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the details of parochial management to the reconstruction of our ecclesiastical polity.
But bold as are the remedial measures proposed, they are severally introduced in language so circuinspectly vague and general, as to leave not only their distinctive features, but their general outline, undefined and obscure; they loom in the distance like icebergs, dimly seen through a fog of their own creating. Objections are avoided by suppressing details; difficulties, instead of being overcome by discussion, are evaded by silence; and every paragraph is a compromise.
That such should be the result of a few hurried conferences between counsellors of conflicting opinions, who are not charged with the execution of their own proposals, and who consequently desire to suggest as much and to decide as little as may be, is natural enough. But the public expects something more from a Committee of the Lower House of Convocation. Their authority is too venerable to be employed to give currency to schemes they are not prepared to uphold. The duty of a legislative Committee is to narrow the range of the impending discussion, not to suggest topics of debate. Whole pamphlets might be spoken on every clause of the Report, and unless the House could prolong its sittings beyond the duration of the Rump Parliament (a result that some might not consider undesirable), it could hardly hope to examine them all with due attention.
As a whole, the Report implies a want of confidence in the Church's soundness and strength, which we trust its framers do not feel—a confession of insufficiency which is a libel on her present exertions, a restless desire for sweeping and indefinite change, which must tend to encourage her enemies and paralyse her friends. The dangers with which society is menaced by the spread of irreligion are hardly exaggerated by the Committee; but because an evil is great and our sense of its magnitude only recently awakened, is no reason why our struggles against it should be convulsive and irregular. In physical investigation it is a well-known canon to search for no more causes than are sufficient to produce the effect. In administrative reform it is not less important to put no more springs in action than will bring about the desired result. To build up,' to edify,' is the metaphor invented by the inspired writers to suggest the gradual growth of the fabric of the Church, which best conduces to its stability. It is possible that some of the recommendations of the Report, which could not for the present be adopted without great imprudence, may hereafter be carried out with success. But in the mean time we trust it is not necessary to go so far to seek what is wanted for
immediate discussed * Hereafter if the number of Bishops shall be found to be considerably increased, it is possible an election among the Bishops themselves may be found a preferable method ; but it is unnecessary to enter on this subject at present.
immediate use-Quod quærimus hic est-Est Ulubris—it is close at hand-animus si te non deficit equus.
It would hardly be fair to assume that the Report of the Upper House was intended to imply by its silence a condemnation of the excursive range taken by the Lower House. But it is observable their advice is conceived in a very different spirit. • We have endeavoured,' says the Bishop of Oxford, who presented the Report, rather to limit our recommendations and suggestions to practical matters, which we think may, under God's blessing, be carried into effect, than to allow ourselves to expatiate in wider fields of suggestion, which, however advantageous, might be unattainable. But although in accordance with this limitation the topics which the Committee of the Upper House have introduced into their Report are comparatively few, their Lordships have not taken more pains than their fellow labourers of the Lower House to mature the measures they recommend. They do not explain how they propose to adapt them to the present system of the Church; nor must we forbear to add, that on some subjects, which appear to be strictly within the prescribed limits, they are altogether silent. Indeed as it stands their Report as much falls short as that of the Lower House exceeds the scope of its title. It is from no presumptuous wish to constitute ourselves the critics of these venerable bodies that we venture to discuss their suggestions; but the subject of Church Extension is, or ought to be, of equal interest to all orders of men, and it is only by the co-operation of all that the means to promote it can be obtained. The public, either in its corporate and legislative capacity, or as an aggregate of individuals, must furnish the funds; for whatever doubts may exist as to the proper limits for the employment of lay agency (and on this point the Report betrays not a little jealousy and perplexity), there is no hesitation in assigning to the laity the principal part in the subscribing and collecting of money; and as regular and sufficient supplies can be derived only from a public thoroughly well acquainted and not less well satisfied with the means employed, we cannot offer our aid, such as it is, to the cause, more effectually than by passing in review the several agencies adapted to the circumstances,' to which the Committee of either House have given the sanction of their recommendation.
We shall rarely, however, have occasion to advert to the comparatively meagre Report of the Upper House, except in the few instances where it contains suggestions supplementary to those of the Lower House, or illustrative of them. The subject of foreign missions will be more conveniently reserved for separate consideration on some future occasion; and as we have recently
discussed at some length the details of parochial management, we shall limit our notice to those more general and important suggestions which require for their adoption the sanction of the Legislature, or the general concurrence of the Church. The freedom with which we deliver our sentiments we trust will be attributed to no want of respect; and if we cannot on all points admit the conclusions at which the Committee have arrived, it must not be supposed, on that account, that we are the less hearty in the cause which they desire to promote.
The first proposal of the Committee under the head of Home Missions, with which, however, it has no more immediate connexion than every measure for strengthening the organization of the Church has with every portion of the Church's work, suggests 'some increase of the Episcopate. It cannot be denied that, by the prodigious growth of the population, the extent and labour of the several dioceses is greatly, and by no means equally, increased; and the evil grows daily worse. In the year 1852
; both Houses of Convocation concurred in petitioning the throne for an increase of the Episcopate, but the subject is full of difficulties, and unfortunately the only obstacle which the Committee notice, that of adding to the Bench of Bishops, without swelling the number of Ecclesiastical Peers,' is one which has already been removed, at least for the present, * by the precedent established at the creation of the see of Manchester. Probably the Committee mean to imply by their silence that they have no practical suggestion to add to those of the Cathedral Commissioners; but it would have been well to lay it down as the principle by which all future additions to the Bench must be regulated and controlled, that the Episcopal dignity must be maintained. There can be no greater mistake than to lower the social position of those to whom power is entrusted. Bishops, it is too true, are overworked, but, let radicals say what they will, they are not overpaid. The time is gone by when a bishopric was considered ' a capital thing,' to be luxuriously enjoyed, not an arduous duty to be laboriously performed, and when a bishop could retire to some distant preferment or a villa on the lakes, there to nurse up his income, like Bishop Watson, who boasts in his autobiography that with the poorest bishopric in the king's books he became the richest bishop on the bench. Nowadays the claims on the Diocesan are endless, and his expenses are heavy; he is expected to head every Church subscription, to promote every pious work, to attend wherever his presence can be of service to the Church ; his revenues can hardly be curtailed without impairing his usefulness, and those who are to command respect must not be made poor in a country—so writes Sydney Smith with all the bitterness of unforgotten mortification —where poverty is infamous.'
