HC Deb 14 June 1928 vol 218 cc1197-323

Order read for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [13th June], That, in accordance with the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act, 1919, this House do direct that the Prayer Book Measure, 1928, be presented to His Majesty for Royal Assent."—[Sir Boyd Merriman.]

Question again proposed.


On the last occasion, six months ago, when I had the privilege of speaking on this question, I spoke under greater difficulty than any I have felt in any Debate in which I had taken a part. To-day I speak under even more difficulty, because we realise that the decision which will be reached by the House to-night is perhaps one of a more final character than the decision arrived at in December of last year. I particularly want my own friends in this House to realise that the position of a man, a politician and a man of affairs, who embarks on religious controversy, is by no means an easy one. He does not do it lightly. One does not run the risks of breaking friendships or the possibility of misunderstanding, of attack on all sides, unless one really feels that the matter is one upon which one cannot possibly remain silent—unless one really feels that the issues at stake are vital to the religion of the country or vital to the country itself, and that one cannot do otherwise than take one's share in the Debate.

To-night I am additionally unhappy because I know that my revered leader and friend, the Prime Minister, is going, as he is quite entitled to do, to take a strong side against myself. That is sufficient to show to the House that I, as one of his most loyal Ministers, would not think of interfering in a Debate of this kind unless in my heart I thought it was absolutely essential to do so. I am convinced, many of us are convinced, and many throughout the country are convinced, that in this matter it is not merely a question of a few ceremonies here or there, of a few vestments or ornaments here or there, but that there really is a big and vital religious question embodied in the alterations in this Prayer Book. Later on, we may be told that we are mere laity, and that we ought not to express an opinion of that kind; but the people of this country, in their hundreds of thousands, in their millions, are convinced that there is a definite change in doctrine in this Book which puts it far beyond any mere question of ceremonies or vestments or anything of that kind. I have had attacks from many of my friends on the Episcopal Bench during the last few weeks. I suppose they will all say with Job— Oh that my adversary had written a book. I have suffered because I have written a book and many of the Bishops have attacked me in regard to it, though I think not unfairly. I am bound to say that ever the one of them who accused me of monstrous perversion of fact did it in a kindly way and without any reflection on my personal honour or honesty. I should however like to say that the Bishop of Manchester complained that I had issued, under my high personal and official authority, an extremely partisan book. If anyone will look at the book they will see that nowhere at all in it is my office mentioned. I wrote the book purely as an individual Member of Parliament and as an individual member of the Church of England, and, when the publisher issued a notice saying that the book was by the Home Secretary, that notice was sent to me by another Bishop, and I at once sent to the publisher withdrawing any indication of the fact that I happened to hold an office in His Majesty's Government. It was simply and solely unofficial, and it was my own personal thoughts and feelings which caused me to write that book. At the same time, no office which I might hold would keep me silent in a matter of this kind. If I thought it right to write that book, or if I thought it right to make this speech to-day, no office and no possibility of office could keep me silent in a matter of this kind.

I am not going into the Bishops' answers, but may I say a word which I think is due to one whom I may still call my friend on the Episcopal bench, His Grace the Archbishop. I made a statement in my last speech which, though true in fact, led to an inference which was not correct. The House will remember that I quoted the instance of St. Michael's Church, where Canon Bullock Webster was Rector, and I said, "Here is a church where the Archbishop, as patron, has put in this very man." I have seen His Grace during the interval between the two Debates. The House may be amused or interested to hear that His Grace and I do not look upon one another in the light of men who seek to say that which is not true. We respect one another's sincerity. When His Grace told me, as he did in personal conversation, that it was quite true that he appointed that man to that church, but that, when appointed, the man was an Evangelical, and that His Grace did not appoint him knowing that he had any High Church or Ritualistic views, I, at once, told His Grace that I should take an early opportunity of telling the House of Commons that in the inference which I drew I was mistaken. But let me go one step further. Though the inference in regard to the Archbishop was wrong, what are we to say of the man himself? It is only one of numerous instances of men who are appointed today in the Church of England—appointed as this gentleman was to an Evangelical parish, appointed by an Evangelical Archbishop, appointed as being himself an Evangelical at the time, and he has now converted that church, without the assent of the congregation, without the assent of the patron, the Archbishop, into a centre and hotbed of Ritualism.

I am going to ask a little later in my speech where the rights of the laity in regard to the Church of England come in. That is because one of my hon. Friends, speaking yesterday, told us of the advances that had been made in regard to the rights of the laity during the last 100 years. It is quite true that the advances up to the present have been very small. We believe the Church consists of the Bishops, the clergy, and the laity. We believe that we are just as much part of the Church of England and the Church of God as the Bishops and the clergy. We believe we are just as much entitled to express our opinion as to the doctrines and ceremonies in our own church as any ecclesiastic. I am going to ask the House to deal with this Measure to-day not by way of cheap personalities in regard to points which may be raised in Debate. We have got beyond that to-day. I am going to ask them to deal with it because the House of Commons is the last resort, the last place in which the laity of the country can express their opinion on the doctrines and ceremonies of the national Church.

We are entitled to do so, notwithstanding the fact that some of the Bishops have complained of the attitude of the House of Commons last year, and have complained that we rejected this Measure through a misapprehension. The Bishop of Durham tells us that the revision of the Prayer Book is a domestic concern of the Church of England. A domestic concern, Mr. Speaker! Was the Reformation a domestic concern of the Church of England? Ask the Free Churches, ask the laity of the land. Where are you going to limit the "domestic concerns" of the Church of England? The same Bishop goes on to tell us that the House of Lords set us a good example. The House of Lords, he says, dealt with this matter only with the votes of members of the Church of England, and he suggests that nobody here who is not a member of the Church of England should conscientiously seek to take part in this Debate either by voice or by vote. Are we going to re-establish the Test Acts for the House of Commons before they can deal with the Established Church, which has itself, with the assent of Parliament, abolished the Test Acts. The Archbishop has made no such suggestion. The speech of the Archbishop was quoted by the hon. Member for Cardigan (Mr. Hopkin Norris) yesterday afternoon. The Archbishop makes it perfectly clear, and I want to make it perfectly clear, that it is not only the right but the duty of every man who represents a constituency in this country to take part in a Debate which affects the whole future of the Church in this country.

4.0 p.m.

I think the hon. Member for Cardigan omitted one very important sentence. The Archbishop not merely told us that it was our right to vote, but laid it down that the Enabling Act of a few years ago did not deprive Parliament of this right. Parliament, in passing the Enabling Act, said the Archbishop, was not depriving itself of any fundamental right. I adhere to that to-day. My hon. Friend the Member for Oxford University (Lord H. Cecil) who, I believe is going to speak this afternoon, in a speech made when the Enabling Act was passing through this House, told us that it left Parliament in exactly the same position as that in which it had always been and that there was no alteration in that respect. But may I consider it a little further. The Prayer Book itself was set up and established by Parliament. It is the creation of Parliament. In the reign of Henry VIII, Parliament declared that the King's consent was requisite to all canons, and in 1534 it was not the Church, but Parliament, which abolished the jurisdiction of the Pope in this land. The first and second Prayer Books of Edward VI were established by Parliament in 1549 and 1552. The prayers and worship of the Church, the doctrine of the Church, the discipline of the Church have all been settled by Acts of Parliament. You cannot alter them; you cannot alter the Prayer Book; you cannot alter the discipline of the Church without an Act of this House. It is idle for anyone to come here and say with all that clearly laid down in our Constitution, that you and I, or any hon. Member who is not a member of the Church of England, is not entitled to take his rightful share in dealing with the Constitution of the Church of England as by law established. The very Prayer Book of 1662 is itself a Schedule to an Act of Parliament, the existing Act of Uniformity. It could not have been used without an Act of Parliament being passed. The Articles of religion were only made binding on the clergy, not by the decision of the Church, but by the decision of Parliament, I think, in 1571. Parliament controlled all through. Parliament decided that every clergyman must give his assent and consent unfeignedly to the Book of Common Prayer. That was not the Church; it was the House of Commons and Parliament. Parliament decided that no other form of prayer could be used. Parliament decided that no person could administer the Sacrament who had not been ordained a priest. It was not the decision of the Church that a deacon could not administer the Sacrament. It was all by the decision of this and the other House, of Parliament from time to time.

I suggest that last December we were strictly within our rights, strictly within our duty in expressing our opinion and giving our votes on this momentous question which, in effect, alters many Acts of Parliament. I do not believe it would be desirable to quote the remarks of a good many Bishops since. Some of them denounced the action of the House of Commons in unmeasured language. I had thought of quoting them to the House, but I think it would be more respectful to the House to leave those quotations on one side. They might, perhaps, introduce bitterness, which I am anxious to avoid in the Debate. But I must refer to a statement made by the Bishop of Lincoln only a short time ago. Speaking in his own diocese he said: Even if the House of Commons rejected the revised Prayer Book, that would not prevent it being used. The lesson of history was that liberty was seldom conceded; it must be taken. They must take to themselves the liberty which they needed. That was a challenge to the House of Commons. That was a direct and definite statement by one of the Bishops that they intend to use this Book whether we authorise it or not. That is a very serious act. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for North-East Leeds (Major Birchall), with whom I have worked in this House for a good many years, went very near that in his speech yesterday afternoon. He told us that the changes suggested by the Church are on record, and no action of this House or of the House of Lords can affect that record in any way whatever.… I admit that they aced the assent of this House and of the Rouse of Lords, and I hope that assent will be given.… Surely it will be impossible to make men conform to a law which does not recognise the changes which are proposed by the new Book.—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 13th June, 1928; cols. 1059–60, Vol. 218.] My hon. and gallant Friend is a Member of the Church Assembly. He represents the views of the Church Assembly in that respect, and it is a serious suggestion, first by a Bishop, and then by a member of the Church of England within this House, although he does not go as far as to say so, it is tantamount to saying to the House on the authority of a Bishop that the clergy are not going to comply with the decision of the House if it is against them, and on the authority of my hon. and gallant Friend that you cannot expect people to conform to the law laid down by the House of Commons if it is not in conformity with what is adopted by the Church Assembly.


I think my right hon. Friend has just admitted that there was nothing in my speech yesterday to suggest that the opinion of the House of Commons would have no effect upon the matter. All I did was to point out what, I think, is an admitted fact, that the Church, through its Assembly and its leaders, had expressed certain opinions as to what was legal and what was illegal in the Church of England. What I said was—and I think the quotation which my right hon. Friend read will bear that out—that nothing this House or the House of Lords could do could affect that statement of the opinion of the Church in its Assembly—an Assembly set up by this House—and of its leaders the Bishops. I did not go on to say, as, apparently, the quotation of the Bishop of Lincoln said, that the Book would be authorised in the different dioceses. Of that I have no knowledge and no right to speak. All I said was that the decision of the Church was on record, and that nothing this House could do could affect that particular record. As to what the future has in store after this Debate, I, for one, certainly will not venture to prophesy.


I think the House will agree that I have not put any misinterpretation upon my hon. and gallant Friend's speech. My hon. and gallant Friend has not repeated now the sentence he made yesterday: Surely it will be impossible to make men conform to a law which does not recognise the changes which are now proposed by the new Book. That is a statement of a serious character. It is a statement made by a Member of this House. When we are considering whether we shall make these changes or not, my hon. and gallant Friend comes along and says, "If you do not make them; if you do not agree to them, you cannot expect men to conform to the law." I ought, before going further, to say a word or two with regard to the speech made by my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General, a speech which we all enjoyed for its high tone and its deep sincerity, although he was, perhaps, from time to time, a little hard upon myself. That seems to be my fate in this controversy. He complained about the cover put by the publishers on the outside of my book. The complaint was not so much against what was in the book written by myself, but of the cover. I agree frankly that it might have been worded a little better. It says: It would promote the reintroduction of those Romish ceremonies and forms of devotion which the Royal Commission of 1906 said should he promptly made to cease. My hon. and learned Friend, who is a lawyer, ought to have quoted a little more accurately. He did quote that accurately, but then he went on to say: It is not true to say that this book would legalise or promote."—[OFFICIAL REPORT , 13th June, 1928; col. 1005, Vol. 218.] I never said it would legalise, nor did my publishers say it would legalise. What they have said—and I am prepared to take responsibility for it—was that the effect of the changes in the Book would be to promote, though not by law, a kind of feeling throughout the country which would lead to a reintroduction of those ceremonies. [Interruption.] Take the case of Reservation leading to Adoration. You allow Reservation, and you allow the light to be constantly burning before the Reserved Sacrament. Do you mean to tell me that that does not lead to Adoration? [An HON. MEMBER: "No."] Somebody says "No." Really, go to the high churches, go to the ritualist churches themselves, and find out whether they are not satisfied that an altar light or a light burning before the Reserved Sacrament leads to people making their prayers before, and subsequently adoring, the Reserved Sacrament. I shall have a word more to say about a light burning before the Reserved Sacrament in a few moments.

There is another point raised by my hon. and learned Friend about a statement in my book where I am alleged to have said that the only punishment for clerical contumacy is imprisonment, and that there is no deprivation. He has dived into a very deep legal question there. I am aware that there is deprivation in two Acts of Parliament. I am equally aware that deprivation has in the past almost never been successfully carried through. If you take two well-known cases, you find it was for contumacy, for disobeying the orders of the Courts, that imprisonment took place. I refer to the cases of Mr. Green and Mr. Dale; but in Mr. Mackonochie's case, the great ritualist, case, efforts were made to deprive him. There were three suits, one after another; they went through Court after Court. Thousands and thousands of pounds were spent, and what happened? When all the fighting that could be fought was nearing its end, when the sentence of deprivation was about to be passed, Mr. Mackonochie resigned his living, and he was at once appointed to the living of St. Peter's, London Dock, by the Bishop of London. After that the incumbent of St. Peter's was sent to the church from which Mr. Mackonochie came. More than that, again the question of deprivation came up when he was at St. Peter's, London Docks, and he was inhibited, and, I think, deprived of all his powers and position in the province of Canterbury, and then he was licensed to act as curate at the church from which he had been inhibited.

Is it too much to say that there is no real possibility of deprivation in regard to a question of this kind in the Church of England at the present day? So much so was it, that in 1903 a Bill was brought into this House a ad passed its Second Reading, giving in plain and explicit language the right to the Bishops to deprive rather than to send men to prison for contumacy, when they have definitely over and over again acted against the views of the Church and their Bishops. I should like to make one quotation, because it rather emphasises what I have been saying just now as to the trend of matters to-day. When I was looking through the Report of these particular Debates I found a quotation made by Sir William Harcourt from a visitation address by the Bishop of Winchester, who is now the Archbishop of Canterbury. This is what he said to his own clergy nearly 30 years ago: The gravest danger of all is to be seen in the teaching and usages of an increasing number of parish priests with respect to Holy Communion, the swinging back half unconsciously into something like the materialistic doctrine of the 15th century, and insensibly drifting away from the true proportion of the faith of the Church of England into the peril of something sadly like, the materialistic superstition of pre-Reformation days. That is exactly what we say now. It is the drift of so many of the clergy to materialistic ideas. That was the view of the Archbishop 30 years ago. Can it be doubted that it is the view of many thinking men, even on the Episcopal Bench to-day, that this steady drift by these men is back to the pre-Reformation principles and ideas. It is because the great bulk of us believe that the new Prayer Book is tending towards that direction, that it is making it easier rather than more difficult, for this swing back to pre-Reformation ideas, that we ask the douse of Commons to reject it. I admit, of course, that there are a few things which are improvements in the Book—the prayer for the King, the rubrics in regard to Reservation, and one or two other points, but do let the House remember that the Book in its essentials is the same to-day as when we rejected it in December last. The Archbishop himself made that clear, and the Bishop of London, in his well-known letter to the "Times," makes it equally clear. This letter was written only two months ago. He says: In the first place, there is no alteration in principle between the Book as amended and the Deposited Book. Remember, we are being asked to revoke our decision, which was arrived at after one of the most remarkable Debates which I have ever heard or have taken part in. Vie are now told by the Bishop of London, we are told by the Archbishop, that they did not intend to make any changes in principle. We are told by the Bishop of London that there is no change. The changes made are in the nature of explanations, rather than changes in doctrine. The Bishop goes on: From an Anglo-Catholic point of view, it should now be noted that, for the first time, to receive Communion fasting is formally stated to be a laudable and ancient custom of the Church. Further, no-notice seems to have been taken of the fact that the suggestion of the vestry as a place for Reservation has been dropped. The Bishop added that the changes were an improvement from the Anglo-Catholic point of view. We did not ask for an improvement from the Anglo-Catholic point of view. We threw the Book out, because we were doubtful of it from a Protestant point of view. There is no improvement in it from the Protestant point of view. The Bishop of Oxford in his Diocesan Magazine for April last, said: I would claim that there is no change of substance involved. The Archbishop of York said: None of the few Amendments in the present Measure make any real change in the contents of the Book. We are asked, then, to change our views and our opinions when we know that fact. We are told that there is no alteration in doctrine. We are told that the Book to-day is the same in its doctrines as the Book of 1662. The Archbishop of Wales, the oldest member of the Episcopal Bench to-day, and the longest a bishop, says that there is a change of doctrine. The Archbishop of Armagh says that there is a change, and half-a-dozen of the Bishops of the Church are opposing it because there is a change. Lord Parmoor, one of the greatest ecclesiastic lawyers of to-day, says that there is a distinct change of doctrine in the Book as against the Prayer Book of 1662. More than that, there is, in the hearts and minds of men, a kind of feeling leading to knowledge that this alteration was made because of the demand from the Anglo-Catholics for a change in the doctrines and the practices of the Church of England. There would have been no revision otherwise. Why should there be? The nation as a whole was satisfied with the Book.

Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE

Letters of business were granted.


