AND DEFINITIONS 55
a. Is there
(a) A generic idea of Priesthood ; and, if so, what are
the elements and functions necessary to it ?
(b) A specific Christian idea ; and, if so, what are its
specific characters ?
(a) The generic idea of Priesthood is based on the assump-
tion that certain channels (e. g. places, times, persons, rites, &c.)
exist through which the eternal and the temporal normally
meet. An order of persons is regarded as indispensable to
these channels, and such an order is a Priesthood.
(b) The specific Christian idea of Priesthood is that Christ
Himself is the channel of Grace and Truth to the world, ' the
new and living way'; and that the Divine life, dormant in
every one, but waked into consciousness through the revela-
tion made by Christ, is in itself, for every individual the
point in which the eternal and the temporal meet. However
useful and honourable a ministry of the Sacraments and
teaching and service may be for bringing men within reach
of the Gospel that awakes the Divine life, and for assisting
their spiritual growth, an order of persons controlling for
others the channels of the Divine life is not conceivable,
under the revelation of Christ.
3. What was the teaching of our Lord Himself
(a) As to the priestly idea ?
(b) As to His own Priesthood and Sacrifice ?
(c) As to any perpetuation and transmission of these in
I think that the answers above given convey the substance
and purpose of our Lord's teaching, seen in due proportion,
and separated from the language and illustrations and meta-
phors in which, of necessity, coming in that age and nation,
He taught His hearers, and in which they transmitted His
4. What is the Apostolic teaching
(a) As to the Sacrifice of Christ ?
(b) As to His Priesthood?
(c) As to the Priesthood of His people ?
(d) As to the relation of this Priesthood, if there be any,
to His, and to His Sacrifice ?
The same answer, mutatis mutandis, may be made as in 3.
The fundamental idea is service and SELF-CONSECRA-
TION. Constant and inevitable references are made to the
current ideas of God, and of a Covenant, and of the Jewish
Priesthood and sacrifices ; but the new relation to God, which
constituted the Gospel, is now a spiritual union with God,
reveiJed by Christ and in Him, existing * through an eternal
Spirit,' and issuing in loving service and self-consecration.
The explicit teaching of the Epistle to the Hebrews is in
accordance with this view. I regard it as Apostolic. This
Epistle also tells us that ' Christ abideth a priest continually,'
and thus teaches that no new priesthood is necessary.
5. What relation has the idea of the Church as the Mystical
Body of Christ to the ideas of His Priesthood and
The Mystical Body of Christ is all humanity in so far as
it is animated by the Spirit of Christ. The members of the
Church, consciously called to represent Christ, necessarily, so
far as they are thus animated, live the life of service that
is sacrifice ; and of consecration that is priesthood, which
marked Christ's earthly life. Priesthood and sacrifice are
thus of the same nature in us as in Him.
6. Does the idea of Priesthood applied to the Church
reside in the whole body collectively, or in the whole
body ideally, or in individual members of the body ?
Priesthood, being the consecration to a life of service, is
a mark, or should be a mark, of the Church collectively,
AND DEFINITIONS 57
and of its members individually; and, of course, of the
7. Can there be any delegation of the functions of this
There can be no delegation of the duty of this life of self-
consecration and service. Other functions, of administering
the sacraments, of teaching, service, government, &c,, may
be delegated to a ministry; but not these which are the
characteristic functions of a Christian Priesthood.
8. If there is such delegation, how does it affect
(a] Those to whom the functions are delegated ?
(b) Those to whom they are not delegated? Is the
priesthood of the Church affected by this delegation ?
The belief in the possibility of the delegation of an exclu-
sive possession of the channels of grace and pardon may have
served, and may, among backward races, still serve, useful
temporary purposes of discipline ; but it has also produced
obvious and serious evils in both classes. To this belief
are due the worst elements in the Roman Catholic Church,
and some real dangers in our own. The delegation of ministry
and office to duly appointed persons in no way affects the
priesthood of the Church.
9. What is the fundamental significance of the Laying on
of Hands? Does it involve transmission; and, if so,
what is transmitted ?
