The Church: Her Books and Her Sacraments
by E. E. Holmes
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Again, according to the law of England, the only legal way in which a Christian name can be given, is by Baptism. Thus, if a child has been registered in one name, and is afterwards baptized {74} in another, the Baptismal, and not the registered, name is its legal name, even if the registered name was given first.

It is strange that, in view of all this, peers should drop their Christian names, i.e. their real names, their Baptismal names. The custom, apparently, dates only from the Stuart period, and is not easy to account for. It would seem to suggest a distinct loss. The same loss, if it be a loss, is incurred by the Town Clerk of London, who omits his Christian name in signing official documents.[16] The King, more happily, retains his Baptismal or Christian name, and has no surname.[17] Bishops sign themselves by both their {75} Christian and official name, as "Randall Cantuar; Cosmo Ebor.; A. F. London; H. E. Winton; F. Oxon.".

We may consider three words, both helps and puzzles, used in connexion with Holy Baptism: Regeneration, Adoption, Election. Each has its own separate teaching, though there are points at which their meanings run into each other.


"We yield Thee hearty thanks that it hath pleased Thee to regenerate this infant." So runs the Prayer-Book thanksgiving after baptism. What does it mean? The word regeneration comes from two Latin words, re, again, generare, to generate, and means exactly what it says. In Prayer-Book language, it means being "born again". And, notice, it refers to infants as well {76} as to adults. The new birth is as independent of the child's choice as the natural birth.

And this is just what we should expect from a God of love. The child is not consulted about his first birth, neither is he consulted about his second birth. He does not wait (as the Baptists teach) until he is old enough to make a free choice of second birth, but as soon as he is born into the world ("within seven or fourteen days," the Prayer Book orders) he is reborn into the Church. Grace does not let nature get ten to twenty years' start, but gives the soul a fair chance from the very first: and so, and only so, is a God of love "justified in His saying, and clear when He is judged".


But there is a second word. The Baptismal Thanksgiving calls the Baptized "God's own child by Adoption". A simple illustration will best explain the word. When a man is "naturalized," he speaks of his new country as the land of his adoption. If a Frenchman becomes a naturalized Englishman, he ceases legally to be a Frenchman; ceases to be under French law; ceases to serve in the French army. He {77} becomes legally an Englishman; he is under English law; serves in the English army; has all the privileges and obligations of a "new-born" Englishman. He may turn out to be a bad Englishman, a traitor to his adopted country; he may even hanker after his old life as a Frenchman—but he has left one kingdom for another, and, good, bad, or indifferent, he is a subject of his new King; he is a son of his adopted country. He cannot belong to two kingdoms, serve under two kings, live under two sets of laws, at the same time.

It is so with the Baptized. He has been "adopted" into a new kingdom. He is a subject of "the Kingdom of Heaven". But he cannot belong to two kingdoms at the same time. His "death unto sin" involves a "new birth (regeneration) unto righteousness". He ceases to be a member of the old kingdom, to serve under the sway of the old king, to be a "child of wrath". He renounces all allegiance to Satan; he becomes God's own child by "adoption". He may be a good, bad, or indifferent child; he may be a lost child, but he does not cease to be God's child. Rather, it is just because he is still God's child that there is hope for him. It is because he is {78} the child of God by adoption that the "spirit of adoption" within him can still cry, "Abba, Father," that he can still claim the privilege of his adopted country, and "pardon through the Precious Blood". True, he has obligations and responsibilities, as well as privileges, and these we shall see under the next word, Election.


The Catechism calls the Baptized "the elect people of God," and the Baptismal Service asks that the child may by Baptism be "taken into the number of God's elect children". What does it mean? The word itself comes from two Latin words, e, or ex, out; and lego, to choose. The "elect," then, are those chosen out from others. It sounds like favouritism; it reads like "privileged classes"—and so it is. But the privilege of election is the privilege of service. It is like the privilege of a Member of Parliament, the favoured candidate—the privilege of being elected to serve others. Every election is for the sake of somebody else. The Member of Parliament is elected for the sake of his constituents; the Town Councillor is elected for the sake of his fellow-townsmen; the Governor is elected for the sake of the {79} governed. It is so with spiritual elections. The Jews were "elect"; but it was for the sake of the Gentiles—"that the Gentiles, through them, might be brought in". The Blessed Virgin was "elect"; but it was that "all generations might call her blessed". The Church is "elect," but it is for the sake of the world,—that it, too, might be "brought in". No election ends with itself. The Baptized are "elect," but not for their own sakes; not to be a privileged class, save to enjoy the privilege of bringing others in. They are "chosen out" of the world for the sake of those left in the world. This is their obligation; it is the law of their adopted country, the kingdom into which they have, "by spiritual regeneration," been "born again".

All this, and much more, Baptism does. How does it do it?


This new Birth! How is it accomplished? Nobody knows. How Baptism causes all that it effects, is as yet unrevealed. The Holy Ghost moves upon the face of the waters, but His operation is overshadowed. Here, we are in the realm of faith. Faith is belief in that which is out of {80} sight. It is belief in the unseen, not in the non-existent. We hope for that we see not.[18] The mode of the operation of the Holy Ghost in Baptism is hidden: the result alone is revealed. In this, as in many another mystery, "We wait for light".[19]

[1] See Service for the "Private Baptism of Children".

[2] Service for the Ordination of Deacons.

[3] From an old word, Gossip or Godsib, i.e. God relation.

[4] Cf. Rom. vi. 4; Eph. v. 26.

[5] Trine Immersion, i.e. dipping the candidate thrice, or thrice pouring water upon him, dates from the earliest ages, but exceptional cases have occurred where a single immersion has been held valid.

[6] From Chrisma, sacred oil—first the oil with which a child was anointed at Baptism, and then the robe with which the child was covered after Baptism and Unction, and hence the child itself was called a Chrisome-child, i.e. a child wearing the Chrisome robe.

[7] In the 1549 Prayer Book, the Prayer at the Anointing in the Baptismal Service ran: "Almighty God, Who hath regenerated thee by water and the Holy Ghost, and hath given unto thee the remission of all thy sins, He vouchsafe to anoint thee with the Unction of His Holy Spirit, and bring thee to the inheritance of everlasting life. Amen."

[8] St. Jerome, writing in the second century, says of the Baptized, that he "bore on his forehead the banner of the Cross".

[9] 1 Kings vii. 22.

[10] It is a real loss to use the Service for the Public Baptism of Infants as a private office, as is generally done now. The doctrinal teaching; the naming of the child; the signing with the cross; the response of, and the address to, the God-parents—all these would be helpful reminders to a congregation, if the service sometimes came, as the Rubric orders, after the second lesson, and might rekindle the Baptismal and Confirmation fire once lighted, but so often allowed to die down, or flicker out.

[11] 1 Pet. iii. 21.

[12] Baptismal Service.

[13] Rev. iii. 11.

[14] Not more, it is estimated, than two or three out of every eight have been baptized.

[15] I may take an additional Christian name at my Confirmation, but I cannot change the old one.

[16] The present Town Clerk of London has kindly informed me that the earliest example he has found dates from 1418, when the name of John Carpenter, Town Clerk, the well-known executor of Whittington, is appended to a document, the Christian name being omitted.

[17] The following letter from Mr. Ambrose Lee of the Heralds' College may interest some. "... Surname, in the ordinary sense of the word, the King has none. He—as was his grandmother, Queen Victoria, as well as her husband, Prince Albert—is descended from Witikind, who was the last of a long line of continental Saxon kings or rulers. Witikind was defeated by Charlemagne, became a Christian, and was created Duke of Saxony. He had a second son, who was Count of Wettin, but clear and well-defined and authenticated genealogies do not exist from which may be formulated any theory establishing, by right or custom, any surname, in the ordinary accepted sense of the word, for the various families who are descended in the male line from this Count of Wettin.... And, by-the-by, it must not be forgotten that the earliest Guelphs were merely princes whose baptismal name was Guelph, as the baptismal name of our Hanoverian Kings was George."

[18] Rom. viii. 25.

[19] Is. lix. 9.




The Blessed Sacrament!—or, as the Prayer Book calls it, "The Holy Sacrament". This title seems to sum up all the other titles by which the chief service in the Church is known. These are many. For instance:—

The Liturgy, from the Greek Leitourgia,[1] a public service.

The Mass, from the Latin Missa, dismissal—the word used in the Latin Liturgy when the people are dismissed,[2] and afterwards applied to the service itself from which they are dismissed.

The Eucharist, from the Greek Eucharistia, thanksgiving—the word used in all the narratives {82} of Institution,[3] and, technically, the third part of the Eucharistic Service.

The Breaking of the Bread, one of the earliest names for the Sacrament (Acts ii. 42, 1 Cor. x. 16).

The Holy Sacrifice, which Christ once offered, and is ever offering.

The Lord's Supper (1 Cor. xii. 10), a name perhaps originally used for the Agape, or love feast, which preceded the Eucharist, and then given to the Eucharist itself. It is an old English name, used in the story of St. Anselm's last days, where it is said: "He passed away as morning was breaking on the Wednesday before the day of our Lord's Supper".

The Holy Communion (1 Cor. x. 16), in which our baptismal union with Christ is consummated, and which forms a means of union between souls in the Church Triumphant, at Rest, and on Earth. In it, Christ, God and Man, is the bond of oneness.

All these, and other aspects of the Sacrament, are comprehended and gathered up in the name which marks its supremacy,—The Blessed Sacrament.


Consider: What it is; What it does; How it does it.


