Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

А

COLLECTION OF PAPERS,

gc.

CHAPTER I.

Reasons for the present publication.

It seems probable that the publication of this collection of papers at the present moment may serve, under the Divine Blessing, to promote the peace and welfare of the Church of England. That peace has been disturbed, that welfare endangered, by suspicions having been awakened against a large body of the Clergy, as though they entertained designs other than true and faithful to the Church. Of that suspicion and want of confidence I myself, through the force of circumstances, have come in for no ordinary share, and have therefore both reason and obligation to speak; and having also, as I hope and believe, the means of obviating that suspicion, and of restoring confidence, cannot be accused of acting without cause, in seeking to make use of those means; but should rather be guilty of a dereliction of duty towards myself, towards others, and towards the Church, if I failed to do so. In the affairs of the world, when a man labours under suspicion, no means so effectual of allaying it can be found, as by his courting investigation and disclosing his secret papers ; and where confidence has been withdrawn from him, no way of restoring that confidence can be named, comparable to that of producing the calm and deliberate approval of the wise, the aged, and the good, of that conduct which, in the eyes of others, through imperfect apprehension of the case, has led to the opposite result. If this be so in things relating to the world, it must needs be so in things relating to the Church, unless men act towards the one, with a measure diverse from that which they apply to the other : in which case it would reasonably appear that the blame would rest, not with the objects of suspicion, but with those who entertain it. With this hope in view, I determined to give to the world the private letters and testi

1 Rom. xii. 17. 1 Thess. v. 22. 2 Tim. ii. 15.

B

monials which are to be found in the following papers, and deemed the object of sufficient worth to warrant me in commi

municating to all the writers of them who are still alive, my wish and desire so to do; an application which has been met with a degree of kindness and confidence, for which I desire to express my sincere and hearty thanks. In cases where the writers have been called off this stage of existence, I have ventured to exercise my own judgment in the matter; and trust that their more immediate friends and relatives will not think that I have acted injuriously to their memory, in exhibiting their names in such a goodly company.

But to what extent, it may be asked, do you desire, and are prepared to adduce such approval as you speak of? Is it to all the propositions which have been put forward in the publications of what may be understood (whether the phrase be exactly correct or not) as the Oxford School; and in the Tracts for the Times ; or only to some portion of their teaching? In answer to the question, it might suffice to say, “ Read the testimonials, and you will see :” but I think some more distinct answer may reasonably be expected ; and I am glad of the opportunity to give it. I say, then, distinctly, that I am not prepared to give my own approval—I am not prepared to cite the approval of others—for all the propositions in theology which have been put forth in the Tracts for the Times, and in the publications connected with them, but only for a portion of them. In that series of publications two classes of doctrines, or opinions, have been apparently confounded together, which ought, as far as my judgment may enable me to speak, to have been kept entirely distinct. The two classes of doctrines of which I speak are these :—1st, Those which, having warrant in Holy Writ, i. e. in the inspired records of the Church, have been witnessed to from the beginning also in the uninspired records, and taught authoritatively by all branches of the Catholic Church, in its decrees, liturgies, and rituals. 2ndly, Those which have been maintained and cherished from time to time by different individuals within the Church, but have not been taught uniformly, nor from the beginning, nor by the authorized formularies of the Church. In the first class, which may in the highest sense be termed Catholic, I include the doctrines of Apostolic Succession, as set forth in our ordinal; Baptismal Regeneration, as set forth in our Catechism and Baptismal Service; the Eucharistic Sacrifice, and the Real Communion in the Body and Blood of our Lord, as set forth in our Communion Office, and the appeal to the Church from the beginning, as the depositary and witness of the Truth, as set forth in the Canon of 1571. In the second class I include such points as these :—the necessity of turning to the east in prayer ; the purification and growth in grace of souls in the intermediate state ; Dr. Pusey's view of sin after Baptism; Mr. Williams' doctrine of Reserve; Mr. Keble’s of Mystical Interpretation. It was, I conceive, the attempt to propagate opinions of this latter class by the same medium, and apparently (for it could only, necessarily, be apparently) on the same ground, with the same force, and from the same quarter as the former, which has given rise to all the confusion which we are now labouring under ; has awakened suspicion ; has suspended, if not destroyed, confidence; and has nearly ended in a most formidable and deplorable schism.

« ПредишнаНапред »