The laying on of hands is a symbol of prayer, of blessing,
and of delegation of authority. It is a recognition of the
continuity of the presence of the Spirit of Christ from one
generation to the next. It is further a public recognition
of individuals by a solemn act which localizes and symbolizes
the prayers of the society that God will continue His gifts
and His presence in the Church.
It is a transmission of authority to teach, to administer
the sacraments, and to do certain acts, by those who have
been themselves authorized by the society both to exercise
and to transmit that authority.
10. What was the original authority of the Apostles? Has
that authority in any way descended to those who come
after them ?
The Twelve, and others like St. James and St. Paul, had
of course the authority of witnesses, and of our Lord's direct
commission to teach. They had conceded to them, as a
matter of course, the further authority to guide and mould
the new society as circumstances then required.
The dbthority to teach and govern is permanently inherent
in the Church as a whole ; and by analogy with civil govern-
ment, and from the necessity of order and continuity of
doctrine, the exercise of that authority has been for eighteen
centuries normally vested in the historic episcopate, acting
for and in the name of the whole Church, and appointed in
such way as the Church approves.
11. Supposing that there are some to whom the functions
of Priesthood belong in a sense in which they do not
belong to others, should not a distinction be drawn
between the historical question as to the process by
which this condition of things has arisen and the theo-
retical question as to the place which it holds in the
whole Christian economy ? How are the historical and
the theoretic questions related to each other ?
By a confusion of ideas, inevitable in a Church which
has been so much influenced by Paganism as well as by
Judaism, orders of ministry which are essential for the
conduct of worship, for teaching, for the preservation of
orthodoxy, and for government, arising on the analogies of
the synagogues and of civil government, have at some stage
AND DEFINITIONS 59
in their development been identified with a priesthood con-
nected with a temple, and supposed to be an exclusive
channel of approach to God, and have acquired its asso-
ciations. The historical questions concern, firstly, the growth
of the orders of the Church ministry and of government,
and their local variations: and secondly, the develop-
ment of the theoretic or theological views as to the spiritual
power of this ministry in controlling the Divine Grace.
These questions are entirely distinct ; and the truth of any
theoretic idea of the spiritual power of the ministry is not
to be established by the enumeration of those who at various
times have accepted it. How to give due weight, and not
excessive weight, to the opinions held by saintly men of
the past on this question is, in my judgement, the most
difficult of historical questions, and one on which confidence
is not a mark of wisdom.
The historical conclusions, both as to facts and opinions,
can only be subsidiary to the theological question. They
tell us only what at certain times and places some men did
and taught ; not what is for ever right and true for the Church
to do and teach.
12. What parts of the historical problem at the present
moment seem most to need further elucidation ?
(i) The intellectual or other influences which in an early
age caused the transference into the Christian ministry of
the ideas of what was originally separate from it, the Jewish
or pagan priesthood ; and (2) those influences which in the
present age are making this transference again acceptable to
a certain type of mind, and impossible to others.
13. Of what parts of the theoretical problem may the same
be said ?
The theoretical problem needs to be stated. I am not
quite sure what is meant. When stated, however, it will,
I think, be seen to be unanswerable.
There is the permanent contrast in human nature between
two types of minds ; between the priest and the prophet ;
between tradition and illumination ; between those who value
continuity, order, orthodoxy most, as a means of securing
to the world and themselves an approach to God, and those
who, conscious of a direct approach to God, and valuing
supremely the life of the Spirit within, place continuity and
all externals in the second place. It is the contrast of the
logician and the philosopher, of the ecclesiastic and the
mystic. The only hope of union, or even of mutual under-
standing, is in each of these types endeavouring to under-
stand, to appreciate, to emulate the characteristic excellencies
of the other. The two types are not irreconcilable, if the
ecclesiastic is content to urge the value of continuity as a
security, and because of its influence on the minds of men,
and foregoes dogmatism as to its exclusive possession of
God's gifts of grace ; and if the mystic will accept it as his-
torically proven that his mind and temperament is not a
measure of those of all men, and that the most loyal adherence
to a Church system, as highly expedient, is compatible with
utter simplicity and piety and humility.