I do not want to get into a wrangle with either friends or political opponents this afternoon. Surely, the hon. and gallant Member has only to read the statements of the Bishops themselves, as to their inability to cope with the illegalities in the Church without some alteration to the law. They tell us that they cannot do it. They said that it was becoming intolerable from the Bishops' point of view. That is the reason that the man in the pew, the man in the street, the man and woman in the home, know in their bones that this alteration is a sliding back to pre-Reformation principles. I wonder whether hon. Members remember a speech made by Lord Balfour in this House 20 years ago, when he pointed out that, if the Church of England is to continue, established or unestablished, it must be the Church as purified at the Reformation. He said: It is the Church whose doctrines were purified and whose ritual was simplified in the 16th century, and it is only so long as it retains that character that it can hope to preserve the affections of the English people. It is because of that that the Prayer Book has retained, and does retain, the affection of the mass of the people.

The question of Reservation is the crux of the whole matter. It was the crux in December, and it is the crux to-day. Last time, I quoted the Federation of Catholic Priests, who refused to abide by any Reservation which did not involve Adoration. Yesterday, one of my hon. Friends quoted the decision of 2,000 priests of the Church of England. Let me quote the position of the English Church Union itself. They had a great meeting of lay people in Church House in February of this year, and to my astonishment they were very courteous. They sent me the resolution which they passed; they thought that I ought to have it. It was a meeting of the lay community, and the resolution read: This assembly of lay communicants of the Church of England solemnly affirms its belief in the Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of His Body and Blood, and claims for Him the honour and worship which are due to His Name and Person in that Sacrament everywhere, and at all times. Lord Shaftesbury was in the Chair, and Lord Halifax spoke. I have a verbatim report of the speeches. It cannot be denied what their position is. The President read that declaration to some 2,000 people. What the declaration does is to assert in the plainest terms the Divine Presence in the consecrated elements and that Our Blessed Lord is adorable, and should be adored, in the Divine Sacrament. I need not quote the speech of Lord Halifax; one realises the sincerity of that Noble Lord. For years past he has upheld the rights of the Anglo-Catholics, and has never blenched for one moment from carrying his views to the logical conclusion, and I respect him intensely for it. Speaker after speaker laid down the same thing, that the Sacrament is to be adored. It is somewhat curious that these opponents of mine should have realised at that moment that the view, which I laid down here in December, was their view, and that I had correctly stated their view in regard to the Reserved Sacrament. Let me put it as respectfully as possible. If a change be made by the act of Consecration in the Elements, and if they do indeed become the Body and Blood of Christ, and if these Elements are reserved anywhere, then, indeed, the Body and Blood of Our Lord, wherever reserved, must, to a man or woman who believes that such a change has taken place, be the subject of Adoration. That is the view I put to the House six months ago, and that is the position which they accept. They quote my words; they say that I have been fair to them. That is the reason why for 300 years the Church of England has declined to permit Reservation—it is because you cannot prevent Adoration. Two thousand two hundred priests of the Church of England definitely signed a document declaring their belief that Our Lord Jesus Christ being therefore truly and personally present in the Consecrated Sacrament is therein to he adored; and that inward and outward acts of Adoration are due to Him in the Liturgy after the Consecration. We believe also that Our Lord is no less present in the Sacrament when reserved; and therefore is therein always to be adored with like acts of Adoration. The Bishops may say that they will get men to change from that view. I do not think that they will. My respect for Lord Halifax, and for many of my friends who take opposite views to myself, is such that I do not believe that they can alter; if they are honest, they cannot alter. The Reserved Sacrament is there, and in their hearts they must claim the right to Adoration. If the Bishops wanted to prevent it, there is one way in which they could have done it. We are told that proposals were made that no light should be allowed to hang in front of the Sacrament. It was turned down by the Bishops. Why, if they wanted to stop Adoration? Why did one of the Bishops write that the keeping of the Sacrament in the vestry was an old and primitive custom? Why not keep it, in all reverence, in the safe, assuming the correctness of the claim that it is only for the purposes of the sick? They would not have it at any price; at no price, whatever would they assent to the Book if there was a rubric that the Reserved Sacrament should be kept in the vestry. They have the courage of their views, because they mean that it should be used for the purpose of Adoration. That is the point that cannot, I suggest, be got over. It is no good a Bishop going to them and saying, "Will you do this or that?" The Bishop of Manchester said that he is not going to discipline; he would refuse to share in a demand for the enforcement of ecclesiastical discipline. The Bishop of Gloucester tells us that he will not prosecute, and would not give an under taking not to promote these men. I spoke of that six months ago; for 20 years, I have asked the Bishops not to appoint to livings men who deliberately and definitely defy the law of the Church in regard to these matters. They will not agree to this. Is this likely to increase peace in the Church of England? The Bishop of Ripon, who is very frank about this question of reservation, writing to the "Times" in January of this year, said: For myself, I cannot but agree with Doctor Barnes that the real ground for conceding perpetual reservation is not what you, Sir, in your most apposite leading article call 'the street accident theory,' but the conscientious reluctance of many clergy to celebrate the Holy Communion when not fasting. It is, in fact, only on the principle of charity that I found myself able to support the concession, not, on the ground of any proved need. That is one of the Bishops supporting the Book. That is what he tells us is, in his view, the reason. The whole thing is combined with the theory of fasting communion. Chasuble, incense, lights—all are unimportant in themselves. It is not the chasuble, it is the man in the chasuble, it is the doctrine preached by that man; it is the doctrine preached in church after church in our land to-day. There are a number of services of adoration in the Church to-day. In the advertisement columns of the "Church Times" this week and last week, you will see instance after instance of services of reservation and adoration in our churches to-day. There are the 2,000 priests. How are you going to ask those men to stop doing what they have been allowed to do? Thirty years ago there were 30 churches where reservation was practised; to-day there are nearly 700. Will the number grow less and diminish when you authorise reservation? I do not see how it can.

I ask the House earnestly to consider this question before they come to the vote. It is not a Book which is going to bring peace in the land. It is a Book which is going to create diversity of use in the villages of the land. It is not a Book which is going to embody rights for the laity. It is the clergyman and the Bishop who can dictate which Prayer Book is to be used in a church. The whole parish has a right to appeal to the Bishop, but the Bishop is the man who has voted for the Book, who has pressed the Book forward for the last year or two. He is the man who is to be the final judge, and if he says to the clergyman, "Yes, you may use the new Book," the laity have no further right in the matter. The right of final decision is an episcopal right and not a right of the laity. I would ask the House to think very carefully before passing this Book, which cannot bring peace, but a sword, to the Church.

The Archbishop, for whom I have the deepest respect, as he knows, published a pamphlet a few days ago in the form of a letter—a very touching one—asking us to think very carefully about this matter. He told us of his 80 years. Ridley went to the stake in his 80th year for the reformed Book. The Archbishop very frankly says that it must not be long, as we all realise, before someone else Lakes his place. I ask the House to remember that this matter is not for the life of any one of us; it is for the life of the people for centuries to come, the life of the Church, the life of the nation. Mr. Speaker, I hope I have made my last speech on this controversial question. It has been a speech of great difficulty, a speech which has caused me great anxiety. I hope I have said nothing to any of my hon. Friends that will embitter controversy. I only hope and pray that this issue may be directed by God, that the God who is the God of Catholic and Protestant, the God of Churchmen and Nonconformists, will, in the words of that great prayer for our House of Parliament, so order our consultations that peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion and piety, may be established among us for all generations.


It is not easy to follow the right hon. Gentleman when he talks in the strain in which we have just heard him speak, but there is more to answer than that which we have heard to-day. Much has been said in the past which must be answered in this House. Like the Home Secretary, I belong to the Evangelical side of the Church, but, unlike him, I recognise that it is a side, and that there is another side just as important, just as legitimate, and just as orthodox as that to which he and I belong, and I am convinced, unless we are prepared to do a great, and perhaps an irreparable injustice, that this fact must be remembered and that we must approach this matter with open minds. That is no easy thing, perhaps, to men who feel strongly. For many months the right hon. Gentleman has led the campaign against this Book. I hope he will accept my assurance that at no moment of time have I doubted, nor do I doubt, his good faith or his sincerity, nor do I know to what extent he is responsible for the conduct of that campaign, but there can be no question that the method adopted has been to stir up indignation against the Bishops and to paint lurid pictures of illegalities which have been going on in the Church, with the suggestion that those illegalities will be made legal if this Book is passed. I believe myself that this campaign will go down to history as a classic example of that advocacy which utilises abuse of your opponents and misrepresentation—




The remark of the hon. and learned Member, whatever it was, entirely escaped me. Perhaps hon. Members will allow the hon. and learned Member who is addressing the House to proceed, so that they may hear whether he has anything further to say on that point.


I was speaking, as I carefully explained, of the campaign against this Book. I carefully said that I did not know to what extent the right hon. Gentleman was responsible for it, and that I hoped he would believe that I made no suggestion of want of good faith or of sincerity against him, but I must repeat, and I believe, that the campaign has been based upon misrepresentation of what the Book does. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] That is my opinion, and I cannot withdraw it. I believe, too, that this campaign has been responsible in no small measure for the baseless fears of many earnest people. In this matter sincerity must not be mistaken for truth, and narrowness of view for breadth of vision. Any consideration of this Book must start with an appreciation of the fact that 22 years ago a Royal Commission said that the law of public worship was too narrow, and that it needlessly condemned much which a great section of Church people, including many of their most devoted members, desired. That fact surely lays bare of truth the statement which has been made that it has been left to the Bishops in the last 15 years to discover and announce to a bewildered laity that the Prayer Book is defective and inadequate. Surely that is an unfair charge against the Bishops. It is the answer to what was the main argument of the right hon. Gentleman in the last Debate, an argument which is really repeated to-day. The right hon. Gentleman drew a picture of a great number of obviously illegal invitations to adoration, and he complained that the Bishops had not dealt with those illegalities, and went on to say: Because they have failed to deal with them, they say 'No, we will not try to enforce the law, we will change the law in order to bring it into consonance with their ideas.'"—[OFFICIAL. REPORT, 15th December, 1927; col. 2545, Vol. 211.] That is quoted from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman. Observe the implication. It is said that the Bishops themselves are saying the whole object of this is to make legal these illegalities, and are only doing it because they are not prepared to deal with them. The Bishops never said any such thing, and if they had it would have been untrue. Not one of the illegalities of which the right hon. Gentleman is complaining is made legal by this Measure. Every one of them remains illegal, and, indeed, more emphatically illegal than they were before.

For my part, I resent the attitude of suspicion and distrust which has been generated against the Bishops. The genesis of this Book is in the report of the Royal Commission and not in the Bishops; it is in answer to the invitation of the Government of that day that the Church of England to-day presents to this House the results, results full of beauty and understanding for those that have eyes to see, the work of men deeply versed in these matters, daily, I am convinced, asking—and as my faith teaches me to believe receiving—the guidance of God. Even if I were not convinced, as I am, of the truth and justice of this Book, I should hesitate to prefer my, as compared with their, untutored judgment; and yet in this matter I claim to be as fully tutored as most of the hon. Members of this House. Who is to decide questions of doctrinal change? Am I to personify arrogance and say to the Church, "I deny you spiritual freedom; although you and your appointed assemblies and your divines say this, I say you are all wrong"? And what if the "I" be not even a member of that Church? Surely we should hesitate long before we reject the work which they have produced for us. No one can have studied the speeches delivered in this House on the last occasion without a feeling of despair that a decision of so high importance should have been arrived at on such a want of appreciation of the facts.

The opposition to the Book centres on two things. The Book permits two things of importance needlessly condemned by the law as it stands, that is the use of Vestments and the Reservation for the Sick and the Dying. It is said that the permission of these two things coupled with certain alteration of words in the Consecration Prayer imply a doctrinal change in the direction of Rome. It is said that is a step in the direction of transubstantiation. We know that the Archbishops and the Bishops have quite definitely said that no change of doctrine is involved, and as the "Times" has said, there is an overwhelming consensus of theological opinion to the effect that no change of doctrine is involved. On the other hand the Home Secretary says there is. On the last occasion and again to-day the right hon. Gentleman has said that his view was supported by that of Lord Parmoor, a great ecclesiastical lawyer. The right hon. Gentleman stated that Lord Parmoor said quite definitely that the new Book did introduce a great change of doctrine. But why has the House not been told that Lord Parmoor has withdrawn that opinion? Several days before the Debate in December, Lord Parmoor said that while that had been his opinion, he now accepted in all sincerity the view expressed by the Archbishop of Canterbury when he assured them that in the opinion of the Bishops there was no new doctrine whatever in the alternative service, and although that opinion had been withdrawn long before that Debate and withdrawn of course long before to-day's Debate, we are left—I am certain through ignorance—in the belief that my right hon. Friend's view is supported by that great authority.


I need hardly say that I had not heard of that withdrawal, but Lord Parmoor himself has within the last week written me enclosing a copy of a letter which he wrote to the "Manchester Guardian" this month in which he asks whether it is wise to re-open the controversy at the present time, and, so far from protesting, he agrees that the proposed changes in the Revised Prayer Book do materially affect the practice of Reservation. That does not look as if he had withdrawn his opinion.


I do not see a word there bearing upon my point as to whether he thought there had been a change of doctrine. I took this from the "Times" of Tuesday or Wednesday before the Debate in this House, and it is taken from a report of the speech of Lord Parmoor in another place. On the last occasion my right hon. Friend also quoted Father Woodlock, and this was referred to yesterday, in which he said: If you want another authority as to the change of doctrine everyone knows Father Woodcock, the well-known Jesuit priest. The quotation which was referred to yesterday was: That the new alternative order of Communion included elements which quite definitely brought it into line with the Mass. I have a letter from Father Woodlock which with the permission of the House I will read and then we shall see how far it expresses his view. He writes: DEAR MR. ATKINSON, Some words of mine apropos the Alternative Communion Office in the Deposited Book have been more than once used for propaganda purposes and quoted in the House of Commons Debates last December and yesterday against the declaration of the Archbishops that the Eucharistic Doctrines of the 1662 Book have not been changed. I should like to draw your attention to the real views I expressed in my lectures and to emphasise the importance of the omission of a qualifying passage which has not been quoted in the House and which I believe ought to make it impossible for anyone to use my words either on one side or the other in the present Debate. I noted the introduction of certain prayers after the words of consecration 'This is My Body, etc.,' as 'including elements, previously lacking, which seem to me definitely to bring the service in line with the Mass." This was the sentence which has been extensively quoted and which was used by the Home Secretary in his speech last December. However, a little further on I say of these additions: 'I have said that these prayers are capable of being interpreted in a Catholic sense. They are also capable of being interpreted in a purely Calvinistic and Evangelical sense and so may be still said to be characteristically Anglican and Comprehensive.' This was the point which I emphasised in my lecture, the comprehensiveness through ambiguity of phrasing. The last sentence of the page and of my book restated the thesis I was proving throughout. It runs: 'The vaunted comprehensiveness of Anglicanism is the most patent sign that it is not Catholic.' I should not venture to bother you with my personal views except for the fact that my words detached from their context have been widely used by opponents of the Deposited Book, and I feel that to tell Protestants that a Jesuit has recognised the introduction of the Roman Mass in the Alternative Communion Office is to secure a good debating point against the Book. As a matter of fact the many and wide concessions to Modernist heresy in the Deposited Book remove the Anglican Church still further from Rome than did the Book of 1662, and erect another and a permanent obstacle to anything in the nature of 'reunion' with Rome. The Archbishop of Wales has been referred to. I have a telegram from the Bishop of Swansea in which he says: In common with the great majority of the Welsh church people, they entirely repudiate the Archbishop's views on the Book. We were told yesterday that the Bishop of Llandaff and the Bishop of Monmouth both support the Book. Therefore, there does not seem very much left in the way of authority quoted to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred in support of there being a change of doctrine involved in this Book. There are two matters I want to deal with. It was pointed out yesterday that if you consider the Consecration Prayer that the words used are practically a copy of the words of Cranmer's Prayer Book of 1549. We know that the two views accepted by the Church as legitimate and orthodox are first the receptionist view, that is the view that Consecration merely hallows the Bread and Wine so that it becomes to the receiver the Blood of Christ; and side by side with that there is the view of the real spiritual Presence which accepts the view that Christ is spiritually present in the Bread and Wine that have been consecrated. My hon. Friend seems to take the attitude that those who hold this view, hold it inconsistently with the formulae of the Church of England, but I would like to point out that it has been decided by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council that that view is just as legitimate and orthodox as the receptionist view held by the Evangelical side of the Church. My right hon. Friend cannot complain of an appeal to Cranmer, because one of the complaints in his book is that Cranmer has not been canonised as the man more than anyone else responsible for our Prayer Book. He explained in his own language exactly what the doctrine of the Reformation was. He said: That the Bread and Wine he made unto us the Body and Blood of Christ, not by change of substance, but that in the godly using of them they may be to the receivers Christ's Body and Blood. Those are the same words as in the Invocation Prayer of Cranmer's Prayer Book of 1549, where the Holy Spirit is called upon to bless and sanctify the Bread and Wine that they may be unto us the Body and Blood"— and, as in the Deposited Book, that they may be unto us the Body and Blood of Thy Son, to the end that we receiving the same may he strengthened and refreshed both in body and soul. They emphasise the receptionist view and so lead us still further from the view of Rome. In our present Prayer Book you have precisely the same view in slightly different words. Anyone comparing these three prayers cannot possibly see any departure from the accepted Reformation doctrines. When you read my right hon. Friend's book you see what he relies upon in support of his contention, and what does it amount to?

He specifically objects to the words appearing in the Consecration Prayer: That they may be unto us the Body and Blood of Christ. and again the words: Having now by faith received the precious Body and Blood of Christ. Those are the words which we find in Cranmer's Prayer Book and in the 39 Articles themselves. You cannot reject those words, you cannot reject the doctrine of the new Prayer Book unless you reject the doctrines of the church, the 39 Articles, the Catechism and the Prayer of Humble Access. You find every word in this Book finding its place somewhere in the Book which is at present our Prayer Book.

