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A term used to denote the religious belief and position of members of the established Church of England, and of the communicating churches in the British possessions, the United States (see E PISCOPAL C HURCH ), and elsewhere. It includes those who have accepted the work of the English Reformation as embodied in the Church of England or in the offshoot Churches which in other countries have adhered, at least substantially, to its doctrines, its organization, and its liturgy. Apart from minor or missionary settlements, the area in which Anglicanism is to be found corresponds roughly with those portions of the globe which are, or were formally, under the British flag.
To form a general idea of Anglicanism as a religious system, it will be convenient to sketch it in rough outline as it exists in the Established Church of England, bearing in mind that there are differences in detail, mainly in liturgy and church-government, to be found in other portions of the Anglican communion.
- The members of the Church of England are professed Christians, and claim to be baptized members of the Church of Christ.
- They accept the Scriptures as contained in the Authorized Version, as the Word of God.
- They hold the Scriptures to be the sole and supreme rule of faith, in the sense that the Scriptures contain all things necessary to salvation and that nothing can be required of anyone as an article of faith which is not contained therein, and cannot be proved thereby.
- They accept the Book of Common Prayer as the practical rule of their belief and worship, and in it they use as standards of doctrine the three Creeds &151; the Apostles', the Nicene, and the Athanasian.
- They believe in two sacraments of the Gospel &151; Baptism and the Lord's Supper —as generally necessary to salvation.
- They claim to have Apostolic succession and a validly ordained ministry, and only persons whom they believe to be thus ordained are allowed to minister in their churches.
- They believe that the Church of England is a true and reformed part, or branch, or pair of provinces of the Catholic Church of Christ.
- They maintain that the Church of England is free from all foreign jurisdiction.
- They recognize the King as Supreme Governor of the Church and acknowledge that to him "appertains the government of all estates whether civil or ecclesiastical, in all causes."
- The clergy, before being appointed to a benefice or licensed to preach, subscribe and declare that they "assent to the Thirty-nine Articles, and to the Book of Common Prayer , and of Ordering of Bishops, priests, and deacons, and believe the doctrine of the Church of England as therein set forth to be agreeable to the Word of God ".
- One of the Articles (XXV) thus subscribed approves the First and Second Book of Homilies as containing "a godly and wholesome doctrine necessary for these times", and adjudges them to be read in churches "diligently and distinctly".
To these general characteristics we may add by way of corrective that while the Bible is accepted much latitude is allowed as to the nature and extent of its inspiration; that the Eucharistic teaching of the Prayer Book is subject to various and opposed interpretations; that Apostolic succession is claimed by many to be beneficial, but not essential, to the nature of the Church ; that the Apostles' Creed is the only one to which assent can be required from the laity, and that Articles of Religion are held to be binding only on the licensed and beneficed clergy.
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Inside these outlines, which are necessarily vague, the constitution of the Church of England has been largely determined by the events which attended its settlement under the Tudors.Original Loyalty to Rome
Before the breach with Rome under Henry VIII there was absolutely no doctrinal difference between the faith of Englishmen and the rest of Catholic Christendom, and "Anglicanism", as connoting a separate or independent religious system, was unknown.
The name Ecclesia Anglicana , or English Church, was of course employed, but always in the Catholic and Papal use of the term as signifying that part or region of the one Catholic Church under the jurisdiction of the Pope which was situated in England, and precisely in the same way as the Church in Scotland was called the Ecclesia Scotticana , the Church in France, the Ecclesia Gallicana , and the Church in Spain the Ecclesia Hispanica. That such national or regional appellations were a part of the style in the Roman Curia itself, and that they in no sense could have implied any indication of independence from Rome, is sufficiently well known to all who are familiar with pre-Reformation records.
- Pope Honorius III, in 1218, in his Bull to King Alexander speaks of the Scottish Church ( Ecclesia Scotticana ) as "being immediately subject to the Apostolic See " (Papal Letters I, 60).
