Sacrament of the Eucharist in its material aspect. These modern expressions of the doctrine far outran all previous statements of it in the disproportionate, exaggerated, and fantastic importance which in word and act was ostentatiously ascribed to the mechanical rite. Two champions of this tendency assumed a prominent position. One was the genial Archdeacon of Taunton, whose special delight it is to defy lawful authority in all its forms, whether Bishop, Archbishop, Privy Council, or School Inspector, and who escaped a direct collision with the Supreme Court by a happy legal accident. The other, equally perverse and equally determined, was Mr. Bennett, of Frome. On two or three crude publications of
* L'Estrange, ‘Alliance of Divine Offices,' p. 219.
this strange theologian (but we believe conscientious and active pastor), the Puritan section of the English Church, goaded, no doubt, almost beyond endurance by the defiant challenges and overbearing pretensions of their old enemies, fastened, as the best chance of expelling these troublers of • Israel’ from the National Church. We have never concealed our opinion that the modern practice, revived by the High Church party themselves, and only at last borrowed from them by their opponents, of pushing to extremities these legal prosecutions for theological opinions, is in a high degree both injurious and futile. We lament that even in appearance the eminent Prelates, who have presided over the great see of London, should have lent their names to the ominous precedent of constituting the Bishop of the metropolis the censor of all clerical works issuing from any London publisher. But the prosecution once begun, of necessity passed through the usual stages till it reached the Final Court of Appeal. There has rarely, if ever, been so numerous a tribunal. It consisted of the Lord Chancellor, the Northern Primate, the Metropolitan Bishop, three of the most eminent of the Equity Judges, an ex-Chief Justice of Bengal, and the Professor of International Law at Oxford. On the 8th of June, a crowd of eager clergy assembled to hear the decision on this controversy, the most direct that has been given in England since Latimer first and then Cranmer were consigned to the flames at Oxford for denying the doctrine which in substance, or in appearance, the modern teachers of Oxford are charged with asserting. The decision was that which Philip of Hesse would fain have procured in the Castle of Marburg; it is that which we have always predicted as the inevitable consequence of any just and equitable consideration of formularies so mixed as we have shown those of the Church of England to be. The statements of Mr. Bennett were of such an extravagant kind as to test the forbearance of the Court to the very utmost. His original position-only retracted under pressure of his spiritual adviser, and in the prospect more or less imminent of prosecution-exceeded even the limits of the Roman doctrine itself. It asserted a real, actual, and visible • presence of the Lord on the altars of our churches. We have already seen that the Roman doctrine in its scholastic form teaches that, whatever else may be the Presence in the Eucharist, it is at least invisible. To the original doctrine
The Roman Catechism itself expressly speaks of the Corpus • Domini quod in Eucharistiá occultè latet.' See Mr. Stephens' learned argument, p. 9.
of Mr. Bennett, if to any human statement whatever, the famous lines of Dryden are strictly applicable :
· The literal sense is hard to flesh and blood;
But nonsense never can be understood.' For this absurd expression, which deserves to be recorded as marking the length to which the materialising view of the Eucharist was carried by its chosen advocate, was substituted another by which the writer professed to intend the same thing, but which, being a shade less explicit, the Judges considered that they might in a penal prosecution regard more leniently. Moreover, this assertion of the real, actual,
and' (as it was now worded) objective † presence,' was coupled with a series of other epithets, spiritual,' super
natural,' sacramental,' mystical,' ineffable '-expressions which either indicate that the matter of which the writer is speaking is beyond the capacity of any words to represent, or else resolve themselves into the Reformed or Zwinglian view which he believed himself to be condemning. Of this, and the like ambiguities in all of Mr. Bennett's statements, the Judges gladly availed themselves, and came to the unanimous conclusion, though 'not without doubts and diversities of opinion,' that • the charges against him are not so clearly made out as the ' rules of penal proceedings require; and that he is therefore
entitled to the benefit of any such doubt as may exist.' The result is, that the Lutheran doctrine of a Presence, an efficacy in the Sacrament, irrespective of the communicant- which is separable only by a hair's breadth, if it be separable at all, from the authorised Roman doctrine has been found tolerable within the Church, which has itself accepted in the larger part of its formularies the doctrine (as the Judgment expressly and prominently puts forth) directly opposite to this. The High Church party, therefore, have for the first time received a legal recognition of their views in this matter, and no further attempt can be made by their opponents on this ground to eject them from the National Church. We have not dissembled the repugnance which we feel, and which, no doubt, is shared by a large part not only of the Protestant but of the Christian world, to a mode of teaching, which, if not (as in many cases it is) wholly unmeaning, has a direct tendency to reduce the most sacred and edifying ordinance of Christianity, and therefore, in a certain degree, Christianity
* We decline to use the word objective' in the discussion, as being itself open to new ambiguities, and unknown to earlier theology.
itself, to a material, local, irrational form. But the coexistence of the two views has, as we have already pointed out, been endured for so long, and more or less in every Church, that there is no great additional strain on our forbearance in an open avowal of that which has long been tacitly permitted.