I pass now to the question of vestments. On the last occasion with a wealth of eloquence which was the envy of us all but with a wealth of inaccuracy at least its equal, the hon. Member for Paisley (Mr. R. Mitchell) dealt with vestments and he dealt with the same subject again yesterday. What did he say? He said that these ornaments were definitely, historically, and ecclesiastically confined and restricted to a celebration in which we pre-suppose the Real Presence by the transference of the elements. That was Transubstantiation. It is true that the Book permits the use of the alb with the vestment or cope. Of course I agree that the vestment referred t3 is the chasuble. There is nothing mysterious about this liturgical dress or sacred vestments. They are simply an adaptation to religious use of the ordinary dress of official life in the Roman Empire in the first, centuries of our era. They are of value mainly from the fact that they bear witness to the antiquity of the Church. What is the historical association? The alb and the chasuble were in use for centuries before Transubstantiation was born or thought of. That doctrine was first formulated in 1215 by Innocent IV. These vestments had then been in use for centuries in this country. The House will appreciate that our Church is the same Church as existed at the Reformation. There has been no new Church. The Church had always resisted the claims of papal domination, sometimes with more success than at others. The Constitutional Reformation was completed in the reign of Henry VIII. and the Doctrinal Reformation which followed culminated in the great reformed Prayer Book of Cranmer in 1549. No one will deny that the whole object of the Book was to mark the culmination of the Reformation, and no one will deny that it was intended to mark the rejection of Transubstantiation. What do we find in that Book with regard to vestments? The priest shall"— not "may"— put upon him the vesture appointed for that ministration, that is to say, a white alb plain, with a vestment, or cope. 5.0 p.m.

Precisely the same words as are to-day in the Deposited Book; precisely the same words are in the Reformation Prayer Book of Cranmer, but whereas they are now optional, then they were compulsory. It is true that they did not find a place in the Prayer Book of 1552, but in the second Elizabethan Book of 1559 they are again enjoined, because there the rubric says that they are to wear such ornaments as were in use by the authority of Parliament in the second year of the reign of King Edward VI. That referred to the Act of Parliament which made compulsory Cranmer's Prayer Book. Cranmer's Book of 1549 and Elizabeth's Book of 1559 both enjoin and make compulsory the use of these very vestments, and, in our own Prayer Book, the Prayer Book of 1662, you find the same thing. Such ornaments shall be retained and be in use as were in the Church of England by the authority of Parliament of the second year of the reign of Edward VI. You may say, if that is so, how did the Privy Council in the case of Hebbert v. Purchar find that the use of these ornaments was illegal? They were persuaded, in the teeth of the language in the Book of 1662, that Parliament could not have meant to make these vestments compulsory when the surplice was the vestment more usually worn. They were the more easily persuaded, because only one side was heard. The parson who was being prosecuted had no money to enable him to appear, and the argument was all on one side; but Sir Hebbert Phillimore in the Court of Arches who heard the case first decided that these things were legal. In one other case the same view has been taken, but there it was almost impossible for them to depart from the decision already given. It was not technically impossible, but it would have been an incredible thing for the Judicial Committee to overrule a decision given by themselves a few years before.

It does not rest there. The Church was not content with that, and at the beginning of this century a Committee of Bishops was appointed, who went into the matter very thoroughly and issued a most convincing report which, I think, will satisfy anybody, and they came to the conclusion that it was impossible to support these decisions. The point is not whether they are legal or illegal; the point is whether the use of these vestments really does necessarily imply anything in connection with Transubstantiation. I say, in view of the history of vestments, to say that it does is to say that black is white. You might as well say that because murderers wear boots, anybody who wears boots is wearing something which is historically associated with murder. When the hon. Member speaks of "Mass" vestments, the description is his, it is not the description of history. May we test the question of Reservation in the same way? The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General, speaking in the last Debate, said that everyone was prepared to accept the whole of the Deposited Book with the exception of that part concerned with Holy Communion, and he said the whole question turned upon Reservation, that the whole issue was Reservation and the doctrine implied in the practice. He swept away the great bulk of the objections which bad been urged against the Deposited Book, and he reduced them all to the one question of Reservation. Reservation has been the practice of the Church certainly from the second century. We find it referred to in the writings of the Early Fathers. You find it enforced by canons in this country. In the year 760, there is a canon enjoining Reservation for the benefit of the sick.

When you come again to Cranmer's Prayer Book, you find there a Rubric ordering Reservation for the sick. Is it credible that one who gave his life because of his rejection of Transubstantia- tion would have inserted this rubric in his book—a book which he thought so perfect that he said he "could in no point improve that Godly Book"—if he had thought that Reservation implied in any way an acceptance of Transubstantiation? It is true that the permission does not find a place in later Prayer Books; but we know that Bishop Curzon, who more than anyone was responsible for the Rubric in the present book, explained these words by saying that that was done to prevent the taking away of the consecrated wine and bread by anyone for sacriligeous use at their tables. Herbert Thorndyke and Bishop Sparrow, two of the members of the body responsible for the Prayer Book, wrote of Reservation as entirely legal and permissible. In the Episcopal Church of Scotland, a Church which accepts the Thirty-nine Articles and our own Rubrics, the practice has been continuous since 1688, without any of the results which have been spoken of. It is the practice accepted in the Church in America, in Canada, and in South Africa. Something was said about the sister Churches. Our sister Churches accept Reservation and, by accepting it, we will be bringing ourselves into line with them, and not doing something which will take us away from them.

Before I pass to the point of where this demand comes from, I would like to deal with the point which was made by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General in the last Debate. He made a statement which, I think, will not bear examination. He referred to the Article which says that the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was not by Christ's ordinance reserved and carried about, lifted out, or worshipped, and he said that that Article forbids Reservation. Possibly it does; but I deprecate the argument which he founded upon it, because he only told us half the story. Article 34 declares that every particular or national church has authority to ordain, change or abolish ceremonies or rites of the Church ordained by man's authority. So that, if you read the two together, it is perfectly plain that Reservation is one of those matters ordained by man and as such can be permitted, regulated, and dealt with by any particular Church. Therefore, we are not doing anything contrary to the Thirty-nine Articles if we avail ourselves of the permission contained in Article 34. From where does the demand for Reservation come? You can divide your clergy into three classes; first, these who do not want it, because they have no use for it; second, there are those who want it because of the desire of their parishioners, who demand the administration of Holy Communion when they are sick, and still more when they are facing death. The third class is the class of those who want it not merely for Reservation for the sick but for ulterior purposes. The demand for Reservation does not come from that class. They know that, if the Deposited Book were accepted, there is an end to their illegality. That is the reason why the extreme Anglo-Catholics are against it. Is it not perfectly obvious that they do not regard this Book as giving -Clem what they want, and that the demand does not come from them? The demand comes from those who want it for the sick and the dying.

Let us face the facts. Is it the case that they want to attach some new or different meaning to their Church's doctrine? No such thing. It is well known that in recent years, in many parishes, a greater use has been made of Holy Communion. It is inevitable, where people who are accustomed to communicate are sick or are facing death, that they will call upon the priest to administer Communion to them. What is the priest to do? What can he do? This desire in the heart; of his parishioners is the very best proof of the efficacy and the success of his work. It is that for which he has been striving. Is he to refuse it? Take the priest who may have as many as 30 or 40 calls from the sick of his parish at one time. He cannot possibly meet those demands if on every occasion he has to go through the whole service. The House will remember that, at the present time, the whole Service has to be read, and that the priest has to communicate himself. No one can think it right that a priest should be forced to communicate 30 or 40 rimes a, week. The suggestion that any change of doctrine is involved is surely absurd. A man who is ill or dying has no thought of doctrine in his mind. He merely wants to hear again, perhaps for the last time, the words of comfort and hope.

To suggest that this Reservation is implying change of doctrine is, I submit, absurd. I say affirmatively that the permission of this practice is to be desired. It ought to be permitted on its merits, and because it is right and meets a real, legitimate demand. If you think it is right, and that it ought to be done on the same day, why is it wrong if it is done on the second day? What difference of doctrine does it make to me if I receive Communion in bed or at the Lord's table? Neither in the heart of the priest nor in the heart of the recipient is there any idea of change of doctrine. The priest hurries away from Church to administer to a parishioner on the other side of the road. Is there any change of doctrine? If not, then what is this change? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) put a dilemma before us on the last occasion which does not arise. It was based upon a premise that was altogether false. He said that either the promoters of the Measure are touching no material point of doctrine, are doing something so small that they will satisfy no one, or they are making a doctrinal change. As if there could be nothing big, nothing satisfying unless it involved doctrine! For the overworked earnest priest this is more than big—it is necessity—but it is not doctrine. What we are asking for is that the priest should be able to bring consolation to the sick and dying. If it be the Christian duty of our Church to be in a position to administer Holy Communion to the sick and dying, are we to shirk that duty, because we fear that sometimes an improper use may be made of the Reserved Elements? That surely is a strange argument to advance. Do you forbid motoring because some motorists may drive to the danger of the public and because it leaves in its train a huge death-roll? Surely the logical attitude is: make your law, make it clear, make it reasonable, and then enforce it.

The nation spends millions a year on the physical comforts of the sick and dying. Is this House to deny them spiritual comfort I ask the House to remember the accident wards in the hospitals. Many hon. Members, perhaps, have not had much experience of them, but at any moment of the day or night a man may be brought there,, and on his bed of suffering he may be longing for the last time for the Body and Blood of Christ. No doctrine touches him; he only wants to receive the Bread and Wine and hear once again those words of comfort. There is no time for more, and, if there were, he could not bear it. I ask the House, is a great national Church to say to that man, "No, we cannot help you; you must not turn to us; you must send for a. Roman Catholic priest or die alone"? For myself, I believe that the safeguards are adequate. I believe that the great bulk of the extremists will loyally accept them, but if any man has once sat by the bedside of someone dying, someone knowing that he was dying and longing for the priest to come, he would not vote against this Book. Sincerity in this matter is not confined to those who are against this Book. We claim our due share of it, and though I know that there is much for which I shall bow my head in shame when I stand at a greater Bar than this, I thank God that enough has come my way to save me from a vote against this Measure.


The Home Secretary this afternoon expressed, and I am sure received the sympathy of the whole House in expressing, the difficulty of the position that he occupied in addressing it on the lines that he did. I am sure that the whole House must recognise, not only his sincerity, but his courage, in undertaking such a task and performinig it in the way that he did. For my part, I am not asking the House to listen to me for a very few moments because I have any personal desire to speak. If I consulted my personal desires on such a question as this, I should not only not speak, but should not vote either. I wish I could be free of all concern with this great trouble to which the Church has been put, and the nation, too; but I am a citizen of this country, I am a representative of my constituents, and if, with such a grave issue before us, I refused to speak or refused to vote, that, on my part —I am not judging others—would be an act of cowardice. Therefore, I take my part, with whatever consequences may ensue. I think, however, that for the most part I can render the best service in this Debate, not by following the lines which have already been taken yesterday and to-day, but particularly speaking from my own standpoint; I would like to make one preliminary remark.

We have been told, however, that this Book is the result of 20 years' long and arduous work. I always recognise arduous and devoted work, no matter by whom, and, when sympathy is asked for devoted men—for I cast no aspersions on anybody in this matter, because I believe that all are striving to act sincerely and honestly—when sympathy is asked, I am one of the last men to refuse a response to such an appeal. But, if sympathy is to govern the line that we take on this great issue, there are conflicting sympathies, and my sympathies, under those conditions, do not go in the direction of those who make the appeal. My sympathies go out to the tens of thousands of devoted, faithful, churchmen and churchwomen up and down the country who, I know, are troubled in their hearts by this Book, and who believe, rightly or wrongly, that by its proposals their Church is being undermined and they are practically losing the faith of their fathers. If sympathy were to govern this matter, my sympathy would go in that direction. But it seems to me that it is dangerous from any standpoint to talk of sympathy at the expense of principle. There are great principles involved in this issue, and the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Altrincham (Mr. Atkinson) seemed to me to utterly fail to face those principles. The hon. and learned Member seemed to be talking about a domestic Church of his own; he appeared to be simply talking with other members of that Church and arguing with them, and seemed altogether to forget that his Church is a Church which has priority. I am one of those who believe in absolute equality for all aspects of religious thought.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Hear, hear!


I want all men to be perfectly free to worship God according to their conscience. We have shown our determination to secure that by ourselves going out from the Church, or rather, refusing to join it on conscientious grounds, and have become Nonconformists; and we have paid the price of our nonconformity. Let those who want that which is regarded as contrary to the general feelings of the Church pay the same price. Why should we and our fathers before us be deprived of the rights and privileges of the Established Church when it appears that the trouble within the Established Church is not due to Nonconformists outside the Church, but is caused by nonconformists inside the Church I How they have been able to do it I do not understand. We are outside because we cannot conform. We understood that they joined because they could conform, and yet they are the nonconformists who produce all this trouble. I take this House to witness, I take the country to witness, that this great trouble, which is not ended yet, has not been brought about by the Nonconformists outside the Church, but has been brought about by the nonconformists inside the Church. It is about time, if they will not obey the Church's ordinances, that they should realise that they should do what we have done, that is to say, clain the right and the freedom for which my hon. and gallant Friend asks. Let them, in a Church of their own, follow their own conscience and do as we have done in that direction.

I want to make my position clear. I do not believe in the Establishment; I never have believed in it. I have never felt able to believe in it, not because I think so little of religion, but because I think so much of it. Religion is the one supreme thing which cannot be established. Religion never has been established, and never can be established; all that has been done has been to establish a form of religion; and the result of that is this: That supreme thing, religion, which is the only thing in our life that can ever unite mankind, can only do so in the spirit. The moment it is reduced to a form it is made, not a unifying force, but a dividing one, and you have the Conformists on the one hand and the Nonconformists on the other—a result which, to ray mind, is detrimental to religion and. to the State. Therefore, on principle, I am opposed utterly to any Establishment at all.

Holding that view, I was in my early days one of those who, I think, were described as militant Nonconformists. We took our stand definitely on the principle that it was not fair or just that one Church should have any priority over any other, but that all should have equality before the law. Many years ago the Free Church Council was formed, and, in the formation of that Free Church Council, as I have understood it, the members of the Free Churches determined, at present at any rate, to emphasise the positive aspect of their faith rather than the negative aspect. Since that time, not abating any of our views and convictions, we have been acquiescent in the State Church. We do not accept it in principle, but we have been acquiescent, and that is why it is that there is no religious strife from outside; all the religious strife in the Church is from inside. We have not raised this question; it has been raised by the members of the Church's own household; but we have watched the course of events, and some of us have felt that our conscientious convictions have been greatly concerned. When I have heard in this House of what is supposed to be authorised by the present Constitution of the Church, and what is still going on, apparently, unconstitutionally in the Church, I am sorely troubled and strained as to what one's duty is; but my position, very respectfully, is this, that I desire to continue in that acquiescence which the Free Churches have manifested during the last 20 years.

If we were what some people charge us with being, namely, merely political nonconformists, we would take advantage of the Church's troubles now, and come out ourselves directly on behalf of Disestablishment. I do not wish to do anything of the kind; I want to continue as I have been doing, and to be able still to acquiesce in this established form of religion. But we have only acquiesced in it because we have assumed all through that the Church established by law is a Reformed Church. If it is not a Reformed Church, if the intention is to go back on the Reformation, the limits of our acquiescence are passed, and we are compelled to follow our own convictions as citizens and say that we will not any longer assent to a Church under those conditions anal involving such practices, which, while we recognise the right of others in a Free Church to follow them, we absolutely refuse to recognise to-day in an Established Church. We should have no other course but to carry on that fight, and so we watch this Debate with the keenest anxiety.

If this Measure is thrown out again, as I believe it ought to be, we will continue in our acquiescence, we will leave the troubles in the Church to be decided by the Church. It may, however, be that this Measure, unhappily, will be passed. I am not trying to study mere details, like the hon. and learned Member for Altrincham, but am watching the grave trend of events. The issue is between two tendencies and between two trends. Which is the trend of the Church to-day? Is it in the direction pro-Reformation or anti-Reformation? It is one or the other. As far as we can see, it is now anti-Reformation, and if that is the trend you leave us no alternative. We cannot go back on the principles we have held so long and must maintain as long as we live. We do not want religious strife, and I say as a man advanced in years, with but little time left, the one thing I crave for more than all else is religious progress. I want with all my strength to prevent the recurrence of religious strife. If religious strife comes, not only religion but social reform will be hampered. I put the two together, religious progress and social progress, and I do not want strife in State or Church to hinder either. If this course be taken, it seems to me we shall have no alternative, those of us who hold the views I do, and which I am trying respectfully to present, but to revive that old militant Nonconformity as the only course whereby we can justify our actions and our principles.

I may be asked, Am I speaking purely for myself? I speak my own views according to my own convictions, but I think I represent the views of the Free Churches much more than certain very prominent Nonconformists who have found it necessary—I have not done so—to write letters to the "Times" expressing their sympathy and advising what should be done. I think they are entirely out of accord with the trend of the Free Churches with which they are identified. I hold in my hand the copy of a cablegram which comes from Dr. J. D. Jones and Dr. Sidney Berry, who are heading the Congregational pilgrimage to America, and they have cabled: Dr. J. D. Jones and Dr. Berry desire to state that Dr. Selbie's letter to the "Times" and his speech to Nonconformist M.Ps. in support of the revised Prayer Book represent a purely personal position. It not only does not represent Congregationalism but flatly contradicts the considered judgment of the denomination as expressed in the resolution passed by the Congregational Union Assembly in May. Dr. Jones and Dr. Berry are anxious that the position of Congregationalism should not again be misrepresented in Parliament. I am not a Congregationalist. I am a Baptist, and I merely refer to that fact because the name of one Member of this House is put down to the Motion in favour of this Measure, and he is a Baptist Minister. I am a Baptist layman, but I claim that I represent the Baptist denomination far better, in the view I am taking, than he does. I hold in my hand a letter that I have received from my friend Mr. Aubrey, the Secretary of the Baptist Union. He says in it: The great point to impress is that the few Free Churchmen who have written to the "Times" represent hardly anybody but themselves. The Federal Council of the Free Churches, the Free Church Council, the Congregational Union, the Baptists and other Free Church bodies have all passed resolutions opposing the Book that allows of Reservation, The overwhelming mass of Free Church opinion is against it, and Members of Parliament ought to he in no sort of doubt about that. I think I have fairly represented those views, and I therefore conclude with one word. This is not the first time this matter has been before the House. We had it last year. We gave it the most deliberate and careful consideration. We came to a definite decision. We are told on high authority that what is before us is the same thing to all intents and purposes as what was before us then. Are we going to stultify ourselves by giving a different vote now from the vote we gave then on absolutely -the same matter? It is not only the stability of the Church that is at stake. It is also the stability of our great representative institution, the House of Commons, that is at stake. The country looks to this House for some stability of judgment, that we are not pulled here and there by any passing movement, that cur judgments are firm judgments guiding us in the votes we give, and if in December last we refused this Measure and now, in June, accept it, what will be the opinion of the country as to their con- fidence in a House which does not know its own mind six months together? In the interest of the House, in the interest, as I believe, of your Church, I am here opposing this Measure and I can do no other, therefore, than give my vote against it.