- The abbots and priors of England in their letter to Innocent IV, in 1246, declared that the English Church ( Ecclesia Anglicana ) is "a special member of the Most Holy Church of Rome " [ Matthew Paris (Rolls Series), IV, 531].
- In 1413 Archbishop Arundel, with the assent of Convocation, affirmed against the Lollards the faith of the English Church in a number of test articles, including the Divine institution of the Papacy and the duty of all Christians to render obedience to it (Wilkins, Concilia, III, 355).
- In 1521, only thirteen years before the breach, John Clerk, the English Ambassador at Rome, was able to assure the Pope in full consistory that England was second to no country in Christendom, "not even to Rome itself", in the "service of God : and of the Christian Faith, and in the obedience due to the Most Holy Roman Church " (Clerks' oration, ed. Jerome Emser ).
The first point of severance was clearly one of Erastianism. When news of the papal decision against the divorce reached England, Henry VIII gave his assent to four anti-papal statutes passed in Parliament in the spring of 1534, and in November the statute of the Royal Supremacy declared the King to be Supreme Head of the English Church (without the limiting clause of 1532), and an oath was prescribed, affirming the Pope to have no jurisdiction in the realm of England. The actual ministry of preaching and of the sacraments was left to the clergy, but all the powers of ecclesiastical jurisdiction were claimed by the sovereign.
- The Act of Supremacy required that the King, as Supreme Head of the Church, "shall have full power and authority from time to time to visit, repress, redress, reform, order, correct, restrain, and amend all such errors, heresies, abuses, offences, contempt, enormities whatsoever they be which by any manner, spiritual authority or jurisdiction ought or may be lawfully reformed" (26 Henry VIII, i).
- The bishops were made to sue out their faculties from the King, and, that the meaning of this humiliation should be unmistakable, the very form of the license granted them affirmed the plain Erastian principle that the Crown was the source of their jurisdiction, "seeing that all authority of jurisdiction, and indeed jurisdiction of all kinds, both that which is called ecclesiastical and that which is secular, is originally derived from the royal power, as from the Supreme Head and foundation, and source of magistracy within our Kingdom" (Wilkins, Concilia, III, 799),
- The bishops and clergy in convocation were forbidden to make canons except when the King, by his "Letters of Business", gave them permission to do so, and even then the canons so made were to have effect only when approved by the King.
- Another statute secured to the Crown the absolute control in the appointment of bishops. The chapters were bound under penalties of Proemunire to elect the person named by the King and no other, and the Archbishop was bound under the same shameful penalties to consecrate the person so named within twenty days after receipt of the King's writ ( Significavit ) commanding him to do so. This enactment, which an Anglican bishop in recent times has aptly described as "the Magna Charta of tyranny" remains in force to the present day. Within the last few years the Law Courts have ruled that no opposition to the episcopal confirmation of a person nominated by the Crown can be allowed.
Thus the chief note of Henrician settlement is the fact that Anglicanism was founded in the acceptance of the Royal, and the rejection of the Papal Supremacy, and was placed upon a decidedly Erastian basis.
When the Act of Royal Supremacy, which had been repealed by Queen Mary, was revived by Elizabeth, it suffered a modification in the sense that the Sovereign was styled "Supreme Governor" instead of "Supreme Head". In a subsequent "Admonition", Elizabeth issued an interpretation of the Royal Supremacy, to the effect that she laid claim "to no power of ministry of divine offices in the Church ". At the same time she reasserted in the full the claim made by Henry VIII as to the Authority of the Crown in matters ecclesiastical, and the great religious changes made after her accession were carried out and enforced in a royal visitation commissioned by the royal authority.
In 1628, Charles I, in a Royal Declaration prefixed to the Articles, stated that it belonged to the kingly office "to conserve and maintain the Church committed to our charge, in unity of religion and the bond of peace", and decreed that differences arising as to the external policy of the Church were to be settled in Convocation, but its ordinances were to be submitted to the Crown for approval, which would be given to them if they were not contrary to the laws of the land.
