Monday, October 03, 2005

 

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Thus the attempt to abolish subscription failed, and under circumstances which showed that the Church had escaped a serious danger. But the difficulty which had led many orthodox clergymen to join, adult movies not without risk of obloquy, in the petition remained untouched. It was, in fact, aggravated rather than not; for 'Arian subscription' had naturally induced a disposition, strongly expressed in some Parliamentary speeches, to reflect injuriously upon that reasonable and allowed latitude of construction without which the Reformed Church of England would in every generation have lost some of its best and ablest men. Some, therefore, were anxious that the articles and Liturgy should be revised; and a petition to this effect was presented in 1772 to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Among the other names attached to it appears that of Beilby Porteus, afterwards Bishop of London and a principal supporter of the Evangelical party. Some proposed that the 'orthodox Articles' only—by which they meant those that relate to the primary doctrines of the Christian creed—should be subscribed to;[430] some thought that it would be sufficient to require of the clergy only an unequivocal assent to the Book of Common Prayer. It seems strange that while abolition of subscription was proposed by some, revision of the Articles by others, no one, so far as it appears, proposed the more obvious alternative of modifying the wording of the terms in which subscription was made. But nothing of any kind was done. The bishops, upon consultation, thought it advisable to leave matters alone. They may have been right. But, throughout the greater part of the century, leaving alone was too much the wisdom of the leaders and rulers of the English Church.

In all the course of its long history, before and after the Reformation, the National Church of England has never, perhaps, occupied so peculiarly isolated a place in Christendom as at the extreme end of the last century and through the earlier years of the present one. At one or another period it may have been more jealous of foreign influence, more violently antagonistic to Roman Catholics, more intolerant of Dissent, more wedded to uniformity in doctrine and discipline. But at no one time had it stood, as a Church, t-shirt so distinctly apart from all other Communions. If the events of the French Revolution had slightly mitigated the antipathy to Roman Catholicism, there was still not the very slightest approximation to it on the part of the highest Anglicans, if any such continued to exist. The Eastern Church, after attracting a faint curiosity through the overtures of the later Nonjurors, was as wholly unknown and unthought of as though it had been an insignificant sect in the furthest wilds of Muscovy. All communications with the foreign Protestant Churches had ceased. It had beheld, after the death of Wesley, almost the last links severed between itself and Methodism. It had become separated from Dissenters generally by a wider interval. Its attitude towards them was becoming less intolerant, but more chilled and exclusive. The Evangelicals combined to some extent with Nonconformists, and often met on the same platforms. But there was no longer anything like the friendly intercourse which had existed in the beginning and in the middle of last century between the bishops and clergy of the 'moderate' party in the Church on the one hand, and the principal Nonconformist ministers on the other. Comprehension—until the time of Dr. Arnold—was no longer discussed. Occasional conformity had in long past time received the blow which deprived it of importance. Again, the Church of England was still almost confined, except by its missions, within the limits of the four seas. Pananglicanism was a term yet to be invented. The Colonial empire was still in its infancy, and its Church in tutelage. There was a sister Church in the United States. But the wounds inflicted in the late war were scarcely staunched; and the time had not arrived to speak of cordiality, or of community of Church interests. Good adult movies It was from Scottish, not from English hands, that America received her first bishop.

Perhaps, in the order of that far-reaching Providence which is traced in the history of Churches as of States, it may, after all, have been well that, in the century under our review, the somewhat sluggish stream of life which circulated in the English Church had not sought out for itself any new channels. A more diffusive activity might be reserved to it for better times. In the eighteenth century there would always have adult movies been cause for fear that, in seeking to embrace more, it might lose some valuable part of what it already had, and which, once lost, it might not be easy to recover. There were many to whom 'moderation' would have been another word for compromise; and who, not so much in the interests of true unity as for the sake of tranquil days, would have made concessions which a later age would regret in vain. Moreover, the Churchmen of that period had a great work before them of consolidation, and of examination of fundamental principles. They did not do that part of their work amiss. Possibly they might have done it not so well, had their energies been less concentrated on the cumshot special task which employed their intellects—if they had been called upon to turn their attention to important changes in the ecclesiastical polity, or to new schemes of Church extension. Faults, blunders, shortcomings, are not to be excused by unforeseen good ultimately involved in them; yet it is, at all events, an allowable and pleasant thing to consider whether good may not have resulted in the end. Throughout the eighteenth century the principles of the Church of England were retained, if sometimes inactive, yet at least intact, ready for development and expansion, if ever the time should come. Already, at the end of the century, our National Church was teeming with the promise of a new or reinvigorated life. The time for greater union, in which this Church may have a great part to do, and for increased comprehensiveness, may, in our day, be ripening towards maturity. Even now there is little fear that in any changes and improvements which might be made, the English Church would relax its hold either on primitive and Catholic uses, or on that precious inheritance of liberty which was secured at the Reformation. There may be difficulties, too great to be overcome, in the way either of Church revision or Church comprehension; but cum shot pictures if they should be achieved, their true principles would be better understood than ever they were in the days of Tillotson and Calamy, or of Secker and Doddridge.

Monday, July 25, 2005

 

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