The hon. Member who has just spoken began his speech, like other speakers, by commenting on the allegation that this Measure is quite unchanged, as many great authorities have said. I think there is a certain confusion of thought about the changes that have been introduced into the Book and into the Measure. From the point of view of the Church Assembly and of the supporters of the Book, the changes are not of essential importance. They clew- up misunderstandings and that is all. But from the point of view of those who opposed the Book last December—the majority of the House—some, at any rate, of the changes are of essential importance—of the most vital and far-reaching importance. Take, for example, the inclusion of the Black Rubric. We were told last December by speakers Gf great authority, by amongst others the present 'Lord Chancellor, then Sir Douglas Hogg, who spoke with great power against the Measure and who very largely founded himself upon the allegation, that whether it was intended or not, the Book vas in favour of Transubstantiation because the Black Rubric was not repeated at the end of the new form of Communion Service. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Londonderry (Sir M. Macnaghten) took a similar line. It is not open to them to deny that now, t any rate, it is perfectly clear that there is not Transubstantiation in the new Book or the new Measure. From their point of view a change of the most far-reaching character has been made, because whereas in their judgment under the old Book it contained the. danger of Transubstantiation, now by the remedy prescribed by themselves having been adopted, aid by the insertion of the Black Rubric, which they thought a complete safeguard against Transubstantiation, the danger of which they were afraid has been wholly averted. It is just the same with other things. The changes in the new Book explain misapprehensimis quite sincerely felt, and treated therefore rightly with the utmost possible respect. Take, again, the second Rubric in regard to Reservation, which has given offence to some extreme Anglo-Catholics. There, again, some people were afraid that the Sacrament would be allowed to be reserved, that licence would be given for its reservation when it was needed for some purpose of Adoration and not merely for the Communion for the sick. The Rubric is therefore developed and set out at full length, so that it might be clear that it is for the Communion of the sick, and for no other purpose. From the point of view of supporters of the Measure that is mere explanation, but from the point of view of opponents, who are anxious to know whether the Measure really was limited to Communion of the sick, it is surely an important change, because it makes it abundantly clear that it was only for Communion of the sick that Reservation was to be allowed.

I listened with great attention and profound respect to the very interesting speech of the Home Secretary, but very little of it seemed to have any bearing on the Measure. It had interesting historical theories. We had great praise of Parliament. We had a long, very able attack upon the Anglo-Catholic movement. We had some criticisms, though not so many as last December, upon episcopal action. All these things may be right or wrong, but they do not seem to me to be arguments for voting against the Measure to-night. If the Home Secretary's speech were logically pursued—though I do not suspect that he would pursue it logically—it would lead to driving the whole High Church party out of the Church of England. We are not going to vote about that to-night. I do not believe more than a very few Members of the House in the least desire any such result. Nor are we going to impeach the Bishops. If we were to go back to the precedents of the sixteenth century, that would have been a quite possible course. We might have a Bill of pains and penalties depriving the Bishop of London of his Bishopric, and it would be interesting to hear his defence, I admit. But that is not the proposal. The Bishops are there, good or bad. If there is to be any discipline in the Church, any order in the Church, any peace in the Church, it must be under episcopal supervision. The question really is whether you can expect good government in the Church if you refuse the governors of the Church the change in machinery which they declare by an overwhelming majority they regard as indispensable. I cannot believe that anyone, setting aside all theories about Church and State and 'the like, and just looking at the plain facts of the case, who recognises that the Bishops have in fact to do the job—no one can do it for them; no one can do it but them; no one can guide and rule and lead the Church except the Bishops—can doubt that it is a very imprudent thing to refuse their well-considered plans, twice carefully reviewed and sent up by overwhelming majorities with the concurrence of the clergy and laity.

When I hear the hon. Gentleman say that those who do not conform to the point of view of the Church should leave the Church, does he realise that this Measure has been supported in every diocesan conference in England before which it has come, including two diocesan conferences, at any rate, where the Bishop was opposed, and has been carried by majorities of clergy and laity in every diocesan conference except the laity at Liverpool, who were against it? What is the sense of saying that people should leave the Church? I do not say anything of the kind. If anybody was to leave the Church it would be the Home Secretary. On that reasoning, he is the person to leave the Church. I want to answer three questions very briefly. Does this alter the doctrine of the Church? Does it make for order? Does it make for peace? These are the three questions which our votes have to decide. I say that it does not change the doctrine of the Church, for this doctrine has always been the doctrine expressed in the Consecration Prayer, always held and always taught in the Church of England. The Solicitor-General referred to but did not read the very striking summary of Eucharistic teaching of the services in Archbishop Temple and Archbishop Maclagan's answer to the Pope, a document of very great importance, written no doubt after consultation with other Bishops. It was addressed to all the Bishops in the Catholic Church, and was a pronouncement of very unusual importance and of an official character.

What they state is almost exactly what the new Prayer Book expressly says. I will read as little as possible: Further we truly teach the doctrine of Eucharistic Sacrifice and do not believe it to be a nude commemoration of the Sacrifice of the Crows,' an opinion which seems to he attributed to us by the quotation made from that Council. But we think it sufficient in the Liturgy which we use in celebrating the Holy Eucharist—while lifting up our hearts to the Lord, and when now consecrating the gifts already offered that they may become to us the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ,"— These are actually the very words to which so much objection is often taken in the New Prayer— to signify the sacrifice is offered at that point of the service in such terms as these. We continue a perpetual memory of the precious death of Christ, who is our Advocate with the Father and the propitiation of our sins, according to His precept, until His coming again. For first we offer the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; then next we plead and represent before the Father the sacrifice of the cross, and by it we confidently entreat the remission of sins and all other benefits of the Lord's Passion for the whole Church; and lastly we offer the sacrifice of ourselves to the Creator of all things which we have already signified by the oblations of His creatures. This whole action, in which the people has necessarily to take its part with the Priest, we are accustomed to call the Eucharistic sacrifice. No one who reads that can have the least doubt that there is no difference in doctrine whatever between the old Prayer Book and the doctrine expressed in the alternative Prayer allowed in the New Book. The case is perfectly plain. I could quote a great deal more, but it takes up too much time. One quotation I will repeat, because it comes from Bishop Ridley, and he speaks in these words: The heavenly Lamb is, as I confess, on the Table: hut by a spiritual presence and not after any corporeal presence of the flesh. That, again, perfectly conforms with the language of the New Book. Both the Church of England and the Church of Rome maintain the reality of Consecration. It is about the effect of Consecration about which there is a certain degree of disagreement. The question is, Does it cause Transubstantiation Y It is perfectly clear to anyone who reads the Deposited Book that it is not touched by that Book, because after Consecration the Elements are always spoken of as bread and wine. In the 16th century Transubstantiation implied that the bread had lost its metaphysical character, not its character in respect of the matter susceptible to the senses, but its metaphysical essence, what was called its substance, and therefore it was no longer, after Consecration, true bread. That was made then the test of the acceptance or rejection of Transubstantiation, and it is perfectly clear that the New Book plainly defines tie position. The bread is after Consecration, as before, true bread. I pass from these points, as I am anxious to get on to one other quotation from Bishop Wilson, a great divine of the 11th cent try. He was a very great man, one of the great Anglican saints and also, interestingly, he was ordained a priest in 1689, and was made Bishop of Sodor and Man by the Lord Derby of the day, who was then Lord of Man, about 1697. He left certain private devotions, a page or two of which he devoted to the Lord's Supper. This is how he began: Private devotions at the Altar, taken out of the most ancient Offices of the Church, to render our present Communion Service more agreeable to apostolic usage, and more acceptable (I hope) to God, and beneficial to all that partake thereof. Until it shall please God to put it into the hearts and power of such as ought to do it, to restore to us the first service of Edward VI., or such as shall be more conformable to the appointment of Christ and His Apostles, and their successors. Which may the Divine Majesty vouchsafe to grant for His sake Who first ordained this Holy Sacrament. That is a prayer that may be said to be granted by the present proposals. He says in his private prayers immediately after the Prayer of Consecration: We give Thee thanks for these and for all Thy mercies; beseeching Thee to send down Thy Holy Spirit upon This Sacrifice, that He may make this bread the Body of Thy Christ, and this cup the Blood of Thy Christ … and that all we, who are partakers thereof, may thereby obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of His Passion. That goes lather further, of course, than the Prayer in the Deposited Book. It calls attention to one thing, that the Prayer is taken from the primitive Church. Yesterday we had some people talking of it as a Protestant and some as a Roman Catholic Prayer. They missed the point of it. It goes far beyond the controversies of the 16th century, back to the primitive Church. The hon. and learned Member for Londonderry, said that the Irish Church was committed to the position of looking to the primitive Church for guidance. I forget the phrase he quoted. If you look to the primitive Church for guidance, this is taken straight from the primitive Church. If we were to go back to those great councils which settled the Nicene Creed, if the Home Secretary and I had been assisting, as in that age we no doubt should, we should have been summoned, not as members of the Council, which was confined to Bishops, but no doubt as laity for advice as attendants upon the Emperor Constantine or one of the other Emperors. If we had been there and had gone to Church, we should have heard a prayer very like the prayer put forward in the new Book.

It is asked how did this originate? Whom is it to please? It is to please the moderate, law-abiding, reasonable Anglo-Catholic party, not the extreme party, who do not like it and reject it. If anyone has read Bishop Gore's very interesting work on these subjects called "The Body of Christ," they will find that certain changes in the Service are sketched in the last chapter. I need not say that he entirely rejects the doctrine of Transubstantiation. This Prayer Book was desired not in order to effect the change of doctrine but to give a more acceptable devotional expression to the doctrine that was already dealt with.

As to Reservation, we are told that you never can have Reservation without Adoration. Yet people seem hardly to be aware that Reservation existed in the Catholic Church. Beginning as far back as the second century, and going right on, there was no Adoration at all during all those centuries until the 11th century. In the Eastern Church there has never been any corporate Adoration of the Sacrament. I have been told by someone that even in the Russian Church—I do not know whether it was in the other Eastern Churches—no sign of the Adoration of the Sacrament is made. An Anglican layman wished to see, and the priest said, "I will show it to you, because I know you know our customs," meaning that he knew he would see no signs of Adoration of the Sacrament when it was unveiled. It was very carefully wrapped up and concealed. So he saw it. I mention that story to show that it is not at all true that the practice of Adoration always follows Reservation. It is quite untrue. If you take all the times and all the places in which the Sacrament has been reserved, I suppose that in the overwhelming majority of cases where it has been reserved there has been no corporate service of Adoration whatever. So much for changes in doctrine. It is not contended that the mere practice of reserving the sick raises any question of doctrine. Whatever is believed about the Sacrament in Church can equally be well believed if the Sacrament is carried to the sick.

6.0 p.m.

I pass to the question, Will it give more order to the Church? Will it give better peace to the Church? As to order, we have had these 2,000 clergy quoted to us. They made a declaration about doctrine. It would be a mistake to assume that that is a declaration of disobedience in point of action. Taking it rightly or wrongly—that is not my business to consider—they think, of course, that these doctrines having been challenged it is their duty to re-affirm their assent to them. But it would be quite a mistake, a profound mistake, to suppose that every one of those clergy would refuse obedience. As things now are, there are said to be about 700 Churches in which the Sacrament is reserved and, I believe, about 100 in which there are any of these practices to which exception is naturally taken in this House. In point of fact, the actual cases of corporate Services of Adoration, though they bulk very large in controversy here, bulk very small in the life of the Church. Inquiry has been made in the diocese of Leicester and it has been ascertained that in all the hundreds of benefices there, there were only four or five at most where they would make any objection about obedience to the Book. When I say that obedience will be given to the Book. I do not mean that there will be a campaign of prosecution. I agree with what the Home Secretary said on that point. You cannot, as he pointed out, really deprive a clergyman of his benefice without an infinitely cumbersome process. You cannot deprive a clergy- man without exciting a great deal of sympathy. The House will remember an unfortunate case which happened the other day in regard to a slight moral offence, and how much sympathy was at once excited for the affected incumbent. If it had been a question about some clergyman who performed some Service which was disapproved by a numerous body in his congregation, which might be a large body, but approved enthusiastically and warmly by another large body, you would have had the whole country in a storm of agitation. It is not by coercive discipline, but it is by the pressure of opinion—the pressure of opinion expressed by the Bishop, expressed by his fellow clergy and expressed in the last resort by some form of censure by the synod of the diocese, that you will obtain obedience.

Under that kind of pressure, those who know the Church of England are confident that, except in a few instances, order would be restored. Then, as time goes on, we could build up within the Church a tradition of obedience instead of the present tradition of disobedience. That is Where the new Prayer Book Measure will make a great difference as compared with the present position, where everyone is obliged to disobey the law, as it is impossible to do otherwise. You may say that you approve of this or disapprove of that. Take the position of an incumbent who thinks that certain things are very valuable. Someone says: "You should not say the Athanasian Creed," or someone says, "So and so should not have the previously prescribed Marriage Service read from the Book," and so on. You cannot expect him to agree that he should be held to be a law breaker, if he does things which he believes are of profound religious significance and most valuable to the spiritual welfare of his flock. Naturally, he says, "If you are going to enforce the law, you must enforce it all round." That is not possible now; you cannot do that now.

Suppose you have a law which all reasonable and practicable people, including all the most learned and most distinguished and most powerfully-minded among the Anglo-Catholics themselves can keep, then you can say to those who do not obey: "Is it reasonable for you to stand out I All these other people obey what is certainly the judgment of the Church. Why should you be the only disobedient person?" This pressure of professional opinion would, I believe, have the desired effect, because people do not lice, especially those who believe in emphasising their Catholic position, to be isolated, and they would be gradually brought round to conform to what is a reasonable and proper standard of law. Suppose one of my hon. Friends were appointed Governor of one of the Dependencies of the Empire and found there a g teat religious dispute, and that there was a great deal of disorder arising, that some would not obey the religious orders of the High Priest of the district, and that that caused great confusion. Suppose someone came forward with a plan and said: "Ninety-five per cent, will obey if this plan is adopted. If you will be pleased to confirm it by the authority of the State, 95 per cent. will be satisfied, and the other 5 per cent. will gradually come in in process of time." In those circumstances, would not any Member of this HOUSE adopt just the same policy that the Bishops have adopted? The best possible policy is to appease the well-instructed and learned men and then trust to the more extreme and unlearned brethren coming in, under pressure. Eventually, that will mean peace in the Church.

With regard to peace in the Church, there seems to be apprehension. The hon. Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. G. Thorne, addressed himself to that subject. No one wishes to trouble the peace of the Evangelicals in the Church of England. It is admitted that in the new Book the clergy are made absolutely safe. A congregation may want to adopt anything that is in the Deposited Book and the Bishop may want to do so, but the clergyman is absolute master in regard to adhering to the old Book, if he desires so to do. No clergyman of the Church of England can be obliged to depart from the old Book. It is said that a clergyman may impose on his congregation, with the consent of the Bishop, something vexatious within the new Book. I think we may rest assured that the provision with regard to appeal to the Bishop is really a valuable safeguard. At the present time, before the passage of the new Book, there is no safeguard at all. If a clergyman desires to disregard the wishes of his congregation, he can do so, and some do so, not only Anglo-Catholics but others. It is not merely an Anglo-Catholic characteristic to tread on the corns of your congregation. It is a characteristic common to certain human nature. There are people who always wish to have their own way, whether other people like it or not.

I have talked to a great many churchmen about this point, and I know how deeply this question is felt not only in this House but outside it, but I have never found even the most extreme leaders, even the most extreme Anglo-Catholics, who did not say, "We fully agree with you that it is wrong to force these things on a reluctant congregation." If you can appeal to public opinion, including an appeal to the advanced Anglo-Catholic opinion, you may have them on your side. The appeal to the Bishop does make the thing public property, and you have the public opinion of the whole Church, including indirectly the opinion of the whole bench of Bishops, and all moderate, temperate opinion brought to bear upon the dispute. Can hon. Members suggest any better method of giving the laity a remedy in respect of any grievance which they may have? There is no process such as that at the present time. The hon. Member for Hereford (Sir S. Roberts) who moved the rejection of the Measure said that if you could have today a Choral Celebration with vestments and lights, that that is as alien to and as offensive to Evangelical feelings as anything that is described in the new Book. Under the existing law you can, if you wish, give a great deal of pain to your congregation. Will hon. Members observe that in the new Deposited Book not only in respect of what is fresh in that Book, but in respect of what there is in the old Book, there is given the right of appeal to the Bishop in order that the matter may be brought to his notice. That is a general right given to the laity.

My hon. Friend the Member for Hereford spoke about this being a movement towards priestcraft. Surely, he is mistaken? This is not a movement towards priestcraft, because, although the AngloCatholics may have made progress, there has been no gain in priestcraft. On the contrary, the laity stand in a far stronger position than they did 70 years ago. They are called into the councils of the Church. They have a House of Laity; they have Chambers of Laity in every diocesan conference, and they have, parochial church councils. That is something that could not possibly have happened in the Church of Rome. That is absolutely alien to the Church of Rome. That is a movement which to the ultramontane mind is far more intolerable than any sacramental question. In reality, therefore, whatever may have been the case in the 16th century, the real difference between the Church of Rome and the Church of England is that one is a Church of authority or, as we should say, of despotism, and the other is a Church of liberty, or, as they sometimes say, of anarchy. We stand for liberty, and this Bill but regulates and organises that liberty and makes it, hope, consistent with the reverent worship of God and the saving of the souls of those committed to the Church.

