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CHURCH OF ENGLAND
ART. I.—The Symbolism of Churches and Church Ornaments :
a Translation of the First Book of the Rationale Divinorum Officiorum. Written by W. DURANDUS, sometime Bishop of Mende. With an Introductory Essay, Notes, and Illustrations, by the Rev. J. M. NEALE, B.A. and the Rev. B. WEBB, B.A. of Trinity College, Cambridge. Leeds: Green.
London: Rivington. Cambridge: Stevenson. 1843. 2. Hierurgia; or the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. With Notes
and Dissertations, elucidating its Doctrines and Ceremonies.
By DANIEL Rock, D.D. 2 vols. 8vo. London: Dolman. 3. Aunt Elinor's Lectures on Architecture. Dedicated to the
Ladies of England. London: Rivington. 1843. 4. Practical Remarks on some of the Minor Accessories to the
Services of the Church ; with Hints on the preparation of Altar-cloths, Pede-cloths, and other Ecclesiastical Furniture : addressed to Ladies and Churchwardens. By GILBERT T. FRENCH. Leeds : Green. London: Rivington. 1844.
press now teems with publications on Church ornaments and vestments, from the graver dissertations of the Camden Society and the Roman Clergy, to Aunt Elinor's Lectures to the Ladies and the Practical Hints for the employment of their fingers on Ecclesiastical furniture by Gilbert French. There is a fashion, or a rage, as it is called, in such things—and we suppose it must have its course till it has either exhausted itself
, or is diverted into another channel by some other fashion springing up, and becoming, in like manner, the rage for a
But these things are signs and indications of the bent of the public mind at the time, and ought to be taken advantage of, both in the hope of directing into a right channel exertions which seem to have arisen from mere random impulse in many instances, and to have no determined aim, and to be under no regular control; and also in the endeavour to extract from the fleeting impulse some permanent good, and, before it has passed away, ascertain the truth which is to be cherished and the error which is to be avoided, while palpable instances of both are before our eyes, and the understandings of all are more open to enquiry, from all being more or less directly interested in the investigation.
The taste for antiquarian research in general sprang up many years ago, and was evidenced in various publicationsin Hope's “Costume and Furniture of Greece and Rome”-in Britton's " Architectural Works"-in Meyrick's" Ancient Armour,” &c. And the antiquarian bias of Sir Walter Scott's mind, which peeped out in all his works, and in his later works became their predominant feature, gave a sensible tone to the public taste, and rendered that acquaintance with by-gone habits, and practices, and manners, which had formerly been repudiated in polished society, as belonging only to the tenants of the cloister, to relieve disappointment, or while away the hours of tedium-is now become popular, and the elegant occupation of the young, the fashionable, and the gay; and is ministered to in all the most splendid and attractive forms by which the press can give perpetuity and diffusion to the productions of the pencil and the pen. Truly the times are changed since our early days, when the Gentleman's Magazine held the monopoly of antiquarian information, and Mr. Urban sent forth, from St. John's-gate, his oracular dicta concerning cairns and canoes--concerning stycas, mancuses, and sceattas in style as dry and uninviting as its readers are supposed to have been.
When a taste for antiquities had arisen, it was to be expected that it would extend to ecclesiastical antiquities, and that especial attention would be paid to this branch of the enquiry; since, in addition to the interest which it has in common with all the other branches, the Church and its past history has peculiar claims to attention; as presenting more abundant materials for investigation, and these themselves of a deeper interest, and terminating not in the gratification of curiosity, but having respect to heavenly things, and followed by consequences which may be permanent-may be eternal. For as, when religion lays hold on a man, it lays hold on his whole being, and everything which he possesses is, with himself, dedicated to God; so the Church, being an institution for the service of God, everything done therein is done as to God: and nothing done in the Church is indifferent; all things are either well pleasing to God, or they are an offence to Him whom we profess to worship and serve. And in reference to ourselves also, as the Church is an instrument in God's hand for the blessing of man, and its forms and ordinances are the channels for his grace, it is most important that these should be what God has appointed, that they may be truly sacramental, and not of human invention, to divert the intended blessing, and hinder rather than aid our devotions.
And in addition to the superior claims which ecclesiastical antiquities inherently possess, beyond the other branches of antiquarian research, the public taste has received a bias in that direction from that party which has made so much stir at Oxford : the effect of which has been extended and prolonged, not only through those who have professedly advocated or openly resisted the movements of this party, but in selfdefence, and by a vast number of quiet Churchmen, who had no desire to mingle in party warfare, but were simply anxious, in so important a matter, to keep themselves in the right. Party strife has for the present, in a good degree, subsided; but the necessity for enquiry, to come at the truth, still continues to be felt, to settle satisfactorily the questions which have been raised, and prevent a recurrence of similar scenes.
There is at the present time a comparative calm upon the minds of men, which is favourable to the discussion of these questions--a calm which may enable all to examine with patience, and weigh with due deliberation, those points concerning doctrine, worship, and discipline, the mere mention of which has of late been wont to kindle them into fury, and the discussion of which threatened at one time a disruption in the Church of England, as much more deplorable than that which has taken place in Scotland, as the questions are more deep, and permanent, and vital--and the parties more numerous, and learned, and influential. And while, as friends of the Church, we rejoice in this comparative lull which has taken place of the storm, we think that it would be deceiving ourselves to regard it as other than a temporary calm. The questions have not been disposed of-men's minds have not been set at rest. They have been alarmed on all sides by the fearful consequences which it became evident to all must at once ensue, if these points of controversy were pushed to an immediate issue; and by tacit consent they have, for the present,