E. E. (Ernest Edward) Holmes.

The Church: Her Books and Her Sacraments online

. (page 1 of 8)
Online LibraryE. E. (Ernest Edward) HolmesThe Church: Her Books and Her Sacraments → online text (page 1 of 8)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Produced by Al Haines















IN WATCHINGS OFTEN: Addresses to Nurses and Others. With a Preface by
the Right Rev. EDWARD KING, D.D., late Bishop of Lincoln. With a
Frontispiece (the Crucifixion, by PERUGINO). Crown 8vo, paper boards,
2s. 6d.; cloth, 3s. 6d.

PRAYER AND ACTION; or, The Three Notable Duties (Prayer, Fasting, and
Almsgiving). With an Introduction by the Bishop of London. Crown 8vo,
2s. 6d. net.

IMMORTALITY. Crown 8vo, 4s. net. (_Oxford Library of Practical

PARADISE: A Course of Addresses on the State of the Faithful Departed.
Crown 8vo, paper covers, 1s. net; cloth, 2s. net. *** _Extracted from

RESPONSIBILITY: An Address to Girls. 16mo, paper covers, 4d. net;
bound in rexine, 1s. net. Cheap Edition, 1d. net.




H. F. B. M.



These Lectures were originally delivered as the Boyle Lectures for
1910, and were afterwards repeated in a more popular form at All
Saints, Margaret Street. They are now written from notes taken at
their delivery at All Saints, and the writer's thanks are due to the
kindness of those who lent him the notes. Some explanation of their
elementary character seems called for. The Lecturer's object was
twofold: -

(1) To remind an instructed congregation of that which they knew
already - and to make them more grateful for the often underrated
privilege of being members of the Catholic Church; and

(2) To suggest some simple lines of instruction which they might pass
on to others. Unless the instructed Laity will help the Clergy to
teach their uninstructed brethren, a vast number of {viii} Church
people must remain in ignorance of their privileges and
responsibilities. And if at times the instructed get impatient and
say, "Everybody knows that," they will probably be mistaken. Many a
Churchman is ignorant of the first principles of his religion, of why
he is a Churchman, and even of what he means by "the Church," just
because of the false assumption - "Everybody knows". Everybody does not

It seems absurd to treat such subjects as _The Church, Her Books, Her
Sacraments_, in half-hour Lectures; but, in spite of obvious drawbacks,
there may be two advantages. It may be useful to take a bird's-eye
view of a whole subject rather than to look minutely into each
part - and it may help to keep the Lecturer to the point!

E. E. H.




Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vii
I. The Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
II. The Church's Books (1) The Bible . . . . . . . . 21
III. " " (2) The Prayer Book . . . . . 40
IV. The Church's Sacraments . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
V. Baptism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
VI. The Blessed Sacrament . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81
VII. The Lesser Sacraments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92
VIII. Confirmation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
IX. Holy Matrimony . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106
X. Holy Order . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123
XI. Penance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144
XII. Unction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158
Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165

Dear Saviour! make our hearts to burn,
And make our lives to shine,
Oh! make us ever true to Thee,
And true to all that's Thine -
Thy Church, Thy Saints, Thy Sacraments,
Thy Scriptures; may we own
No other Lord, no other rule,
But Thee, and Thine alone.

A. G.





_Christus Dilexit Ecclesiam_: "Christ loved the Church"[1] - and if we
love what Christ loved, we do well.

But three questions meet us: -

(1) What is this Church which Christ loved?

(2) When and where was it established?

(3) What was it established for?

First: _What is the Church?_ The Church is a visible Society under a
visible Head, in Heaven, in Paradise, and on Earth. Who is this
visible Head? Jesus Christ - visible to the greatest number of its
members (i.e. in Heaven and in Paradise), and vicariously represented
here by "the Vicar of Christ upon Earth," the Universal Episcopate.


Next: _When and where was it established?_ It was established in
Palestine, in the Upper Chamber, on the first Whitsunday, "the Day of

Then: _What was it established for?_ It was established to be the
channel of salvation and sanctification for fallen man. God may, and
does, use other channels, but, "according to the Scriptures," the
Church is the authorized channel.