It is the supernatural conjunction of matter and spirit, of Bread and Wine and of the Holy Ghost. Here, as in Baptism, the "inward and spiritual" expresses itself through the "outward and visible". Both must be there. And, notice again. This conjunction is not a physical conjunction, according to physical laws; nor is it a spiritual conjunction, according to spiritual laws; it is a Sacramental conjunction, according to Sacramental laws. As in Baptism, so in the Blessed Sacrament: the "outward and visible" is, and remains, subject to natural laws, and the inward and spiritual to spiritual laws; but the Sacrament itself is under neither natural nor spiritual but Sacramental laws.

For a perfect Sacrament requires both matter and spirit.[4] If either is absent, the Sacrament is incomplete.

Thus, the Council of Trent's definition of {84} Transubstantiation[5] seems, as it stands, to spoil the very nature of a Sacrament. It is the "change of the whole substance of the bread into the Body, of the whole substance of the wine into the blood of Christ, only the appearance of bread and wine remaining".

Again, the Lutheran doctrine of Consubstantiation destroys the nature of the Sacrament. The Lutheran Formula Concordiae, e.g., teaches that "outside the use the Body of Christ is not present". Thus it limits the Presence to the reception, whether by good or bad.

The Figurative view of the Blessed Sacrament {85} destroys the nature of a Sacrament, making the matter symbolize something which is not there.

It is safer to take the words of consecration as they stand, corresponding as they do so literally with the words of Institution, and simply to say: "This (bread: it is still bread) is My Body" (it is far more than bread); "this (wine: it is still wine) is My Blood" (it is far more than wine). Can we get beyond this, in terms and definitions? Can we say more than that it is a "Sacrament"—The Blessed Sacrament? And after all, do we wish to do so?


Briefly, the Blessed Sacrament does two things; It pleads, and It feeds. It is the pleading of the one Sacrifice; It is the feeding on the one Sacrifice.

These two aspects of the one Sacrament are suggested in the two names, Altar and Table.[6] Both words are liturgical. In Western Liturgies, Altar is the rule, and Table the exception; in Eastern Liturgies, Table is the rule, and Altar {86} the exception. Both are, perhaps, embodied in the old name, God's Board, of Thomas Aquinas. Both contain a truth.

The Altar.

This, for over 300 years, was the common name for what St. Irenaeus calls "the Abode of the Holy Body and Blood of Christ". Convocation, in 1640, decreed: "It is, and may be called, an Altar in that sense in which the Primitive Church called it an Altar, and in no other". This sense referred to the offering of what the Liturgy of St. James calls "the tremendous and unbloody Sacrifice," the Liturgy of St. Chrysostom "the reasonable and unbloody Sacrifice,"[7] and the Ancient English Liturgy "a pure offering, an holy offering, an undefiled offering, even the holy Bread of eternal Life, and the Cup of everlasting Salvation ".

The word Altar, then, tells of the pleading of the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. In the words of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to Leo XIII: "We plead and represent before the Father the Sacrifice of the Cross"; or in the words of Charles Wesley: "To God it is an {87} Altar whereon men mystically present unto Him the same Sacrifice, as still suing for mercy"; or, in the words of Isaac Barrow: "Our Lord hath offered a well-pleasing Sacrifice for our sins, and doth, at God's right hand, continually renew it by presenting it unto God, and interceding with Him for the effect thereof".

The Sacrifice does not, of course, consist in the re-slaying of the Lamb, but in the offering of the Lamb as it had been slain. It is not the repetition of the Atonement, but the representation of the Atonement.[8] We offer on the earthly Altar the same Sacrifice that is being perpetually offered on the Heavenly Altar. There is only one Altar, only one Sacrifice, one Eucharist—"one offering, single and complete". All the combined earthly Altars are but one Altar—the earthly or visible part of the Heavenly Altar on which He, both Priest and Victim, offers Himself as the Lamb "as it had been slain". The Heavenly Altar is, as it were, the centre, and all the earthly Altars the circumference. We gaze at the Heavenly Altar through the Earthly Altars. We plead what He pleads; we offer what He offers.


Thus the Church, with exultation, Till her Lord returns again, Shows His Death; His mediation Validates her worship then, Pleading the Divine Oblation Offered on the Cross for men.

And we must remember that in this offering the whole Three Persons in the Blessed Trinity are at work. We must not in our worship so concentrate our attention upon the Second Person, as to exclude the other Persons from our thoughts. Indeed, if one Person is more prominent than another, it is God the Father. It is to God the Father that the Sacrifice ascends; it is with Him that we plead on earth that which God the Son is pleading in Heaven; it is God the Holy Ghost Who makes our pleadings possible, Who turns the many Jewish Altars into the one Christian Altar. The Gloria in Excelsis bids us render worship to all three Persons engaged in this single act.

The Table.

The second aspect under consideration is suggested by the word Table—the "Holy Table," as St. Gregory Nazianzen and St. Athanasius call it; "the tremendous Table," or the "Mystic {89} Table," as St. Chrysostom calls it; "the Lord's Table," or "this Thy Table," as, following the Easterns, our Prayer Book calls it.

This term emphasizes the Feast-aspect, as "Altar" underlines the Sacrificial aspect, of the Sacrament. In the "Lord's Supper" we feast upon the Sacrifice which has already been offered upon the Altar. "This Thy Table," tells of the Banquet of the Lamb. As St. Thomas puts it:—

He gave Himself in either kind, His precious Flesh, His precious Blood: In Love's own fullness thus designed Of the whole man to be the Food.

Or, as Dr. Doddridge puts it, in his Sacramental Ave:—

Hail! Sacred Feast, which Jesus makes! Rich Banquet of His Flesh and Blood! Thrice happy he, who here partakes That Sacred Stream, that Heavenly Food.

This is the Prayer-Book aspect, which deals with the "Administration of the Lord's Supper"; which bids us "feed upon Him (not it) in our hearts by faith," and not by sight; which speaks of the elements as God's "creatures of Bread and Wine"; which prays, in language of awful solemnity, that we may worthily "eat His Flesh {90} and drink His Blood". This is the aspect which speaks of the "means whereby" Christ communicates Himself to us, implants within us His character, His virtues, His will;—makes us one with Him, and Himself one with us. By Sacramental Communion, we "dwell in Him, and He in us"; and this, not merely as a lovely sentiment, or by means of some beautiful meditation, but by the real communion of Christ—present without us, and communicated to us, through the ordained channels.

Hence, in the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus is for ever counteracting within us the effects of the Fall. If the first Adam ruined us through food, the second Adam will reinstate us through food—and that food nothing less than Himself. "Feed upon Him." But how is all this brought about?


Once again, nobody knows. The Holy Ghost is the operative power, but the operation is overshadowed as by the wings of the Dove. It is enough for us to know what is done, without questioning as to how it is done. It is enough for us to worship Him in what He does, without {91} straining to know how He does it—being fully persuaded that, what He has promised, He is able also to perform.[9] Here, again, we are in the region of faith, not sight; and reason tells us that faith must be supreme in its own province. For us, it is enough to say with Queen Elizabeth:—

He was the Word that spake it; He took the bread and break it; And what that Word did make it, I do believe and take it.[10]

[1] Leitos, public, ergon, work.

[2] Either when the service is over, or when those not admissible to Communion are dismissed. The "Masses" condemned in the thirty-first Article involved the heresy that Christ was therein offered again by the Mass Priest to buy souls out of Purgatory at so much per Mass.

[3] E.g. St. Luke xxii. 17. "He took the cup, and eucharized," i.e. gave thanks.

[4] Accedit verium ad elementum, et fit Sacramentum (St. Augustine).

[5] This definition is really given up now by the best Roman Catholic theologians. The theory on which Transubstantiation alone is based (viz. that "substance" is something which exists apart from the totality of the accidents whereby it is known to us), has now been generally abandoned. Now, it is universally allowed that "substance is only a collective name for the sum of all the qualities of matter, size, colour, weight, taste, and so forth". But, as all these qualities of bread and wine admittedly remain after consecration, the substance of the bread and wine must remain too.

The doctrine of Transubstantiation condemned in Article 22, was that of a material Transubstantiation which taught (and was taught ex Cathedra by Pope Nicholas II) that Christ's Body was sensibly touched and broken by the teeth.

[6] "The Altar has respect unto the oblation, the Table to the participation" (Bishop Cosin).

[7] Cf. Jeremy Taylor's "Holy Living," chap. iv. s. 10.

[8] Cf. Bright's "Ancient Collects," p. 144.

[9] Rom. iv. 21.

[10] "These lines," says Malcolm MacColl in his book on "The Reformation Settlement" (p. 34), "have sometimes been attributed to Donne; but the balance of evidence is in favour of their Elizabethan authorship when the Queen was in confinement as Princess Elizabeth. They are not in the first edition of Donne, and were published for the first time as his in 1634, thirteen years after his death."




These are "those five" which the Article says are "commonly called Sacraments":[1] Confirmation, Matrimony, Orders, Penance, Unction. They are called "Lesser" Sacraments to distinguish them from the two pre-eminent or "Greater Sacraments," Baptism and the Supper of the Lord.[2] These, though they have not all a "like nature" with the Greater Sacraments, are selected by the Church as meeting the main needs of her children between Baptism and Burial.

They may, for our purpose, be classified in three groups:—

(I) The Sacrament of Completion (Confirmation, which completes the Sacrament of Baptism).


(II) The Sacraments of Perpetuation (Holy Matrimony, which perpetuates the human race; and Holy Order, which perpetuates the Christian Ministry).

(III) The Sacraments of Recovery (Penance, which recovers the sick soul together with the body; and Unction, which recovers the sick body together with the soul).