Archbishop Laud, in 1640, had a series of canons drawn up in Convocation and duly published, but this attempt at spiritual independence was speedily suppressed. The indignation of Parliament was so great that he himself begged leave to withdraw them, and the House of Commons passed a resolution unanimously declaring that "the Clergy in Convocation assembled has no power to make any canons or constitutions whatsoever in matters of doctrine, discipline or otherwise to bind the Clergy and laity of the land without the common consent in Parliament" (Resolution, 16 December, 1640).The Effect of Royal Supremacy
The effect of the legislation under Henry VIII, revived by Elizabeth, and confirmed in subsequent reigns, has been, as Lord Campbell pointed out in his famous Gorham judgment, in April, 1850, to locate in the Crown all that decisive jurisdiction which before the Reformation had been exercised by the Pope.
Until the year 1833, the Crown exercised this supreme jurisdiction through a special body called the Court of Delegates. Its members were appointed under the great Seal, and consisted of lay judges, with whom might be associated a number of bishops or clergymen. In 1833 this Court was abolished, and its powers were transferred to the King in Council. Hence matters which come under its purview are now decided by the King upon the advice of that part of the Privy Council which is known as the Judicial Committee. The statute (2 and 3 William IV, xcii) expressly states that its decisions are final, and are not subject to any commission of review.
It must be observed that this tribunal does not profess theoretically to decide articles of faith , or to pronounce upon the abstract orthodoxy or heterodoxy of opinions. "Its duty extends only to the consideration of that which is by law established to be the doctrine of the Church of England, upon the due and legal construction of there Articles and formularies " (Gorham decision, March 1850). But upon this ground the Crown decided that the views of Mr. Gorham, whose notorious rejection of the doctrine of baptismal regeneration had shocked his bishop and scandalized the Tractarians, were "not contrary or repugnant to the declared doctrine of the Church of England as by law established". Numerous protests and appeals were made by high Churchmen, but all attempts to reverse the decision were unavailing, and Mr. Gorham duly received institution to the benefice which his bishop had refused him. In like manner in 1849, when vehement opposition was made to the appointment of Dr. Hampden to the See of Hereford, the Prime Minister of the day insisted on the right of the Crown, and the Vicar-General of the Archbishop ruled that no exception could be suffered against one whom the Crown had duly nominated, and the Court of Queen's Bench sustained his ruling.
Thus, whatever views or aspirations have been held theoretically by Anglican divines on the spiritual authority of the Anglican Church, the Royal Supremacy remains an effective reality, and the Crown, supported by Parliament and the Law Courts, both as to the doctrines which may be taught, and the persons who shall be put in office to teach them, has possession of the practical and substantial control. It is characteristic of the Anglican Reformation that the supreme and far reaching regulative jurisdiction which was exercised by the Holy See was, after the severance from Rome, taken over, to all intents and purposes, by the Crown, and was never effectively entrusted to the Anglican Spirituality, either to the Primate, or to the Episcopate, or even to Convocation. As a result, there is to this day the lack of a living Church Spiritual Authority which has been to the Anglican Church a constant source of weakness, humiliation, and disorder.
In 1904 a royal commission was appointed to investigate the complaints against ecclesiastical discipline , and in July 1906, it issued its report, in which it points out that at no time in the past have the laws of public worship been uniformly observed, and recommends the formation of a Court which while exercising the Royal Jurisdiction, would be bound to accept the episcopate on questions of doctrine or ritual. This, if granted, would be the first step towards the partial emancipation of the Spirituality from the thraldom of the civil power, in which it has been held for more than three centuries.