As such, let us think of the Church on earth under six Prayer-Book
names: -

(I) The Catholic Church.
(II) The National Church.
(III) The Established Church.
(IV) The Church of England.
(V) The Reformed Church.
(VI) The Primitive Church.


The Creeds call it "the _Catholic_ Church" and describe its doctrine as
"the _Catholic_ Religion," or the "_Catholic_ Faith". The Te Deum,
Litany, and Ember Collect explain this word "Catholic" to mean "the
holy Church _throughout all the {3} world_," "_an universal_ Church,"
"_thy holy_ Church universal"; and the Collect for the King in the
Liturgy defines it as "the _whole_ Church". The "Catholic Church,"
then, is "the whole Church," East and West, Latin, Greek, and English,
"throughout all the world ".[2] Its message is world-wide, according
to the terms of its original Commission, "Go ye into _all the world_".

Thus, wherever there are souls and bodies to be saved and sanctified,
there, sooner or later, will be the Catholic Church. And, as a matter
of history, this is just what we find. Are there souls to be saved and
sanctified in Italy? - there is the Church, with its local headquarters
at Rome. Are there souls to be saved and sanctified in Russia? - there
is the Church, once with its local {4} headquarters at Moscow. Are
there souls to be saved and sanctified in England? - there is the
Church, with its local headquarters at Canterbury. It is, and ever has
been, one and the same Church, "all one man's sons," and that man, the
Man Christ Jesus. The Catholic Church is like the ocean. There is the
Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean: and yet there are
not three oceans, but one ocean. The Atlantic Ocean is not the Indian
Ocean, nor is the Indian Ocean the Pacific Ocean: they are all together
the one universal ocean - "the ocean".

But, after all, is not this a somewhat vague and nebulous conception of
"The Church". If it is to go into all the world, how, from a business
point of view, is this world-wide mission, in all its grandeur, to be
accomplished? The answer is seen in our second name: -


For business and administrative purposes, the world is divided into
different nations. For business and practical purposes, the Church
follows the same method. The Catholic Church is the channel of "saving
health to all nations". As at Pentecost the Church, typically, reached
"every {5} nation under heaven," so, age after age, must every nation
receive the Church's message. The Universal Church must be planted in
each nation - not to denationalize that nation; not to plant another
National Church in the nation; but to establish itself as "the Catholic
Church" in that particular area, and to gather out of it some national
feature of universal life to present to the Universal Head. Thus, a
National Church is the local presentment of the Catholic Church in the
nation. As Dr. Newman puts it: "The Holy Church throughout all the
world is manifest and acts through what is called _in each country_,
the Church Visible".

As such, the duty of a National Church is two-fold. It must teach the
nation; it must feed the nation. First: it is the function of the
National Church to teach the nation. What is its subject? Religion.
It is to teach the nation religion - not to be taught religion by the
nation. It is no more the State's function to teach religion to the
authorities of the National Church[3] than it is the {6} function of
the nation to teach art to the authorities of the National Gallery.
Nor, again, is it the function of a National Church to teach the nation
a _national_ religion; it is the office of the Church to teach the
nation the _Catholic_ religion - to say, in common with the rest of
Christendom, "the Catholic religion is this," and none other. Thus,
the faith of a National Church is not the changing faith of a passing
majority; it is the unchanging faith of a permanent Body, the Catholic
Church. Different ages may explain the faith in different ways;
different nations may present it by different methods; different minds
may interpret it in different lights; but it is one and the same faith,
"throughout all the world ".

A second function of the National Church is to feed the nation - to feed
it with something which no State has to offer. It is the hand of the
Catholic Church dispensing to the nation "something better than bread".
When a priest is ordained, the Bishop bids him be "a faithful dispenser
of the Word of God, and of His holy Sacraments," and then gives him a
local sphere of action "in the congregation where thou shalt be
lawfully appointed thereunto".[4] Ideally, this {7} is carried out by
the parochial system. For administrative purposes, the National Church
is divided into parishes, and thus brings the Scriptures and Sacraments
to every individual in every nation in which the Catholic Church is
established. It is a grand and business-like conception. First, the
Church's _mission_, "Go ye into all the world"; then the Church's
_method_ - planting itself in nation after nation "throughout all the
world"; dividing (still for administrative purposes) each nation into
provinces; each province into dioceses; each diocese into
archdeaconries; each archdeaconry into rural deaneries; each rural
deanery into parishes; and so teaching and feeding each unit in each
parish, by the hand of the National Church.