We were told by the hon. Member who has just spoken that we must not depart from the Reformation. We are not dreaming of anything of the kind. We could not possibly do it if we wished to do so. The first Reformed Book, the Book of Cranmer contained everything of principle that is suggested in this new Book. Let me draw attention to a passage from the historian Froude that is worthy of attention. I do not entirely like the method of its expression. When he wrote he was in a state of theological Liberalism, detached from the Church of England, and had contempt for some aspects of it. This is what he said of the use of the Prayer Book of 1559: The object had been so to frame the constitution of the Church of England that disloyalty alone should exclude a single English subject from its communion Who in any true sense could be called a Christian; so to frame its formulas that they might be patient of a Catholic or Protestant interpretation, according to the views of this or that sect of the people, that the Church should profess and teach a uniform doctrine in essentials—as the word was understood by the latitudinarians of the age; while in non-essentials it should contain ambiguous phrases resembling the many watchwords which divided the world; and thus enable Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist and Zwinglian to insist each that the Church of England was theirs. That was rather cynically written. But it is true that it was an essential feature of the English Reformation that, while there was to be unity about essentials, there was to be diversity about non-essentials. That is the characteristic feature of the English Reformation and, surely, it is wise. We cannot all think alike. Christianity in the Gospels contemplates various methods by which Christ is approached. On essentials we must be united—on Christianity, on the main purpose of our religion; on essentials within the Eucharist we must be united; on the main process of access to Christ and the personal union with Him. You read in the Gospels of two miracles of our Lord. One, where the centurion would not even trouble Him to go down to his house, but was satisfied with the spoken word which would heal the servant who was ill. The other miracle was that of the poor woman who felt, in her simple mind, that if she could touch the hem of His garment she would be healed. The hard rationalist would say: "How could the hem of the garment do any good? How could the Divine healing power pass through the hem of the garment?" The faith of both was blessed. The word was spoken to each: Thy faith hath made thee whole. Cannot we imitate the lesson that is taught by these very moving stories 4 If you approach Christ in faith, you may believe this or that, your opinion about the mode of His manifestation in the Eucharist may be this or that, but, if in sincere truth you are approaching Him, you will receive the gift that He has ordained. And so I say that, in that essential truth, we are not divided, but utterly one. Whoever it be—the whole body of the clergy of this country, from the extreme Anglo-Catholic who likes to talk about the Mass and Eucharistic devotions to the old-fashioned Evangelical who preaches to his flock from the Gospels, and teaches them that they must be healed by the precious Blood of Christ, all are united in that great essential of faith and devotion in the: Master. Divided in non-essentials, in that essential they are utterly one.


The only thing which reconciles me to the difficult task of following the Noble Lord in a Debate such as this is the fact that it is seldom given to any hon. Member of this House to oppose the arguments of his own representative, and I hope I shall be able to traverse many of the statements which the Noble Lord has made in his very moving speech. I speak with considerable diffidence in a matter of this kind, as indeed every hon. Member must. Like many of my colleagues I was moved by the very stirring concluding paragraphs of the letter which the Archbishop of Canterbury published only a few days ago. He spoke of an old man dreaming dreams. I speak to-day because I feel that sometimes young men see visions, and the vision I see, if this Measure is passed, is one of a terrible political calamity, terrible distress within and without the Church. Some hon. Members who spoke yesterday said that those who were opposing the Measure did so out of a sense of fear. I trust that is not the case, and that every hon. Member will give his decision according to his own judgment. But if there is any question of fear it has been brought to us by those organisations supported by the promoters of this Measure who took their lead from the statement made by the Bishop of Durham after the last rejection of the Measure, and are trying to raise the bogy of disestablishment from within the Church.

In the pamphlet of the League of Loyalty and Order, which has been referred to, it is stated in so many words that if we refuse to pass this Measure disestablishment must be raised as a cry. Hon. Members who think that should reflect on the words which have just fallen from the hon. Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. G. Thorne). There is no case in the history of any country in which the Church has asked for divorce from the State. In my reading of history I find that it has been the State which has cut off the Church, a very different matter indeed from the point raised by the Bishop of Durham and those who feel with him. If the Church feels that she has a vocation to fulfil in the life of the nation, are we to believe that the Church will come voluntarily and ask for a judicial separation? It is not in that way that this problem works out.

It is claimed by the supporters of this Measure that its passage will restore peace to the Church. It is because I am so certain that it will not restore peace that I feel so strongly about it. The Noble Lord spoke about doctrine. It is most difficult to discuss such matters, and I will say nothing about Consecration Prayers, concerning which he gave us his own version, except to ask hon. Members to bear in mind the words of the Bishop of Exeter, with whose views the Noble Lord must have at least a fraternal knowledge, to the effect that— The new form of Consecration Prayer brings us no nearer to our Catholic brethren whilst it deepens the gulf which separates us from the Protestant Church. That is what the Noble Lord's brother has said, and that is the position which many of us feel to be the right one on so difficult an issue. But it is not only in the Consecration Prayer in the service of Holy Communion that difficulty arises. There are other points which have been left on one side so far, but they are still there. I turn to the Ecclesiastical Committee's Report on this Measure last year, and I find that protests were made against other things which are introduced into this Book. Mass Vestments, the word "Altar," the mixed Chalice, the Wafer, the Invocation, Prayer for the dead, and the Reservation of the Consecrated Elements; they were all before the Ecclesiastical Committee, and they are all points on which the new Book has gone back to the old Prayer Book of 1549. I want to deal with the argument that the reason for the introduction of the new Book is in order to meet the needs of the modern age. It has been repeated again and again; yet in these most essential points you have gone back to the year 1549, more than 100 years further back than the existing Prayer Book in order to meet the needs of the modern age!

To my mind to refer to the needs of the modern age is a most fallacious argument. Revealed religion, based on the faith of those who belong to it, is not an empirical thing, it is not to be measured in the terms of medical science. You cannot analyse its result and say that in a modern age we must change our formulae. It is not in that way that the religion of the ordinary people of this country works. The Noble Lord has talked learnedly, as befits the representative of a distinguished university, of the intellectual appeal there is behind these changes in the new Book, but the ordinary common or garden man in this country, the ordinary people, have a perfect right to their own views in these matters! That is one of the essential foundations of the reformed religion, the right of private judgment, and it is no good coming to this House as the Noble Lord should have learned long ago and making an appeal to the intellectual section of the community only.

We claim to speak the opinions of the general public, and I will give some indication why we do so. I speak here on behalf of my own constituents. Before the rejection of the Measure last year, out of 78 ecclesiastical parishes into which my constituency is divided, I only had resolutions from 15, less than 20 per cent., expressing views one way or the other. After the Measure was rejected I gave my reasons in the local Press, having been unable to speak on that occasion. Since the present Measure has been under consideration, efforts have been made to get resolutions sent to me in favour of the new Book. I have seen letters which have been addressed to every incumbent and every rural dean, and at the end I have had resolutions from six church councils in favour of the Book, and two from ruri-deaconal conferences; and nothing else. I claim, therefore, that I can say that there is no overwhelming desire at all in that part of the country for the proposed changes.

The Noble Lord spoke about discipline and order. May I give a personal example. At this time when the whole question is sub judice and awaiting the decision of this House, one would have imagined that people in authority would have refrained from anticipating events. The Bishop of Oxford, who is almost as learned as the Noble Lord, perhaps a little more learned, I will not attempt to decide between them, said in his charge that in his opinion the nearest to doctrinal change was the permissive use of Prayers for the Departed, yet only three Sundays ago I found in my own Cathedral Church the Dean, who is the authority for carrying out the services, himself inviting the congregation to offer such prayers. That is why we find it so difficult to believe in the cry that order will be restored in the Church if the Measure is passed. The hon. and learned Member for Altrinoham (Mr. Atkinson) said that the opponents of the Book pick out a few cases of abuse, and said that they were going to be legalised by the Measure. That is not the root of the argument. Our own observation over a period of many years tells us that nothing is done to check these illegalities, and that is why we are so desperately afraid and so terribly suspicious for the future. We do not see how this Measure is going to help in the restoration of order.

Let me put this point to the Noble Lord. You are still allowing the old Book, still allowing the incumbent to carry on the present services. It passes my comprehension how you can expect him to do both. There is a difference in words and there will be a difference in the form of the ceremonies. An incumbent on three or four Sundays in a month will be conducting the Service of Holy Communion in one way and on the other Sunday in another way. How can you expect an incumbent to switch himself from one to the other? If there is no essential difference, why have an alternative? If there was no alternative I could see some chance of a restoration of uniformity. In the preface to the Act of 1662, it is laid down that there shall be one service throughout the whole realm. That was a desideratum then. It is not a desideratum now. To-day you are going to have alternative services.

That is where the stumbling block comes in. There is a safeguard:—One service in the month in certain circumstances will be from the Prayer Book of 1662, but there is a most extraordinary omission in the Measure, perhaps not intended; there is no provision that in the month in which Easter conies one of these services shall be on Easter day, and yet that day is one of the days when every confirmed member of the Church is enjoined by the Prayer Book to go to Celebration. On that day, under this Measure, he may be deprived of the service under the old Book. I do not think you are going to get discipline back on these lines. I am told by a constituent that the changes in the Deposited Book are not so much in the direction of Roman Catholicism as to ideas in vogue before the Eastern Church was separated from the Western Church. If Canterbury and York want to go back neither to Rome or to Tennessee, why should they want to go back to Antioch or Constantinople?

Hon. Members will remember the old quotation: Play the man Master Ridley, we shall this day light such a candle in England as by God's grace shall not be put out. That candle, that light, still shines. It needs to be brighter, to be snuffed, 'but the Noble Lord instead wants to put around it, an opaque vellum shade to help us to re turn to the dim religious life of the pre-mediaeval ages. The changes incorporated in this Book will bring terrible sorrow to great masses of the common people of the country. That is why we oppose it.

I want to go back now for one moment to the point of the alternative Service, because that is really the fundamental rock on which the whole of our opposition is based. Suppose that there is a church in which you have adopted the Reservation and in which you have an aumbry set up, and suppose that a few years later there is a change in that parish. Am I to understand that the aumbry will be taken away and another faculty and licence granted I am afraid as I read the situation that the aumbry will still remain and will be to the people a sorrow and a regret. That point has not been taken fully into consideration. In fact the more we consider the changes made during the last six months, though they were made admittedly to meet a great many criticisms in this House, the more we are inclined to say that more good would have been done had the changes been considered longer and had there been a period for the election of a national Church Assembly between the previous rejection of the Measure and the present time. There has been no political election since last year; hon. Members are here to-day as they were last December. And members of the Church Assembly who sent up the Book to this House before are the same people to send it up now.

I have suggested what should have been done. But it is too late now. We have to decide as best we may on the facts before us. As I think this matter over and consider the responsibility that rests upon us, I an impelled to ask every hon. Member to exercise his own judgment. The learned Attorney-General is not the only distinguished representative of the City of Bristol sent to this House. Years and years ago his predecessor laid down definitely and in terms that "every Member of Parliament owed it to his constituency to give his unbiased judgment and opinion and that no one should take away from him." I ask every hon. Member to exercise that unbiased judgment to-day. The world will not come to an end, nor will the Church come to an end, if this Measure is not passed. You drive out into a foggy night and run your car against a blank wall. What do you then do? You reverse, and by very slow stages gradually get back to the main road. You do not sit down by the side of the car and say, "It is broken up; the machinery is smashed and will never function again." You try to get back to the road which the fog has forced you to leave. That is what will happen to the Church. She is far too great to worry over what are after all comparatively small matters.

There is one standard in which we have been taught to believe, and that is the unerring standard of truth and justice. What is truth? That question was asked twenty centuries ago and remains unanswered. But, for all that, truth is great and will prevail. The unerring standard of truth and justice demands justice for all—not for only one section even of the Church of England, but justice for every part of the Church of England, and in addition, the Church being established, justice for every individual in our national life. They all demand the same form of justice that this Measure, in its smaller way, tries to give to just those few intellectual notabilities to whom the Noble Lord referred. There is nothing that would please us more than to be able to conform with the wishes of the great bulk of the Episcopate, but we feel that on the balance of evidence our judgment drives us the other way. Reluctantly I ask the House to be of the same opinion as it was last December, and to join us in the "No" Lobby. We pray every day for the High Court of Parliament, that its consultations may be directed to the good of our Church. We are dealing to-day with things immortal, big things. Who are we puny people to say that, in the mysterious ways in which it pleases Him to perform, God is not leading us here and now to do better and be wiser than we can ourselves appreciate? It is in that hope and in that fervent belief that I, though wishing for rejection of the Measure, leave it to the unbiased and unfettered judgment of Members of this honourable House.


It is with the greatest possible diffidence that I rise to take part in this important Debate, because I do not regard myself as an authority on ecclesiastical controversy in any way. Moreover I stand in a position outside the Church of England and outside any section of institutional religion. But I have a duty as a Member of Parliament to vote, and if need be to speak on this occasion, with as much right as any other Member. I can assure the House that respect for the opinions of others is the ground on which I take my stand, and I hope that I shall show no failure in fully appreciating the reverence which others conceive for doctrines which may not appeal to me. The chief objection made to this Measure and an objection which has run through all speeches against the Measure, is that the Church Assembly does not represent the Church. They have acted absolutely constitutionally. The body that we have charged with these matters has gone through all the necessary formalities, and by a considerable majority the Book has been passed. I cannot see in what other way they could have consulted the Church, This was the only way available to them. Moreover the Bishops in the Church Assembly, unlike a Government in this House, do not put on any Whips, and therefore the members of the Assembly have an absolutely free vote and the Bishops are not imposing their wishes on the clergy.

Then it has been said that the doctrines in the Book are not in conformity with the Protestant religion. We are assured to the contrary by the Archbishop of Canterbury and by the majority of the Bishops. Yet we are told that we must arrogate to ourselves the right to judge these matters, that we must assume an infallibility in this House in doctrinal and liturgical matters. We are told that we alone can define the Protestant religion, and that we can do it better than the Church Assembly. We enter, in this discussion, the mysteries of religion and all the inner metaphysical interpretations of super- natural belief. I do not know anything about heresy and error. My list of errors would be too long for anyone to agree to. My ignorance is shared by a very great number of Members in this House. I look for guidance. I do not think I should be blamed if I seek guidance in the Church Assembly rather than in the Home Secretary or my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley (Mr. B. Mitchell). I think we are wrongly discharging our duty by entering into a discussion of these very sacred mysteries. In art and music we have institutions which come under our control because they get money from public funds. We might spend our -time in discussing whether the modern school of music was preferable to the classical school, or in discussing whether postimpressionist artists 'were better than the artists of the Renaissance. We might do that before we gave money to the Royal College or the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal College of Arts or the National Gallery, but if we did we should make ourselves supremely ridiculous, not because there are not hon. Members who are fully competent to speak on those matters, but because as a Legislative Assembly we should be taking upon ourselves functions which we are in no way qualified to discharge. Far more are we overstepping the limits of our province when we engage our time here in judging profound and intricate questions of liturgy and ritual, and in arrogating to ourselves a superiority over the ecclesiastical authorities in laying down the law in these matters.

We are told that the new Prayer Book has a Romeward tendency, that the Protestant religion is betrayed, and the cry "No Popery!" goes up. Incidentally I may express my opinion that this country is just as likely to become a Raman Catholic country as to become a Mohammedan country. We hear a great deal of condemnation of superstition, and we have heard superstitious practices described in the greatest detail. Do we hate superstition? Does the Home Secretary hate superstition? Does my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley hate superstition? No, Sir. Let us be honest. We none of us hate superstition. We hate other people's superstitions, forgetting that we ourselves, whatever be our creed or lack of creed, have pet superstitions of our own. This loud condemnation of superstition is the basis of intolerance, and in history intolerance has been the cause of more conflict and more craelty and more misery than any other human failing. It was because I detected in December last an echo of mediaeval intolerance that I made up my mind that, if opportunity offered, I would say a few words to this House today. When the Church of England is showing a disposition to be tolerant, to broaden its outlook and to open its doors, are we to set our faces against it and reject this Measure? I say that it will reflect no credit on this House and on the history of these times if we do so.

I do not hold a brief for the Church of England. If I may respectfully say so, I think it has conspicuously failed to preach and enforce the fundamental precepts of Christianity. But I want to be scrupulously fair. I think its attention has been distracted by these superficial controversies over liturgy and ceremonial. I think tie Church is aware of the loss of its spiritual influence. I went into a church the other day—a very large church in a rather small village or town—and the sexton, who was very fond of the edifice, showed me round it. He took me to the chancel steps and as I looked down the magnificent nave of the church I said to him, "What a very large church for so small a place?" He said, "I have seen this church packed in days gone by." "But not now?" said I. "No," said he, "the War killed religion." Although that remark opens up a field in which I might feel tempted to walk, I will only say that I think there is a great element of truth in what he said. I do not pretend that the passage of this Prayer Book is going to fill that church, but I do believe that the passage of this Prayer Book is going to make this controversy subside and is going to allow the Church to turn its attention to things that really signify, whereas, the rejection of this Prayer Book is going to bring up this Measure again next year and again the year after. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] We here are the storm centre of the controversy. It is we professional controversialist s in the House of Commons who make all the pother. It is we who kick up the dust and it is we who will continue to make this not only a vital question but a political question. It will be dragged by us, in rejecting this Book, into the arena of politics at the next General Election, distracting people's attention from the vital political issues, to which it is our business to draw their attention.

I feel very strongly that in these matters of religion there can be no finality. There will always be an ebb and flow in the attraction of the supernatural. The beliefs of one generation become the superstitions of the next. Anything which tends to stereotype, to confine, to prevent freedom in religious matters is fatal to religion. Although I myself found religion when I left off going to church I have myself the most profound faith in the spiritual nature of man, and I believe there is no people in the world who will respond more readily to a moral appeal than the British people. I think they are waiting for that appeal, and I think that those interested in religious matters are distracted by these unnecessary superficial controversies. I make this appeal to the House as a Member of Parliament and not as a Churchman, as an Englishman and not as a sectarian, as one who values tolerance and detests persecution in the realm of conscience. Whatever be our beliefs, and I believe that in shades they are as many as there are Members of this House, can we not unite in exercising the virtue of Christian charity? Can we not unite and give not only our approval to those who have been entrusted by the State with the responsible duty of moral teaching but give them every helpful encouragement in 'their endeavours to make for themselves;1, more efficient instrument to serve one of the vital needs of a great people.


