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as much greater than those they now manifest, as man's future condition may transcend his present. It is possible— for what is impossible to that infinite versatility of wisdom which even this world presents?—that there may be a progress by which a fly or an eagle—though we are far enough from affirming it may be as superior to what they now are, as man shall be to what he now is, when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal immortality.' But where, in the name of 'wonder, will there be lodging enough for such an infinite array ' of immortal atoms?' Truly, we do not know; but we presume that for even an infinitude of atoms, infinite worlds in infinite space may be found domain enough. But is it not ' ridiculous to suppose that creatures of such insignificant powers, 'such humble, such evidently limited capacities, should be im'mortal?' It is dangerous, O man, for thee to employ that argument. Is it not the very conclusion, which a superior intelligence to thine-if it knew thee only in the same way thou knowest thy despised fellow-brute-would form respecting thee? at least, if superior intelligence had not taught him what, it seems, superior intelligence has not taught thee, humility and modesty? Is it possible," he would say, that this miserable biped, who physically manifests so marked a family resemblance 'to his cousin brutes; whose intellectual qualities, it is true, 'seem somewhat superior, though not always, to theirs, and insignificant at the best; whose moral qualities are apparently inferior; is it possible that this miserable compound of vast pretensions, enormous vanity, ridiculous arrogance, meanness, envy, cruelty; who domineers over the other animals; who is at everlasting strife with his own species; who sprang out of 'the dust, as his supposed inferior fellows did, and returns to 'the dust as they do, can aspire to immortality? It is absurd. Let us hope that he is only a transient blot on the creation, ' and that the universe will one day be relieved from his odious 6 presence.' Far be it from us (even for our own sake) to whisper any doubt of the fallacy of such an argument; but sure we are that an archangel might employ it with much more reason against us than we can against the meanest reptile that crawls. "Well,' complacent man will say, if all animals are to be immortal, let us hope, at all events, that they will not occupy the same world, or live in inconvenient proximity.' 'Kind heaven grant it;' all the lower creation will eagerly reply. Man 'cannot be more anxious to get away from us, than we are to get away from him.'
But in very deed, by the light of philosophy, we know nothing about the matter either way, and that is precisely all we
contend for. Upon points on which philosophers know nothing, philosophers should say nothing. That is a beautiful school of philosophy (though it has few disciples) which teaches man to say of most things: 'It may be so, and it may be otherwise. It is
a point on which I only know that I do not know.' But it is a school in which, whatever his merits (and they were assuredly great), Descartes never enrolled his name.
By the Rev.
ART. II.-1. A Letter to Mr. Canning on the Bill for Removing the Disqualifications of Roman Catholics. HENRY PHILPOTTS, D.D. London: 1827. 2. A Letter to an English Layman on the Coronation Oath. By the Rev. HENRY PHILPOTTS, D.D. London: 1828. 3. Report of the Trial of the Cause The Queen on the Prose'cution of the Bishop of Exeter versus Latimer.' 1848.
4. A Letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, from the Bishop of Exeter. London: 1850.
5. An Examination of the Bishop of Exeter's Letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury. By the Rev. W. GOODE. London:
6. A Pastoral Letter on the Present State of the Church. By HENRY, Lord Bishop of EXETER. London: 1851. IF any one had prophesied, twenty years ago, that we should
live to see a Bishop of Exeter solemnly and deliberately excommunicate an Archbishop of Canterbury, we should certainly have thought the prophet a candidate for Bedlam should have supposed him some student who had pored over monastic chronicles and papal bulls, till his brain had turned; whose diseased imagination had brooded on the past till it confounded the times and characters of Archbishop Howley and Archbishop Becket. Yet this, amongst other restorations of Mediævalism, we have lived to see, in this culminating year of the nineteenth century, not a madman's dream, but a living fact; as real and palpable as the Submarine telegraph, the Britannia Bridge, or the Crystal Palace. The same month which beheld the opening of the Great Exhibition, saw also the triennial visitation of Bishop Philpotts, and witnessed the astonishment of his assembled clergy, when he delivered to them, ex cathedrâ, the awful tidings that he had 'RENOUNCED COMMUNION' with his metropolitan. Nor did the violence of denunciation, and the insolence of vituperation indulged in by the excommunicating prelate fall short of the precedents which he appears to have
copied. The printed charge which he delivered to his clergy is one continued anathema, launched not only against the Archbishop, but against several other Bishops, and sundry obnoxious individuals, from the Judges of the Judicial Committee of Her Majesty's Privy Council down to the editor of the Record' newspaper. The Judges are declared to have committed themselves to a statement notoriously at variance with the real 'facts of the case;'† their judgment proceeded on an utter disregard of the canons of the Church, just as they were pronounced before guilty of a grievous violation of their plain duty.' § Their sentence was swayed by other motives besides 'mere justice and truth,' || and was a grievous perversion of jus'tice.' As to the Archbishop, he is declared to have 'forfeited his right to Catholic Communion.'** He is guilty of the voluntary betrayal of a high and most sacred trust;'†† he is a fautor of heretical tenets ;' ‡‡ nay, more: he is the author and publisher of heretical statements '§§ of his own invention. Such is the example which Bishop Philpotts gives to his clergy of submission to the constituted authorities of Church and State. Such is the reverence and obedience which he teaches them to pay to their ecclesiastical superiors. It would have been sufficiently scandalous if charges such as these had been publicly hurled by one parochial clergyman against another, still more if by one bishop against a brother bishop; but the present case goes far beyond this; here we have not merely a clergyman reviling a clergyman,—we have not an equal excommunicating an equal,-but a suffragan sworn to reverence and obedience rebelling against the Primate, from whom his authority is derived, under whom it is exercised, and by whose final judgment all his decisions may be reversed. The prelate who thus in his official address to his assembled clergy renounces and defies his Metropolitan, did formerly, in the most solemn moment of his life, take the following peculiarly stringent oath of obedience and reverence to the Superior whom he now disobeys and insults: In the name of God, Amen. I, Henry, chosen Bishop of the Church and See of Exeter, do profess and promise all due REVERENCE and OBEDIENCE to the Archbishop, and to the Metropolitical Church of Canterbury, and to their successors: so help me God, through
* The latter unfortunate individual is warned that he has probably committed the unpardonable sin. (Pastoral, p. 72.)