And, first, The Sacrament of Completion: Confirmation.

[1] Article XXV.

[2] The Homily on the Sacraments calls them the "other Sacraments"—i.e. in addition to Baptism and the Eucharist.




(I) What it is not. (II) What it is. (III) Whom it is for. (IV) What is essential.


Confirmation is not the renewal of vows. The renewal of vows is the final part of the preparation for Confirmation. It is that part of the preparation which takes place in public, as the previous preparation has taken place in private. Before Confirmation, the Baptismal vows are renewed "openly before the Church". Their renewal is the last word of preparation. The Bishop, or Chief Shepherd, assures himself by question, and answer, that the Candidate openly responds to the preparation he has received in {95} private from the Parish Priest, or under-Shepherd. Before the last revision of the Prayer Book, the Bishop asked the Candidates in public many questions from the Catechism before confirming them; now he only asks one—and the "I do," by which the Candidate renews his Baptismal vows, is the answer to that preparatory question.

It is still quite a common idea, even among Church people, that Confirmation is something which the Candidate does for himself, instead of something which God does to him. This is often due to the unfortunate use of the word "confirm"[1] in the Bishop's question. At the time it was inserted, the word "confirm" meant "confess,"[2] and referred, not to the Gift of Confirmation, but to the Candidate's public Confession of faith, before receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation. It had nothing whatever to do with Confirmation itself. We must not, then, confuse the preparation for Confirmation with the Gift of Confirmation. The Sacrament itself is God's gift to the child bestowed through the Bishop in accordance with the teaching given to {96} the God-parents at the child's Baptism: "Ye are to take care that this child be brought to the Bishop to be confirmed by him".[3]

And this leads us to our second point: What Confirmation is.


Confirmation is the completion of Baptism. It completes what Baptism began. In the words of our Confirmation Service, it "increases and multiplies"—i.e. strengthens or confirms Baptismal grace. It is the ordained channel which conveys to the Baptized the "sevenfold" (i.e. complete) gift of the Holy Ghost, which was initially received in Baptism.

And this will help us to answer a question frequently asked: "If I have been confirmed, but not Baptized, must I be Baptized?" Surely, Baptism must precede Confirmation. If {97} Confirmation increases the grace given in Baptism, that grace must have been received before it can be increased. "And must I be 'confirmed again,' as it is said, after Baptism?" Surely. If I had not been Baptized before I presented myself for Confirmation, I have not confirmed at all. My Baptism will now allow me to "be presented to the Bishop once again to be confirmed by him"—and this time in reality. "Did I, then, receive no grace when I was presented to the Bishop to be confirmed by him before?" Much grace, surely, but not the special grace attached to the special Sacrament of Confirmation, and guaranteed to the Confirmed. Special channels convey special grace. God's love overflows its channels; what God gives, or withholds, outside those channels, it would be an impertinence for us to say.

Again, Confirmation is, in a secondary sense, a Sacrament of Admittance. It admits the Baptized to Holy Communion. Two rubrics teach this. "It is expedient," says the rubric after an adult Baptism, "that every person thus Baptized should be confirmed by the Bishop so soon after his Baptism as conveniently may be; that so he may be admitted to the Holy Communion." "And {98} there shall none be admitted to Holy Communion," adds the rubric after Confirmation, "until such time as he be confirmed, or be ready and desirous to be confirmed." For "Confirmation, or the laying on of hands," fully admits the Baptized to that "Royal Priesthood" of the Laity,[4] of which the specially ordained Priest is ordained to be the representative. The Holy Sacrifice is the offering of the whole Church, the universal Priesthood, not merely of the individual Priest who is the offerer. Thus, the Confirmed can take their part in the offering, and can assist at it, in union with the ordained Priest who is actually celebrating. They can say their Amen at the Eucharist, or "giving of thanks," and give their responding assent to what he is doing in their name, and on their behalf.

And this answers another question. "If I am a Communicant, but have not been confirmed, ought I to present myself for Confirmation?" Surely. The Prayer Book is quite definite about this. First, it legislates for the normal case, then for the abnormal. First it says: "None shall be admitted to Holy Communion until such time as they have been Confirmed". Then it deals with {99} exceptional cases, and adds, "or be willing and desirous to be confirmed". Such exceptional cases may, and do, occur; but even these may not be Communicated unless they are both "ready" and "desirous" to be confirmed, as soon as Confirmation can be received. So does the Church safeguard her Sacraments, and her children.

"But would you," it is asked, "exclude a Dissenter from Communion, however good and holy he may be, merely because he has not been Confirmed?" He certainly would have very little respect for me if I did not. If, for instance, he belonged to the Methodist Society, he would assuredly not admit me to be a "Communicant" in that Society. "No person," says his rule, "shall be suffered on any pretence to partake of the Lord's Supper unless he be a member of the Society, or receive a note of admission from the Superintendent, which note must be renewed quarterly." And, again: "That the Table of the Lord should be open to all comers, is surely a great discredit, and a serious peril to any Church".[5] And yet the Church, the Divine Society, established by Jesus Christ Himself, is blamed, and called narrow and {100} bigoted, if she asserts her own rule, and refuses to admit "all comers" to the Altar. To give way on such a point would be to forfeit, and rightly to forfeit, the respect of any law-abiding people, and would be—in many cases, is—"a great discredit, and a serious peril" to the Church. We have few enough rules as it is, and if those that we have are meaningless, we may well be held up to derision. The Prayer Book makes no provision whatever for those who are not Confirmed, and who, if able to receive Confirmation, are neither "ready nor desirous to be Confirmed".


Confirmation is for the Baptized, and none other. The Prayer-Book Title to the service is plain. It calls Confirmation the "laying on of Hands upon those that are baptized," and, it adds, "are come to years of discretion".

First, then, Confirmation is for the Baptized, and never for the unbaptized.

Secondly, it is (as now administered[6]) for {101} "those who have come to years of discretion," i.e. for those who are fit for it. As we pray in the Ember Collect that the Bishop may select "fit persons for the Sacred Ministry" of the special Priesthood, and may "lay hands suddenly on no man," so it is with Confirmation or the "laying on of hands" for the Royal Priesthood. The Bishop must be assured by the Priest who presents them (and who acts as his examining Chaplain), that they are "fit persons" to be confirmed.

And this fitness must be of two kinds: moral and intellectual. It must be moral. The candidate must "have come to years of discretion," i.e. he must "know to refuse the evil and choose the good".[7] This "age of discretion," or competent age, as the Catechism Rubric calls it, is not a question of years, but of character. Our present Prayer Book makes no allusion to any definite span of years whatever, and to make the magic age of fifteen the minimum universal age for Candidates is wholly illegal. At the Reformation, the English Church fixed seven as the age for Confirmation, but our 1662 Prayer Book is more primitive, and, taking a common-sense view, {102} leaves each case of moral fitness to be decided on its own merits. The moral standard must be an individual standard, and must be left, first, to the parent, who presents the child to the Priest to be prepared; then, to the Priest who prepares the child for Confirmation, and presents him to the Bishop; and, lastly, to the Bishop, who must finally decide, upon the combined testimony of the Priest and parent—and, if in doubt, upon his own personal examination.

The intellectual standard is laid down in the Service for the "Public Baptism of Infants": "So soon as he can say the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments, in the vulgar (i.e. his native) tongue, and be further instructed, etc." Here, the words "can say" obviously mean can say intelligently. The mere saying of the words by rote is comparatively unimportant, though it has its use; but if this were all, it would degrade the Candidate's intellectual status to the capacities of a parrot. But, "as soon as" he can intelligently comply with the Church's requirements, as soon as he has reached "a competent age," any child may "be presented to the Bishop to be confirmed by him".


And, in the majority of cases, in these days, "the sooner, the better". It is, speaking generally, far safer to have the "child" prepared at home—if it is a Christian home—and confirmed from home, than to risk the preparation to the chance teaching of a Public School. With splendid exceptions, School Confirmation is apt to get confused with the school curriculum and school lessons. It is a sort of "extra tuition," which, not infrequently, interferes with games or work, without any compensating advantages in Church teaching.


"The Laying on of Hands"—and nothing else. This act of ritual (so familiar to the Early Church, from Christ's act in blessing little children) was used by the Apostles,[8] and is still used by their successors, the Bishops. It is the only act essential to a valid Confirmation.

Other, and suggestive, ceremonies have been in use in different ages, and in different parts of the Church: but they are supplementary, not essential. Thus, in the sub-apostolic age, ritual {104} acts expressed very beautifully the early names for Confirmation, just as "the laying on of Hands" still expresses the name which in the English Church proclaims the essence of the Sacrament.

For instance, Confirmation is called The Anointing,[9] and The Sealing, and in some parts of the Church, the Priest dips his finger in oil blessed by the Bishop, and signs or seals the child upon the forehead with the sign of the Cross, thus symbolizing the meaning of such names. But neither the sealing, nor the anointing, is necessary for a valid Sacrament.

Confirmation, then, "rightly and duly" administered, completes the grace given to a child at the outset of its Christian career. It admits the child to full membership and to full privileges in the Christian Church. It is the ordained Channel by which the Bishop is commissioned to convey and guarantee the special grace attached {105} to, and only to, the Lesser Sacrament of Confirmation.[10]

[1] "Ratifying and confirming the same in your own persons."

[2] The word was "confess" in 1549.