All this is, or should be, going on in England, and we have now to ask
when and by whom the Catholic Church, established in the Upper Chamber
on the Day of Pentecost, was established in our country.


The Catholic Church was established, or re-established,[5] in this
realm in the year {8} 597.[6] It was established by St. Augustine,
afterwards the first Archbishop of Canterbury. How do we know this?
By documentary evidence. This is the only evidence which, in such a
case, is final. If it is asked when, and by whom, our great public
schools were established, the answer can be proved or disproved by
documents. If, for instance, it is asked when, and by whom,
_Winchester_ was established, documents, and documents only, {9} can
answer the question - -and documents definitely reply: in 1387, by
William of Wykeham; if it is asked when, and by whom, _Eton_ was
established, documents answer: in 1441, by Henry VI; if it is asked
when, and by whom, _Harrow_ was established, documents respond: in
1571, by John Lyon; if it is asked when, and by whom, _Charterhouse_
was established, documents again reply: in 1611, by Sir Thomas Sutton.
It can all be proved by, and only by, documentary evidence. So with
the sects. Documents can prove that the Congregationalists established
themselves in England in 1568, under Robert Brown; Quakers in 1660,
under George Fox; Unitarians in 1719, under Samuel Clarke; Wesleyans in
1799, under a Wesleyan Conference. Records exist proving that these
various sects were established at these given dates, and no records
exist proving that they were established at any other dates. So with
the Church. Records exist proving that it was established by
Augustine, in England, in 597, and no records exist even hinting that
it was established at any other time by anybody else.


"_As by Law Established._"[7]

A not unnatural mistake has sometimes arisen from the phrase "_as by
law_ established". Where is this law? It does not exist. No law ever
established the Church of England. The expression refers to the
protection given by law to the Catholic Church in England, enabling it
to do its duty in, and to, the country. It tells of the legal
recognition of the Church in the country long before the State existed;
it expresses the legal declaration that the Church of England is not a
mere insular sect, but part of the Universal Church "throughout all the
world". A State can, of course, if it chooses, establish and {11}
endow any religion - Mohammedan, Hindoo, Christian, in a country. It
can establish Presbyterianism or Quakerism or Undenominationalism in
England if it elects so to do; but none of these would be the Church of
Jesus Christ established in the Upper Chamber on the Day of Pentecost.
As a matter of history, no Church was ever established or endowed by
State law in England.[8] If such a tremendous Act as the establishment
of the Church of England by law had been passed, it is obvious that
some document would attest it, as it does in the case of the
establishment of the Scotch Presbyterian Church in the reign of William
III. No such document exists. But an authentic {12} record does exist
proving the establishment of the Pentecostal Church in England in 597.
It is this old Pentecostal Church that we speak of as the Church of


Who gave it this name? The Pope.[9] It was given by Pope Gregory in a
letter to Augustine. In this letter[10] Gregory speaks of three
Churches - the {13} Church of Rome, the Church of Gaul, and the _Church
of the English_, and he bids Augustine compile a Liturgy from the
different Churches for the "Use" of the Church of England.