It is with some diffidence that I take part in this momentous controversy. I am an outsider to this dispute, and, therefore, I am not acquainted with its impacts as is, for example, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. Sometimes the outsider is in a position of advantage, however, and I venture to put before the House some of the views which occur to me after listening to the present Debate and re-reading most of that which took place in December last. The House will forgive me if, in the first place, I tell my fellow Members the point of view from which I approach this problem. I am myself a member of the Church of Scotland, whose government is that of Presbytery and whose doctrines are rigidly Protestant. We have no set forms of service or words of prayer. In most of its churches the invocations that are made to the Almighty are as simple and as informal as are the aspirations of the human heart. There are, no doubt, members of other communions who would find in such simplicity a lack of fastidiousness. For my part, all the most sacred memories of my life are associated with a parish church which was entirely devoid of architectural beauty or ornament and the services in which boasted no ceremony and no display. It will, therefore, not 'be supposed that in anything I say I am prejudiced by any desire for ornamental vestments or elaborate observances. My own profound conviction is that the efficacy of worship is in a reverent spirit rather than in ritual or parade.

What, to a person from the outside, like myself, is the problem which is presented by this Debate'? The origin of this Prayer Book is obvious. You have in the Church of England a Prayer Book which is 262 years old, and, although the great essential truths of life continue throughout the ages, the forms in which they are expressed do not always suit the changing needs of the times. The thoughts of men widened with the process of the suns, and it became perfectly clear that so many things in the old Prayer Book had become impossible of acceptance, that you would cease to have any law and order in the Church, and everyone would be a law unto himself. Under the old Book many abuses crept in, and the Commission of 1904 was appointed to deal with a matter which had become a cause of serious scandal in the Church. The Commission found that the Service was too narrow in its form for the present day, and the present revised Prayer Book is before the House as the result of an attempt to meet what the Commission decided to be the necessities of the situation. It is said that the Revised Book which is being debated to-night, is the same Prayer Book as that which was rejected in December. Again, looking at the matter from the point of view of an outside observer, it seems to me to be idle to make the lawyer's point, that some of the Archbishops and Bishops have said that it is the same Book. It is easily understood that in its essentials, as far as they are concerned, it is the same thing, but that the present version makes explicit that which they thought was implicit in the previous form.

What impresses me much more than that kind of argument is the fact that a considerable body of Anglo-Catholics who favoured the first Book have refused to give their allegiance to the one which we are now considering. That satisfies me that we are not now dealing with something upon which the House of Commons has already expressed its opinion.

The question remains, however, whether the Prayer Book which is now offered to us is one which we can accept. The accusation made against it is that it shows a Romanising tendency in a Protestant Church, and that that tendency is particularly displayed in connection with vestments and with the celebration of the Holy Communion. I do not propose to say a word about the question of vestments. It has not been largely relied upon in the Debate, and I do not think it is moving the public conscience in the slightest degree, but I should like to say something on the question of the forms provided for the celebration of Holy Communion. I am not going to discuss the matter in detail, because these mysteries are too profound to be made the shuttlecocks of argument across the Floor of the House of Commons. Indeed, they are so profound and so elusive, so subtle, and so metaphysical, that it is almost impossible to find language to which some exception could not be taken by anyone who wanted to be suspicious as to the motives of those who were making a change. But this very circumstance gives rise to a curious result.

It is a strange fact that in all religious controversies people become much more one-sided and much more partisan and take up, to a much greater extent, the attitude of zealots, than they do with regard to disputes concerning the ordinary mundane affairs of life. Again, looking at it as an observer I find a tendency of that kind in the present Debate. For example, there is no fairer controversialist than my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, but even he has succumbed to the tendency to adopt, in this matter, a partisan rather than an impartit.1 attitude and very often to discover bogies where I think there are none at all. Let me take an example. He was good enough to send me his book, a very illuminating book, about this controversy, and I happened to open it at a page where he was discussing the paucity of people desiring to become clergymen of the Church of England. He ascribed this deficiency to the activities of the Anglo-Catholic party. As it happens, in my own country of Scotland all the Churches—the national Church and the Free Churches as well—are lamenting the same paucity in their ranks, which is due to social and economic causes which are common to both countries. This made me wary of the impartiality of the Home Secretary in advancing arguments in regard to other questions. I have found very many instances of similar lapses, but I shall content myself with referring to one matter which is at the core of the present controversy. One of the matters to which my right hon. Friend takes grave exception is the fact that the Consecration Prayer is, or may he, preceded by an anthem: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord. 7.0 p.m.

Looking at it from the point of view of a person not particularly versed in these prayers, but as an intelligent Member of the House of Comomns who is not entirely ignorant of ecclesiastical affairs, it seemed to me fantastic that the mere putting of this anthem in front of the Consecration Prayer was going to do what the Home Secretary claimed, suggest the working of Transubstantiation. I was so astonished by this that I took occasion to look up a book of forms of service, which has been published by the Church of Scotland. We have, as I have said, no set forms of service, but in 1922 the General Assembly approved a set of forms for anybody who cared to use them. I turned up the Communion Service in that book, and found that the Consecration Prayer is preceded by the very thing which the Home Secretary says is an indication of a Roman Catholic point of view, and it is not printed in small print, but in larger print than the ordinary. Are we to be told that the Church of Scotland is heading for Rome? I have found many other things of a similar character in the Home Secretary's volume. If the Home Secretary were to exercise the same detective skill upon the Scottish Prayer Book, he would find just as many things to question from the point of view he has adopted as in the English Prayer Book.

I turn my attention for a moment to the Consecration Prayer about which so much controversy is raised. It is said that the new form is more Romanistic than the old. I have read that prayer with the greatest possible care. The two forms of invocation are these. In the new form it is suggested that the prayer should be: Sanctify both us and these Thy Gifts of Bread and Wine, that they may be unto us the Body and Blood of Thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. The old form says: Grant that we … may be made partakers of His Most Blessed Body and Blood. I used to be a psychologist when I was young, and I venture to say that anyone, who is accustomed to dealing in ideas and precise words, on reading these two forms of prayer, will come to the conclusion that the new form which is suggested is one that puts forward the idea of a spiritual experience, while, if there is any objection to be taken to materialistic forms, it is to be found rather in the old prayer which asks to be made partakers of the Body and Blood of Christ. I do not take exception to either of them, but any impartial person, coming to the judgment of that form of prayer, will surely reach the conclusion that the new form is certainly riot objectionable if the old form is not.

There remains the question of the Reservation of the Elements. For myself, I have no particular point of view about this matter, but I do recognise that one of the matters which brings comfort to people in the Communion service is the idea that they are joining with others in the celebration of the Sacrament. Who am I that I should say to any such person, a sick person in a hospital or in his own bed at home, that he should be denied that comfort? Accordingly, I begin to feel that there is an atmosphere of undue suspicion being attached to all these changes. They are not being examined fairly. I am afraid there is a tendency to come to their consideration with the view that, since they are new, they must be proposed by a party which is not very much liked by those who are criticising them, and therefore something sinister must. be found in them. Again, I hate the idea of the Adoration of these Elements just as much as the Home Secretary. I am as rabid a Protestant as he is. But, if there is to be some Reservation—and I think there ought to be—then should not the means the Bishops propose be adopted to see that Reservation is not to be converted into Adoration as well?

I am told the Bishops will riot take the trouble to see that the law is enforced. I understand and appreciate that point of view. I speak in all reverence and respect, but I think, to some extent, the Bishops have brought this trouble upon their own heads. The reason I say that is this. There were some very definite offences which the Royal Commission pointed out and to which they suggested that the Church should immediately give attention. Nothing has ever been done about them. I know the explanation is that so much is clone that is illegal that it is impossible to prosecute all. We are all well aware that no prosecution takes place with regard to things which have fallen into desuetude. Things that are vital, however, may form the subject of such prosecutions and might be applied here. I do not know enough of the difficulties of the Bishops to pronounce any judgment. But, at the stage we have reached now, the old Book will no longer be possible as the basis for prosecutions. How can you go forward with a prosecution based on a Book, which the House of Lords by a large majority has said ought to be changed, and the House of Commons by a large minority has said ought to be changed? There is no longer any authority on which the Bishops can proceed. One of the dilemmas with which those who oppose the Book are faced is that, while they lament and deplore the abuses going on in the Church to-day, they are certainly not going to do anything to check them. Unless this Book, or something in this form, be granted, there will be no check at all. All the clergy to whom the Home Secretary referred to-day, the 2,000 Anglo-Catholics, will be left to the freedom of their own will to do what they like in their churches. What is he going to do about these 2,000? If I were a member of the Church of England, I confess that, upon the argument as presented, I would have to consider that there was no apprehension necessarily arising out of the proposals which have been made. That view is upheld by a large number of distinguished men in other churches whose opinions are not generally in conformity with those of the authorities of the Church of England.

I come to another point. I have mentioned the fact that I am a member of the Church of Scotland. That Church came to Parliament in the year 1921, not to ask that Parliament should approve of any form of service which they proposed to adopt, but to ask Parliament to give them absolute freedom to use any form of service they liked. Parliament, recognising that we are living now in a different age from the old times, recognising the propriety of the demand of religious bodies for absolute freedom to control their own doctrines, granted that power to the Church of Scotland, and now they are in a position of absolute freedom to pray, preach and teach as they choose. If the Church of England was in the same position as the Church of Scotland is to-day, there would be nobody for the Home Secretary to run to in order to ask for help on the question of the Prayer Book. He would himself have to convince his own brethren in his own communion of its impropriety. If the Church of England were disestablished the Home Secretary could no longer invoke the aid of myself and other people who are outside his Communion to vote down the majority of members of his own Church who approve of the Book which has been presented. If my right hon. Friend belonged to a Nonconformist body, then he would have to thrash out the matter to the best of his ability, and have it settled within the body itself. Is the Church of England, by the acknowledgment of the Home Secretary, to be regarded as the only Church in the world which is unfit for freedom and incapable of looking after its own doctrines and its own services?

If I were a member of the Church of England, I should have been in the House of Commons saying to Parliament that, while I recognise the absolute right of Parliament under the present constitution to control this matter, in view of the action which Parliament itself had taken in regard to these matters in the case of the Church of Scotland, obviously the opinion of the Church itself forms so great a factor in the situation that nothing but the most overmastering views could by any chance justify the House of Commons in upsetting what the Church had done. In spite of that, I find the Home Secretary making an appeal to all men in this House, putting himself in the position of having his faith dictated by a political body composed of men of 50 different creeds and some of them of no creed at all. For myself, I think that position to he one which is most degrading to the Church of England and, for my part, I decline to be asked, in company with those of many varieties of communions, to say to the Church of England what is the form of worship that they must use when they go on their knees before their Maker.

We are told that the Bishops make all the difficulty. I have heard more arguments during this Debate than I have ever conceived it possible to adduce in favour of the Presbyterian form of government. My right hon. Friend complains that there are abuses, but, as they cannot be dealt with, as he seems to say, then he must change the form of his Church government. He has got no right to go on complaining of his Church's Bishops so long as he does nothing to remedy the situation. He has chosen the form of government for the Church to which he adheres, and he must accept that with all its limitations. If he will use his great influence to see that the proper appointments of Bishops are made, I have not the slightest doubt that there might be a very salutary change in what he regards as the recalcitrant habits of many of the people to whom he objects to-day.

He tells us also that the Protestant faith of this Church is in danger. I do not believe a single word of it. Those are faint of heart who are always detecting disintegration in the Protestant character of our country. We have in this country a citizenship more in love with freedom than in any other part of the world. The flame which burned the martyrs has never quite died down in the horrified eyes of the British people.

It is impossible to believe that, as long as the members of the Church of England do their duty, there is any chance or danger of upsetting the Protestant faith of this country. I would have it believed that the Church of England, while maintaining its essential Protestant faith, should at the same time show not too great exclusiveness with regard to the devout people whom it welcomes within its tabernacles. The Church of England is a great national Church. As the passage quoted by the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University (Lord H. Cecil) from Froude shows, through all her history, she has been able to absorb and transmute many varieties and shades of faith, and to keep herself unblemished, the pure fountain of Protestant faith. She has been the greatest example to the nation; she is part of the national life; she is rooted in the soil, and she is a sacred and indestructible factor in the existence of the Nation. Moreover, she deserves well of her sons, and in particular at the present time she deserves that they should make a great attempt for harmony and peace, and for a renewal of that unity which the Church once displayed. If unity is not bought at too great a price, if the fundamental basis of religious truth is preserved, as well as the essential factors in our Protestant life, the charity of the Church should be as wide as the nation itself and as deep as the love of God.


The right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken is, I understand, not going to vote. He has made his speech, and he has made the attack which he wished to make, and with gusto, upon the Home Secretary, his late rival, and he is not going to vote. I am not surprised. The hon. Member for Darlington (Mr. Shepherd), not feeling keenly interested in this question, went down to his constituency last night, not to address his constiuents, but to hear their views. He found that the largest hall in Darlington was filled to overflowing. He said nothing. Ministers of all denominations made speeches of 10 minutes, and then the meeting voted. They cast the same vote that would be given in Hillhead—three to one against the Book. I do not wonder that the right hon. Gentleman is not going to vote.


Surely it is a most unworthy suggestion that my view is influenced by the number of votes which I may get in my constituency. In fact, I do not suppose that I have had more than 20 communications from my constituency since this controversy started.


I said that I was not surprised that he thought it wise not to vote, in view of the feeling of the laity in this country. I am in a stronger position than even the hon. Member for Darlington, for among the hundreds of letters I have had from my constituency, I have not had from the laity one single request to vote in favour of the Measure. I have spoken to people, and, after all this controversy, there is unanimity; yet if my constituency had been unanimously in favour of this Measure, I would have voted against it. I do not know how it is that one feels so deeply on a question of this sort. It may be said that I am intolerant; but we are all intolerant of some things. Some are intolerant of Fascism, or cruelty, or of falsehood. After all, tolerance and indifference too often go hand in hand. Here is a subject on which one cannot be indifferent. This seems to me to be part of the eternal struggle between liberty and authority, between self-reliance and dependence on the will of others, which has been going on through the ages. The religious phase of this struggle has been the constant, gradual emancipation of the soul of man from superstitious fears, the breaking away from dependence on priestly guidance, the gradual movement towards self-reliance and private judgment. The laity of this country have moved along that path continuously. They have moved forward and not backward since 1662, and to-day the laity, with the Bible as their foundation, and their conscience as guide, need less and less some interpreter between themselves and the Deity.

Although I have had no request from laity to vote for this Book, I have had requests from the clergy of Newcastle to vote for it, and I ask the House to appreciate why it is that, although the views of the laity are so enormously on one side, the views of the clergy may very naturally be on the other side. The clergy are by a large majority in favour of this Measure, and it seems to me that, human nature being what it is, it is only natural that the clergy should be in favour of the Book. The whole tendency, not merely of this Book, but of the great change that has come over the Church of England in my lifetime, illustrated by the adoption of the name Catholic and the relegation to the underworld of the name Protestant—all that change has undoubtedly exalted the position of the priesthood. They have increased, and naturally seek further to increase, their status and their authority, and to expect the priesthood, under such circumstances, not to tend in that direction, is to underestimate the force of human nature in super-mundane things. It is this priestly caste which has made this revision of the British Prayer Book of 1662. It has been the main factor in the revision. Therefore, that revision has not been in the direction of modernism; there is here not more dependence on private judgment, but more dependence upon authority. In fact, the revision has been a revision backwards, and as the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University (Lord H. Cecil) has shown, it may go as far backwards as the Nicene Creed in the fourth century. This is a natural result of having the revision carried out by those whose idea of progress is to intensify authority, direction and control, instead of by those often Laodicean laity, who know that the only profitable forward development of human society is a development, towards liberty of judgment, and the development of the education of the people so that they can be fit for that liberty of judgment.

The clergy, in revising this new Book, have not stood alone. They have had support from Members of this House whom we all respect highly. They have had the support of the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University. The Noble Lord has written a book on liberty and authority, which has been my guide through polities. But directly the Noble Lord touches religion, he becomes an authoritarian and forgets liberty. The hon. and gallant Member for North-East Leeds (Major Birchall), whose sincerity in his religion no man can doubt, made a speech yesterday which consisted of one long series of authorita- tive quotations from the Fathers and from the Bishops. Let us realise that this is the type of mind that must always be with authority, the type of mind that cannot understand that the alternative to direction is that people should think for themselves. I can quite understand the hon. and gallant Member, and the hon. and gallant Member for Rye (Sir G. Courthope), who are sincere members of the Church of England, backing up this change in the direction of authority.

I wish the Prime Minister were not going to take the same line. He is not an authoritarian. He knows, as well as anybody in this House, that it is the determination of people to think for themselves that has made English character and English history. It is not submission to another's view, but determination to take risks of one's own, that has made England. Therefore, when he speaks to-night and winds up this Debate, he may use the arguments of others, but he will not use them with the same spirit. We know why he is winding up the Debate. He is as strongly with the laity as any other man in this House. He is winding up the Debate because he has that touching and wonderful loyalty to his subordinates. He made those Bishops, he has got to stand by them; but I would beg him to remember that there is a higher loyalty even than loyalty to subordinates, and that is loyalty to England. I remember his speech on the last occasion. If the division had been taken after his speech then we should have had the Book. To-night he is to wind up.

His speech to-night will carry the fate of England. By that one speech he may swing over the Established Church of England to these new lines, so that the education of the children of the people will be directed by Anglo-Catholics, so that the churches where our ancestors were baptised and buried will go over to Catholicism; where in the future they will carry on services and use symbols which our predecessors would have abhorred. All this can be done out of a misplaced loyalty to subordinates. These symbols—the Reservation of the Sacrament, the chasubles and robes, prayers for the departed in purgatory—may all seem little things to us. They are symbols, mere symbols; but think what they meant to those people who went before. It was against those symbols that men fought in the field. It was for fear of those symbols that nations were driven across the sea. It was because of those symbols that men, women and even children were burnt at the stake. That is what those symbols used to mean. We may have got very far away from that. It was centuries back, and men's minds forget and change; but do let us remember that we here now are merely a passing phase, the trustees for the time being of old traditions.