[3] The Greek Catechism of Plato, Metropolitan of Moscow, puts it very clearly: "Through this holy Ordinance the Holy Ghost descendeth upon the person Baptized, and confirmeth him in the grace which he received in his Baptism according to the example of His descending upon the disciples of Jesus Christ, and in imitation of the disciples themselves, who after Baptism laid their hands upon the believers; by which laying on of hands the Holy Ghost was conferred".

[4] 1 St. Peter ii. 9.

[5] Minutes of Wesleyan Conference, 1889, p. 412.

[6] In the first ages, and, indeed, until the fifteenth century, Confirmation followed immediately after Baptism, both in East and West, as it still does in the East.

[7] Is. vii. 16.

[8] Acts viii. 12-17; Acts xix. 5, 6.

[9] In an old seventh century Service, used in the Church of England down to the Reformation, the Priest is directed: "Here he is to put the Chrism (oil) on the forehead of the man, and say, 'Receive the sign of the Holy Cross, by the Chrism of Salvation in Jesus Christ unto Eternal Life. Amen.'"

[10] The teaching of our Church of England, passing on the teaching of the Church Universal, is very happily summed up in an ancient Homily of the Church of England. It runs thus: "In Baptism the Christian was born again spiritually, to live; in Confirmation he is made bold to fight. There he received remission of sin; here he receiveth increase of grace.... In Baptism he was chosen to be God's son; in Confirmation God shall give him His Holy Spirit to ... perfect him. In Baptism he was called and chosen to be one of God's soldiers, and had his white coat of innocency given him, and also his badge, which was the red cross set upon his forehead...; in Confirmation he is encouraged to fight, and to take the armour of God put upon him, which be able to bear off the fiery darts of the devil."




We have called Holy Matrimony the "Sacrament of Perpetuation," for it is the ordained way in which the human race is to be perpetuated.

Matrimony is the legal union between two persons,—a union which is created by mutual consent: Holy Matrimony is that union sanctioned and sanctified by the Church.

There are three familiar names given to this union: Matrimony, Marriage, Wedlock.

Matrimony, derived from mater, a mother, tells of the woman's (i.e. wife-man's) "joy that a man is born into the world". Marriage, derived from maritus, a husband (or house-dweller[1]), tells of the man's place in the "hus" or house. Wedlock, derived from weddian, a pledge, reminds both man and woman of the life-long pledge which each has made "either to other".


It is this Sacrament of Matrimony, Marriage, or Wedlock, that we are now to consider. We will think of it under four headings:—

(I) What is it for? (II) What is its essence? (III) Whom is it for? (IV) What are its safeguards?


Marriage is, as we have seen, God's method of propagating the human race. It does this in two ways—by expansion, and by limitation. This is seen in the New Testament ordinance, "one man for one woman". It expands the race, but within due and disciplined limitations. Expansion, without limitation, would produce quantity without quality, and would wreck the human race; limitation without expansion might produce quality without quantity, but would extinguish the human race. Like every other gift of God, marriage is to be treated "soberly, wisely, discretely," and, like every other gift, it must be used with a due combination of freedom and restraint.

Hence, among other reasons, the marriage union between one man and one woman is {108} indissoluble. For marriage is not a mere union of sentiment; it is not a mere terminable contract between two persons, who have agreed to live together as long as they suit each other. It is an organic not an emotional union; "They twain shall be one flesh," which nothing but death can divide. No law in Church or State can unmarry the legally married. A State may declare the non-existence of the marriage union, just as it may declare the non-existence of God: but such a declaration does not affect the fact, either in one case or the other.

In England the State does, in certain cases, declare that the life-long union is a temporary contract, and does permit "this man" or "this woman" to live with another man, or with another woman, and, if they choose, even to exchange husbands or wives. This is allowed by the Divorce Act of 1857,[2] "when," writes Bishop Stubbs, "the calamitous legislation of 1857 inflicted on English Society and English morals {109} the most cruel blow that any conjunction of unrighteous influence could possibly have contrived".[3]

The Church has made no such declaration. It rigidly forbids a husband or wife to marry again during the lifetime of either party. The Law of the Church remains the Law of the Church, overridden—but not repealed. This has led to a conflict between Church and State in a country where they are, in theory though not in fact, united. But this is the fault of the State, not of the Church. It is a case in which a junior partner has acted without the consent of, or rather in direct opposition to, the senior partner. Historically and chronologically speaking, the Church (the senior partner) took the State (the junior partner) into partnership, and the State, in spite of all the benefits it has received from the Church, has taken all it could get, and has thrown the Church over to legalize sin. It has ignored its senior partner, and loosened the old historical bond between the two. This the Church cannot help, and this the State fully admits, legally absolving the Church from taking any part in its mock re-marriages.



The essence of matrimony is "mutual consent". The essential part of the Sacrament consists in the words: "I, M., take thee, N.," etc. Nothing else is essential, though much else is desirable. Thus, marriage in a church, however historical and desirable, is not essential to the validity of a marriage. Marriage at a Registry Office (i.e. mutual consent in the presence of the Registrar) is every bit as legally indissoluble as marriage in a church. The not uncommon argument: "I was only married in a Registry Office, and can therefore take advantage of the Divorce Act," is fallacious ab initio.[4]

Why, then, be married in, and by the Church? Apart from the history and sentiment, for this reason. The Church is the ordained channel through which grace to keep the marriage vow is bestowed. A special and guaranteed grace is {111} attached to a marriage sanctioned and blest by the Church. The Church, in the name of God, "consecrates matrimony," and from the earliest times has given its sanction and blessing to the mutual consent. We are reminded of this in the question: "Who giveth this woman to be married to this man?" In answer to the question, the Parent, or Guardian, presents the Bride to the Priest (the Church's representative), who, in turn, presents her to the Bridegroom, and blesses their union. In the Primitive Church, notice of marriage had to be given to the Bishop of the Diocese, or his representative,[5] in order that due inquiries might be made as to the fitness of the persons, and the Church's sanction given or withheld. After this notice, a special service of Betrothal (as well as the actual marriage service) was solemnized.

These two separate services are still marked off from each other in (though both forming a part of) our present marriage service. The first part of the service is held outside the chancel gates, and corresponds to the old service of Betrothal. Here, too, the actual ceremony of "mutual consent" now takes place—that part of {112} the ceremony which would be equally valid in a Registry Office. Then follows the second part of the service, in which the Church gives her blessing upon the marriage. And because this part is, properly speaking, part of the Eucharistic Office, the Bride and Bridegroom now go to the Altar with the Priest, and there receive the Church's Benediction, and—ideally—their first Communion after marriage. So does the Church provide grace for her children that they may "perform the vows they have made unto the King". The late hour for modern weddings, and the consequent postponement[6] of Communion, has obscured much of the meaning of the service; but a nine o'clock wedding, in which the married couple receive the Holy Communion, followed by the wedding breakfast, is, happily, becoming more common, and is restoring to us one of the best of old English customs. It is easy enough to slight old religious forms and ceremonies; but is anyone one atom better, or happier for having neglected them?



Marriage is for three classes:—

(1) The unmarried—i.e. those who have never been married, or whose marriage is (legally) dissolved by death.

(2) The non-related—i.e. either by consanguinity (by blood), or affinity (by marriage).

(3) The full-aged.

(1) The Unmarried.

Obviously, marriage is only for the unmarried. But, is not this very hard upon those whose marriage has been a mistake, and who have been divorced by the State? And, above all, is it not very hard upon the innocent party, who has been granted a divorce? It is very hard, so hard, so terribly hard, that only those who have to deal personally, and practically, with concrete cases, can guess how hard—hard enough often on the guilty party, and harder still on the innocent. "God knows" it is hard, and will make it as easy as God Himself can make it, if only self-surrender is placed before self-indulgence. But the alternative is still harder. We sometimes forget that legislation for the individual may bear even harder {114} on the masses, than legislation for the masses may bear upon the individual. And, after all, this is not a question of "hard versus easy," but of "right versus wrong". Moreover, as we are finding out, that which seems easiest at the moment, often turns out hardest in the long run. It is no longer contended that re-marriage after a State-divorce is that universal Elysium which it has always been confidently assumed to be.

There is, too, a positively absurd side to the present conflict between Church and State. Here is a case in point. Some time ago, a young girl married a man about whom she knew next to nothing, the man telling her that marriage was only a temporary affair, and that, if it did not answer, the State would divorce them. It did not answer. Wrong-doing ensued, and a divorce was obtained. Then the girl entered into a State-marriage with another man. But that answered no better. A divorce was again applied for, but this time was refused. Eventually, the girl left her State-made husband, and ran away with her real husband. In other words, she eloped with her own husband. But what is her position to-day? In the eyes of the State, she is now living with a man who is not {115} her husband. Her State-husband is still alive, and can apply, at any moment, for an order for the restitution of conjugal rights—however unlikely he is to get it. Further, if in the future she has any children by her real husband (unless she has been married again to him, after divorce from her State-husband) these children will be illegitimate. This is the sort of muddle the Divorce Act has got us into. One course, and only one course, is open to the Church—to disentangle itself from all question of extending the powers of the Act on grounds of inequality, or any other real (and sometimes very real) or fancied hardship, and to consistently fight for the repeal of the Act. This, it will be said, is Utopian. Exactly! It is the business of the Church to aim at the Utopian. Her whole history shows that she is safest, as well as most successful, when aiming at what the world derides.

One question remains: Is not the present Divorce Law "one law for the rich and another for the poor"? Beyond all question. This is its sole merit, if merit it can have. It does, at least, partially protect the poor from sin-made-easy—a condition which money has bought for the rich. If the State abrogated the Sixth {116} Commandment for the rich, and made it lawful for a rich man to commit murder, it would at least be no demerit if it refused to extend the permit to the poor.

