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man; something out of order in nature which requires to be met by supernatural means. And S. Paul discloses a human interior corresponding to this intricacy of Divine truth, and illuminates with his torch a cavern awful in its depths and recesses, when he reveals man to himself. And are there not oppositions which can only be harmonised by interpretation in that Volume, which expresses doctrinal truth by statement and counter-statement, but not always by simplicity and unity of statement ? * It

appears to me, then, that whatever became of the Articles, the self-same difficulties, and the self-same way of meeting them, would go on amongst us; that we should still accept a complicated mass of statement, and that we should accept that mass of statement in a variety of senses according to the particular school to which we belong: The Articles are, many of them, but a reflection of Scripture, and their interpretation but the reflection of the interpretation of Scripture. Were the representative document to go, the original document itself would still remain to be the subject matter of conflicting explanations, to be language accepted by all alike and understood by different sections differently, and to be the basis of doctrinal variety under the form of one and the same subscription.' The following is Mr. Mozley's conclusion from the whole:t

The conclusion which I arrive at, then, is that, over the ground on which I have been travelling relief from subscription is not wanted. We may, I think, be quite sure, that a very large amount of forbearance will always be secured for the results of individual speculation by the natural operation of reasonable feelings in the members of the Church, without instituting any organic change. Our system is one which raises the greatest possible difficulties in the way of prosecution of individuals—not only formal difficulties, but difficulties of feeling. Ours is a system which encourages inquiry and sets minds to work. When, then, we have sanctioned an active principle of examination at the outset, and when we have lived side by side with the gradual growth of individual thought, in the same institution, under the same roof, the sanction of the process must, to a certain extent, affect us even in dealing with its results, when they are erroneous, and must operate as a great practical check upon the temper in which we condemn them. A limit, of course, there must be to freedom of opinion within a communion which professes a definite creed.'

Mr. Mozley's conclusion accords exactly with our view. There must be some limit to freedom of opinion within a com



* The Bishop of Oxford, speaking of our Formularies, says, “Such a state of things is rather a combination than a compromise. And this is the special character of Catholic Truth. For all revealed religion rests upon certain great principles, which the human mind can hold together in what it knows to be a true concord, whilst yet it cannot always by its intellectual processes limit, define, and reconcile what its higher gift of intuition can harmonise.'-Charge, 1860. + Notes, pp. 30, 31.

munion which professes a definite creed. That limit may be fixed either by the severity of a penal system, which marks instantly and chastises mercilessly every defection from the living tradition of belief; or by the mild and self-adjusting action of a reasonable system of subscription. It is precisely for this reason that the existence of such a system is at once a proof and a preservation of liberty. In the interests, therefore, both of liberty and of truth, it is of the utmost moment that our existing system should be preserved. Never, perhaps, was it for each of these high interests more essential than at the present moment. For there is, at this time, a strong current setting on towards unlimited speculation as to all revelation, which would, unchecked, soon bear us on to the boundless sea of unbelief. As this danger increases, there must always be the risk of devout minds seeking by some sacrifice of lawful liberty to save that possession of truth, which, almost alone, is better even than liberty itself. By such a reaction the liberty we have so long enjoyed might be dangerously menaced. But the more immediate and certain danger is undoubtedly on the other side. The volume lately published on the · Ecclesiastical Judgments of the Privy Council,' under the sanction of the Bishop of London, little as it really answers the often-urged objections that the present Supreme Court of Ecclesiastical Appeal has really drifted wide of the great appeal statutes of the Reformation era, tends certainly to discourage any tendency to appeal to our Courts, as they are now constituted for the maintenance of the necessary limits of belief. We had better, perhaps, explain rather more fully our meaning. The great point on which the writers of this volume rely for the justification of the present Court, is the allegation that the actual composition of the old Court of Delegates gives no “sanction to the theory that Ecclesiastical laws should be administered exclusively by Ecclesiastical persons.' * • The authority usually quoted,' we are told, “is that of Bishop Gibson,' who states that in fact there are no footsteps of any of the Nobility or Common Law Judges in Commissions till the year 1604 (i. e. for seventy years after the erection of the Court), nor from 1601 have they been joined in above one Commission in forty till the year 1634, from whence (i. e. from the downfall of the Bishops and their Jurisdictions which ensued) we may date the present rule of mixtures in that Court.'t

The writer's object is to destroy the authority of this assertion. For this purpose he divides the whole time over which Bishop Gibson's statement ranges into three distinct periods ;



* • Ecclesiastical Judgments,' &c., Introduction, p. xlvii.

+ Ibid., xviii.



that from the foundation of the Court to 1604; from 1604 to 1640, and the time subsequent to the Reformation.

As to the third period, which is unimportant for the argument, he allows the correctness of the Bishop's statement; but as to the second period, his statement is asserted to be absolutely contrary to the fact; whilst, as to the first, the evidence which exists is against him.' These are grave charges ; very grave to be adopted and made public by a Bishop of London against one of the greatest, the most learned, and, as till this day the world has believed, the most accurate of his predecessors in that chair of dignity. How, then, is the demolishing charge established ? First

, there is something rather too like a quibble

? in a half-ventured suggestion that the presence of civilians, i.e. ecclesiastical lawyers not in holy orders on these Commissions, was not a fulfilment of Gibson's statement. “Civilians, therefore, we are told, were not excluded, even according to the statement of Bishop Gibson ; and civilians were often laymen, even in the time of Henry VIII. Of course they were not excluded ; but how does this touch the argument, or tend to invalidate the authority of Gibson, who laid down the rule that ecclesiastical laws were to be administered, not exclusively by persons in holy orders, which no one has ever, so far as we are aware, advanced ; but by ecclesiastical persons. For civilians were, in every legal sense of the word, such ecclesiastical persons. They are the legal advisers of Convocation, as the judges are of the House of Lords. They were admitted to their office by rescript from the Archbishop of Canterbury, addressed to his official principal, who was also Dean of the Arches ; after taking a solemn oath of allegiance to the Church of England, and being admitted to plead in virtue of their fealty to her.