14. If there is a Ministerial Priesthood under the New
Covenant, can it be rightly described as a Sacrificing
The phrases Ministerial Priesthood and New Covenant
should be avoided unless they are carefully defined in a
Christian sense. Such a ministry as is contemplated in the
New Testament is a ministry of teaching, and worship, and
governing, but is not a sacrificing priesthood, except in the
sense above described; it is a body of representatives of
the Church specially consecrated to the life of service. In
that sense it is both ministerial and a priesthood.
15. How far is the Early Church to be determinative to-
day of the questions discussed under the above heads?
AND DEFINITIONS 6l
And what are the limits which we ought to assign to
the determinative period ?
No limit can be assigned to the age which may be studied
as throwing light on the elements in human nature which
have introduced modes of thought or customs into the growth
of the idea of the Church as it existed in the mind of Christ.
But no age is determinative for us. We have to ascertain
the idea of Christ Himself; and a study of Church traditions
may obscure as well as illuminate that idea. From the New
Testament and especially from the Gospels, we must always
derive correctives to those idola which haunt us ; ever striving
to see the spiritual beneath the visible ; the eternal beneath
the temporal ; and to adapt our visible or temporal forms of
thought and worship, in our own age, so as best to lead our
generation to a knowledge of the spiritual and the eternal.
If any agreement can be come to on these subjects, it must
be on some basis broad enough for both types of mind to
stand upon ; and each type must be willing to allow the other
to stand by its side and not try to push it off. Can we agree
that the Christian idea of sacrifice is the spiritual sacrifice
of ' ourselves, our souls and bodies ' ; and that the one con-
summate sacrifice is that of Christ's own humbling Himself,
giving up His glory, taking the form of man, and dying the
death of the Cross? Can we agree that each Christian is
pledged to offer a similar sacrifice of self-consecration to God,
and is therefore verily a priest ? And can we agree, finally,
that the Ministry of the Church of Christ is the representative
of the whole Church, bound even more than others to the life
of service and self-consecration, and bound to show forth the
Lord's death, by symbol, by word, by life, till He come ?
62 THE CONFERENCE
THE time-table of the proceedings will give a sufficient
idea of the manner in which the Conference was conducted.
With the exception of Mr. Headlam, Ex-Fellow, and
Mr. Lang, Fellow, of All Souls who stayed in their own
College, the non-resident members of the Conference were
entertained at Christ Church and at Mansfield College ; and
the meetings for business were pleasantly interspersed with
social gatherings in which all took part.
Tuesday \ December 12.
Dine at Christ Church (Dr. Sanday), 7.30.
Wednesday, December 13.
First Discussion (Questions i, 2), 10.15-1245.
PRESUPPOSITIONS OF NEW TESTAMENT DOCTRINE.
Definitions of Sacrifice and Priesthood.
Relation of the Ceremonial Element in Sacrifice and
Priesthood to the Moral.
Bearing of Old Testament Doctrine.
Tea (at Christ Church), 345.
Second Discussion (Questions 3, 4), 4-6.30.
NEW TESTAMENT DOCTRINE OF SACRIFICE AND PRIESTHOOD.
The Sacrifice and Priesthood of Christ
Silences of the New Testament
THE CONFERENCE 63
What means are there of distinguishing between Metaphor
and substantial Reality ?
Dine at Christ Church (Dr. Moberly and Dr. Sanday), 7.30.
Thursday, December 14.
Third Discussion (Questions 5-15), 10-12.30.
NEW TESTAMENT DOCTRINE (continued").
The Mystical Union : What is it, and what does it imply ?
The Relation of the Body to its ' organs.'
Provision for the Perpetuity of the Christian Priesthood.
Lunch at Mansfield College (Dr. Fairbairn), 1.15.
Informal Meeting (at Mansfield College), 2.30.
Publication of Report, &c.
N.B. The heads for discussion are only suggestions of leading points ,
and are not meant to preclude the raising of any question relevant to the
64 FIRST DISCUSSION [I. 1
AT the first sitting, and throughout the Conference, the
following were present :
FATHER PULLER. DR. SANDAY (in the Chair).
DR. MOBERLY. REV. A. C. HEADLAM.
CANON GORE. DR. FAIRBAIRN.
CANON SCOTT HOLLAND, DR. SALMOND.
