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advisable than a piece of ribbon with a St. Andrew's cross worked on it, which some of the Oxford deacons are stated to adopt.
With regard to the recital of the prayers at the altar rails, it seems at variance with primitive custom, at least according to Bingham, who places the ambo at the lower end of that part of the nave of the church appropriated to the faithful and to the fourth order of penitents, who were allowed to stay and hear the prayers of the church.
Should these remarks appear to you worth reading, the insertion of them will oblige, yours faithfully,
H. CODDINGTON, R. D.
MR. NEWMAN'S LECTURES ON ROMANISM, &c. SIR,I hope you will pardon the freedom of the following remarks which I am induced to make on the review of Mr. Newman's book, which appeared in your Magazine for May. It seems to me that a different view may be taken of it, with regard to what appears to the Reviewer objectionable, namely, that “Mr. Newman alleges that the Church-of-England system (the Via Media) is only a theory existing in the writings of certain excellent divines, but never tried as a practical system.”
Has Mr. Newman been too emphatic in shewing what appeared to be the objection to such a work as his at present, namely, its comparative novelty ? and, on the other hand, must not some allowance be made for his anxiety to give the objection its full weight? for certainly, as was observed by the Reviewer, there are passages in the work which appear to be contradictory to the opinion objected against, if taken by themselves. This fact was indeed sufficient to cause a suspicion of misunderstanding on the subject, independently of the opinion of the Reviewer.
Some passages which seem more immediately to favour the opinion spoken of are the following :-(p. 20.) “It is urged against discussing the Via Media now, that it is raising speculations upon the nature and historical pretensions of our church-speculations, which have never been anything but speculations, never were realized in any age of the church. (P. 20.) The class of doctrines in question as yet labours under the same difficulty. Indeed, they are, in one sense, as entirely new as Christianity when first preached; for though they profess merely to be that foundation on which it originally spread, yet as far as they represent a Via Media,—that is, are related to extremes which did not then exist, and do exist now,—they appear unreal, for a double reason, having no exact counterpart in early times, and being superseded now by actually existing systems. Protestantism and popery are real religions; no one can doubt about them; they have furnished the mould in which nations have been cast; but the Via Media has never existed except on paper, it has never been reduced to practice, &c. (P. 30.) But one thing is still wanting : our champions and teachers have lived in stormy times; political and other influences liave
acted upon them variously in their day, and have since obstructed a careful consolidation of their judgments. We have a vast inheritance, but no inventory of our treasures. All is given us in profusion; it remains for us to catalogue, sort, distribute, select, harmonize, and complete. (P. 153.) But the middle path, adopted by the English church, cannot be so easily mastered by the mind
lastly, because it has never been realized in any religious community, and thereby brought home to the mind through the senses. What has never been fairly brought into operation, fairly is open to many objections." From these passages, as they stand, one would certainly conclude that this system had never been tried in the way now proposed; but are we obliged to infer more than this? The plea of novelty has evidently had due consideration; nor can its most strenuous supporters wish for more fair play: and, indeed, whatever grounds there may be for the objection made in the Review, they seem to be on this account. But on the other hand, that upon the whole a different notion was intended, seems to follow from other passages; and first those referred to in the Review : (P. 28.) “ But after all, the true answer to the objection is simply this, that though Anglicanism is not practically reduced to system in its fulness, it does exist in all its parts, in the writings of our divines, and in good measure is in actual operation, though with varying degrees of consistency and completeness in different places. (And, pp. 311 and 314; again, p. 14 :) This is the view to be taken of the conduct of our church in the seventeenth century, which we only do not imitate now because we are not allowed to do so, because our place of service and our honourable function about the throne are denied us. (P. 12.) The mere question is, whether, the constitution being altered, and the church in consequence, which is part of it, being exposed to danger in her various functions, &c., (p. 15,) it has ever required an apology, since that event (the Revolution), to speak the language of our divines before it ? and such an apology is now found in the circumstances of the day. (P. 21.) And the very circumstance that it (the Via Media) has been propounded for centuries by great names, &c....it remains to be tried whether what is called Anglicanism, the religion of Andrews, Laud, Hammond, Butler, and Wilson, is capable of being professed, acted on, and maintained, on a large sphere of action and through a sufficient period, 8c." It would seem that Anglicanism in these days must be new, not in that it has not been practically tried, but in that it has not been tried generally as a system. It is only “ as far as they represent a Via Media
