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The Way Which Some Call Heresy

The Way Which Some Call Heresy

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Published by cincational
THE WAY
WHICH SOME CALL HERESY
A LETTER
TO THE CLERGY AND LAITY OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND,
ON CLERICAL SUBSCRIPTION
THE WAY
WHICH SOME CALL HERESY
A LETTER
TO THE CLERGY AND LAITY OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND,
ON CLERICAL SUBSCRIPTION

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Published by: cincational on Jul 02, 2011
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08/13/2013

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THE WAYWHICH SOME CALL HERESY
 
A LETTER 
 
TO THE CLERGY AND LAITY OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND
,
ON CLERICAL SUBSCRIPTION
 
BY
 
ANDREW JUKES
 
FORMERLY OF TRINITY COLLEGE
,
CAMBRIDGE
;
AND LATE CURATE
 
OF ST
.
JOHN
'
S
,
HULL
 "But this I confess unto thee, that after 
THE WAY WHICH THEY CALL HERESY
, so worship I the Godof my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and the prophets: and herein do Iexercise myself to have
A CONSCIENCE VOID OF OFFENCE
toward God and toward man." ² Acts24:14, 16.Second EditionLondon:James Nisbet & Co., 21, Berners Street1862
PREFACE
 
TO THE SECOND EDITION.
  N
INETEEN
years, very nearly, have elapsed since the publication of the first edition of thisLetter,²since, unable any longer to make the subscription required of the clergy, the writer of these pages went forth not knowing whither he went. Often since then has the question beenreviewed: many a theory during these years has been roughly tested by experience: views thenheld on some points have been corrected or enlarged, for the same object necessarily appearsdifferently from different stand-points: but on the question discussed in these pages, of the
exanimo
subscription required from the clergy to the XXXVIth Canon, all fresh light and allexperience have but added other and stronger reasons to the pleadings put forth in this Letter,shewing past all question that subscription as it is at present practised is useless for the purposealleged, viz., for the avoiding of all ambiguities or difference of doctrine among the clergy, whileit is most oppressive to thoughtful and conscientious men, who cannot subscribe as a mere formdistinct statements, which, in their ordinary sense at least, appear directly opposed to fact,reason, and Scripture.But the Letter when first published met with little welcome. The Bishop of Exeter, indeed,reprinted some eight or nine pages of it, in his Charge delivered to the clergy of his diocese at theTriennial Visitation, in June, July, and August, 1848; probably as an
argumentum ad hominem
tothe Evangelical clergy of his diocese, who, disbelieving baptismal regeneration, still gave their "unfeigned assent and consent" to the whole Prayer-book. "One living clergyman," he wrote,"the Rev. Andrew Jukes, has acted as the Puritans did in 1662. He has given up his former 
 
 position in the Church, and has made public the grounds of his separation, one principal ground being his disbelief in the Church's doctrine of spiritual regeneration in baptism. In his statement,which is marked by much of candour and charity as well as talent, he takes occasion to recordthe various expedients, by which clergymen, who, like himself, deny that doctrine, do yet, unlikehim, endeavour to reconcile their denial with the words of the Baptismal Service." And thencome pages 26 and 27, and from page 30 to 38, of this Letter, reprinted by the Bishop for hisclergy. But though this notice helped to circulate the Tract, the question of subscription at thattime seemed uninteresting to reviewers, and even to the public generally.Then came the famous Gorham case, the decision of which by the Privy Council gave theEvangelical clergy legal authority, or at least permission, to hold their livings though they denied baptismal regeneration. But though this case settled a point of civil law, it proved nothing
in foroconscientiae
. For the question in the matter of subscription is, not what the civil law of Englandallows, but rather what truth and conscience require respecting certain solemn declarations. Asfar as I know, a man may tell lies, and yet most legally retain possession of his house and landsand property. But would a Christian say, that because no civil penalty attaches to the offence, afalsehood is or can be justifiable? So as to subscription. The question is not, whether, after having declared our "assent and consent" to the Prayer-book, we may hold our livings, while yetwe disbelieve certain things we have subscribed to; but whether, disbelieving or at least doubtingcertain portions of the Prayer-book, we are honest and true in subscribing to "all and everythingin the said book," that "there is nothing in it contrary to the Word of God."The
 Essays and Reviews
have again practically revived this question, and convinced some thatthis matter of subscription is of vital moment to the Church generally. Clergymen, it is nowcurrently said, give their assent and consent to the whole Prayer-book, and yet deny andcontradict the plainest assertions and doctrine which they have so solemnly subscribed to. Mensay that whatever else the clergy hold, it is quite certain they will hold their livings. The
 Athenaeum
for last February, (and surely it is a sign that such a Review should write on thisquestion,) in a notice of the
 Essays and Reviews
, which is chiefly occupied with this one questionof subscription, after comparing the actual subscription with the explanations generally given bythe clergy in justification of it, goes on to speak as follows:²"If this interpretation be the
real 
 honesty of subscription, what is its
common
honesty? It will not do to appeal to the consent of divines about points of latitude. The laymen declare that divines have, from the commencementof subscription downward, fallen into very loose notions about subscription and its meaning. It isno answer to say that liberty of interpretation has been advocated by prelates. We know it has,and we say that those prelates had no right to such liberty. ... The clerical mind is dull and dimupon these points by long use of opiates. ... But there is a universal belief among the laity that theclergy do not accept in the mass the whole of the Articles and Prayer-book, in the unqualifiedmanner which they declare for. The best friends of the existing Establishment are those who urgeupon the higher clergy the necessity of bringing the state of subscription and of belief intoaccordance. Anything rather than a world of evasions and subterfuges. Whatever may be right,this is wrong."In the same tone, the
 Edinburgh Review
for last month, (April, 1862,) in an article on clericalsubscription, after adverting to the effect of this subscription on men, who cannot in consciencemake it, thus speaks of its effect on members of the Church:²"It is within the Church itself that
 