REV. C. G. LANG. DR. DAVISON.
ARCHDEACON WILSON. REV. ARNOLD THOMAS.
DR. RYLE. DR. FORSYTH.
CANON E. R. BERNARD.
After prayer, the proceedings were opened by Dr. Sanday,
who spoke as follows :
i. DR. SANDAY. I must express my great thankfulness that
at last we meet together face to face, and that these
friendly but serious discussions to which we have been
looking forward, through what I have no doubt have
been very busy weeks, are at last about to begin.
I know that many of those who are present have come
here at no small cost to themselves, and at cost of various
kinds. I know that they have done so from no personal
motive, but from a public motive, and from the hope
that what will be done now may ultimately, in some way
or other, redound to the general good ; and I earnestly
trust that when our meetings are over we may feel that
we shall not go empty away. I am quite aware that the
course I have proposed is a serious and responsible one.
I can quite imagine it to be possible that our Conference
I. 1] FIRST DISCUSSION 65
might have more definite and tangible success if it had
been on a smaller basis, and if it had a smaller scope.
But I ventured to aim at something more than this ;
I thought that we might go to the root of some of
the differences which affect us most as English Church-
men and English Christians. Of course I have not
allowed myself to be too sanguine. I do not suppose
that many of us here will go away thinking very
differently from the way in which we thought when
we came. I myself, from the special circumstances in
which I find myself, may be more likely to be affected
by the results of this Conference than any one here.
In any case, I think we shall bring out at least what
we have in common ; and I cannot help hoping that
the eloquent passage with which Archdeacon Wilson's
paper concludes may express the minimum of this
common ground. But beyond that, I think we may
define the extent of our differences, and see just the
point where they come in. I have great hopes that
we shall be able to clear away a great deal of irrelevant
controversy. Differences there must be ; but I trust they
will not be harsh differences, and that the more we get
to know each other, the more we shall see how much
our views really do rest upon serious and deeply thought-
out grounds, and the more we shall feel mutual respect.
There are just a few explanations that I should like
to make. You may be interested to know something
about the invitations which have been sent out for this
Conference. I am glad to say that of all the invitations
that were originally sent out only one was declined, and
I must express my own personal thanks for the very
cordial way in which they have been received. The
only one that was declined, and that after long con-
sideration, was by Dr. Armitage Robinson ; and I am
afraid that one of the main reasons why he declined
66 FIRST DISCUSSION [L 1
it was the very high standard which he sets himself in
approaching a subject like this. He felt that his own
work was so absorbing that it would take him away from
it too much to enable him to prepare, as he would wish
to prepare, for this Conference. Well, after receiving
that reply, I wrote to Dr. Swete, of Cambridge, and
I should have been very glad if he could have seen
his way to join us ; but unfortunately his health is far
from strong, and he did not feel equal to undertaking the
Conference on that ground. I then wrote to Mr. Lang,
of Portsea, whom I had a special reason for asking to be
present, as he has been for some time interested in this
subject, and will form a welcome link of connexion with
our friends in Scotland. I am sorry that all of those
who were originally invited are not here. Dr. Moule,
I regret to say, is away. He found that our meetings
would clash with the last ordination of the Bishop of
Liverpool, and as he stood in such intimate relation to
the Bishop he did not feel that he could be absent from
the ordination. For some time he held out a hope that
he would send us a paper of answers to our questions,
although he was not here in person. It was impos-
sible for me to overcome the modesty of my friend,
Mr. Chavasse ; and at the strong instance of Dr. Moule,
I wrote to Mr. Nathaniel Dimock, who has written
a learned work on the Christian Doctrine of Sacerdotium.
Unfortunately I wrote to an old address, and after some
days my letter was returned by the Post Office. I had
previously written to the Bishop of Wakefield, Dr. J. H.
Bernard, of Dublin, and Dr. Robertson, of King's College.
All replied most cordially, but all had engagements that
stood in the way. Almost at the last moment I thought
that I need not hesitate to write to my old friend and
fellow-worker, Mr. Headlam, and he has kindly con-
sented to come.