It will be observed that Anglicanism as a religious system is separable from the doctrine of Royal Supremacy, which is an outcome of its union with the State, and of the circumstances of the English Reformation. In countries outside of England the Wales Anglican Churches exist, and, it is said, all the more prosperously from being untrammelled by the State connection. But even in those countries the decisive voice in the government of the Anglican Church is not entrusted to the Episcopate alone, and in some of them the lay power in the synods has made itself felt, and has shown that it can be as really a master as any Tudor sovereign invested with royal supremacy. The supremacy of the Spirituality in the domain of doctrine, as the sole guarantee of true religious liberty, is still lacking in the Anglican system, and the problem of supplying it remains unsolved, if not insoluble.
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DOCTRINAL AND LITURGICAL FORMULARIES
The doctrinal position of the Anglican Church, in like manner, can only be adequately studied in its history, which divides itself into a number of stages or periods. The first, or Henrician, period (1534-47) includes the breach with Rome, the setting up of an independent national church, and the transfer of the supreme Church authority from the Papacy to the Crown. The Edwardian (1547-53) and the Elizabethan (1558-1603) periods carried the work of separation much further. Both accepted the Henrician basis of rejection of the Papacy and erection of the Royal Supremacy, but built upon it the admission of the doctrinal and liturgical changes which make up mainly the Anglican Reformation, and brought the nation within the great Protestant movement of the sixteenth century.First Period: Henry VIII (1534-1547)
Although the policy of Henry VIII , after the breach with Rome, was ostensibly conservative, and his ideal seemed to be the maintenance of a Catholic Church in England, minus the Pope, it is incontestable that in other ways his action was in fatal contradiction to his professions.
Influence of English Protestant Sympathizers. — By raising to power, and by maintaining in positions of unique influence, his three great agents, Thomas Cromwell, Thomas Cranmer, and Edward Seymour, all of whom were always, and as openly as they dared, in sympathy with the Reformation, Henry VIII, whether by intention or the by the indifference of his latter days, undoubtedly prepared the way and opened the gates to the Protestantism which came in under Edward and Elizabeth.
Influence of German Protestants. — In 1535 Henry sent agents to negotiate an agreement with the Reformers in Germany, and in 1537 he was led by Cromwell, in connivance with Cranmer, into further negotiations with the Protestant princes assembled at Smalkald. He wrote to Melanchthon to congratulate him on the work which he had done for religion, and invited him to England. Melanchthon was unable to come, but in 1538 three German divines, Burkhardt, Boyneburg, and Myconius, were sent to London, where they remained some months, and held conferences with the Anglican bishops and clergy. The Germans presented as a basis of agreement a number of Articles based on the Lutheran Confession of Augsburg. On the doctrinal part of these Articles, the first thirteen, both parties came to an agreement (Letter of Myconius to Cromwell, 8 September, 1538). On the second part, the "Abuses" (viz., private Masses, celibacy of the Clergy, invocation of Saints) the King would not give way, and finally dissolved the conference. Although the negotiations thus formally came to an end, the Thirteen Articles on which agreement with the Germans had been made were kept by Archbishop Cranmer, and afterwards by Archbishop Parker, and were used as test articles to which the preachers whom they licensed were required to subscribe. Eventually they became the nucleus of the Articles of Religion which were authorized under Edward VI and Elizabeth. Hence the almost verbal correspondence between these Articles and the Lutheran Confession of Augsburg, from which they were originally taken.
Second Period: Edward VI (1547-1553)
By the death of Henry VIII (27 January, 1547) the main obstacle to the reforming influence was removed. With the accession of Edward VI, who had been brought up in the reformed faith, with Seymour, also a Protestant, omnipotent in the Council, and Cranmer, now able to show his hand and work his will, the party of the Reformation became possessed of all the resources of national power, and during the five years of the reign (1547-53) remained triumphantly in the ascendant. This period witnessed the introduction of the great doctrinal and liturgical changes.