But the main proof of the alleged falsehood of the Bishop's statement is said to be drawn from the last twenty years of the second period. Of it, the repertory book of the Court of Delegates gives full information. During those twenty years there were 1000 appeals in ecclesiastical causes. The Court was composed, in 872 cases, of civilians only; in two cases, of Bishops only; in 24 cases, of Bishops and civilians together, without nobility or Common Law Judges. On the other hand, in 110 of the Commissions Judges alone are named with the civilians; in 59, Judges with Bishops and civilians; and in 13, temporal peers are found with the civilians, and with either Judges or Bishops. In the place, therefore, of Bishop Gibson's assertion, that the nobility or Common Law Judges were present in no more than 1 Commission out of 40, we have the fact that they were present in 182 Commissions out of 1080, being rather more than 1 in 6,


and in more than 1 out of 10, they formed the only element in the Court besides the civilians.'

Having, as he conceives, proved this gross misstatement as to the second period, the writer thinks himself entitled to assume the probable presence of like errors as to the first; though the actual records of the Delegates are too scanty to allow of such proof as he tenders with regard to the former period.

But how, when it is closely scrutinised, does this showy list of causes justify so grave censure ? To answer this question we must remember the constitution of the Spiritual Courts at that time. The Dean of the Arches received, and now receives, a merely nominal payment; and therefore to feed this high office it was held with the Judgeship of the Prerogative Court. In this latter Court, for reasons which we do not now stop to set out in detail, were tried all the most important testamentary causes originating in the province of Canterbury. In the Arches Courtso as has been stated-united with the Prerogative or Testamentary Court were tried by appeal all the most important matrimonial causes in the same province. Thus there came before these Courts a multitude of causes which, though technically spiritual, yet really involved no point of the doctrine of the Church. Now, the whole question stripped of its ambiguities is, how many of these alleged 182 Commissions were really engaged with cases involving doctrinal decisions of any kind ?

For unless some real point of the Church's doctrines or discipline were involved, it would not be too much to anticipate that the Bishops would not sit, but would leave to the civilians, or others, the entire handling of the Commission. Before Bishop Gibson's assertion is so summarily disposed of, it should have been shown how many of these 182 Commissions which are quoted with such triumph, did indeed involve the settlement of any such spiritual question whatever. Such an investigation has been made, and it turns out that between the years 1603 and 1823, there have actually been only four spiritual causes, properly so called, tried before the Delegates :

1. The Bishop of St. David's v. Lucy, 13th March, 1699.
2. Salter v. Davis, 10th November, 1691.
3. Pelling v. Dr. Bettesworth, 16th May, 1713.
4. Havard v. Evanson, 27th June, 1775.

In the first case six Bishops sat. In the second three. In the third five. In the fourth none, as a technical point of law alone was decided, and the merits were not heard. While on the other hand, as late as the year 1777, three Prelates were summoned as Delegates on an important cause of Nullity of Marriage. We have thought this matter so important that we have appended to

this article a careful note of the names and professions of the Judges and Delegates in each of these cases. It is also to be observed that in these four cases, during an interval of more than two centuries, are included all the appeals from the province of York, and we believe from the Ecclesiastical Courts of Ireland, until 1783, and the passing of the Act 23 Geo. III. c. 28.

So far for Bishop Gibson's misapprehension of the facts.'* It is surely a matter to be much regretted, that such an attack on the veracity or accuracy of a Bishop of London so justly honoured as Gibson Clarum et venerabile nomen'—should have received sanction and endorsement from Fulham Palace on such evanescent evidence.

But if this volume fails thus utterly in disproving the assertion that the principle of the Reformation statutes, and the practice of earlier times, committed to ecclesiastical persons the hearing of ecclesiastical appeals, it certainly contains a dreary record of cases which must tend strongly to increase the prevalent disinclination to seek, by legal censures, to preserve the purity of doctrine. It would almost seem that, as if by some hidden law of necessary acting, every such attempt must, in some shape or other, recoil upon the promoter of the suit. Certainly until some

. great reform has been wrought in the composition and the conduct of these Courts, it must be a most anxious question to every one required by the duties of his office to maintain the legal standard of doctrine, whether he will not rather imperil than protect the truth, by bringing it, even in the last extremity, before such a tribunal. We have already † stated our own desire to see some great reform in this particular. The course of every such trial since we wrote has, we feel assured, widened the conviction of the necessity of change, and so prepared the way for some reform. But such a time of uncertainty and doubt is the very last in which the old defences of subscription should be abandoned. The counsel, therefore, of the late Commission seems to us to be wise and salutary; for, whilst it maintains in effect the old defences, it removes objectionable phrases, which gave no security, whilst they provoked attack. The Government who issued the Commission, cannot, of course, trifle with the question they have raised, and raised so far with a success greater even than could have been anticipated. They have now a clear course before them. To carry,' say the Commissioners, “these recommendations into effect, some alterations must be made in the Canons of the Church, and some in the Statutes of the realm. We trust that our proposals will be willingly accepted

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+ Quarterly Review,' No. 230.


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