The tradition of liberty is surely greater than the tradition of the Church. That we should stand for liberty of judgment against the dogmatic dictation of the priest is one of the greatest duties cast on this Parliament to-day. We here are only passing on the torch in our time. I cannot forget that just three centuries ago the Member for my borough, Newcastle-under-Lyme, rose in his place. It was in the second Marian Parliament. All had kneeled down to receive the Pope's blessing, all except one man, the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme, Sir Ralph Bagnall. He had been a linen-draper's son in the town. He had been a swashbuckler, he had been knighted at Musselburgh, and then he sat for his borough. It was a dangerous thing in those times not to kneel down. He walked out. Those are the traditions that I should like to maintain in this House, and I should like my party to maintain them, too. It is true that it is not given to us to light a candle in England which no one can put out, but we may see that the candle is not put out. Englishmen have not changed nor the light of liberty. The opportunities of self-sacrifice are perhaps less, but the spirit is still here, and I do ask this House, when they vote, like Master Ridley, to play the man.


I shall not attempt to follow the right hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) in the deeply-moving passages of which his speech consisted. If I venture to trespass on the attention of the House it is only very briefly to explain, in the first place, a personal point of view, and for a few moments to examine the subject which is under dis- cussion from a definitely more secular angle than that which has directed most of the speeches to which we have listened with so much interest this afternoon and yesterday. Personally, I do not like the new Prayer Book. It contains some things which I should feel bound to vote against if they were presented separately, and if I could do so without injury to larger issues. Moreover, on purely sentimental grounds, I regret the departures which it contains from the old-fashioned and archaic wording to which we have all been accustomed from our childhood, and especially in the Marriage Service. I do not like those departures from the old forms. On the other hand, I do not for a moment take the responsibility of rejecting the whole Measure on account of these dislikes and grievances, and therefore on the last occasion I abstained from voting. The development of the controversy seems now to have raised practical issues of a larger and graver character, outweighing my own personal feelings, and requiring a decision which I feel it would not be right for any one of us to shirk.

Like most Members in this House, I think, I have no guidance from those I represent. The religious opinion in my constituency is divided, as it is, I suppose, in the constituencies of nearly everyone here. The subject was in no sense an issue at the last General Election. Men's minds were directed and their votes were cast upon topics which bore no relation to the problem which is now before us. Therefore, like a good many others I expect, who have been sitting through these Debates and the very remarkable one of last December, I have been forced to examine the matter in the light of a new and to some extent unforeseen situation, and also to examine it in the light of what one may, as far as one's judgment goes, imagine to be its potential consequences. I have listened to all these Debates, and the point of view which I venture to submit to the House—as I say, very briefly indeed, for I know there are others far more qualified than I am to take part in the discussion who are waiting to speak—has never been so well expressed by anyone who has spoken as it was in the very impressive speech of the hon. Member for the Brightside Division of Sheffield (Mr. Ponsonby). I say, with him, that it is our duty to examine this matter, not as members of this or that Church or communion—I examine it not as a member of the Church of England, but as a Member of the House of Commons.

We are compelled to take a decision about the affairs of a great religious community. This community ask, by the recognised means of corporate expression which is open to them, for a wider interpretation of their freedom in spiritual matters. If they were asking for penal powers against their members, or against members who did not agree with them, then, indeed, I could conceive that Parliament would assume its most vigilant air, and cast its most jealous eyes on anything in the nature of repressive or constrictive measures; but when they are asking only for a wider measure of freedom and for an optional alternative form of worship then, I say, undoubtedly the onus of proof rests upon those who invite us to refuse their demands. The primary presumption with which we approach this decision as Members of the House of Commons must obviously be against the denial of liberties which are lawfully demanded. To refuse to a religious community a wider latitude in spiritual matters is a very objectionable step for any modern Legislature to take. It appears to be contrary to the spirit of religious toleration which, I am quite sure, would rule the House of Commons in the case of any other faith or sect among the hundreds which exist side by side within the circuit of the British Empire. So far as I am aware, the large majority of the Church of England, utilising the only means of corporate expression open to them, and wishing to dwell together as a common Protestant body, ask for this widening of their spiritual liberties.

Doubt is thrown upon the validity of this demand. [Interruption.] All human processes of expressing corporate opinion are vitiated by imperfections. There never has been any process by which opinion can he measured and expressed over wide areas or great numbers of persons which do not enable the minorities to impugn the character of the decision, or to say that the decision was not representative, or that motives were perverted, or that some incidental circumstance intervened to vitiate the character and validity of the decision. If you are going to take that line, then I do not see how expression by an organisation on a large scale is possible. As a member of Parliament, owing my position in this House to these same expressions of corporate opinion which now are vitiated from many points of view by imperfections of which everyone is a judge, I feel bound to accept the corporate expression of the wish of the Church of England as representing the main opinion of that religious body, and especially of those who are responsible for carrying on its future life and work.

Only overwhelming reasons—that is my submission, though I quite agree everyone has his opinion—could justify our frustrating their constitutionally expressed desire. And so I would ask, "Do these overwhelming reasons exist?" Here again everyone must judge for himself. Personally, I do not think they do. I can quite understand the attitude of those who hold the opposite opinion, but, personally, I cannot think that any of the objections, which would be overwhelming if well-founded, have been proved. I do not believe that we are in the presence of an impending reversion of the Church of England to Roman Catholicism or a break-up of the Reformation settlement. Although it is quite true that this new Book contains features which I, for one, regard as regrettable and undesirable, I cannot see that there is the slightest truth in that suggestion. I agree that no one can really trust more than his own opinion and express more than his own conviction on this subject. I was very much impressed with the account of the Lausanne Conference given by a Member on the Labour benches at the close of last night's Debate in which he quoted the judgment upon this particular Measure of all the Protestant sects and creeds of Europeans gathered together representing all the orthodox Free Churches, and he read out their view as follows: The Ecclesiastical Committee, after careful consideration, reported that in their view the Measure of 1927 did not appear to affect the constitutional rights of His Majesty's subjects, and were of opinion that it should proceed. They go on to say that the Revised Measure which they have also considered in no way leads them to alter their opinion. This is not a matter of individual opinion; it is an opinion expressed by all the Protestant groups in Europe, and clearly they do not consider that anything in these proposals affects the foundation of the Reformation settlement, or constitutes anything in the nature of a reversion by the Church of England to Roman Catholicism. Therefore, the overwhelming reasons for rejecting this Measure are not present, and in their absence the case against the denial of wider spiritual freedom holds the field.

These thoughts are reinforced by separate sets of considerations of an extremely practical character, and I will mention them very briefly to the House. What, in fact, are the powers of Parliament in these days over spiritual matters? Our legal constitutional rights are unchallenged, and about that there is no dispute. I confess that I am very sceptical of the powers of the House of Commons to enforce its will in spiritual matters upon anybody, and still more to pronounce a judgment upon such matters. But while I am sceptical of our competence to arrive at a final decision, no one can say that at the present time the attitude of the Church is aggressive; in fact, it seems to me to be a most submissive attitude in the face of the most unexpected rebuff which it received last winter, the result of which has been these amended proposals. They have pruned from their proposals certain unessential stumbling blocks which were commented on in the Debates of that time, and they have now come back to the House of Commons.

The Church stands at the Bar of the House of Commons and waits. That, to me, is a most surprising spectacle. Here you have the greatest surviving Protestant institution in the world patiently listening to Debates on its spiritual doctrines by twentieth century democratically-elected politicians who, quite apart from their constitutional rights, have really no credentials except goodwill. It is a strange spectacle, and rather repellent. Under the surface, things are not quite the same. Thirty years ago, I used to think that people could be ordered about as if they were a troop of dragoons, but that is not possible to-day in religious matters. In these modern times no one can deny that the vote of any lay assembly like this, which includes a large number of persons belonging to separate rival communities, are unqualified—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"]—I am expressing my view, and I have every intention of expressing my view without modifying it in the slightest degree. I assert that in an assembly like this, a large majority are unqualified to deal with the theological issues which are involved. To suppose that such a body in the twentieth century is going to determine the spiritual observances of a religious community is a very difficult matter to accept, and it is repulsive to the modern mind. I am sure such a view would be instantly repudiated by any religious body which claims divine sanction for its work. Therefore, it seems to me that if the Church of England is refused the spiritual relief for which it asks, an undoubted severance will, in fact, take place from that very moment. I am not in the counsels of the Church, and I speak for no one but myself, but I apprehend that the Church would thenceforward declare its own policy, and it would be for Parliament, if the Church diverged too far, to take the initiative and take action against the Church in consequence of its diversion.

There, in fact, lies the sole remedy of Parliament. In the present age the State cannot control the Church in spiritual matters; it can only divorce it. I have seen it suggested that the State could strip the Church of its material belongings, take away its cathedrals and confiscate its stipends. All our history shows that such action has no effect whatever in spiritual affairs, except to influence people in the contrary direction. The refusal of the wider freedom which is now contemplated means the moral separation of the Church and State of this Realm. As to when and how material separation would be effected, that all depends on circumstances and the time, although in such matters time is not necessarily a vital factor. The moral link would be broken by an adverse vote tonight, and I cannot feel that the regrettable features in the New Prayer Book are important enough to justify so precipitate and far-reaching a decision. Parliament should use its constitutional rights with tolerance and moderation, if only for the fact that a violent assertion of its rights may render them obsolete for ever.

I have only one other observation to make, and it is, what will be the im- mediate consequence of this vote? Either way it must be very unfortunate. I regret that the controversy has reached us in this form, but it has reached us, and we have before us a choice of evils. I have been anxiously asking myself which set of evils is the lesser. In any case, someone will have to carry on the spiritual and daily work in the life of the Church, and if Parliament should dismiss the Church's request, who will carry on that work? Somebody will have to carry it on, and I do not think it will be my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. The Bishops, the clergy, and the Church Assembly, who alone can give the Church guidance, will have been repudiated by the House of Commons if this Measure is rejected. They will be unable to resign. They will be in the position of a Government which has been defeated on a vital question and is unable to resign.


Why cannot they resign?


I do not think you could have a more melancholy spectacle than that. No doubt the Bishops will do their best, but no one is going to accept the vote of 14th June, 1928, as giving any spiritual guidance in regard to the religious body that will have to carry on the work of the Church. The Bishops will have no authority except in so far as they separate themselves from Parliamentary domination. I am not speaking for the Bishops. I have no right or claim to speak for them. I am only giving my own view. If this Measure be rejected, there will be a state of no law in the Church—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"]—and an increasing divergence of practice. If the Church breaks up into different sects, Low, Broad, and High, and if its dominant practice in future years diverges from the essential Protestant character of this country, it is always open to the State to apply its final remedy.

8.0 p.m.

Some people talk easily and airily about disestablishing the Church, but it seems to me that it is much easier said than done, and I do not envy any Government that has to enter upon the disestablishment and dis-endowment of the Church of England. The Liberals will not have the power, and a very exceptional situation would be required to make it likely that either a Conservative or a Labour administration would plunge into such a controversy. My contention is that the rejection of this Measure will inaugurate a period of chaos—[HON. MEMBERS: "No!"]—which could only be corrected by disestablishment, but which would not be corrected by any party in any period which we can now foresee. I have yet to learn that there is a worse alternative than that, and that is the alternative which seems to rile to follow almost inevitably from the dispossession of the Church authorities from the control and guidance of their own spiritual affairs. In such a situation, one has to decide whether one wishes to see structures and unities dissolved, or whether one is on the side of those who wish to see the continuity of English life carried forward in a spirit of mutual forbearance. I have no doubt where I stand on that issue. I do not wish to see the continuity of English history violently interrupted. I do not wish to see the mitred front of the one great remaining Protestant Church in Europe irretrievably broken into discordant fragments. I would like to see the English people—and this is an English matter mainly—make a further effort to work together for the sake of preserving those English institutions which have largely formed the nation and which are ancient because they have been flexible.


I have ever maintained that Protestantism is the last thing in the world that needs any defence of the civil power. We do it harm, being so majestical, no offer it either the show of violence or the defence of Parliamentary weapons, and yet my path to-night is to me as clear as noonday, and when I have gone into the "No" Lobby to-night, I shall feel that I have been faithful to the Church and public principles that I have constantly professed. Our intervention in this subject is demanded not only by the ordinary relations of Church and State, but also by the special circumstances of the Enabling Act under which this Measure comes before us. When that Act, the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act, was before Parliament in 1919, the most clear assurances were given in both Houses of Parliament that Parliamentary power would remain unimpaired. The Archbishop of Canterbury said in another place: Parliament retains its right not only in theory, but in practice. Lord Parmoor said: The effective power of Parliament will be enormously enhanced. The Noble Lord the Assistant Postmaster-General, who has just left the House, said: We have during the Committee stage strengthened the Parliamentary scrutiny to which measures under the procedure of this Bill will be subjected."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th December, 1919; col. 845, Vol. 122.] I submit that when these promises were made in connection with the passing of that Measure, it is not possible now to turn round and say that we must not touch or interfere with the liberties of the Church. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said just now that Parliament should use its constitutional powers with moderation. It seems to me to be equally a feature of the situation that the Church should use its powers with moderation in such a case. As for the native liberty of the Church, I stand for that. If any, more. I have stood all my life for spiritual freedom and for complete religious equality. Like many more in this House, I voted in favour of the Roman Catholic Relief Bill. I felt that I could do no other, that I should be false to every principle that I had ever professed if I did not east that vote, and I am prepared to do for Anglicans to-day what I did yesterday for Roman Catholics. But when a Church accepts privilege and endowment at the hands of the State, as trustees of the nation, we are bound, whether we like it or not, to see whether it conforms to its civil charter and to the conditions of its concordat with the State.

The right hon. Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Horne) said that if the Home Secretary had belonged to a disestablished Church, he would not have required to come here, but then the Church is not disestablished. That makes all the difference. He also said that it was a repulsive thing—and I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer said something like it—that we should be dictated by political considerations, that this lay assembly was not qualified to judge in these matters. I never heard a clearer argument for the separation of Church and State in my life than that we are not qualified here to discuss these matters. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said that if we repeated our vote of December last, it would be chaos. It will certainly be no less chaos if we pass this Measure here this evening.

I am glad to see my hon. Friend the Member for Consett (Mr. Dunnico) present, and I should like to refer to an argument which he used on the 6th June in a letter to the "Times". He was speaking of the rejection of this Measure, and he said: We must avoid at all costs so grave a violation of our basic faith. What is the basic faith of Nonconformists?




I should have thought it was part of the basic faith of Nonconformists that we purchased our freedom at a great price. I should have thought it was part of the basic faith of Non-conformists that there was some difference between a Church established by law and a Church that had purchased its liberties. I should have thought part of our basic faith was expressed in 1919 by one of the ablest Scotsmen who ever sat on these Benches, Mr. Bonar Law, who said: You cannot have a State Church and yet have the absolute freedom which applies to a non-State Church."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 7th November, 1919; col. 1879, Vol. 120.] I should have thought that my hon. Friend would have accepted the basic faith of the Congregational Union, when they said in 1919, in connection with the very Measure which we are now considering: So long as the Church enjoys the privileges of Establishment, and is maintained by tithes and other public funds, so long must its affairs remain under the effective control of the State as expressed through Parliament. We are told that Scotsmen should take no part in these discussions. One writer said that the rejection of December last was brought about by "Jews, Welsh ranters, and Scottish infidels." I am one of the Scottish infidels. But for English intervention in the past in the affairs of the Scottish Church, our Scottish moors would never have been dyed red with the blood that was shed in the days of the Covenant. There would have been no disruption in 1843, because the vote for the Church's claim was 25 to 12 in this House, and it was snowed under by English Members. The Noble Lady the Member for Kinross (Duchess of Atholl) spoke of what a lamentable thing the disruption in Scotland was. It will be equally lamentable if, by the passing of this Measure to-night, we create a similar disruption in the Church of England. But I do not speak of old, unhappy, far-off things, and battles long ago. The Noble Lord the Assistant Postmaster-General, on the 9th February, 1928, said that while the Scottish, Welsh, and Irish Members had a constitutional right to vote on the Prayer Book, they had no moral right. We had two Scottish Measures of great importance, the Acts of 1921 and 1925, great Measures that are threatening a disruption and schism in the Church of Scotland even to this hour. The Assistant Postmaster-General voted six times on the 1925 Act thereby justifying his moral right as an Englishman to take part in Scottish Measures. Not only so, but in 1921 he intervened in the Debate, and he gave two reasons. The one was that he was enamoured of the Measure, which would bring "re-union on the basis of Establishment." If ever any man has done anything to make another famous, I have made the Noble Lord famous, because I have quoted those words all over Scotland, in every parish. They suited me exactly, and he is known widely by that very fact, known as the man who made the disastrous intervention in 1921 and who now says that Scotsmen have no moral right to intervene in this Measure. He further gave a reason, which I will adopt to-night, for intervening in the Scottish Measure. He said: We do so because, looking at it as outsiders, we realise the world-wide importance of the Bill."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd June, 1921; col. 1462, Vol. 143.] The right hon. Member for Hillhead and the Noble Lady the Member for Kinross both spoke of the independence of the Scottish Church and that it would have no trouble in a matter of this kind. I want to show that under its constitution and its concordat with the State the Church of Scotland as by law established to-day could not possibly do what we are asked to do here to-night.

It has special safeguards, and in its first Article certain things are laid down and are declared to be such as are vital, fundamental, and unchangeable. One of them is: The Church of Scotland adheres to the Scottish Reformation. How is that defined? In the Scots Confession, which was her Confession from 1560 to 1647, explicitly and in the strongest terms, she is debarred from adopting what we are asked to do tonight:— Adoration, veneration, bearing through streets and towns, and keeping of bread in boxes and boosts, that is, aumbries, are forbidden as contrary to the Protestant faith, and under her very constitution and concordat with the State, she cannot attempt to do what we are asked to do here to-night. So also in the -Westminster Confession of Faith—her Confession since 1647. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillhead spoke of the Consecration Prayer. I do not go into that. All the Reformers say that the words that apply to the signs are often transferred to the things signified, and it all depends upon where and how the Consecration Prayer is used. Whether the words that the right hon. Gentleman quoted are used in a simple Presbyterian Church, or in some of the churches of the Anglican denomination that I have visited in Shoreditch, makes all the difference in the world.

