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The Americana: a universal reference library, comprising the arts ..., Volume 10 online

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section of the Church.

Establishment. — The position of the Church
of England is that it is established by law and
it is part of the constitution of the country.
What exactly this implies has never been clearly
defined and there are different sections of
opinion on the subject in the country. The
High Church party claim that the position of
the Church is continuous with that before the
Reformation and that the Church is by consti-
tutional right free to determine its own teach-
ing. A party which would be called by their
opponents Erastian would claim that the Church
was entirely subject to the Sovereign and to
the Houses of Parliament. The former would
point out that the Sovereign is rightly supreme
in all actions relating to liberty of person and
property, that (as shown by many Acts of
Parliament, notably the Scottish Church Act
of 1905), when auestions of property are in-
volved the Civil Courts or Parliament have to
deal with the internal matters of the different
religious bodies whether they call themselves
•Free® or not, and that what the state has done
is to accept to a large extent the Church Courts
as part of its constitution.

The situation can really be determined only
by historical principles. The position of the
Church is that it is not in obedience to any
theory but in obedience to a number of his-
torical facts. During the Middle Ages the
Church had great independence. The clergy
had the right of taxing themselves and met for
that purpose in their convocations. The
bishops and mitred abbots were members of the
House of Peers, but there was continued fric-
tion between the crown lawyers and ecclesiasti-
cal lawyers as to their respective jurisdiction
and the secular authorities always resented the
right of appeal in ecclesiastical matters u
Rome. The present position of the Church and
State is determined by the following points:
(1) The position of the Sovereign is in a cer-
tain sense that of the head of the Church. It
is to be noted that the title ^Supreme Head
was definitely given up by Queen Elizabeth and
the actual position is rather that the Sovereign
is head over *all causes, as well ecclesiastical as
civil, supreme.* (2) The patronage of the Crown,
The Crown appoints to all bishoprics and dean-
cries, and to many canonries of the inferior
clergy. In most cases the Crown right of
patronage is directly inherited from the Middle
Ases or taken over from the rights of the
Popes. (3) The Church is subject, like every
other body in the kingdom, to the laws laid
down by Parliament. The Book of Common
Prayer has been adopted by Parliament, and by



the Act of Uniformity the authority of the
State is added to the authority of the Church.

The Property of the Church.— The property
of the Church consists of the following: (1)
Tithes, which are charges upon the land paid
originally to the parochial clergy. The origin
of the institution of the tithes is much debated.
It appears to have begun as a voluntary custom
from charges made upon the land by the owners,
and these customs and charges have gradually
been recognized by law and become universal.
Up to the time of the Tithe Commutation Act
in 1836 all these payments were made in kind:
by that Act they were commuted into money
payments. (2) Landed Property. The Church
has inherited a portion of the large estates which
were in the possession of the bishops and other
ecclesiastical bodies during the Middle Ages.
These were ultimately derived in many cases
from a grant by the sovereign or of individual
land-owners. They include in addition to landed
property, manorial rights and in the County
Palatine of Durham royalty rights. In many
cases they date from a period before the Con-
quest; for instance, Farnham Castle has been
the property of the Bishops of Winchester from
the time of a grant made in Anglo-Saxon
times. In the great majority of cases now the
landed property apart from the Glebe lands of
the parochial clergy is managed by the Ecclesi-
astical Commissioners and the bishops receive
fixed stipends. (3) Modern Endowments.
These largely consist of money, and are for the
most part administered by the Ecclesiastical
Commissioners.

Prayer Book. — The character of the Church
of England is shown very clearly in the Book
of Common Prayer. The Prefaces lay down
that the object throughout was to preserve the
old form of services but to fit them to the
altered needs of the time, and in many cases to
return to what were looked upon as more
primitive customs. The first edition of the
Prayer Book was issued in 1549, the second in
1552, the third in 1559, the fourth in 1604, and
the fifth edition in 1662. The services through-
out preserve the structure of the pre-Reforma-
tion books, but they are shortened and simplified.
What was believed to be superstitious was cut
out, and. of course, the whole translated into
the English language. The Prayer Book was
influenced to a certain extent by some of the
earlier Lutheran formularies and some of the
finest of the collects were the work of Arch-
bishop Cranmer himself.