The high road' of the Church, as has been well expressed, is still declared by the Judgment to be for the reasonable and spiritual doctrine. But in its bye paths there has been allowed a place for those who delight to dwell in the outward forms. The decision of the Court of Arches declared that whilst the Reformed view was tolerated, the Lutheran view was maintained by the Church. The final Judgment, on the contrary, has announced that, whereas the Lutheran view is tolerated, the Reformed view is maintained.
VII. There are, however, other aspects of the Judgment which are more than sufficient to compensate for any temporary defeat of one party or temporary exaltation of the other. The decision in the case of Mr. Bennett is but a signal carrying out of those principles of law and equity, which have characterised the greater judgments of the Supreme Court of Appeal for the last twenty years, which we in these pages have earnestly and constantly defended, and against which the High Church party have hitherto vehemently protested. It was they who began the series of ecclesiastical litigations in the case of Mr. Gorham, and who continued it in the cases of Mr. Wilson and Dr. Williams. In both instances they were foiled by the determination of the Supreme Tribunal to view the statements sought to be assailed not in the heated atmosphere of partisan theologians, but by the dry daylight of English law-not with the intention of excluding everything which could possibly be excluded, but of including everything which could possibly be included. Of these principles the Evangelical party reaped
. the fruits in 1850, and the Liberal Theologians in 1864. And now the wheel of theological prosecution had turned round its whole cycle, and the defeated assailants of 1850 and 1864 found themselves the endangered defendants in 1872. Had the policy which they so vehemently, we may say so fiercely, urged on the two former occasions been applied to themselves on this occasion, there cannot be a doubt of the result. Mr. Benuett must have been condemned ; and his admirers must have sustained at least an ignominious discomfiture, if not a rigid exclusion from the Church. But the Supreme Court of Appeal held on its even course, undeterred by intimidations or recriminations on one side or the other; and the result has been that the same measure that was meted, in spite of the
furious protestations from the High Church school, to the Vicar of Bramford Speke and the Vicar of Broad Chalk, has been now meted out to the Vicar of Frome Selwood. Again and again, in the course of the recent" decision, the toleration of the Lutheran or Roman doctrine of the Eucharist is based on the maxims laid down for the toleration of the Calvinistic doctrine of Baptism, of the free critical interpretation of the Scriptures, and of the Origenist doctrine of Future Punishment. It is the last and crowning triumph of the Christian latitudinarianism of the Church of England. And the very extravagance of Mr. Bennett's positions, by offering the most crucial test for the application of these just and wise principles, signalises the extent of the victory thus obtained in the cause of freedom. Even had his original statement been preserved intact, it seems to us that the breadth of the principles here laid down would have been sufficient to have covered it. ' visible presence of that which on all hands is allowed to be invisible, might fairly have been declared to be itself unmean
* There is one point on which we venture to point out a difference between the Bennett and the Gorham Judgments, in which we cannot but think that the Gorham Judgment rests on a broader and sounder foundation. The Bennett Judgment appears to proceed throughout on the assumption that each formulary of the Church must be taken by itself; and that though the utmost care is to be taken to give the defendant the benefit of any doubt where a contradiction is apparent, yet his statements must be judged by each separate statement of the formularies. The Gorham Judgment, on the other hand, proceeded not only on this assumption but on the further principle that, wherever different senses might be attached to the different formularies, the lawfulness of each contested statement might be judged by its conformity with the result of the whole formularies taken together. This view is yet further necessitated by the undoubted historical fact-on which, perhaps, neither Judgment has dwelt sufficiently, that the formularies of the Church of England contain avowedly at least two, probably more, contradictory currents of doctrine. It is evident from the mere fact of the modification of the formularies as noticed above, that now one, and now another, of these currents has prevailed against the other ; but each is not less really flowing side by side, and it is because each school can avail itself of the conflicting traces thus left on the various parts of the formularies that it is justified in holding its ground. When, whether in legal judgments or in common parlance, the Church of England (and the same, mutatis mutandis, may he said of the Church of Rome, or of the Church of Scotland), is said to hold such and such a doctrine, it would be more true to fact to say that every considerable Church—the English Church, perhaps, more than most-holds a variety of doctrines which, though in themselves contradictory, can be practically blended into one harmonious whole.