(2) The Non-Related.

But, secondly, marriage is for the non-related—non-related, that is, in two ways, by Consanguinity, and Affinity.

(a) By Consanguinity. Consanguinity is of two kinds, lineal and collateral. Lineal Consanguinity[7] is blood relationship "in a direct line," i.e. from a common ancestor. Collateral Consanguinity is blood relationship from a common ancestor, but not in a direct line.

The law of Consanguinity has not, at the present moment, been attacked, and is still the law of the land.

(b) By Affinity. Affinity[8] is near relationship by marriage. It is of three kinds: (1) Direct, i.e. between a husband and his wife's blood relations, and between a wife and her husband's blood relations; (2) Secondary, i.e. between a husband {117} and his wife's relations by marriage; (3) Collateral, i.e. between a husband and the relations of his wife's relations. In case of Affinity, the State has broken faith with the Church without scruple, and the Deceased Wife's Sister Bill[9] is the result. So has it

brought confusion to the Table round.

The question is sometimes asked, whether the State can alter the Church's law without her consent. An affirmative answer would reduce whatever union still remains between them to its lowest possible term, and would place the Church in a position which no Nonconformist body would tolerate for a day. The further question, as to whether the State can order the Church to Communicate persons who have openly and deliberately broken her laws, needs no discussion. No thinking person seriously contends that it can.

(3) For the Full-Aged.

No boy under 14, and no girl under 12, can contract a legal marriage either with, or without the consent of Parents or Guardians. No man {118} or woman under 21 can do so against the consent of Parents or Guardians.


These are, mainly, two: Banns and Licences—both intended to secure the best safeguard of all, publicity. This publicity is secured, first, by Banns.

(1) Banns.

The word is the plural form of Ban, "a proclamation". The object of this proclamation is to "ban" an improper marriage.

In the case of marriage after Banns, in order to secure publicity:—

(1) Each party must reside[10] for twenty-one days in the parish where the Banns are being published.

(2) The marriage must be celebrated in one of the two parishes in which the Banns have been published.


(3) Seven days' previous notice of publication must be given to the clergy by whom the Banns are to be published—though the clergy may remit this length of notice if they choose.

(4) The Banns must be published on three separate (though not necessarily successive) Sundays.

(5) Before the marriage, a certificate of publication must be presented to the officiating clergyman, from the clergyman of the other parish in which the Banns were published.

(6) Banns only hold good for three months. After this period, they must be again published three times before the marriage can take place.

(7) Banns may be forbidden on four grounds: If either party is married already; or is related by consanguinity or affinity; or is under age; or is insane.

(8) Banns published in false names invalidate a marriage, if both parties are cognisant of the fact before the marriage takes place, i.e. if they wilfully intend to defeat the law, but not otherwise.

(2) Licences.

There are two kinds of Marriage Licence, an Ordinary, or Common Licence, and a Special Licence.


An Ordinary Licence, costing about L2, is granted by the Bishop, or Ordinary, in lieu of Banns, either through his Chancellor, or a "Surrogate," i.e. substitute. In marriage by Licence, three points may be noticed:—

(1) One (though only one) of the parties must reside in the parish where the marriage is to be celebrated, for fifteen days previous to the marriage.

(2) One of the parties must apply for the Licence in person, not in writing.

(3) A licence only holds good for three months.

A Special Licence, costing about L30, can only be obtained from the Archbishop of Canterbury,[11] and is only granted after special and minute inquiry. The points here to notice are:—

(1) Neither party need reside in the parish where the marriage is to be solemnized.

(2) The marriage may be celebrated in any Church, whether licensed or unlicensed[12] for marriages.

(3) It may be celebrated at any time of the day. It may be added that if any clergyman {121} celebrates a marriage without either Banns or Licence (or upon a Registrar's Certificate), he commits a felony, and is liable to fourteen years' penal servitude.[13]

Other safeguards there are, such as:—

The Time for Marriages.—Marriages must not be celebrated before 8 A.M., or after 3 P.M., so as to provide a reasonable chance of publicity.

The Witnesses to a Marriage.—Two witnesses, at least, must be present, in addition to the officiating clergyman.

The Marriage Registers.—The officiating clergyman must enter the marriage in two Registers provided by the State.

The Signing of the Registers.—The bride and bridegroom must sign their names in the said Registers immediately after the ceremony, as well as the two witnesses and the officiating clergyman. If either party wilfully makes any false statement with regard to age, condition, etc., he or she is guilty of perjury.

Such are some of the wise safeguards provided by both Church and State for the Sacrament of Marriage. Their object is to prevent the {122} marriage state being entered into "lightly, unadvisedly, or wantonly," to secure such publicity as will prevent clandestine marriages,[14] and will give parents, and others with legal status, an opportunity to lodge legal objections.

Great is the solemnity of the Sacrament in which is "signified and represented the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and His Church".

[1] Husband—from hus, a house, and buan, to dwell.

[2] Until fifty-three years ago an Act of Parliament was necessary for a divorce. In 1857 The Matrimonial Causes Act established the Divorce Court. In 1873 the Indicature Act transferred it to a division of the High Court—the Probate, Divorce, and Admiralty Division.

[3] "Visitation Charges," p. 252.

[4] It is a common legal error that seven years effective separation between husband and wife entitles either to remarry, and hundreds of women who have lost sight of their husbands for seven years innocently commit bigamy. Probably the mistake comes from the fact that prosecution for bigamy does not hold good in such a case. But this does not legalize the bigamous marriage or legitimize the children.

[5] The origin of Banns.

[6] The Rubric says: "It is convenient that the new-married persons receive the Holy Communion at the time of their marriage, or at the first opportunity after their marriage," thus retaining, though releasing, the old rule.

[7] Consanguinity—from cum, together, and sanguineus, relating to blood.

[8] Affinity—from ad, near, and finis, a boundary.

[9] See a most helpful paper read by Father Puller at the E.C.U. Anniversary Meeting, and reported in "The Church Times" of 17 June, 1910.

[10] There seems to be no legal definition of the word "reside". The law would probably require more than leaving a bag in a room, hired for twenty-one days, as is often done. It must be remembered that the object of the law is publicity—that is, the avoidance of a clandestine marriage, which marriage at a Registry Office now frequently makes so fatally easy.

[11] 25 Hen. VIII, cap. 21.

[12] Such as, for example, Royal Chapels, St. Paul's Cathedral, Eton College Chapel, etc.

[13] Cf. Blunt's "Church Law," p. 133; 4 Geo. IV, c. 76, s. 21.

[14] It will be remembered that runaway marriages were, in former days, frequently celebrated at Gretna Green, a Scotch village in Dumfriesshire, near the English border.




The Second Sacrament of Perpetuation is Holy Order. As the Sacrament of Marriage perpetuates the human race, so the Sacrament of Order perpetuates the Priesthood. Holy Order, indeed, perpetuates the Sacraments themselves. It is the ordained channel through which the Sacramental life of the Church is continued.

Holy Order, then, was instituted for the perpetuation of those Sacraments which depend upon Apostolic Succession. It makes it possible for the Christian laity to be Confirmed, Communicated, Absolved. Thus, the Christian Ministry is a great deal more than a body of men, chosen as officers might be chosen in the army or navy. It is the Church's media for the administration of the Sacraments of Salvation. To say this does not assert that God cannot, and does not, save and sanctify souls in any other way; but it does assert, as Scripture does, that the {124} Christian Ministry is the authorized and ordained way.

The Threefold Ministry.

In this Ministry, there are three orders, or degrees: Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. In the words of the Prayer Book: "It is evident unto all men, diligently reading Holy Scripture and ancient Authors, that, from the Apostles' time, there have been these Orders of Ministers in Christ's Church; Bishops, Priests, and Deacons".[1]


Who was the first Bishop? Jesus Christ, "the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls". When, and where, was the first Ordination? In the Upper Chamber, when He, the Universal Bishop, Himself ordained the first Apostles. When was {125} the second Ordination? When these Apostles ordained Matthias to succeed Judas. This was the first link in the chain of Apostolic Succession. What followed? In apostolic days, Timothy was ordained, with episcopal jurisdiction over Ephesus; Titus, over Crete; Polycarp (the friend of St. John), over Smyrna; and then, later on, Linus, over Rome. And so the great College of Bishops expands until, in the second century, we read in a well-known writer, St. Irenaeus: "We can reckon up lists of Bishops ordained in the Churches from the Apostles to our time". Link after link, the chain of succession lengthens "throughout all the world," until it reaches the Early British Church, and then, in 597, the English Church, through the consecration of Augustine,[2] first Archbishop of Canterbury, and in 1903 of Randall Davidson his ninety-fourth successor.

And this is the history of every ordination in the Church to-day. "It is through the Apostolic Succession," said the late Bishop Stubbs to his ordination Candidates, "that I am empowered, through the long line of mission and Commission {126} from the Upper Chamber at Jerusalem, to lay my hands upon you and send you."[3]

How does a Priest become a Bishop? In the Church of England he goes through four stages:—

(1) He is nominated by the Crown. (2) He is elected by the Church. (3) His election is confirmed by the Archbishop. (4) He is consecrated by the Episcopate.

(1) He is nominated by the Crown. This is in accordance with the immemorial custom of this realm. In these days, the Prime Minister (representing the people) proposes the name of a Priest to the King, who accepts or rejects the recommendation. If he accepts it, the King nominates the selected Priest to the Church for election, and authorizes the issue of legal documents for such election. This is called Conge d'elire, "leave to elect".

