Chapter 15.

{275} MUCH as Charles loved and prized the company of his mother and sisters, he was not sorry to have gentlemen's society, so he accepted with pleasure an invitation which Bateman sent him to dine with him at Melford. Also he wished to show Bateman, what no protestation could effect, how absurdly exaggerated were the reports which were circulated about him. And as the said Bateman, with all his want of common sense, was really a well-informed man, and well read in English divines, he thought he might incidentally hear something from him which he could turn to account. When he got to Melford he found a Mr. Campbell had been asked to meet him; a young Cambridge rector of a neighbouring parish, of the same religious sentiments on the whole as Bateman, and though a little positive, a man of clear head and vigorous mind.

They had been going over the church; and the conversation at dinner turned on the revival of Gothic architecture—an event which gave unmixed satisfaction to all parties. The subject would have died out, almost as soon as it was started, for want of a difference upon it, had not Bateman happily gone on boldly to declare that, if he had his will, there should {276} be no architecture in the English churches but Gothic, and no music but Gregorian. This was a good thesis, distinctly put, and gave scope for a very pretty quarrel. Reding said that all these adjuncts of worship, whether music or architecture, were national; they were the mode in which religious feeling showed itself in particular times and places. He did not mean to say that the outward expression of religion in a country might not be guided, but it could not be forced; that it was as preposterous to make people worship in one's own way, as be merry in one's own way. "The Greeks," he said, "cut the hair in grief, the Romans let it grow; the Orientals veiled their heads in worship, the Greeks uncovered them; Christians take off their hats in a church, Mahometans their shoes; a long veil is a sign of modesty in Europe, of immodesty in Asia. You may as well try to change the size of people as their forms of worship. Bateman, we must cut you down a foot, and then you shall begin your ecclesiastical reforms."

"But surely, my worthy friend," answered Bateman, "you don't mean to say that there is no natural connexion between internal feeling and outward expression, so that one form is no better than another?"

"Far from it," answered Charles; "but let those who confine their music to Gregorians put up crucifixes in the highways. Each is the representative of a particular place or time."

"That's what I say of our good friend's short coat and long cassock," said Campbell; "it is a confusion of different times, ancient and modern." {277}

"Or of different ideas," said Charles, "the cassock Catholic, the coat Protestant."

"The reverse," said Bateman: "the cassock is old Hooker's Anglican habit; the coat comes from Catholic France."

"Anyhow, it is what Mr. Reding calls a mixture of ideas," said Campbell; "and that's the difficulty I find in uniting Gothic and Gregorians."

"Oh, pardon me," said Bateman, "they are one idea; they are both eminently Catholic."

"You can't be more Catholic than Rome, I suppose," said Campbell; "yet there's no Gothic there."

"Rome is a peculiar place," said Bateman; "besides, my dear friend, if we do but consider that Rome has corrupted the pure apostolic doctrine, can we wonder that it should have a corrupt architecture?"

"Why, then, go to Rome for Gregorians?" said Campbell; "I suspect they are called after Gregory I., Bishop of Rome, whom Protestants consider the first specimen of Antichrist."

"It's nothing to us what Protestants think," answered Bateman.

"Don't let us quarrel about terms," said Campbell; "both you and I think that Rome has corrupted the faith, whether she is Antichrist or not. You said so yourself just now."

"It is true, I did," said Bateman; "but I make a little distinction. The Church of Rome has not corrupted the faith, but has admitted corruptions among her people."

"It won't do," answered Campbell; "depend on it, {278} we can't stand our ground in controversy unless we in our hearts think very severely of the Church of Rome."

"Why, what's Rome to us?" asked Bateman; "we come from the old British Church; we don't meddle with Rome, and we wish Rome not to meddle with us, but she will."

"Well," said Campbell, "you but read a bit of the history of the Reformation, and you will find that the doctrine that the Pope is Antichrist was the life of the movement."

"With Ultra-Protestants, not with us," answered Bateman.

"Such Ultra-Protestants as the writers of the Homilies," said Campbell; "but, I say again, I am not contending for names; I only mean, that as that doctrine was the life of the Reformation, so a belief, which I have and you too, that there is something bad, corrupt, perilous in the Church of Rome—that there is a spirit of Antichrist living in her, energising in her, and ruling her—is necessary to a man's being a good Anglican. You must believe this, or you ought to go to Rome."

"Impossible! my dear friend," said Bateman; "all our doctrine has been that Rome and we are sister Churches."

"I say," said Campbell, "that without this strong repulsion you will not withstand the great claims, the overcoming attractions, of the Church of Rome. She is our mother—oh, that word 'mother'!—a mighty mother! She opens her arms—oh, the fragrance of {279} that bosom! She is full of gifts—I feel it, I have long felt it. Why don't I rush into her arms? Because I feel that she is ruled by a spirit which is not she. But did that distrust of her go from me, was that certainty which I have of her corruption disproved, I should join her communion tomorrow."

"This is not very edifying doctrine for Reding," thought Bateman. "Oh, my good Campbell," he said, "you are paradoxical today."

"Not a bit of it," answered Campbell; "our Reformers felt that the only way in which they could break the tie of allegiance which bound us to Rome was the doctrine of her serious corruption. And so it is with our divines. If there is one doctrine in which they agree, it is that Rome is Antichrist, or an Antichrist. Depend upon it, that doctrine is necessary for our position."

"I don't quite understand that language," said Reding; "I see it is used in various publications. It implies that controversy is a game, and that disputants are not looking out for truth, but for arguments."

"You must not mistake me, Mr. Reding," answered Campbell; "all I mean is, that you have no leave to trifle with your conviction that Rome is antichristian, if you think so. For if it is so, it is necessary to say so. A poet says, 'Speak gently of our sister's fall': no, if it is a fall, we must not speak gently of it. At first one says, 'So great a Church! who am I, to speak against her?' Yes, you must, if your view of her is true: 'Tell truth and shame the devil'. Recollect you don't use your own words; you are sanctioned, protected by all {280} our divines. You must, else you can give no sufficient reason for not joining the Church of Rome. You must speak out, not what you don't think, but what you do think, if you do think it."

"Here's a doctrine!" thought Charles; "why, it's putting the controversy into a nutshell."

Bateman interposed. "My dear Campbell," he said, "you are behind the day. We have given up all that abuse against Rome."

"Then the party is not so clever as I give them credit for being," answered Campbell; "be sure of this,—those who have given up their protests against Rome, either are looking towards her, or have no eyes to see."

"All we say," answered Bateman, "is, as I said before, that we don't wish to interfere with Rome; we don't anathematise Rome—Rome anathematises us."

"It won't do," said Campbell; "those who resolve to remain in our Church, and are using sweet words of Romanism, will be forced back upon their proper ground in spite of themselves, and will get no thanks for their pains. No man can serve two masters; either go to Rome, or condemn Rome. For me, the Romish Church has a great deal in it which I can't get over; and thinking so, much as I admire it in parts, I can't help speaking, I can't help it. It would not be honest and it would not be consistent."

"Well, he has ended better than he began," thought Bateman; and he chimed in, "Oh yes, true, too true; it's painful to see it, but there's a great deal in the Church of Rome which no man of plain sense, no reader {281} of the Fathers, no Scripture student, no true member of the Anglo-Catholic Church can possibly stomach". This put a corona on the discussion; and the rest of the dinner passed off pleasantly indeed, but not very intellectually.

Chapter 2-16

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