I. 2] FIRST DISCUSSION 67
I am extremely sorry that Dr. Barrett, of Norwich,
is also not able to be here. I have had this letter
from him :
'I am most deeply grieved and disappointed that
I am unable to be with you this week. There has
been an extraordinary pressure of work connected with
my own church which has made it impossible for me
to leave. I anticipate, with the greatest interest, the
results of the Conference. Will you be so good as to
express my sincere regret for my absence, which is
enforced by circumstances over which I have no control.'
I should add that Dr. Fairbairn at once wrote to
Mr. Arnold Thomas, of Bristol, and we are all exceed-
ingly glad that he has been able to come. That, I think,
will explain what has been done in the matter of the
I hope you will approve of the method I have adopted
of circulating these questions and of asking for answers
in writing, and that we shall find them helpful.
I took the further liberty of asking Dr. Driver to con-
tribute notes on some of the points. I felt sure that
it would be a great advantage to us to have them
treated on strictly philological and scientific principles,
without regard to the inferences which we draw from
them ; and he has done exactly what I asked of him.
I should say that the notes as they appear are somewhat
condensed and abridged from the form in which they were
sent to me ; for those who know Dr. Driver's work will
know how profuse he is in supporting any statements he
may make by detailed references. And now, the only
question to consider is as to our method of procedure,
a. DR. FAIRBAIRN. May I, Dr. Sanday, before you pass from
these general remarks, respond to the kindly sentiments
with which you have opened the Conference, and say
that our hopes are exactly your hopes. We do not
68 FIRST DISCUSSION [I. 3-5
anticipate, any more than you, that there may not be
differences of opinion at the end of it ; but we are happy
to feel as Christian brethren that we can still meet and
discuss these questions freely, even though in our hearts
there may be differences.
3. DR. SANDAY. There is the question yet to decide how
we should proceed, and I think it would be best for each
to take five minutes, and that we should follow the order
of the groups and the way in which the names appear
upon the circular. I would ask those gentlemen whose
names appear first in each group to speak first, each
taking five minutes, and so on with the others, group
succeeding group, and going round the table.
Perhaps we might see this morning how that works ;
but if amongst yourselves you would prefer to change
that order, we might well do so. My idea was that we
should each take five minutes, and then spend the rest
of the time in general conversation. We might either
make connected remarks or ask questions of each other ;
but I would propose that, if questions are asked in the
course of the five minutes' speeches, the answering of
these questions should be reserved until they are finished.
Before I ask Father Puller to speak, I should like to
know whether any one would wish to say anything as
to the method of procedure. If any one has anything to
suggest in that respect, now is the opportunity.
4. DR. FAIRBAIRN. Are we to understand that we are to
speak for five minutes on all the topics that are set out ?
5. DR. SANDAY. I think I stated on the time-table that the
heads for discussion are only suggestions of leading
points, and are not meant to preclude the raising of
any question relevant to the main issue. I think our
centre of gravity should be the New Testament doctrine.
If no one wishes to make any further remark I would
ask Father Puller to commence.
I. 6] FIRST DISCUSSION 69
6. FATHER PULLER. On the spur of the moment I have
to consider how to begin the Conference ; and it occurs
to me that I should like to lay stress on what is no doubt
very familiar to every one here, although some persons,
who are not present, seem to have misconceptions on the
subject. The point on which I wish to lay stress is the
fact that in the Old Testament sacrifices are represented
to us as processes consisting of various acts. A sacrifice
is not simply the killing of a victim, but a process of
a complex nature. The victim was first brought and
presented alive by the offerer ; then the offerer laid his
hands on the head of the victim, and in some sense con-
stituted it as his representative. The victim was next O
killed by the offerer ; and it was not until the death had
taken place, as I understand it, that the priest^s part
commenced. It was his duty to calch. the^ blqpd which
flowed from the victim, and then to offer the blood on A
the altar, or round the base of the altar, and in some
cases on the horns of the altar ; while on the Day of
Atonement the High Priest took it within the innermost
veil and sprinkled it before the Shekinah enthroned over
the Mercy-seat. It was in that blood-sprinkling that
the priestly action in the sacrifice commenced. Then the
priest had to take either the whole body of the victim /
as in the case of the burnt-offering, or, as in the case