Denial of the Sacrifice of the Mass . — One of the cardinal principles of the Reformation which the German delegates had brought over in 1538 was that "the Mass is nothing but a Communion or synaxis " (Tunstall's Summary, M.S. Cleop. E. V., 209). Cranmer vehemently upheld this conception of the Eucharist. One of the first Acts under Edward VI was the introduction of a new English Communion Service, which was to be inserted at the end of the Mass, and which required Communion to be given under both kinds. This was soon after followed by a Book of Common Prayer, with a Communion Service entirely taking the place of the Latin Mass. Cranmer was the chief author of this book. Whether it ever received the assent of Convocation has been questioned, but it was approved by Parliament in 1549. Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, in opposing Cranmer's denial of the Real Presence and of the Sacrifice of the mass, argued that even certain passages in the new Prayer Book implied the acceptance of these doctrines; whereupon Cranmer and his fellow-reformers drew up a new Prayer Book, still more Protestant in tone and character. In it the order of the parts of the Communion Service was considerably altered, and the passages used by Gardiner as apparently favouring the Catholic doctrine were studiously eliminated, or so changed as to preclude in future any such interpretation, and all allusion to Altar or Sacrifice was carefully omitted (Gasquet and Bishop, Edward VI and the Book of Common Prayer, 289). In 1552, this, the second Prayer Book of Edward VI, was authorized by Parliament. A new Ordinal or Order for making bishops, priests, and deacons was compiled, from which in like manner all mention of the sacrificial office of the priesthood was rigorously excluded. It was approved by Parliament in 1552. In 1551, quite in harmony with this liturgical reform, an Order in Council issued to Bishop Ridley required the altars to be torn down, and movable tables substituted, while a statement of reasons was to be made to the people explanatory of the change, namely, "that the form of a table may more move and turn the simple from the old superstition of the Mass and to the right use of the Lord's Supper".
Suppression of Catholic practices. — By Royal Proclamations and episcopal visitations, a multitude of Catholic practices and sacramentals, such as lights, incense, holy water , and palms, were suppressed. These reforms, proceeding tentatively but rapidly, were initiated and carried out mainly by Cranmer and his set, and the reflected his beliefs and that of this fellow-reformers.
The 42 Articles. — In 1553, a royal decree was issued requiring the bishops and clergy to subscribe forty-two Articles of Religion which embodied in great part what had been contained in the Thirteen Articles agreed upon with the Germans. The article on the Eucharist had been significantly changed to agree, as Hooper attests, with the teachings of the Swiss reformer, Bullinger.Third Period: Elizabeth I (1558-1603)
Based on Prayer Book of 1552. — The new settlement of religion was based, not on the First Prayer Book of 1549, but on the more Protestant one of 1552. The latter was adopted with a few slight modifications, and it remains for the most part substantially unchanged to the present day. The statement that Pius IV offered to approve the Prayer Book is devoid of all historical foundation. It has not a vestige of contemporary evidence to support it. Camden, the earliest Anglican historian who mentions it, says: "I never could find it in any writing, and I do not believe any writing of it to exist. To gossip with the mop is unworthy of any historian" (History, 59). Fuller, another Anglican historian, describes it as the mere conjecture "of those who love to feign what they cannot find".
The 39 Articles. — In 1563 the Edwardian Articles were revised in Convocation under Archbishop Parker. Some were added, others altered or dropped, and the number was reduced to Thirty-eight. In 1571, the XXIXth Article, despite the opposition of Bishop Guest, was inserted, to the effect that the wicked do not eat the Body of Christ. The Articles, thus increased to Thirty-nine, were ratified by the Queen, and the bishops and clergy were required to assent and subscribe thereto.
Calvinistic Influence. — During the whole of Elizabeth's long reign, the prevailing tone of Anglican teaching and literature was decidedly Genevan and Calvinistic (Dr. Prothero, English Hist. Rev., October, 1886). In 1662 a reaction set in against Puritanism, and the Prayer Book, which had been suppressed during the Commonwealth, was brought back and subjected to revision in Convocation and Parliament. The amendments made were numerous, but those of doctrinal significance were comparatively few, and of a kind to emphasize the Episcopal character of Anglicanism as against Presbyterianism. The most notable were the reinsertion, with altered wording, of the Black Rubric (omitted by Elizabeth) and the introduction in the form of the words, "for the office of a Bishop " and "for the office of a Priest ", in the Service of Ordination.