(2) He is elected by the Church. The King's {127} nominee now comes before the Dean and Chapter (representing the Church), and the Church either elects or rejects him. It has power to do either. If the nominee is elected, what is called his "Confirmation" follows—that is:—

(3) His election is confirmed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, according to a right reserved to him by Magna Charta. Before confirming the election, the Archbishop, or his representative, sits in public, generally at Bow Church, Cheapside, to hear legal objections from qualified laity against the election. Objections were of late, it will be remembered, made, and overruled, in the cases of Dr. Temple and Dr. Gore. Then, if duly nominated, elected, and confirmed,—

(4) He is consecrated by the Episcopate. To safeguard the Succession, three Bishops, at least, are required for the Consecration of another Bishop, though one would secure a valid Consecration. No Priest can be Consecrated Bishop under the age of thirty. Very carefully does the Church safeguard admission to the Episcopate.



After Consecration, the Bishop "does homage,"[4] i.e. he says that he, like any other subject (ecclesiastic or layman), is the King's "homo". What does he do homage for? He does homage, not for any spiritual gift, but for "all the possessions, and profette spirituall and temporall belongyng to the said ... Bishopricke".[5] The temporal possessions include such things as his house, revenue, etc. But what is meant by doing homage for spiritual possessions? Does not this admit the claim that the King can, as Queen Elizabeth is reported to have said, make or unmake a Bishop? No. Spiritual possessions do not here mean spiritual powers,—powers which can be conferred by the Episcopate alone. {129} The "spiritual possessions" for which a Bishop "does homage" refer to fees connected with spiritual things, such as Episcopal Licences, Institutions to Benefices, Trials in the Ecclesiastical Court, Visitations—fees, by the way, which, with very rare exceptions, do not go into the Bishop's own pocket!


What is meant by Episcopal Jurisdiction? Jurisdiction is of two kinds, Habitual and Actual.

Habitual Jurisdiction is the Jurisdiction given to a Bishop to exercise his office in the Church at large. It is conveyed with Consecration, and is given to the Bishop as a Bishop of the Catholic Church. Thus an Episcopal act, duly performed, would be valid, however irregular, outside the Bishop's own Diocese, and in any part of the Church.

Actual Jurisdiction is this universal Jurisdiction limited to a particular area, called a Diocese. To this area, a Bishop's right to exercise his Habitual Jurisdiction is, for purposes of order and business, confined.

The next order in the Ministry is the Priesthood.



No one can read the Prayer-Book Office for the Ordering of Priests without being struck by its contrast to the ordinary conception of Priesthood by the average Englishman. The Bishop's words in the Ordination Service: "Receive the Holy Ghost for the Office and Work of a Priest in the Church of God," must surely mean more than that a Priest should try to be a good organizer, a good financier, a good preacher, or good at games—though the better he is at all these, the better it may be. But the gift of the Holy Ghost for "the Office and Work of a Priest" must mean more than this.

We may consider it in connexion with four familiar English clerical titles: Priest, Minister, Parson, Clergyman.


According to the Prayer Book, a Priest, or Presbyter, is ordained to do three things, which he, and he alone, can do: to Absolve, to Consecrate, to Bless.

He, and he alone, can Absolve. Think! It is the day of his Ordination to the Priesthood. He is saying Matins as a Deacon just before his {131} Ordination, and he is forbidden to pronounce the Absolution: he is saying Evensong just after his Ordination, and he is ordered to pronounce the Absolution.

He, and he alone, can Consecrate. If a Deacon pretends to Consecrate the Elements at the Blessed Sacrament, not only is his act sacrilege and invalid, but even by the law of the land he is liable to a penalty of L100.[6]

He, and he alone, can give the Blessing—i.e. the Church's official Blessing. The right of Benediction belongs to him as part of his Ministerial Office. The Blessing pronounced by a Deacon might be the personal blessing of a good and holy man, just as the blessing of a layman—a father blessing his child—might be of value as such. In each case it would be a personal act. But a Priest does not bless in his own name, but in the name of the Whole Church. It is an official, not a personal act: he conveys, not his own, but the Church's blessing to the people.

Hence, the valid Ordination of a Priest is of essential importance to the laity.


But there is another aspect of "the Office and Work of a Priest in the Church of God". This we see in the word


The Priest not only ministers before God on behalf of his people, but he ministers to his people on behalf of God. In this aspect of the Priesthood, he ministers God's gifts to the laity. If, as a Priest, he pleads the One Sacrifice on behalf of the people, as a Minister he feeds the people upon the one Sacrifice. His chief ministerial duty is to minister to the people—to give them Baptism, Absolution, Holy Communion; to minister to all their spiritual needs whenever, and wherever, he is needed.

It is, surely, a sad necessity that this ministerial "office and work" should be so often confused with finance, doles, charities, begging sermons, committees, etc. In all such things he is, indeed, truly serving and ministering; but he is often obliged to place them in the wrong order of importance, and so dim the sight of the laity to his real position, and not infrequently make his spiritual ministrations unacceptable. A well-known and London-wide respected Priest said {133} shortly before he died, that he had almost scattered his congregation by the constant "begging sermons" which he hated, but which necessity made imperative. The laity are claiming (and rightly claiming) the privilege of being Church workers, and are preaching (and rightly preaching) that "the Clergy are not the Church". If only they would practise what they preach, and relieve the Clergy of all Church finance, they need never listen to another "begging sermon" again. So doing, they would rejoice the heart of the Clergy, and fulfil one of their true functions as laity.

The Parson.

This is one of the most beautiful of all the clerical names, only it has become smirched by common use.

The word Parson is derived from Persona, a person. The Parson is the Person—the Person who represents God in the Parish. It is not his own person, or position, that he stands for, but the position and Person of his Master. Like St. Paul, he can say, "I magnify mine office," and probably the best way to magnify his office will be to minimize himself. The outward marks of {134} respect still shown to "the Parson" in some places, are not necessarily shown to the person himself (though often, thank God, they may be), but are meant, however unconsciously, to honour the Person he represents—just as the lifting of the hat to a woman is not, of necessity, a mark of respect to the individual woman, but a tribute to the Womanhood she represents.

The Parson, then, is, or should be, the official person, the standing element in the parish, who reminds men of God.


The word is derived from the Greek kleros,[7] "a lot," and conveys its own meaning. According to some, it takes us back in thought to the first Apostolic Ordination, when "they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Matthias". It reminds us that, as Matthias "was numbered with the eleven," so a "Clergyman" is, at his Ordination, numbered with that long list of "Clergy" who trace their spiritual pedigree to Apostolic days.


Ordination Safeguards.

"Seeing then," run the words of the Ordination Service, "into how high a dignity, and how weighty an Office and Charge" a Priest is called, certain safeguards surround his Ordination, both for his own sake, and for the sake of his people.


No Deacon can, save under very exceptional circumstances, be ordained Priest before he is 24, and has served at least a year in the Diaconate.


This fitness, as in Confirmation, will be intellectual and moral. His intellectual fitness is tested by the Bishop's Examining Chaplain some time before the Ordination to the Priesthood, and, in doubtful cases, by the Bishop himself.

His moral fitness is tested by the Publication during Service, in the Church where he is Deacon, of his intention to offer himself as a Candidate for the Priesthood. To certify that this has been done, this Publication must be signed by the Churchwarden, representing the {136} laity, and by the Incumbent, representing the Clergy and responsible to the Bishop.

Further safeguard is secured by letters of Testimony from three Beneficed Clergy, who have known the Candidate well either for the past three years, or during the term of his Diaconate.

Finally, at the very last moment, in the Ordination Service itself, the Bishop invites the laity, if they know "any impediment or notable crime" disqualifying the Candidate from being ordained Priest, to "come forth in the Name of God, and show what the crime or impediment is".

Why all these safeguards? For many obvious reasons, but specially for one. Priest's Orders are indelible.

The Indelibility of Orders.

Once a Priest, always a Priest. When once the Bishop has ordained a Deacon to the Priesthood, there is no going back. The law, ecclesiastical or civil, may deprive him of the right to exercise his Office, but no power can deprive him of the Office itself.

For instance, to safeguard the Church, and for {137} the sake of the laity, a Priest may, for various offences, be what is commonly called "unfrocked". He may be degraded, temporarily suspended, or permanently forbidden to officiate in any part of the Church; but he does not cease to be a Priest. Any Priestly act, rightly and duly performed, would be valid, though irregular. It would be for the people's good, though it would be to his own hurt.

Again: by The Clerical Disabilities Act of 1870, a Priest may, by the law of the land, execute a "Deed of Relinquishment," and, as far as the law is concerned, return to lay life. This would enable him legally to undertake lay work which the law forbids to the Clergy.[8]

He may, in consequence, regain his legal rights as a layman, and lose his legal rights as a Priest; but he does not cease to be a Priest. The law can only touch his civil status, and cannot touch his priestly "character". That is indelible.

Hence, no securities can be superfluous to safeguard the irrevocable.



As in the case of the Bishops, a Priest's jurisdiction is twofold—habitual and actual. Ordination confers on him habitual jurisdiction, i.e. the power to exercise his office, to Absolve, to Consecrate, to Bless, in the "Holy Church throughout the world". And, as in the case of Bishops, for purposes of ecclesiastical order and discipline, this Habitual Jurisdiction is limited to the sphere in which the Bishop licenses him. "Take thou authority," says the Bishop, "to preach the word of God, and to minister the Sacraments in the congregation where thou shalt be lawfully appointed thereunto." This is called Actual Jurisdiction.

The Essence of the Sacrament.