Doctrinal Formula. — The doctrinal formula
of the Church of England is the Thirty-nine
Articles and the belief of the Church is also to
be gathered in the Homilies and Prayer Book.
The production of religious formulae was the
leading feature of all sections of the Christian
Church during the Reformation period and
amongst all the varied formulae the Articles of
the Church of England are conspicuous for
their shortness. During the reign of Henry
VIII. various doctrinal documents were issued.
The first document we have to consider is the
Forty-two Articles issued in 1553- They were
not systematic in character, they were mainly
directed against the different evils of the time
and in their broad outline were concerned
with the errors of the Anabaptists on the one



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GREAT BRITAIN — THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND



tide and the Mediaeval Schoolmen on the other.
These Articles were revised in the reign of
Elizabeth and published as in Thirty-eight
Articles in 1563. These were made more sys-
tematic in character and the relation of the
Church of England both to certain Protestant
movements on the Continent and to the Church
of Rome was more accurately denned. By this
time the results of the Reformation had begun
to shape themselves more clearly. But through-
out they bore the impress of the statesman.
They were clearly drawn up with the object of
including as large a number as possible of the
different sections of opinion which existed at
the time within the limits of the national
Church. These were further revised and
finally issued as the Thirty-nine Articles in 1571.
At one time the subscription to these Articles
was imposed by the State not only on all the
clergy but all sections of the laity as the means
of qualifying for office, but the tests for the
laity have now been entirely done away with
and that of the clergy is limited to a general
assent to ' the teaching of the Articles. The
courts have always been very broad in their
interpretation of the doctrine of the Church of
England. The clergy undertake to use the
Prayer Book and no other document in public
worship except in so far as allowed by lawful
authority and give a general assent to the teach-
ing of the Thirty-nine Articles. Within these
limits the fullest freedom of opinion and expres-
sion of opinion is allowed.

Anglican Theology. — The theology of the
Church of England has had certain special char-
acteristics. (1) Owing to its connection with
the universities there has always been a
markedly learned character about a section of
its clergy. CUrus Anglic anus stupor tnundi was
the verdict of the 17th century, and during that
period a number of very learned works were
produced by the Church. It suffered like all
departments of the country by the intellectual
lethargy of the universities in the 18th century.
In the 19th century its character to a large
extent revived. (2) But though a learned
Church there have always been certain char-
acteristics to distinguish it from other religious
bodies. Its interest has been very largely in
historical and exegetical studies. It has sedu-
lously eschewed systematic theology. There is
not at the present day an authoritative work
stating the beliefs of the Church of England.
It has been largely concerned with questions of
ecclesiastical organization and the special
features which have distinguished it from the
Roman Catholic and Protestant churches.
(3) The most prominent product of its activity
has been the creation of that school of theology
which might be denned as Anglican. Whereas
Luther and Calvin created Lutheranism and Cal-
vinism the traditions of Anglicanism, on the
contrary, are the product of the position of the
Church of England rather than the creator of it
Although certain broad principles underlie the
Reformation it would be impossible to say that
any one prominent principle prevailed, but the
result of a Conservative Reformation, with some
reference to primitive truth, was to create a
body which preserved historical tradition in the
threefold order of bishops, priests, and deacons,
and the customs and rites of the primitive