. that is, are related to extremes which did not then exist, and do exist now-that the doctrines in question appear unreal.” (P. 20.) Indeed, the objection which lays against the work, in the view taken of it in the Magazine, has, in some degree, been anticipated and met, as the very instances which would substantiate the objection are applied to explain the author's meaning, as the case of Bishop Wilson. (P. 23.) Until we can produce diocese, or place of education, or populous town, or colonial department, or the like, administered on our distinctive principles, as the diocese of Sodor and Man, in the days of Bishop Wilson, &c. This passage not only allows the practical trial of Anglicanism to have been made, but even to some degree as a system. Leaving aside entirely the consideration of the past and present private influence of the Via Media, it was necessary to account for the appearance of novelty in a system which rested its claims particularly upon its appeal to antiquity; and this seems to have been kept strongly in view throughoat the introduction, and is shewn to result from the change in external circumstances. (Vide p. 24, &c.)
Unless I have mistaken the Reviewer's opinion, the error he would warn us against is one which Mr. Newman has, to some degree, already anticipated and provided for in his book.
I remain, very respectfully, yours, July 17, 1837.
SIR,—It has been a matter of surprise to me, that the late act of parfiament, conveying such ample powers to the ecclesiastical commissioners, has been so little noticed. I can only account for it upon one supposition-viz., ignorance on the part of many of several of its inost important particulars; and I believe that such is the case in many parts of the country in which the subject has not been brought before the clergy in episcopal or archidiaconal charges. Will you, therefore, allow me to lay before your readers a few particulars, gathered chiefly from the charge of the bishop of Exeter, delivered in 1836.
All, probably, are aware that an act was passed last autumn, “for carrying into effect the reports of the ecclesiastical comınissioners, so far as they relate to episcopal dioceses, revenues, and patronage.” They are not, perhaps, equally aware, that the same act erected the ecclesiastical commissioners (previously commissioners of inquiry only) into a perpetual corporation, to be called “The Ecclesiastical Commissioners for England." The corporation consists of thirteen members : eight laymen, the two archbishops, the bishop of London, and two other bishops appointed by the Crown. Of the laymen, five are cabinet ministers, and the remaining three are appointed and removed at the pleasure of the Crown. Of the episcopal members, the two archbishops, and the bishop of London, are members for life; and the other two are removable by the Crown. Such is the constitution of the corporation.
The purposes for which it was formed are the following :-Various subjects, which more immediately concern the church, are brought under the deliberation of the commissioners, and reports and plans are formed accordingly. These reports, prepared in private, pass immediately from the commissioners to the legislature. By the legislature they are enacted in the mass, except in such particulars as may seem to affect dissenters; and, thus passed into law, are sent back to the same commissioners, who, with the sanction of the privy council, carry all the details of the reports into effect, of their own will and
advice. It is, however, provided, that the seal of the corporation shall not be affixed to any recommendation of the commissioners, but in the presence of two episcopal commissioners, of whom one must consent. In every case, however, if a single bishop consents, though all the others object, the act may be ratified. It may be further stated, that the commissioners can administer oaths; use many summary processes; can hear, consider, and decide in secret.
To these statements I beg to subjoin a few remarks :
1. It is impossible not to observe the large preponderance of laymen-eight out of the thirteen members.
2. Also, the great power placed by the constitution of this corporation in the hands of the minister of the day. Of the members, all are removable at the pleasure of the Crown, excepting only the two archbishops and the bishop of London.
3. Again, it cannot be overlooked that the members of the commission are not in any known communication with the other heads of the church; nor has the sanction of the church in any respect been asked for the erection of this corporation.