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Anglican Formularies. —
- first, by the study of the plain meaning of the text;
- secondly, by the study of the historical setting and the circumstances in which they were framed and authorized;
- thirdly, by the known beliefs of their chief authors and of those by whom they were accepted;
- fourthly, by comparison with the Catholic pre-Reformation formularies which they supplanted;
- fifthly, by the study of their sources and the exact value of their doctrinal terminology as found in the controversies of the time ;
- sixthly—if the examination is not to be hopelessly narrow—by the study of general Reformation in Europe, of which the English Reformation, albeit with local and national characteristics, was both a part and a result.
CONNECTION WITH THE PARENT MOVEMENT OF REFORMATION
There can be no doubt that the English Reformation is substantially a part of the great Protestant Reformation upheaval of the sixteenth century, and that its doctrine, liturgy, and chief promoters were to a very considerable extent derived from, and influenced by, the Lutheran and Calvinistic movements on the Continent.First Bond: Personal
There was first of all the living or personal connection. The great English Reformers who took the leading part in the work of Reformation in England &151; Cranmer, Barlow, Hooper, Parker, Grindal, Scory, May, Cox, Coverdale, and many others—were men who lived and laboured amongst the Protestants of the Continent, and remained in constant and cordial touch and communication with them. (See Original Letters of the Reformation .) Reciprocally, continental reformers, like Peter Martyr and Martin Bucer, were welcomed to England and made professors of Divinity at the universities. Others, like John a Lasco, and Paul Fagius, become the friends and guests of Cranmer.Second Bond: Doctrinal
A second bond was the adoption of the same essential doctrines. The great principles and tenets set forth in the works of Luther, Melanchthon, and Calvin, or Zwingli, are reproduced with or without modifications, but substantially, and often almost verbatim in the literature of the English Reformation. The chief doctrines which are essentially and specifically characteristic of the Protestant Reformation as a whole are the following nine:
- rejection of the Papacy,
- denial of the Church Infallibility ;
- Justification by Faith only;
- supremacy and sufficiency of Scripture as Rule of Faith ;
- the triple Eucharistic tenet [viz. ( a ) that the Eucharist is a Communion or Sacrament, and not a Mass or Sacrifice, save in the sense of praise or commemoration; ( b ) the denial of Transubstantiation and worship of the Host ; ( c ) the denial of the sacrificial office of the priesthood and the propitiatory character of the Mass];
- the non-necessity of auricular Confession;
- the rejection of the invocation of the Blessed Virgin and the Saints;
- the rejection of Purgatory and omission of prayers for the dead ;
- the rejection of the doctrine of Indulgences.
- the giving of Communion in both kinds;
- the substitution of tables for altars; and
- the abolition of monastic vows and the celibacy of the clergy.
A third bond between the Reformation on the continent and that which took place in England is to be found in the actual composition of the formularies. The Anglican Articles owe much, through the Thirteen Articles, to the Confession of Augsburg, and also to the Confession of Wurtemberg. Notable portions of the baptismal, marriage, and confirmation services are derived from the "Simplex et Pia Deliberatio" which was compiled by the Lutheran Hermann von Wied, with the aid of Bucer and Melanchthon. That a considerable part of the Anglican ordinal (without the distinctive form for each Order) is found in Bucer's "Scripta Anglica", has been pointed out by the late Canon Travers Smith.Conclusion
In this triple bond—personal, doctrinal, and liturgical &151; the continental and Anglican Reformations are, amid many and notable differences, substantially and inseparably interwoven as parts of one and the same great religious movement.