The absolutely essential part of Ordination is the Laying on of Hands (1 Tim. iv. 14; Acts vi. 6; 2 Tim. i. 6). Various other and beautiful ceremonies have, at different times, and in different places, accompanied the essential Rite. Sometimes, and in some parts of the Church, Unction, or anointing the Candidate with oil, has been used: sometimes Ordination has been accompanied with the delivery of a Ring, the Paten {139} and Chalice, the Bible, or the Gospels, the Pastoral Staff (to a Bishop),—all edifying ceremonies, but not essentials.


A Deacon is a server. The word comes from the Greek diakonos, a servant, and exactly describes the Office. Originally, a permanent Order in the Church, the Diaconate is now, in the Church of England, generally regarded as a step to the Priesthood. This is a loss. But it is as this step, or preparatory stage, that we have to consider it.

Considering the importance of this first step in the Ministry, both to the man himself, and to the people, it is well that the laity should know what safeguards are taken by the Bishop to secure "fit persons to serve in the sacred ministry of the Church"[9]—and should realize their own great responsibility in the matter. First, there is the age.

(1) The Age.

No layman can be made a Deacon under 23.


(2) The Preliminaries.

The chief preliminary is the selection of the Candidate. The burden of selection is shared by the Bishop, Clergy and Laity. The Bishop must, of course, be the final judge of the Candidate's fitness, but the evidence upon which he bases his judgment must very largely be supplied by the Laity.

We pray in the Ember Collect that he "may lay hands suddenly on no man, but make choice of fit persons". It is well that the Laity should remember that they share with the Bishop and Clergy in the responsibility of choice.

For this fitness will, as in the case of the Priest, be moral and intellectual.

It will be moral—and it is here that the responsibility of the laity begins. For, in addition to private inquiries made by the Bishop, the laity are publicly asked, in the church of the parish where the Candidate resides, to bear testimony to the integrity of his character. This publication is called the Si quis, from the Latin of the first two words of publication ("if any..."), and it is repeated by the Bishop in open church in the Ordination Service. The {141} absence of any legal objection by the laity is the testimony of the people to the Candidate's fitness. This throws upon the laity a full share of responsibility in the choice of the Candidate. Their responsibility in giving evidence is only second to that of the Bishop, whose decision rests upon the evidence they give.

Then, there is the testimony of the Clergy. No layman is accepted by the Bishop for Ordination without Letters Testimonial—i.e. the testimony of three beneficed Clergymen, to whom he is well known. These Clergy must certify that "we have had opportunity of observing his conduct, and we do believe him, in our consciences, and as to his moral conduct, a fit person to be admitted to the Sacred Ministry". Each signature must be countersigned by the signatory's own Bishop, who thus guarantees the Clergyman's moral fitness to certify.

Lastly, comes the Bishop himself, who, from first to last, is in close touch with the Candidate, and who almost invariably helps to prepare him personally in his own house during the week before his Ordination.

It will be intellectual. In addition to University testimony, evidence of the Candidate's {142} intellectual fitness is given to the Bishop, as in the case of Priests, by his Examining Chaplains. Some months before the Ordination, the Candidate is examined, and the Examiner's Report sent in to the Bishop. The standard of intellectual fitness has differed at various ages, in different parts of the Church, and no one standard can be laid down. Assuming that the average proportion of people in a parish will be (on a generous calculation) as twelve Jurymen to one Judge, the layman called to the Diaconate should, at least, be equal in intellectual attainment to "the layman" called to the Bar.

It does sometimes happen that evidence is given by Clergy, or laity, which leads the Bishop to reject the Candidate on moral grounds. It does sometimes happen that the Candidate is rejected or postponed on intellectual grounds. It does, it must, sometimes happen that mistakes are made: God alone is infallible. But, if due care is taken, publicly and privately, and if the laity, as well as the Clergy, do their duty, the Bishop's risk of a wrong judgment is reduced to a very small minimum.

A "fit" Clergy is so much the concern of the laity, that they may well be reminded of their {143} parts and duties in the Ordination of a Deacon. For, as Dr. Liddon says, "the strength of the Church does not consist in the number of pages in its 'Clerical Directory,' but in the sum total of the moral and spiritual force which she has at her command".

[1] "The Threefold Ministry," writes Bishop Lightfoot, "can be traced to Apostolic direction; and, short of an express statement, we can possess no better assurance of a Divine appointment, or, at least, a Divine Sanction." And he adds, speaking of his hearty desire for union with the Dissenters, "we cannot surrender for any immediate advantages the threefold Ministry which we have inherited from Apostolic times, and which is the historic backbone of the Church" ("Ep. to the Philippians," p. 276, later ed.).

[2] The Welsh Bishops did not transmit Episcopacy to us, but rather came into us.

[3] In a book called Registrum Sacrum Anglicanum, Bishop Stubbs has traced the name, date of Consecration, names of Consecrators, and in most cases place of Consecration, of every Bishop in the Church of England from the Consecration of Augustine.

[4] The Bishops are one of the three Estates of the Realm—Lords Spiritual, Lords Temporal, and Commons (not, as is so often said, King, Lords, and Commons). The Archbishop of Canterbury is the first Peer of the Realm, and has precedency immediately after the blood royal. The Archbishop of York has precedency over all Dukes, not being of royal blood, and over all the great officers of State, except the Lord Chancellor. He has the privilege of crowning the Queen Consort.

[5] Cf. "Encyclopedia of the Laws of England," vol. 11, p. 156; and 25 Hen. VIII, cap. 2, s. 6.

[6] 14 Car. II, c. 4, s. 10. See Phillimore's "Ecclesiastical Law," vol. 1, p. 109.

[7] But see Skeat, whose references are to [Greek: kleros], "a lot," in late Greek, and the Clergy whose portion is the Lord (Deut. xviii. 2, 1 Pet. v. 3, cf. Acts i. 17). The [Greek: kleros] is thus the portion rather than the circumstance by which it is obtained, i.e. Acts i. 17 rather than Acts i. 26.

[8] For example: farming more than a certain number of acres, or going into Parliament.

[9] Ember Collect.





We deal now with the two last Sacraments under consideration—Penance and Unction. Both are Sacraments of healing. Penance is for the healing of the soul, and indirectly of the body: Unction is for the healing of the body, and indirectly of the soul.

"Every Sacrament," says St. Thomas Aquinas, "has been instituted to produce one special effect, although it may produce, as consequences, other effects besides." It is so with these two Sacraments. Body and Soul are so involved, that what directly affects the one must indirectly affect the other. Thus, the direct effect of Penance on the soul must indirectly affect the body, and the direct effect of Unction on the body must indirectly affect the soul. We will think of each in turn. First, Penance.



The word is derived from the Latin penitentia, penitence, and its root-meaning (poena, punishment) suggests a punitive element in all real repentance. It is used as a comprehensive term for confession of sin, punishment for sin, and the Absolution, or Remission of Sins. As Baptism was designed to recover the soul from original or inherited sin, so Penance was designed to recover the soul from actual or wilful sin....[1] It is not, as in the case of infant Baptism, administered wholly irrespective of free will: it must be freely sought ("if he humbly and heartily desire it"[2]) before it can be freely bestowed. Thus, Confession must precede Absolution, and Penitence must precede and accompany Confession.


Here we all start on common ground. We all agree upon one point, viz. the necessity of Confession (1) to God ("If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins") {146} and (2) to man ("Confess your faults one to another"). Further, we all agree that confession to man is in reality confession to God ("Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned"). Our only ground of difference is, not whether we ought to confess, but how we ought to confess. It is a difference of method rather than of principle.

There are two ways of confessing sins (whether to God, or to man), the informal, and the formal. Most of us use one way; some the other; many both.

Informal Confession.—Thank God, I can use this way at any, and at every, moment of my life. If I have sinned, I need wait for no formal act of Confession; but, as I am, and where I am, I can make my Confession. Then, and there, I can claim the Divine response to the soul's three-fold Kyrie: "Lord, have mercy upon me; Christ, have mercy upon me; Lord, have mercy upon me". But do I never want—does God never want—anything more than this? The soul is not always satisfied with such an easy method of going to Confession. It needs at times something more impressive, something perhaps less superficial, less easy going. It demands more time for {147} deepening thought, and greater knowledge of what it has done, before sin's deadly hurt cuts deep enough to produce real repentance, and to prevent repetition. At such times, it cries for something more formal, more solemn, than instantaneous confession. It needs, what the Prayer Book calls, "a special Confession of sins".

Formal Confession.—Hence our Prayer Book provides two formal Acts of Confession, and suggests a third. Two of these are for public use, the third for private.

In Matins and Evensong, and in the Eucharistic Office, a form of "general confession" is provided. Both forms are in the first person plural throughout. Clearly, their primary intention is, not to make us merely think of, or confess, our own personal sins, but the sins of the Church,—and our own sins, as members of the Church. It is "we" have sinned, rather than "I" have sinned. Such formal language might, otherwise, at times be distressingly unreal,—when, e.g., not honestly feeling that the "burden" of our own personal sin "is intolerable," or when making a public Confession in church directly after a personal Confession in private.

In the Visitation of the Sick, the third mode of {148} formal Confession is suggested, though the actual words are naturally left to the individual penitent. The Prayer Book no longer speaks in the plural, or of "a general Confession," but it closes, as it were, with the soul, and gets into private, personal touch with it: "Here shall the sick man be moved to make a special Confession of his sins, if he feel his conscience troubled with any weighty matter; after which Confession, the Priest shall absolve him (if he humbly and heartily desire it) after this sort". This Confession is to be both free and formal: formal, for it is to be made before the Priest in his "ministerial" capacity; free, for the penitent is to be "moved" (not "compelled") to confess. Notice, he is to be moved; but then (though not till then) he is free to accept, or reject, the preferred means of grace.