We see, then, that the Church of England is the Catholic Church in
England. As the Church of Ephesus is the Catholic Church in Ephesus,
or the Church of Laodicea is the Catholic Church in Laodicea, or the
Church of Thyatira the Catholic Church in Thyatira, so the Church of
England is the Catholic Church in England. Just as St. Clement begins
his Epistle to the Corinthians with, "The _Church of God_, which is at
Rome, to the _Church of God_ which is at Corinth," so might Archbishop
Davidson write to the Italians, "_The Church of God_, which is at
Canterbury, to the _Church of God_, which is at Rome". It is in each
case, "the Church of God," "made visible," in the nation where it is


But, being national (being, for example, in England), it is, obviously,
subject to the dangers, as well as the privileges, of national
character, national temperament - and, in our case, national insularity.
The national presentment of the Catholic Church may err, and may err
without losing its Catholicity. The Church of England, "as also the
Church of Rome, hath erred";[11] it has needed, it needs, it will need,
reforming. Hence we come to our fifth name: -


The name is very suggestive. It suggests two things - life and

First, _life_. A reforming Church is a living Church. Reformation is
a sign of animation, for a dead organism cannot reform itself. Then,
_continuity_. The reformed man, must be the same man, or he would not
be a reformed man but somebody else. So with the Church of England.
It would have been quite possible, however ludicrous, to have
established a new Church in the sixteenth century, but that would not
have been a reformed Church, it would have been {15} another
Church - the very last thing the Reformers contemplated.

A Reformed Church, then, is not the formation of a new Church, but the
re-formation of the old Church.

How did the old Church of England reform itself? Roughly speaking, the
English Reformation did two things. It affirmed something, and it
denied something.

First, it affirmed something. For instance, the Church of England
affirmed that the Church in this country in the sixteenth century was
one with the Church of the sixth century. It affirmed that it was the
very same Church that had been established in Palestine on the Day of
Pentecost, and in this realm by Augustine in 597. It reaffirmed its
old national independence in things local just as it had affirmed it in
the days of Pope Gregory, It re-affirmed its adherence to every
doctrine[12] held by the undivided Church, without adding thereto, or
taking therefrom.


Then, it denied something. It denied the right of foreigners to
interfere in purely English affairs; it denied the right of the Bishop
of one National Church to exercise his power in another National
Church; it denied the claim of the Bishop of Rome to exercise
jurisdiction over the Archbishop of Canterbury; it denied the power of
any one part of the Church to impose local decisions, or local dogmas,
upon any other part of the Church.

Thus, the Reformation both affirmed and denied. It affirmed the
constitutional rights of the Church as against the unconstitutional
claims of the Pope, and it denied the unconstitutional claims of the
State as against the constitutional rights of the Church.

Much more, very much more, "for weal or for woe," it did. It had to
buy its experience. The Reformation was not born grown up. It made
its mistakes, as every growing movement will do. It is still growing,
still making mistakes, still purging and pruning itself as it grows;
and it is still asserting its right to reform itself where it {17} has
gone wrong, and to return to the old ideal where it has departed from
it. And this old ideal is wrapped up in the sixth name: -


Re-formation must be based upon its original formation if it would aim
at real reform. It is not necessarily a mechanical imitation of the
past, but a genuine portrait of the permanent. It is, then, to the
Primitive Church that we must look for the principles of reformation.
If the meaning of a will is contested years after the testator's death,
reference will be made, as far as possible, to the testator's
contemporaries, or to writings which might best interpret his
intentions. This is what the English Reformers of the sixteenth
century tell us that they did. They refer perpetually to the past;
over and over again they send us to the "ancient fathers,"[13] as to
those living and writing nearest to the days when the Church was
established, and as most likely to know her mind. They go back to what
the "Commination Service" calls "The Primitive Church". This
"Primitive Church" is the Reformed Church now established in England.
{18} The Reformers themselves never meant it to be anything else, and
would have been the first to protest against the unhistoric, low, and
modern use of the word "established". In this sense, they would have
been the sturdiest of sturdy "Protestants".

And this word Protestant reminds us that there is one more name
frequently given to the Church of England, but not included in our
scheme, because found nowhere in the Prayer Book.


The term is a foreign one - not English. It comes from Germany and was
given to the Lutherans in 1529, because they protested against an
edict[14] forbidding them to regulate their own local ecclesiastical
affairs, pending the decision of a General Council.

It had nothing whatever to do with "protesting" against ceremonial.
The ceremonial of the Church in Lutheran Germany is at least as
carefully elaborated as that seen in the majority of English churches.