4. A further serious consideration is the transfer of affairs concerning all the dioceses, all localities, and their peculiarities, from the care of their appropriate bishops to a board sitting in London-many of the members of that board having but a distant acquaintance with the working of ecclesiastical matters, and all the members having numerous and weighty duties to attend upon, in addition to their duties as commissioners. 5. The last circumstances to which I would refer, are the very
important facts stated by the bishop of Exeter, that the bishops were not allowed to see the bill, much less to state objections to it, before it was introduced into parliament, and were expressly told that there was no prospect of effecting any amendment without insuring the ultimate rejection of the bill itself; that nevertheless, different clauses of the bill were opposed by all the English bishops not on the commission, who had been able to remain so long in London.
These are all subjects for deep and painful thought, and much might be written upon every one of them. The charch has been brought into a difficulty, and it is in vain to shut our eyes to the fact. Our hope, indeed, is in Him who has protected her in time past, and will protect her still. Nevertheless, such facts as those to which I have adverted may well awaken our consideration, our exertions, and, above all, our prayers; and it is to excite these that I have made the present communication. I remain, Sir, &c.,
PAROCHIAL DIVISIONS. SIR,—The revolution now taking place under commissioners is as complete, and of the same kind, as that effected in France by more violent means.
The associations of its provinces with the ancient monarchy were destroyed by a fresh division of the country into departments. Every trace of Christianity is about to be effaced from our institutions, and poor-law unions take the place of parishes, as integral parts of our constitution—the ancient ecclesiastical division of the country superseded by a merely civil one. A parish is, η εκκλησία Tapolkovon T), the church sojourning at any particular place, as (Euseb. Eccles. Hist., lib. 4, c. 27,) και τη εκκλησία δε τη παροικουση Γορτυναν άμα ταϊς λοιπαίς κατα Κρήτην παροικίαις επιστείλας, « to the church sojourning at Gortyna, and to the other parishes throughout Crete,” &c. In the sense used by St. Peter, (1 Pet. i. 17,) év póßy tùy rīts ar apoikias úpwv xpóvov avaotpáonte, “ in fear, during the time of your sojourning, conduct yourselves;" and (1 Pet. ii. 11, ùs r apoikous kai naperiènuovç úréxeobal, k. 7. E., “as sojourners and strangers to abstain,” &c. The principle of our constitution thus was that of a Christian union, that here we had no abiding city.
The provision for the poor was derived originally from Christian charity; the care of the poor was a care of the church, (Acts, iv.35,) that distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.” The child having become a member of Christ, was then enrolled a member of the state : only before God and in the face of the congregation could be formed the contract which is the source of our domestic relations. These Christian characters are effaced from · our institutions-clerks of poor-law unions are to register the entrance into, and departure out of, this life, as “ the be all, and the end all,” without further ceremony; and also be the witness to certify the state of the lawful concubinage into which parties enter; for without religious sanctions there can be no marriage, in the Christian sense, and the church, therefore, cannot recognise any such between her members.
The church, abandoned by the state, can now maintain its character only by the revival and exercise of its ancient internal discipline, through the means of censure and of excommunication. P.E.
THE REGISTRAR GENERAL'S NOTICES AND DIRECTIONS.
SIR, -Two papers have lately been issued from “ The General Register Office," professing to epitomize and elucidate the “ Act for Registering Births, Deaths, and Marriages." Much valuable and well
” bestowed attention has been devoted to this act in the British Magazine. The notices and directions of the registrar-general will not, I trust, escape commentary. If none of your numerous correspondents have yet proposed them to you, perhaps you will
be disposed to peruse the following observations which I venture to offer, and which I have curtailed from some more lengthened ones which I have made, for the sake of making myself more familiar with the general subject.
The act for registration being now part and parcel of our law, I am far from desirous to throw any obstacle in the way of its working. I am conservative of it-against even amendment or alteration—by any authority less or different from that which introduced it into our statute books. . . And I feel that any individual has a right, nay,