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still more of the Homilies of the Church, nay, in no small measure even from the inconsistent language of the Offices themselves? Such adhesion as is demanded from English clergymen to all and everything which lies between the boards of the Prayer-book is a thing simply impossible to a consistent mind. The revisionists are but striving in this respect to lighten a yoke which evil times and evil men have imposed on all consciences alike. In seconding their efforts we are not advocating the interests of a party, Protests against unnecessary narrowness, from whichever side they come, shall have alike our hearty sympathy and concurrence.
Very different in tone from the writers we allude to is the little volume which has been sent forth by Dr. Vaughan, the Jate Head Master of Harrow School, whose exceptional position in the Church at present gives him a peculiar claim to respectful attention. Dr. Vaughan deprecates revision, and labours hard to persuade those who desire it to content themselves instead with the latitude of interpretation which the words of the Liturgy admit, and with the licence which the Church extends practically to the obligations of clerical subscription. We sympathise with the excellent author in his charitable endeavours to relieve the consciences of his clerical brethren; and we doubt not he will succeed with many. But those who have considered the matter long and anxiously will hardly be convinced by his reasonings, though they may welcome them as palliatives to an inevitable evil, should the evil prove finally to be inevitable. The volume consists chiefly of sermons — a form of writing little calculated to grapple with pressing difficulties. And so in the case before us the result is but inconclusive after all, in spite of great merits in Scriptural exposition, and wise practical counsels. The principal points which the revisionists complain of are in every instance evaded; while matters, which, however important, are secondary in respect of the immediate business, are dwelt upon instead. Thus in the Sermons on Absolution and on Holy Orders, the obnoxious passages in the Prayer-book are lightly glanced at with an apologetic admission; while the whole stress of the attention is directed to passages and subjects which are only partially parallel. In the Sermon on Regeneration, the preacher shows how practicable it is, and perhaps how justifiable also, to assign to the metaphorical term regenerate a meaning very different from that which was intended by the authors or the compilers of the Baptismal Service; but he passes over unnoticed the many other questionable expressions which are used, and the whole fiction of vicarious assertions and engagements. And in the Burial Service he assumes,—what the poor and simple
VOL. CXIII. NO. CCXXIX.
minded can never be brought to understand, and what few officiating clergymen can feel at the moment to be a tenable position,--that the words of positive personal application which the Church utters over the grave belong, not to the individual departed, but to the Christian profession which he has never abjured.
In the Introduction to his Sermons, Dr. Vaughan is far more explicit, especially in dealing with the forms of subscription required of clergymen at their ordination or institution. But we fear it is impossible to accept him as the spokesman of the Bishops, into whose mouth on such occasions he would put such words as these addressed to those who are subscribing:
'In declaring your acceptance of the Book of Common Prayer, you do not profess that there is nothing in that book which you might yourself have been glad to express somewhat differently. It is enough to justify your place among the ministers of a National Church, if you can say from the heart, That of the various Christian communities known to you in this country, this is the one which most commends itself to your judgment and conscience : that it is the Church of your choice and of your affection ; that you are able with confidence and comfort to worship in its words, to minister in its offices, and to teach in its spirit.' (Introduction, p. xiii.)
Now we very much doubt whether a bishop ever did use words like these on such an occasion, and we fear that very few are ever likely to do so, even with all weight allowed for that saving clause “able with comfort to minister in its offices.' Certainly we often hear episcopal language strikingly different. But even if such a declaration could be authoritatively confirmed, is it desirable that a subscription required on the most solemn of all subjects, and the most solemn of all occasions, should thus need to be explained away? Is this conducive to national morality, and to the estimation in which the clergy should be held? Is it desirable to preserve and enforce forms of assent and consent to all and everything' which necessitate so singular a gloss? If the Bishops really think with Dr. Vaughan, will they not rather do, what it needs but a word from them to effect, - procure the repeal of those Acts of Parliament which have imposed these shackles on conscience and on liberty of thought ?
We rejoice to see that such is the course suggested by Dr. Vaughan himself: and we rejoice still more to remember that the Bishop of London, while opposing the appointment of a Royal Commission last session, held out the hope that in this measure of relief at least he would be ready to concur. Lord Ebury has given notice, we observe, of his intention to bring forward a measure of this nature. We heartily wish it success, convinced that even of itself it would be an inestimable boon, and that nothing would be of greater use in enabling all parties among the clergy to consider calmly, whether for acceptance or rejection, the further changes that are called for.
We will briefly notice in conclusion the singular charge brought so repeatedly against the advocates of a revision of the Liturgy, that their real object is not the extension, but the * narrowing, of the limits of Church Communion. Even Dr. Vaughan, we regret to see, gives bis sanction to this unfounded suspicion; and in the debate of the House of Lords it seemed to be assumed as a certainty by the speakers on the episcopal side. Let those who entertain it only read what the leading advocates of revision say for themselves; and observe too with how little zeal the cause is seconded by those who are most active in antagonism to the High Church Party.