USE OF LITURGICAL REFORM TO DENY THE SACRIFICE
The comparison of the Anglican Prayer Book and Ordinal with the Pre-Reformation formularies which they replaced leads to a second conclusion which in harmony with the above. On making an analysis of what has been removed, and what has been retained, and what has been altered, it becomes unmistakably apparent that the main motive which determined and guided the construction of the new liturgy was the same as that which inspired the whole Reformation movement, namely: the determination to have the Lord's Supper regarded only as a Sacrament or Communion, and not as a Sacrifice , and to remove whatever indicated the sacrificial character of the Eucharist, or the Real, Objective Presence, in the Catholic sense, in which Christ is worshiped in the Host.
The Catholic liturgical forms, missal, breviary, pontifical, were in possession and had been in actual use for centuries. In making a liturgical reform, it was by the necessity of the case impossible that the changes made should not have reference to them, standing as they did, in the relation of terminus a quo to a terminus ad quem of reformation. If the Sarum Missal, Breviary, and Pontifical are placed side by side with the Anglican Prayer Book and Ordinal, and a comparison made of the corresponding parts, the motive, drift, and intention of the framers are clearly revealed.
- In the Catholic Pontifical, in the Ordination services there are twenty-four passages which express with clearness the Catholic Sacerdotium , or sacrificial character of the office and work of the priesthood. Of these not one was allowed to remain in the Anglican Ordinal.
- In the Ordinary of the Mass alone there are some twenty-five points in which the sacrificial nature of the Eucharist and the Real Presence of Christ as a Victim are expressed or implied. All these have been suppressed and eliminated in the Anglican Communion Service, and passages of a Reformational or non-committal character substituted.
DEVELOPMENT AND PARTIES
Although the Anglican Articles and liturgy have been practically unchanged since 1662, it was inevitable that the life and thought of a religious body like the Church of England should present the note of development, and that such development should eventually out grow, or at least strain, the historic interpretation of the formularies, and the more so because there has been no living authority to adapt or readjust them to the newer needs or aspirations. The development may be said to have been guided by three main influences.
- There has been the deep-seated attachment to the principles of the Reformation in which the Anglican settlement was founded, and the determination to preserve the standards of belief and worship then established. This loyalty to the Protestant character of the Anglican Church has produced the Low Church, or Evangelical, school of Anglicanism.
- A second influence is that of rationalism, which, both in England and in Germany, has acted as a solvent of Protestantism, especially in the form of destructive biblical criticism , and which, often in the effort to sublimate religion, has induced an aversion to all that is dogmatic, supernatural, or miraculous. Its exponents, who are numerous, learned, and influential, are generally classed as the Broad Church, or the Latitudinarian, school of Anglican religious thought.
- A third influence which made itself felt upon Anglicanism, and one more vital and more penetrating and progressive than the other two, has been that of Catholicism, whether as reflected in Catholic antiquity or as beheld in the actual Catholic and Roman Church. The effect of this influence may be traced in what has been called the historic High Church party. A number of Anglican bishops and divines in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, while bitterly opposed to Rome, and loyally Protestant, stood above the prevailing low level of churchmanship, and put forward higher and philocatholic views, in the matters of Church authority, belief, and worship. Although comparatively few in number, and vehemently assailed by their fellow churchmen, they were destined to serve as a point d'appui for a subsequent development. Such writers as Bishop Andrews (d. 1626), Bishop Overall (d. 1644), Bishop Montague (d. 1641), Archbishop Laud (d. 1644), Archbishop Bramhall (d. 1663), Dr. Thorndike (d. 1672), Bishop Ken (d. 1711), Dr Waterland (d. 1740), may be regarded as representative of this section.
(See also OXFORD MOVEMENT.)
In 1833 a strong current of popular opinion directed against the Anglican Church aroused in its defense the zeal of a small band of Oxford students and writers, who gradually gathered under the informal leadership of John Henry Newman. Among these were John Keble, C. Marriott, Hurrell Froude, Isaac Williams, Dr. Pusey, and W.G. Ward. Their object was to make good for the Anglican Church its claim to the note of Catholicity. Their task led them to look both behind and outside the sphere of the Reformation.