Church and at the same time had largely
abolished mediaeval corruption. The defence of
this position created Anglicanism. A knowl-
edge of the Eastern Church provided the ex-
ponents of that system with a very strong
weapon and the Oxford Movement (q.v.)
finally made this the dominant note in Anglican
theology. But it must not be thought that it
is necessary to hold ^'Anglican* views to be a
member of the Church of England. Within the
limits of the Church are many who would
strongly object to those views. (4) The op-
portunities for a liberal position created on the
one side by the relations of the Church with the
universities and on the other side by the free-
dom of opinion secured by secular courts
created a strong Broad Church movement. As
the modern exposition of Anglicanism dates
from the ( Tracts of the Times* so the modern
exposition of the Broad Church theology dates
from < Essays and Reviews. > The aim of the
Broad churchman has always been to keep him-
self in touch with modern science and modern
criticism. But of recent years there has been a
considerable rapprochement between these two
schools and the appearance of ( Lux Mundi*
marked a new departure by which the Anglican
school accepted many of the results of modern
criticism and thought which their predecessors
had condemned. (5) Ever since the Wesleyan
movement, and the Evangelical movement which
was its accompaniment in the Church of Eng-
land, there has been a strong Evangelical party
within the Church. Its tenets were represented
by Simeon and the Cambridge school of the
early 19th century and it took for many years
a lead in philanthropic work and is especially
connected with the abolition of the slave trade.
But it has always failed as compared with the
other two schools in an intellectual exposition
of its system and has never in any great degree
influenced the theology of the Church. Outside
all these definite schools it is probable that there
is a considerable element in the Church consist-
ing of those who are by tradition loyal members
of the Church of England, who accept its formu-
laries without attempting to interpret them very
definitely, whose interest in religion is practical
rather than theoretical, and who are prepared
to accept and work from the point of view of
common sense rather than of elaborate theologi-
cal accuracy the system in which they find
themselves.

Doctrinal Teaching. — As will appear from
what has been said above it is not particularly
easy to fix the standard of belief in the Church
of England. On the one hand it did not arise
from a definite body of teaching, like that of
the Lutheran and Calvinistic churches, on the
other side its Articles were drawn up with the
idea of inclusion rather than exclusion. More-
over its historical position has led to its hold-
ing a mediating belief in many respects. A res-
olution, however, of the Lambeth Conference
has laid down the following principles. (1) The
acceptance of the Old and New Testaments.
The English Church, however, has never ac-
cepted the position that the Bible and the Bible
only is the authority for its belief. Its definite
statement is that whatever is not contained
therein or may be proved thereby is not neces-
sary to salvation. But it has always recognized



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GREAT BKFTAIN w- THE CHURCH OF EVGfeAND



that in interpreting the Bible the traditions of
the Church may be used. As regards the canon
of Scripture it occupies a middle position be-
tween the Protestant and Roman Catholic
churches. It accepts the Apocrypha, though not
as a standard of belief, or as authority for faith.
(2) The acceptance of the two Creeds: The
Nicene and the Apostles. This definitely means
that its standard of belief is the traditional,
orthodox teaching of the Church. It is, how-
ever, slow to express a decision, or impose its
belief. (3) The acceptance of the two sacra-
ments, of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, as
generally necessary to salvation. As regards
sacramental teaching it has always been very
wide in its limits. It makes its standard the
acceptance of the authorized service and it has
frankly admitted that while Zwinglianism and
the doctrine of transubstantiation are incom-
patible with its formularies, within these limits
any form of eucharistic doctrine is allowed. As
regards other rites and ceremonies it has always
made a very definite distinction between the two
sacraments and others, although its formulas
have occasionally used the term sacrament in a
wider signification. But it lays great stress on
confirmation, orders, and matrimony and allows
private absolution and confession, although it
does not make them compulsory. (4) The ac-
ceptance of the threefold ministry of bishops,
priests and deacons. Here again its demands
point to a system rather than to a doctrine. All
its clergy must be episcopally ordained, but it
does not demand any definite theory of ordina-
tion apart from what is implied in acceptance of
the ordinal. A section or the Church would
make the acceptance of the doctrine of apostolic
succession necessary, but it has never been the
teaching of the Church officially and as a whole.
Negatively the Church condemns emphati-
cally the system and authoritv of the Roman
Catholic Church and the infallibility and su-
premacy of the Pope. It definitely condemns
also certain doctrines of purgatory, the invoca-
tion of saints, the sacrifice of the mass, relics,
the merits of the saints, and works of superero-
gation. In relation to the Eastern Church, while
differing fundamentally in tone and temper it
is very nearly in doctrinal harmony, the chief
points of distinction being of course the invo-
cation of saints, the doctrine of t double pro-
cession, the use of the term transubstantiation,
while there is some general hesitation about the
acceptance of all the seven councils or the neces-
sary acceptance of the seven sacraments. As '
against the Protestant churches as a whole, it
would always avoid accepting the extreme forms
of predestination or justification by faith; it
would lay stress on the need of interpreting the
Scriptures in accordance with the traditions of
the Church; it would almost universally lay
greater stress on the reality of the sacramental
system, and it would maintain episcopacy as an
institution against every other form of Church
government whilst condemning the tendency to
disunion which characterizes so many of the
Protestant bodies. To some its mediating atti-
tude appears to be a mere political compromise
between two incompatible ideals, to its own
members it would seem to be the one Church
which most clearly holds the balance between
the various conflicting aspects of Christianity.