Later on, the term was borrowed from the Germans by the English, and
applied to {19} Churchmen who protested (1) against doctrines held
_exclusively_ by Rome on the one hand, and by Lutherans and Calvinists
on the other; and (2) against claims made by the King over the rights
and properties of the Church. Later still, it has been applied to
those who protest against the ancient interpretation of Prayer-Book
teaching on the Sacraments and Ceremonial.

There is, it is true, a sense in which the name is fairly used to
represent the views of all loyal English Churchmen. Every English
Churchman protests against anything unhistoric or uncatholic. The
Church of England does protest against anything imposed by one part of
the Church on any other part of the Church, apart from the consent of
the whole Church. It does protest against the claims of Italy or of
any other nation to rule England, or to impose upon us, as _de fide_,
anything exclusively Roman. In this sense, Laud declared upon the
scaffold that he died "a true Protestant"; in this sense, Nicholas
Ferrar, founder of a Religious House in Huntingdonshire, called himself
a Protestant; in this sense, we are all Protestants, and in this sense
we are not ashamed of our unhistoric name.


In these Prayer-Book names, then, we see (1) that the Church on earth
is a society, established in the Upper Chamber on the Day of Pentecost;
(2) that it was established to be the ordained and ordinary channel
through which God saves and sanctifies fallen man; (3) that, in order
to accomplish this, and for business and administrative purposes, the
Church Catholic establishes itself in national centres; (4) that one
such national centre is England; and (5) that this Pentecostal Church
established in England is the Church which "Christ loved," the Sponsa
Christi, the "Bride of Christ": -

_Elect from every nation,_
_Yet one all o'er the Earth._

[1] Eph. v. 25.

[2] The primary meaning of the word Catholic seems to refer to
world-wide extension. St. Augustine teaches that it means "Universal"
as opposed to particular, and says that "The Church is called Catholic
because it is spread throughout the whole world". St. Cyril of
Jerusalem says: "The Church is called Catholic because it extends
throughout the whole world, from one end of the Earth to the other,"
and he adds, "because it teaches universally all the doctrines which
men ought to know" ("Catechetical Lectures," xviii. 23).

[3] "Foul fall the day," writes Mr. Gladstone, "when the persons of
this world shall, on whatever pretext, take into their uncommissioned
hands the manipulation of the religion of our Lord and Saviour."

[4] Service for "The Ordering of Priests".

[5] There was, of course, an ancient British Church long before the
sixth century, and there is evidence that it existed in the middle of
the second century. It sent bishops to the Council of Arles in 314,
and there is a church at Canterbury in which Queen Bertha's chaplain
celebrated some twenty-five years before the coming of Augustine. But
its origin is shrouded in mystery, and it had been practically
extinguished by Jutes, Saxons, and Angles before Augustine arrived.
"Of the ancient British Church," writes Bishop Stubbs, in an
unpublished letter, "we must be content to admit that history tells us
next to nothing, and that what glimmerings of truth we think we can
discover in legend grow fainter and fainter the more closely they are
examined. Authentic records there are none." Some ascribe the first
preaching of the Gospel in Britain to St. Peter, others to St. Paul, or
St. James, or St. Simon Zelotes, and the monks of Glastonbury ascribe
it to their founder, Joseph of Arimathea, who was, they say, sent to
Britain by St. Philip with eleven others in A.D. 63. Cf. letter of Dr.
Bright to "The Guardian," 14 March, 1888, and see "Letters and Memoirs
of William Bright," pp. 267 _seq_.

[6] i.e. the English, as distinct from the British Church.

[7] "The word Establishment," writes Bishop Stubbs, "means, of course,
the national recognition of our Church as a Christian Church, as the
representment of the religious life of the nation as historically
worked out and by means of property and discipline enabled to
discharge, so far as outward discharge can insure it, the effectual
performance of the duties that membership of a Christian Church
involves. It means the national recognition of a system by which every

1 3 4 5 6 7 8

Online LibraryE. E. (Ernest Edward) HolmesThe Church: Her Books and Her Sacraments → online text (page 1 of 8)