† Ibid. p. 2.
Ibid. p. 79.
‡ Ibid. p. 2.
‡‡ Ibid. p. 14.
§ Letter, p. 63. ** Pastoral, p. 14. §§ Ibid. 59.
His Excommunication of the Archbishop.
'Jesus Christ!' Surely the Bishop must apply to the interpretation of oaths that same non-natural sense' which some of his partisans have advocated for the mitigation of articles.*
But, perhaps, it may be thought, that this excommunication which we have described was only a hasty expression of anger, a momentary ebullition, by which the vexation of a disappointed litigant vented itself against his judges. On the contrary, it was the deliberate execution of a purpose publicly declared more than a year before. In that extraordinary invective (to which we shall return in the following pages), called A Letter to the 'Archbishop,' which was published March, 1850, Bishop Philpotts threatened his Metropolitan with the excommunication, which he finally pronounced against him in May, 1851. He protested, that if the Archbishop obeyed the Queen's monition, by instituting Mr. Gorham, according to the Judgment of the Judicial Committee, he (the Archbishop) was a favourer and supporter of Mr. Gorham's heresies; and, he added, I 'protest, in conclusion, that I cannot, without sin,—and, by God's grace, I will not,-hold communion with him, be he who he may, who shall so abuse the high commission which he bears.' The Archbishop proceeded, of course, undeterred by this threat, to execute the law; upon which his suffragan, when his clergy were assembled at his next visitation, deliberately informed them (as we have already seen) that the Primate had become a fautor of heretical tenets,' and, as such, had ❝ forfeited his right to Catholic Communion,' and that he ‘thereupon renounced communion with him.'
Even Bishop Philpotts appears to be sensible of the anomalous position in which he had thus placed himself. Indeed, in the very sentence of excommunication, he acknowledges not only the enormity of his offence, but the punishment which it deserved. He says, that if the Archbishop had not become a fautor of heretical tenets, any one of his comprovincial bishops, who thereupon renounced communion with him, would himself, by so doing, have deserved to be put out of the pale of the
• Church.'§ Habemus confitentem reum. He acknowledges
himself a schismatic, unless the Archbishop be a heretic. He
* The oath of obedience taken by a bishop to his archbishop is very much stronger than that taken by a clergyman to his bishop; and yet Bishop Philpotts is far from allowing his clergy the same latitude of interpretation of their oath, which he exercises upon his own. Thus when Mr. Le Grice respectfully opposed his edicts concerning the surplice, he publicly accused him (in the famous Helston case,' 1844) of flinging his ordination vows to the winds.' Pastoral, p. 14.
† Letter, p. 90.
§ Ibid. p. 14.
acknowledges, that upon the strength of his own mere private opinion, he has constituted himself the supreme judge of heresy; and, in virtue of the inquisitorial functions wherewith he is thus invested, being himself accuser, judge, and executioner, he has pronounced and executed his sentence against his Metropolitan. Was the extravagance of private judgment ever pushed to a higher pitch? For it is a mere prevarication to say, that he acts, not upon his own judgment, but upon the judgment of the Church; since the very question at issue between himself and Mr. Gorham was, whether certain tenets were condemned by the judgment of the Church or not; the highest tribunal of Ecclesiastical Appeal decided that they were not condemned by the judgment of the Church; upon which, Bishop Philpotts relies on his own private opinion, as a more infallible exponent of the judgment of the Church than that of the judges and archbishops who pronounced sentence in a cause, wherein (be it remembered) he was himself a losing party. Having lost his suit, he suddenly assumes a new character; the unsuccessful defendant becomes the judge of his judges; the recalcitrant Suffragan excommunicates his Archbishop.
The monstrous nature of such pretensions, and the violation of every principle of law, ecclesiastical or civil, involved in them, is sufficiently obvious. If any individual may arrogate to himself the right of enforcing his private judgment on a question which has been decided against him by a court of law, the authority of the law itself is at an end. Nor is it of any avail to say that the question is a religious question, and that heresy is a sin against God; for so is theft, so is adultery, so is murder; yet we do not allow men, on that account, to take the law into their own hands, and punish those whom they consider thieves, murderers, or adulterers, according to their own ideas of justice; still less, after the accused have been acquitted of the offences charged against them, by the legal tribunals. The very same principle is involved in each case. Whatever authority Bishop Philpotts had to excommunicate the Archbishop as a heretic,-whatever right he has to continue to refuse institution (as he declares he will do), in defiance of the law, to clergymen of Mr. Gorham's opinions, the same right and authority,
* I shall, nevertheless, continue to refuse [to institute] any clergy' man who shall teach as Mr. Gorham insists, and as his Grace [the Archbishop] proclaims that he has a right to teach.' (Pastoral, p. 45.) This is not by any means an empty threat; the Bishop has already refused to license several curates, for holding the opinions which the law has decided that they have a right to hold; and recently he refused institution to an incumbent (Mr. Grey, presented to Christ