> The Church and the Nation.— The relation
of the Church of England to the English nation
has been modified very considerably in the early
part of the last century by a series of enact-
ments. Almost all its exclusive privileges have
been gradually taken away. It has no longer a
paramount position in the universities, and mem-
bership of the Church of England is no longer
necessary for any civil position in the state.
Side by side with this there has been an enor-
mous' increase in the population, which has made
the existing ecclesiastical arrangements quite
unfit to cope with the immense mass of new
work. Many of the dioceses are excessively
large and the process of sub-division has not
been rapid enough to keep up with the demands.
In many districts the clergy and the Church
have been quite inadequate to meet the spiritual
demands of the people. This fact, combined
with the increase in just those sections of the
populace which were least touched by the in-
fluence of the Church of England, has led to a
very great increase in Nonconformity. But this
loss of privilege and greater need of work have
not been detrimental on the whole to the
Church. The various spiritual movements that
we have narrated and the demands of the day
have stirred up an immense amount of voluntary
work on the part of the Church. The old rigid
high and dry schools have had to make way for
younger men with very varied forms of activity-
Methods of religious propaganda have been
borrowed, alike from Nonconformist and Roman
Catholic sources. The Church has taken a
vigorous interest in educational and social
topics. Missionary enterprises, always strongly
supported by the Low Church party, have been
exceedingly vigorous. The exigencies of a
Colonial Empire, the spread 01 commercial
activity, have created new demands, and the
last hundred years have marked an immense in-
crease in the religious activity and the enter-
prise of the Church. Including the Anglican
Church in America the number of bishops now
connected with the Church exceeds 300, and
every 10 years the Conference at Lambeth
marks the extent and growth of the Anglican
Church.

As regards its hold upon the people there
are no trustworthy statistics, but on the upper
and upper-middle classes its hold is very strong.
Amongst the working classes the greater ma-
jority are nominally adherents of the Church of
England, but a great deal of the religious life is
Nonconformist. As against Nonconformity the
Church of England is little organized for
political activity, and its hold upon the peop.e
and its influence are very intangible and inde-
terminable quantities. Probably, except perhaps,
in some of the great centres of the populace,
its influence is very much greater than is often
imagined.

Bibliography — History. —The best con-
tinuous history of the Church of England is
probably ( A History of the English Church >
in eight volumes by various writers, edited by
the late Very Rev. W. R. W. Stephens and the
Rev. William Hunt Shorter histories are
those by Wakeman, Spencer, Boyd-Carpenter,
etc

Canon Law.— Report oi the Royal Com*
mission on Ecclesiastical Courts, > published in



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GREAT BRITAIN — ENGLISH NONCONFORMITY



1881-3, and Manuals of Church Law, such as
Phillimore's ( Ecclesiastical Law.*

Prayer Book. — Proctor and Frcre, <A New
History of the Book of Common Prayer*
(London).

Doctrinal Formula. — Edgar S. Gibson, c The
Thirty- Nine Articles of the Church of England.*
Much information concerning the Church of
England may be found in the ( Report of the
Royal Commissioners in Ecclesiastical Disci-
pline, > bulletin c. 1906.

Arthur Cayley Headlam,
Principal of King's College, London; Dean of
the Faculty of Theology, University of

London.