this restriction exercises the most baneful influence; deterring (and that in an increasing degree)the nobler hearts and loftier minds among the youth of England from the service of thesanctuary; discrediting the clergy in the eyes of thoughtful laymen; and inflicting on clergymenthemselves a lifelong injury, not the less mischievous because it is so commonly denied and sooften unsuspected. For is it not a sore injury done to men of such high qualities and endowmentsas the English clergy generally, that there is one set of subjects on which they are forbiddenliberty, not of speech only, or of action, but of thought; one circle of subjects within which theyare afraid even to think with fairness,²the charmed circle guarded by the
ex animo
subscription, by the plenary '
assent and consent 
,'²in approaching which, truth must no longer be the firstobject sought, nor light the one thing most desired?"Surely words like these from such quarters evince that it is time the clergy should do somethingto set themselves right with the mass of thoughtful and educated laymen. At all events, thequestion is again raised, and an answer must be given to it,²Does clerical subscription reallymean anything? The present year too brings with it memories which cannot sleep, of those TwoThousand, who, under pressure of this same subscription, became strangers to their brethren andaliens to their mother's children. What drove them forth? Calamy, the younger, in his
 Life and Times of Baxter 
, (pp. 502-5,) has recorded the grounds of their nonconformity. "They were," hesays, and he was himself one of them, "required to declare their unfeigned assent and consent toall and everything contained and prescribed by the Book of Common Prayer, &c. ... In this book they met with several things, which, after the strictest search they could make, appeared to themnot agreeable to the Word of God. ... They observed that there must be not '
consent 
,' but '
assent 
'too; and that '
to everything 
' in particular contained in this book. Words could scarcely be devisedmore full and significant to testify their highest commendation.""To this book," he proceeds, "they found several exceptions, which appeared to them of greatconsequence. First, that it teaches the doctrine of 
real baptismal regeneration
;²'We yield Theehearty thanks that it hath pleased Thee to regenerate this infant with thy Holy Spirit.' The senseof the Church too as to the efficacy of baptism is clear from the Office for Confirmation:² 'Almighty God, who hast vouchsafed to
regenerate
these thy servants by water and the HolyGhost, and hast given unto them forgiveness of all their sins, &c.' This was a thing that appearedto our ministers of such dangerous consequence, that they durst not concur in it, or any wayapprove it. For them, under their apprehension, to have gone to declare that there was nothing inthe Prayer-book but what they could 'assent' and 'consent' to, and to have subscribed this withtheir hands, had been doing violence to their consciences, and attempting at once to impose uponGod and man."These points, which Calamy states were "first and chiefest" with the Two Thousand ejectedministers, were those, as the following pages will shew, which forced the writer of this Letter into the same path of Nonconformity. And though the days are changed, and there is now noFive-mile Act, forcing non-conforming clergymen to a distance from those to whom they haveministered in spiritual things,²though the cross is lighter, yet a cross it is to leave old ties andloved associations, to go forth, not knowing whither one goes, or where to find an earthlyresting-place. Little do those who judge such a step think what it costs. Suffering always lookssomewhat contemptible. Even some of the most famous martyrdoms, it has been said, lookedvery meanly when they were suffered. It may therefore seem to some a small sacrifice for a man,

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