God never handcuffs Sacraments and souls. Sacraments are open to all; they are forced on none. They are love-tokens of the Sacred Heart; free-will offerings of His Royal Bounty.

These, then, are the two methods of Confession at our disposal. God is "the Father of an infinite Majesty". In informal Confession, the sinner goes to God as his Father,—as the Prodigal, after doing penance in the far country, went {149} to his father with "Father, I have sinned". In formal Confession, the sinner goes to God as to the Father of an infinite Majesty,—as David went to God through Nathan, God's ambassador.

It is a fearful responsibility to hinder any soul from using either method; it is a daring risk to say: "Because one method alone appeals to me, therefore no other method shall be used by you". God multiplies His methods, as He expands His love: and if any "David" is drawn to say "I have sinned" before the appointed "Nathan," and, through prejudice or ignorance, such an one is hindered from so laying his sins on Jesus, God will require that soul at the hinderer's hands.


It is the same with Absolution as with Confession. Here, too, we start on common ground. All agree that "God only can forgive sins," and half our differences come because this is not recognized. Whatever form Confession takes, the penitent exclaims: "To Thee only it appertaineth to forgive sins". Pardon through the Precious Blood is the one, and only, source of {150} forgiveness. Our only difference, then, is as to God's methods of forgiveness. How does God forgive sin? Some seem to limit His love, to tie forgiveness down to one, and only one, method of absolution—direct, personal, instantaneous, without any ordained Channel such as Christ left. Direct, God's pardon certainly is; personal and instantaneous, it certainly can be; without any sacramental media, it certainly may be. But we dare not limit what God has not limited; we dare not deny the existence of ordained channels, because God can, and does, act without such channels. He has opened an ordained fountain for sin and uncleanness as a superadded gift of love, and in the Ministry of reconciliation He conveys pardon through this channel.

At the most solemn moment of his life, when a Deacon is ordained Priest, the formal terms of his Commission to the Priesthood run thus: "Receive the Holy Ghost for the Office and Work of a Priest in the Church of God, now committed unto thee by the Imposition of our hands. Whose sins thou dost forgive, they are forgiven; and whose sins thou dost retain, they are retained." "Now committed unto thee." No Priest dare hide his commission, play with {151} the plain meaning of the words, or conceal from others a "means of grace" which they have a blessed right to know of, and to use.

But what is the good of this Absolution, if God can forgive without it? God's ordinances are never meaningless. There must, therefore, be some superadded grace attached to this particular ordinance. It was left to be used. It is not left merely to comfort the penitent (though that it does), nor to let him hear from a fellow-sinner that his sins are forgiven him (though that he does); but it is left, like any other Sacrament, as a special means of grace. It is the ordained Channel whereby God's pardon is conveyed to (and only to) the penitent sinner. "No penitence, no pardon," is the law of Sacramental Absolution.

The Prayer Book, therefore, preaches the power of formal, as well as informal, Absolution. There are in it three forms of Absolution, varying in words but the same in power. The appropriating power of the penitent may, and does, vary, according to the sincerity of his confession: Absolution is in each case the same. It is man's capacity to receive it, not God's power in giving it, that varies. Thus, all three Absolutions in the {152} Prayer Book are of the same force, though our appropriating capacity in receiving them may differ. This capacity will probably be less marked at Matins and Evensong than at Holy Communion, and at Holy Communion than in private Confession, because it will be less personal, less thorough. The words of Absolution seem to suggest this. The first two forms are in the plural ("pardon and deliver you"), and are thrown, as it were, broadcast over the Church: the third is special ("forgive thee thine offences") and is administered to the individual. But the formal act is the same in each case; and to stroll late into church, as if the Absolution in Matins and Evensong does not matter, may be to incur a very distinct loss.

When, and how often, formal "special Confession" is to be used, and formal Absolution to be sought, is left to each soul to decide. The two special occasions which the Church of England emphasizes (without limiting) are before receiving the Holy Communion, and when sick.

Before Communion, the Prayer Book counsels its use for any disquieted conscience; and the {153} Rubric which directs intending Communicants to send in their names to the Parish Priest the day before making their Communion, still bears witness to its framers' intention—that known sinners might not be communicated without first being brought to a state of repentance.

The sick, also, after being directed to make their wills,[3] and arrange their temporal affairs, are further urged to examine their spiritual state; to make a special confession; and to obtain the special grace, in the special way provided for them. And, adds the Rubric, "men should often be put in remembrance to take order for the settling of their temporal estates, while they are in health"—and if of the temporal, how much more of their spiritual estate.


But, say some, is not all this very weakening to the soul? They are, probably, mixing up two things,—the Divine Sacrament of forgiveness which (rightly used) must be strengthening, and the human appeal for direction which (wrongly used) may be weakening.


But "direction" is not necessarily part of Penance. The Prayer Book lays great stress upon it, and calls it "ghostly counsel and advice," but it is neither Confession nor Absolution. It has its own place in the Prayer Book;[4] but it has not, necessarily, anything whatever to do with the administration of the Sacrament. Direction may, or may not, be good for the soul. It largely depends upon the character of the penitent, and the wisdom of the Director. It is quite possible for the priest to over-direct, and it is fatally possible for the penitent to think more of direction than of Absolution. It is quite possible to obscure the Sacramental side of Penance with a human craving for "ghostly counsel and advice". Satan would not be Satan if it were not so. But this "ghostly," or spiritual, "counsel and advice" has saved many a lad, and many a man, from many a fall; and when rightly sought, and wisely given is, as the Prayer Book teaches, a most helpful adjunct to Absolution. Only, it is not, necessarily, a part of "going to Confession".



The abuse of the Sacrament is another, and not unnatural objection to its use; and it often gets mixed up with Mediaeval teaching about Indulgences.

An Indulgence is exactly what the word suggests—the act of indulging, or granting a favour. In Roman theology, an Indulgence is the remission of temporal punishment due to sin after Absolution. It is either "plenary," i.e. when the whole punishment is remitted, or "partial," when some of it is remitted. At corrupt periods of Church history, these Indulgences have been bought for money,[5] thus making one law for the rich, and another for the poor. Very naturally, the scandals connected with such buying and selling raised suspicions against the Sacrament with which Indulgences were associated.[6] But Indulgences have nothing in the world to do with the right use of the lesser Sacrament of Penance.



The promise of Amendment is an essential part of Penance. It is a necessary element in all true contrition. Thus, the penitent promises "true amendment" before he receives Absolution. If he allowed a priest to give him Absolution without firmly purposing to amend, he would not only invalidate the Absolution, but would commit an additional sin. The promise to amend may, like any other promise, be made and broken; but the deliberate purpose must be there.

No better description of true repentance can be found than in Tennyson's "Guinevere":—

For what is true repentance but in thought— Not ev'n in inmost thought to think again The sins that made the past so pleasant to us.

Such has been the teaching of the Catholic Church always, everywhere, and at all times: such is the teaching of the Church of England, as part of that Church, and as authoritatively laid down in the Book of Common Prayer.

God alone can forgive sins. Absolution is the conveyance of God's pardon to the penitent sinner by God's ordained Minister, through the ordained Ministry of Reconciliation.


Lamb of God, the world's transgression Thou alone canst take away; Hear! oh! hear our heart's confession, And Thy pardoning grace convey. Thine availing intercession We but echo when we pray.

[1] Cf. Rubric in the Baptismal Office.

[2] Rubric in the Order for the Visitation of the Sick.

[3] Rubric in the Order for the Visitation of the Sick.

[4] See the First Exhortation in the Order of the Administration of the Holy Communion.

[5] St. Peter's at Rome was largely built out of funds gained by the sale of indulgences.

[6] The Council of Trent orders that Indulgences must be granted by Pope and Prelate gratis.




The second Sacrament of Recovery is Unction, or, in more familiar language, "the Anointing of the Sick". It is called by Origen "the complement of Penance".

The meaning of the Sacrament is found in St. James v. 14-17. "Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the Church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him."

Here the Bible states that the "Prayer of Faith" with Unction is more effective than the "Prayer of Faith" without Unction. What can it do?

It can do two things. It can (1) recover the body, and (2) restore the soul. Its primary {159} object seems to be to recover the body; but it also, according to the teaching of St. James, restores the soul. First, he says, Anointing with the Prayer of Faith heals the body; and then, because of the inseparable union between body and soul, it cleanses the soul.

Thus, as the object of Penance is primarily to heal the soul, and indirectly to heal the body; so the object of Unction is primarily to heal the body, and indirectly to heal the soul.

The story of Unction may be summarized very shortly. It was instituted in Apostolic days, when the Apostles "anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them" (St. Mark vi. 13). It was continued in the Early Church, and perpetuated during the Middle Ages, when its use (by a "corrupt[1] following of the Apostles") was practically limited to the preparation of the dying instead of (by a correct "following of the Apostles") being used for the recovery of the living. In our 1549 Prayer Book an authorized Office was appointed for its use, but this, lest it should be misused, was omitted in 1552. And although, as Bishop Forbes says, "everything of that earlier Liturgy was praised by those who {160} removed it," it has not yet been restored. It is "one of the lost Pleiads" of our present Prayer Book. But, as Bishop Forbes adds, "there is nothing to hinder the revival of the Apostolic and Scriptural Custom of Anointing the Sick whenever any devout person desires it".[2]

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