It is doubtless with the hope of rendering the process of augmentation slow and gradual, that the Report recommends the passing of an Act once for all to enable Government to make such additions to the Episcopate, from time to time, as it may see fit. But such a course is liable to grave objections. Little as we have to hope from future still further reformed Parliaments, we are still less inclined to trust future possible Administrations; and we should be sorry to lose the assurance that before any sweeping change can be made in the hierarchy of the Church, public opinion must be brought to bear on the question by a fresh appeal to the Legislature. The augmentation which is really indispensable many are led to regard with some thing more than coldness by the extravagant demands of some of its supporters. It is usual with a certain class of Church reformers to treat the question as if the whole of our ecclesiastical polity had now to be settled for the first time, and to disregard alike the traditions of the Anglican Church, the feelings and habits of the clergy, the hallowing sanction of time, and the dangers of violent change. They triumphantly quote Cranmer's * attempt to double the Episcopate in former days, and they appeal to the practice of the early Church as of divine institution and eternal obligation---(Dr. Wordsworth † seems to think the proper dimensions of a diocese are settled by a text in the Apocalypse)—and they shut their eyes to all that distinguishes the fourth from the nineteenth century, and London from Laodicea. The whole question is reduced to a sum in the rule of three. If for the thinly-peopled realm of Henry, Cranmer required forty bishops, if North Africa or Lesser Asia possessed so many sees, how many are required for Birmingham or Liverpool ? Others, alarmed by the prodigious quotient of bishops thus worked out, propose to create assistants by reviving the suffragans of Henry
Cranmer presided over a change so great that the erection of twenty new sees seemed a small item in the vast account; and he had special objects besides providing the people with pastors. He designed his new bishops as missionaries of the reformed doctrine, and he foresaw they would give him an overwhelming influence in the House of Lords and in Convocation; this result was less satisfactory to Henry and his lay councillors than to the archbishop, and it must not be attributed entirely to their rapacity for Church plunder that the new sees were cut down to five.
+ The text is, “The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches.'-—Rev. i. 20; Sermons, p. 61.
VIII.'s Act, who seem to have discharged the functions of the coadjutor Bishops of the early Church, or by resuscitating the
chorepiscopi' of the dark ages, whose uncouth names they have discovered half obliterated by the dust of time. It were bootless to discuss the precise functions of these dignitaries; their office was abolished in the tenth century, for the same reason that Henry's short-lived experiment gradually sank to the ground in the sixteenth. It failed to answer its professed end. It was found to interfere with the authority of the Bishop without adequately relieving him in his personal ministrations. The committee propose the revival of coadjutors,' but merely for the following purpose. They suggest that provision should be made in the case of any Bishop becoming, through age or infirmity, or any other cause, incapacitated for the active discharge of his duties;' and to effect this, they recommerd either a well considered system of retiring pensions, or, whicu is evidently the alternative they prefer, the appointment of coadjutor Bishops cum jure successionis,' as proposed by the Cathedral Commissioners : ' an office,' say the Committee,' which has existed from the earliest ages, which was strongly recommended by the authors of “Reformatio Legum,”* which still exists in many parts of Christendom, and has recently been revived in our own Colonial Church in the case of the Bishop of Jamaica.'
It is true that coadjutorships were early introduced to fulfil the duties which the name sufficiently indicates when the powers of the Bishop were impaired by age or infirmity. But the right of succession was long withheld. St. Augustine argues stoutly against it. It was not in every country or in every age that men placed in the invidious relation of occupant and expectant
* The canons drawn up chiefly by Cranmer, but never published. It is difficult to extract a warm recommendation of coadjutorships from the passage in question, the true gist of which appears to be rather to establish the King's arbitrary authority over the bench of Bishops that to supply any want of the Church. It runs thus : 'As the Bishops are bound to name assistants to curates who from age or infirmity are unable to serve their churches, so, under similar circumstances, coadjutors shall be given to the Bishops by the Archbishop with our consent. And as the Bishops have power to remove any curate whose morals are scandalous, and whose teaching is heretical, so let them remember that they themselves will be treated by us if their lives give cause of offence, and their doctrine is contrary to the truth. After all, the coadjutorship of which mention is made here is a totally different thing from that recommended by the committee:Oxford ed., 1851, p. 107.
† It is singular, however, that the first coadjutor on record was appointed with a view to secure his succession. After the Council of Antioch, in 269 A.D., Theolemus, Bishop of Cæsarea, in Palestine, fixed upon Anatolius to succeed him in his diocese. Some form of consecration, by imposition of hands, was used on such occasions ; and for some time they both exercised the episcopal functions, which is the first instance on record of a bishop having a coadjutor.'--Burton's Lectures on the Ecclesiastical History of the Three First Centuries, p. 588.