But (it has been said more plausibly) if comprehension be sought, it is at least all on one side.
A moment's reflection will show the futility of this observation. For whom on the other side should the Church seek to draw into her communion ? Not surely the Roman Catholics. No one dreams that this would be possible, unless the Church became Roman Catholic itself. And if not the Roman Catholics, who is it to be? Does not the Church already comprehend men who are Romanists in everything except avowed allegiance to the Pope? While on the other side there are millions of our Protestant fellow-countrymen excluded from the communion of the Church by barriers for the most part wholly unnecessary,– barriers which it is not too late, even yet, to throw down in the name of Charity and of Truth.
That it is not too late even yet to bring large and increasing numbers of Nonconformists within the pale of the National Church by such concessions as we have advocated in part,large and increasing numbers of the more educated, the more thoughtful, and therefore the most influential among them-we conclude confidently not only from the language of Dissenters themselves, and of men like Mr. Taylor, who have peculiar opportunities of judging; but still more from the very nature of the case, from the effects which must necessarily follow a generous and liberal line of conduct, and fearless exchange of a narrow traditional policy for one of simple trust in the broad principles of Christian truth. Bishop Ollivant indeed cites sundry expressions of Mr. Binney's to prove that not even he, and the high-minded and moderate Dissenters whom he represents, would be won over to the Church, though it were thus amended.
may For us it is enough to conclude (as we do with far greater certainty) that from such a Church Mr. Binney would never have been a Dissenter at all.
But if in many cases we find ourself disappointed,-if, after all, large numbers of Nonconformists, even those whom no doctrinal difference separates from the Church, shall be unwilling to abandon their present position, we are not of those who could venture to condemn them. We think it bad feeling, as well as bad taste, to talk, as we regret to find even liberal-minded Churchmen doing, of waging a vigorous and aggressive warfare • in that case against Sectarianism in all its forms, or even of
dealing a deadly blow to the prosperity of Dissenters,' by salutary measures of reform. There is great need of patience in this matter, that, even after we have done what is right, we should inherit the blessing of returning unity. Much has to be retrieved, much to be forgiven. The result must be a work of time, of more than one or two generations, carried on with gentleness and respectful forbearance.
Nor do we desire to see any negotiations entered into, between the Church and the various bodies of Dissenters, for the purpose of maturing the proposed measures of comprehension. The proper dignity and self-respect of all parties, the cause of truth independent of expediency, will be much more satisfactorily furthered by conducting all changes purely on considerations of reason and justice. And if the result shall eventually be union, and the absorption of some of the denominations into a more comprehensive National Church, it will be a result at which all will rejoice together, Dissenters no less than Churchmen. For what nobler end could a true-hearted Dissenter desire for the body to which it is his pride to belong, than that it should have witnessed through reproach and obloquy for a truth which was in danger of being cast out and lost; and, after labouring not in vain to vindicate the rightful limits of Christ's Church, should be enabled to enter at last into joint possession of an enlarged inheritance — an inheritance confessedly enlarged by efforts remembered with gratitude by all ?
Art. II.-.1. Correspondence with Her Majesty's Envoy Extra
ordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary in Japan. Presented to both Houses of Parliament, by command of Her Majesty.
1860. 2. First Elements of Japanese Grammar for the Use of Beginners;
with an Introductory Chapter on the Construction of the Language. By RUTHERFORD ALCOCK, Esq., C.B., Her Majesty's Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary at Yeddo.
London: 1861. ABOUT eight years ago we passed rapidly in review in the
pages of this journal all that was then known of the geography, the political constitution, the social condition, and the commercial relations of Japan.* Our information was at that time almost exclusively derived from travellers and writers of no very modern date, Kæmpfer, Siebold, old Will Adams the Pilot, Golownin, and some of the Dutch adventurers. But we already anticipated that an opening was about to be made in the impenetrable barriers of the Japanese Empire, which would bring these old authorities to the test, and enable us greatly to extend our own field of observation. This anticipation has already been realised and surpassed. We were enabled twelve months ago to lay before our readers the results of Lord Elgin's short but eventful visit to Yeddo, as related by Mr. Oliphant; and we are now in possession of materials, collected by those who have had access to the country since the arrival of the foreign missions and the partial opening of trade, which far exceed in interest and accuracy all that was previously known of this surprising country. Without reverting, therefore, to the earlier connexion of Europeans with the Japanese, which may be said to have terminated by the expulsion of foreigners and the extermination of the Christian proselytes in 1637, we shall at once proceed to enter upon this new matter; and we begin with that, which is of all things the most necessary and the most obscure, namely, the language of the people.
First among these fruits of a permanent residence of educated Europeans in the capital of Japan, we have to welcome an elementary grammar of the language, and we are indebted to the British Minister himself for the contribution. The work itself is very unpretending, and does not affect to be more than an attempt to give the first elements of Japanese grammar
* Ed. Rev., Oct. 1852, vol. xcvi. p. 348.