By forming a catena of Anglican High Church divines of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries on one side, and a catena of certain Fathers on the other, it was hoped that a quasi-continuous chain of Catholic tradition could be made to connect the Anglican Church of their day with Catholic antiquity. Translations of the Fathers, works on liturgy, the festivals of the "Christian Year", and above all a memorable series of "Tracts for the Times", conveyed with telling force the newer and broader conceptions of churchmanship which entered into the spirit of the defenders.
In "Tract 90" an attempt was made, somewhat on the lines of Sancta Clara, to show that the Anglican Articles might in certain aspects be reconciled to the teaching of the Council of Trent . The result was a doctrinal and devotional crisis such as England had not witnessed since the Reformation, and the Oxford or Tractarian movement, during the twelve years from Keble's sermon on "National Apostasy ", in 1833, to Newman's conversion in 1845, formed a historic epoch in the annals of Anglicanism. The fact that the work of the movement was informally a study de Ecclesiâ brought both the writers and their readers more directly face to face with the claims of the Church of Rome.
A large number of those who took part in the movement, and notably its great leader, became Catholics, while others, in remaining Anglicans, gave a new and pro- Catholic direction and impulse to Anglican thought and worship. It may be said that in the case of Newman, Oakley, Wilberforce, Ward, and a host of others, the research of the nature of Catholicity and the rule of faith brought them to realize the need of the living voice of a Divine magisterium (the regula proxima fidei ), and failing to find it in the Anglican episcopate, they sought it where alone it could be found.
Others, like Pusey, Marriott, Keble, sought what they called the voice of the "Church" in the inanimate formularies (or regula remota ) which, after all, was merely adding the Fathers, the liturgies, and conciliar definitions to the Scripture as the area over which they still used, after the manner of true Protestants, their private judgement. The same principle is always more or less at work and goes as far now as then to sift those who come from those who stay. [If we bear in mind that by "Church" was thus meant the silent self-interpreted formularies (or regula remota ), and by "Bishops" the living magisterium (or regula proxima ) sought in Anglicanism, we shall feel that there is a great truth contained in Pusey's well-known saying, three years after the secession of Newman : "I am not disturbed, because I never attached any weight to bishops. It was perhaps the difference between Newman and me. He threw himself upon the bishops and they failed him. I threw myself on the English Church and the Fathers, as under God, her support" (Letter to C. Marriott, 2 January, 1848)].
Although the Oxford movement is regarded as having come to a close at the conversion of Dr. Newman in 1845, a large section of the Anglican public had been much too profoundly stirred by its ideals ever to return to the narrowness of the religious horizons which were bounded by the Reformation. Its influence has survived in the unceasing flow of converts to the Catholic Faith, and is shown in the Anglican Church itself by the notable change of belief, temperament, and practice which is known as the Anglican Revival.
The last fifty years (1860-1910) have witnessed the development of an influential and growing school of religious thought which, amid the inconsistencies of its position, has steadily laboured to Catholicize the Church of England. It has set up the claim, hopelessly untenable in the face of historical evidence, that the Anglican Church is one and continuous with the Ancient Catholic Church of the country, and is an integral portion of the Catholic Church of today. It professes to be able to give to Anglicans all that the Catholic Church gives to her members, save communion with the Holy See. Through possessing neither the learning nor the logic of the Tractarians, it exercises a wider and more practical influence, and has won the favour of a large body of the Anglican public by importing into the Anglican services something of the beauty and power which it has borrowed from Catholic teaching and ritual. At the same time it has in many centers earned the respect and attachment of the masses by the example of zeal and self-sacrifice given by its clergy.
It was natural that this advance section of the Anglican Church should seek to ratify its position, and to escape from its fatal isolation, by desiring some scheme of corporate reunion and especially by endeavouring to obtain some recognition of the validity of its orders. With the truest charity, which consists in the candour of
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