30 (b). Great Britain — English Noncon-
formity. Early History — Death of Queen Elis-
obeth. — Nonconformity as a definite ecclesiastical
movement in English history may be said
to have had its origin in Elizabeth's reign.
But regarded as a spiritual force appearing now
and again and here and there in the nation, it
may be traced back to a much earlier time. All
who protested against the prevailing ecclesiasti-
cal assumptions of the clergy, and who dared to
think and act for themselves in matters spirit-
ual, may be regarded as Nonconformists, and
were called to suffer for their faith. From 1401,
when the statute for burning heretics came into
force, to 1534, the date of the renunciation of
Papal supremacy, no fewer than 11 1 persons
were burnt at the stake; and from 1534 to 1558,
the year Queen Mary died, $$7 more were
added to the roll of the protestant martyrs. On
the accession of Queen Elizabeth it was hoped
that a better day had dawned for those men of
Puritan sort who desired to see the Reforma-
tion carried still further. But, while breaking
with the Papacy as completely as did her father
before her, the queen was not prepared to yield
to what she regarded as their extreme views in
the matter of religious ceremonial. She cared
for order, pomp, and appearance in the worship
of the Church as in other things, and her
princely power combined with her indomitable
will made her supreme in ecclesiastical affairs.
Several of the bishoos and divines in the early
years of her reign had been in close friendship
with the continental Reformers and were pre-
pared to go far in the Puritan direction. But
the queen would not hear of it. Bishop Jewell
writing to his friend Bullinger at Zurich in 1566
said : *I wish that all, even the slightest vestiges
of Popery might be removed from our Church,
and above all from our minds. But the queen
at^ this time is unable to endure the least alter-
ation in matters of religion." Thus began that
conflict between the individual conscience and
the power of the state church which has con-
tinued down to our own time.

The rupture between Elizabeth and the Puri-
tan party first took open shape on the promul-
gation of the orders known as c< Advertise-
ments,* which, in 1566, specified the minimum
of ceremonial the State was prepared to tolerate
in the services of the Church. Uniformity was
to begin to be enforced at a given date, and
deprivation of benefice was to follow in the case
of the clergy after three months' refusal of
compliance.

The two sides thus having joined issue the
Puritan party became divided, taking different



directions. Many of the ministers conformed
using only such ceremonial as they were Com
pelled, submitting to many things they did not
approve in the hope of a better time when a
simpler and, as they believed, a more scriptural
system, might come to prevail. Others, again,
while remaining in the Church, sought to bring
about a radical change in the direction of Pres-
byterianism, the discipline of which was elab-
orately organized both in London and the Mid-
lands, and a literature created which assailed
with more and more of vehemence the existing
establishment. In 1571 Thomas Cartwright,
Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at Cam-
bridge, issued two addresses to Parliament
under the title of <( A First* and W A Second Ad-
monition,^ which were elaborate attacks upon
the Episcopal system, and vigorous assertions
of the divine right of the Genevan discipline.
Having exercised this discipline privately for a
time they proceeded to bolder measures, setting
up their system openly in the parish churches of
Northamptonshire and Warwickshire. Event-
ually, however, this movement was stamped out
by the greater power of the State, and Noncon-
formity was henceforth to be sought for in
other directions. Some of the Puritans became
actual Separatists from the episcopal system.
Their starting-point in church polity was
the existence of spiritual life, the per-
sonal relation of the individual soul to God;
and a church in their view was a community of
spiritual men : *The kingdom of God,* said
they, ft is not to be begun by whole parishes, but
rather of the worthiest, were they never so
fewe.* Taking as their fundamental position
that the Church visible consists of a company
and fellowship of faithful and holy people
gathered in the name of Christ, they went on to
maintain that a Church so composed is compe-
tent for self-government. This self-governing
power they further regarded not so much as a
privilege to be enjoyed as a sacred trust to be
discharged. The period when these men, who
came to be known as Congregationalisms or In-
dependents, actively promulgated their views
may be roughly stated as between 1570 and 1593.



Online LibraryWilfrid RichmondThe Americana: a universal reference library, comprising the arts ..., Volume 10 → online text (page 35 of 185)