The Noble Lady the Member for Kinross spoke of reservation as being a common practice in the Church of Scotland. I know that Dr. Watson, in a 40 years' ministry, has only once gone with the Sacrament to the sick, and even then he had to get the authority of his Kirk Session, and he took it from the Communion Table, which, in the famous decision in 1900, to which reference has already been made, is declared not to be reservation at all. I had a statement to a similar effect from Dr. McLean Watt, of Glasgow Cathedral, in which he said that in all such cases he consecreated the elements anew, and he asked me to say in as clear and emphatic a way as I could that there was nothing in the Scottish Church or in its polity or administration of the Sacrament that gave a grain of foundation for reservation as is now proposed, and that reservation in any accepted sense of the term has no place in either the faith or the practice of the Scottish Church.

For my own Church, I have been all over the country as Home Mission Secretary. I have seen the Sacrament dispensed in barns, in churches, and on hillsides, and I have never seen even the beginning of what we are asked to do to-night. I do not, however, want to give my own opinion. Dr. Sutherland, who is one of the principal Clerks of the General Assembly of the Church to which I belong, has sent me this letter: The law is that, in cases of sickness, the minister, accompanied by one or two elders, may hold a Communion service in the sick-room, partaken in usually also by members of the family. The bread and wine are consecrated there, and there is nothing corresponding to Reservation in the Presbyterian Church. The Noble Lady made reference to Cranmer, and the Solicitor-General and others have mentioned Cranmer and Ridley. I am glad that his name was mentioned. He was the Archbishop of Canterbury, and I wish to say of the present holder of that great office, and I think I am speaking for all my colleagues here, that he, too, worthily upholds the illustrious traditions of that great See, and I venerate him, not only for his high personal qualities, but for his courage and noble action in causes that are dear to us on these benches. If I could do anything to gladden his heart I would gladly do it. Cranmer, like Ridley, amongst the Reformers, held that the elements of the Sacrament were not mere signs, but that they were visible signs of an invisible Grace. The real Presence was not in the Sacrament, but in the worthy receivers; and, after trial of reservation, he departed from it. On what grounds did he depart from it? I give the words, because they are most apposite to our controversy tonight. The abuses, he said, could not be taken away if the thing still remained.

He recanted in 1556, and, in the forefront of his recantation, he put Transubstantiation. At the dictation of the Church, he abandoned his old position, and, because his right hand had signed that recantation, therefore, he said, it should first be burned in the flames; and Macaulay Trevelyan, in his History of England, says that that burning hand of Cranmer was a magnificent gesture. It is a magnificent gesture, not to his own time only; I look back across almost four centuries, and I see that burning hand of Cranmer in the lambent flames beckoning, I will not say with a magnificent gesture, but with what I believe will be a compelling and irresistible gesture—beckoning to this House here to-night.

With him were associated, as we know, Ridley and Latimer. It was Ridley who taught Cranmer the Protestant doctrine of the Sacrament, and Latimer learned it, as he confessed at his trial at Oxford in 1554, from Cranmer. Out in the Lobby here you have the picture of Latimer preaching before Edward VI. He was taken to Oxford and tried, and he declared that the doctrines that we are dealing with to-night were utterly to be rejected. Then, on the 16th October, 1555, came the stake, and the oft-repeated words: Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and let us play the man; we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England as, I trust, shall never be put out. It is for us to-night to see, not only that this candle is not put out, but that we shall do nothing to bedim its pure shining, as it is described in the words of W. J. Mathams: And we, the sons of those rugged sires, Who brought us our birthright through martyr fires, And gave us the glory we proudly prize, With the bleeding hand of self-sacrifice, Will guard that candle with resolute care, Which once was set burning in Oxford Square; Will guard that candle lest guile or ease, Should cause its flaming to flicker or cease; It has cost too much, and has burnt too well For the glorious land in which we dwell To let it go out—Aye, we'll keep it still, Let others walk in what light they will. By the Grace of God it shall not go out And our children re-echo the ringing shout— Latimer's Light shall never go out, However the winds may blow it about; Latimer's Light is here to stay Till the trump of a coming Judgment Day.


It is very difficult to follow a speech such as that which has just been made, especially when one has to take the opposite view to that taken by my hon. Friend. I would like to say to him, however, that in claiming, as most of the opponents of this Measure have claimed, that they have a kind of monopoly in the Reformation and in Protestantism, they are rather claiming too much. I claim to be as sincere an adherent of the principles for which Ridley and Cranmer and other martyrs went to the stake as my hon. Friend. I do not take the view that the Church of England, in bringing forward this new Prayer Book, has taken, or proposes to take, any step towards putting out the Protestant light in this country, and I rather resent the sort of atmosphere that is created that those of us who support this Measure are of necessity traitors to the Reformation. I have spent my life in causes and movements that have called for self-sacrifice, and for the giving up of position and place in order to stand for certain principles, and I have always felt that any movement which brings out the sacrifice side of man's character is a good movement, and, at least, has something in it that is worthy of respect.

I have listened to most of the speeches against the Bill, and I cannot see where they put their finger on anything that shows that it is going to lead the Church of England back to the Romish practices my hon. Friend so much deplores and, because that is so, I rather resent the assumption that those who oppose the Bill are the only Protestants in the House. No one I have heard speak has really come to the point in regard to the position of the Church. Just now, while the Chancellor of the Exchequer was speaking, it was cried out all round the House, "Why is the Book brought here? Why have they done this?" Also there is a sort of notion amongst some speakers that the Church, as it exists to-day, is responsible for the fact that it has to come here and that it is by law established and so on, whereas it is nothing of the kind. This also is true. There is no party in the House, neither the party opposite nor the party I belong to, nor what remains of the party below the Gangway, that proposes to put disestablishment of the English Church on its programme. None of them proposes to put the Church out of the position it is now in. Secondly, no one has faced the fact—and it is the essential fact of this controversy—that Parliament itself, in order to enable the Church to manage its own affairs without so much interference from Parliament, gave the Church the Enabling Bill and set up certain machinery whereby it could of its own volition propose certain changes and put them before the House.

It has been stated again and again that this Measure is one to which the majority of the members of the Church of England are opposed. My right hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) addressed a great mass meeting at Darlington last night. I do not know how it was called or who were allowed to attend it or whether it represented Churchmen or whom it represented, but here are the facts of the case, that during the last few years the machinery of the government and administration of the Church of England has entirely changed. When I was a lad, and when men of my age were boys, the old ecclesiastical vestries carried on a very large part of the work which the present Borough and Town Councils and Urban and Rural District Councils carry on to-day. When the change came and the local government work was taken away from the vestries, new machinery had to be brought in for electing churchwardens and sidesmen and those who carry on the work of the Church and, as every Churchman knows, connected with every parish church today there is a Church Council elected by the members of the congregation and, by the way, by members of the Church of England who may not be members of that congregation but who reside in the parish. From that beginning, which is the foundation of the machinery for administering the church, there comes election to ruridecanal conferences, the ruridecanal conferences elect again the Diocesan Conferences and the Diocesan Conferences elect the National Assembly. It may surprise some hon. Members to know that I myself was elected a member of the National Assembly of the Church of England in the early days, but I never had the time to attend properly so I did not stand for election, or I might have been elected again.

But it is untrue to say there is no machinery for getting the opinion of the laity. That machinery I have spoken about is in existence in every parish and diocese throughout the length and breadth of the land and it is the National Assembly, the body that represents the Bishops, the laity and the clergy, that have passed this Book, and therefore it is absolutely untrue to say it has been passed by the Bishops and the clergy and that it has been imposed upon members of the Church. There is no Nonconformist body which has a more democratically elected central authority than has the Church of England, and that is something entirely new during the past quarter of a century. Now Parliament has given this central body power, through certain machinery, to bring measures to this House, and this House also has machinery for examining any proposal passed by this Assembly to discover one thing only. There is a lot of argument as to why the Bill is here and why we should be asked to vote, and all the rest of it. The one thing the Ecclesiastical Committee is asked to inform the House is that no change of doctrine of constitutional importance is involved. That is to say, the duty of the Ecclesiastical Committee is to examine the proposal that is put before the House and to report whether it is in violation of constitutional usage or against the constitution in any way. On two occasions the Ecclesiastical Committee appointed by this House and by the other place has met and examined this Book. With great deference to my hon. Friends the Members for Paisley (Mr. R. Mitchell) and Motherwell (Mr. Barr), who, I have no doubt, are great theologians, I pin my faith to the Ecclesiastical Committee as to what this Book contains and does not contain. What does this Committee say? This is a point which I think really answers a considerable amount of the objection: The Committee would not recommend any interference with the decisions of the Church Assembly on matters so clearly lying within the province of that assembly as the doctrines and ceremonial of the Church— Your own Ecclesiastical Committee has said that is the right of the National Assembly, and it ought not to be interfered with. It goes on to say: unless persuaded that any proposed change of doctrine were of so vital a description as materially to alter the general character of the National Church as recognised in the Act of Settlement and by the oath sworn by His Majesty at his Coronation, whereby His Majesty has promised to maintain the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law. The Committee have carefully examined the Measure and the Deposited Book from this point of view, as well as the arguments of the objectors in relation thereto, and the replies of the Bishop of Chelmsford and other authorities of the Church. Without entering into argument on doctrinal questions, but having considered all that has been laid before them and the expressed opinion of the Archbishops and Bishops as to the doctrinal position of the Church of England, the Committee take the view that no change of doctrine"— this is the governing part— of constitutional importance is involved, that accordingly the 'constitutional rights of all His Majesty's subjects' are not in this respect prejudiciously affected, and there is nothing to modify the purport of the Coronation Oath. I am going to say that I pin my faith to the new Book from the point of view of the Protestant Reformation. I pin my faith to the declaration of the Ecclesiastical Committee who have confirmed what the Archbishops, and Bishops, and clergy and laity of the Church of England had said it contained. Therefore, I think that, instead of our minds being horrified by the thought that perhaps we shall have the fires of Smithfield again about us, we had better clear our minds and clarify our thoughts by getting down to the bed-rock of the thing that the Imperial Parliament set up giving the Church authority to do this thing, and the authority that Parliament set up to examine what the National Assembly had done. These have all united to say that the Protestant Faith remains intact, untouched, unsullied, and therefore all the talk about going to Rome, all the talk about driving us back into the arms of the Papacy goes by the board. I am not able, and, of course, I ought not to take up the time of the House, to pursue that, but I want to do what other Members have done and that is to say one or two things on the general question.

I am always very diffident in speaking about religion in public, because religion and professions of religion and so on are matters that ought to be, and are to a very large extent when they are real, something of primary personal importance, and only matters that the individual can really concern himself about. But I would like to say to my friends who do not understand why I defend the Church of England, that I was brought up in the Church of England. I am a very unworthy member of the Church of England and probably rather a heterodox member of the Church of England, but I do not forget that I learnt everything that is of any good in the midst of much that is bad in me—anything that is any good, I learnt at the knee of my mother, who was a member of the Church of England, and also at the feet of one of the best men who ever lived—John Fenwick Kitto, the Rector of Whitechapel—when I was a young man. I learnt from him that the Church of England was not a Church that shut people out, but that it brought people in: what I heard from the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University (Lord H. Cecil) this afternoon when he was concluding his speech was an echo of what I heard many times when I was young, namely, that men worship God in a. multitude of ways. No one can say where and how you meet with God or how you can confess to God. Some men and some women think that, they can only worship God in a great ceremonial Service. Others can worship on the hillside or in a barn or anywhere else, but all of them, if they are sincere, are, in my judgment, worthy of respect and of approach to Almighty God.

I think that it is rather a terrible thing that this House should only be crowded on occasions when theological matters are in dispute. What I feel that the country and the world are waiting and hungering and thirsting for is not disputations as to how we shall say our prayers to God but for a way of translating our prayers into everyday life. What mankind needs to-day is that we, those of us who believe in God, those of us who believe in religion, shall try and find out why it is that there is so little religion in our everyday life, why it is there is so little religion in our business life. It is quite right that this House should talk and think about religion, but it has to be a practical religion.

I want to say one further thing. When you ask why the Church is here, I would say, as I said when I started, the Church has not come here just in these modern times. It has come here right down the ages. Any of you who bring children round this House or who show people round this House, if you tell them the story of this place, you are bound to tell them that the first beginnings of local government, the first beginnings of Parliament, were connected with the Church, You have to tell them that this is the House of St. Stephen. You have to tell them that it was in a religious house that the common people first found a place where they could meet. You have to tell them that right down the years there has been this association of religion of the Church with the State. And to-day, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer says, the Church comes to you through the only means by which it can come to you, and through the means by which you believe she can come to you, and she says: "Allow us to alter our laws." Just the same as occasionally the Nonconformist Church has to go to a civil Court to get an Order to alter the arrangement that some old man or old woman had laid down under which the Services should be carried on. The Church of England is here to-day, and I beg of my friends, and I beg of the House to put prejudice on one side and to face this issue from the point of view that the Church has not imposed itself upon the State. It has grown up with the State. It was here before the State, and has been part of the life of the nation. She comes to you to-night and asks you a perfectly simple thing: "Allow us to alter our method of worship. Allow us to change a small thing here and a small thing there in order to bring peace in our ranks."

As to all the things that were said to the effect that the Anglo-Catholics ought to go out, let every man who belongs to a political party ask his conscience to-night how often he has to put his conscience or one side in order to act with other men and women. You cannot have organisation and absolute unanimity. You may have unity of purpose but there will be diversity of thought and action. I ask that the Church of England shall be judged in the same way and that to-night we shall give our votes not because we are Protestants, not because we are Roman Catholics, not because we are members of the Society of Friends, or agnostics, or whatever we may be, but because Parliament has said to the Church of England: "Here is machinery by which you can order your affairs," and because we believe that the Church of England has the same right to it as any other church in the land.


Like most hon. Members who have spoken, I intervene with considerable diffidence and for the very reason that has been so truly stated by the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury), namely, that there are a few of us who have an instinctive dislike of anything in the nature of a public parade of our innermost thoughts and feelings with regard to these solemn matters. At the same time, I am grateful to have been afforded this opportunity of not giving an entirely silent vote in regard to a question which, I frankly admit, has caused me more personal anxiety than any other since I became a Member of this House. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Altrincham (Mr. Atkinson) made an eloquent appeal to us to keep an open mind. I think that I, at all events, can claim to have kept an open mind. On the last occasion that this matter was before the House I deliberately abstained from voting because I was quite unable at that time to decide which course would best contribute to the harmony, peace and progress of the Christian religion and the Church of England or which course was most in accord with the desires and aspirations of my constituents.

Since then we have been afforded further opportunity for consideration and reflection, of which many of us have availed ourselves, even though we may be inclined to regret what appears to us as the somewhat unseemly haste with which this question has again been submitted to the House of Commons, without any substantial alteration being made to meet the criticisms that were previously pronounced in regard to it. We have been reminded frequently in the course of the discussion that this is a question which the Church authorities of this country have been considering for over 20 years. Would it not have been better if the House of Commons had been afforded a little longer period than six months before being invited to reverse the very clear and definite decision that it had given? However, as things are, individual Members are compelled to try and form the best judgment they can on such information and knowledge as they may happen to possess.

One hon. Member complained this afternoon that there was a want of appreciation of the facts on the part of the opponents of the Measure. If so, we must be grateful that so much pains have been taken for our educa- tion during the past few months and weeks. We have all been subjected to an avalanche of propaganda statements and counter statements, far exceeding in volume and intensity anything that most of us have experienced in our Parliamentary lives. An hon. and learned Friend of mine on the Liberal Benches stated that he had read all the communications sent to him, a statement which, momentarily, left me breathless with admiration, because. I should have thought it quite physically impossible for him to have done so. All that most of us have been able to do, in our desire to inform our minds in regard to the issues and contentions on both sides, has been to choose those communications which by reason of their source and the eminence and authority of the writers appeared to possess special claims for consideration.

There are two or three which I think most bon. Members have studied with special care. A good deal of reference has been made to the illuminating book written by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, which I read with profound interest and admiration: interest because of the extraordinarily lucid statement, as it appeared to me, of the historical significance of events in connection with this Prayer Book issue and on the religious aspect of the question, and admiration that in connection with his great responsibilities he could possibly have found time to have compiled such a book. I also read with care, the—if I may say so with respect—singularly unconvincing reply of the Bishop of Manchester to that book. I also read, as most hon. Members did, the moving appeal that was published by His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The last of these documents especially appealed to me, because it was expressly addressed to a class of individuals among whom I am inclined to number myself, namely, those who, to quote the words of the Archbishop: have the religious wellbeing of England at heart but who find the ecclesiastical discussions either irritatingly puzzling or intolerably dull Our duty is to examine this matter not as members of this church or that but simply as Members of the House of Commons. Therefore, for anyone who cannot claim to be an authority on the historical development or the doctrinal significance of many of these questions, what is our duty and what can we do? It seems to me that throughout this controversy we can only try to keep hold of a few definite guiding principles. What are those principles, as I understand them? I assume, to start with, that since the Reformation, certainly since the Prayer Book of 1662, the Protestant religion has not only been the law of the land but is in accord with the wishes, desires and beliefs of the majority of the people of this country. I assume that that is the state of affairs unchanged to-day. It is the only justification for having an Established Church that it should be in harmony with the wishes and beliefs of the majority of the people. Therefore, is not the real starting point for most of us who have to arrive at a decision the setting up of the Royal Commission which reported in 1906, and the fact that such an inquiry had become necessary because of the notorious abuses that had grown up in the Church of England, tending towards Rome. It was admitted at that time that something must be done. The Commission sat and inquired exhaustively into these matters, and it found the case proved up to the hilt and called upon the Bishops to apply an immediate remedy, especially in regard to certain outstanding matters. The present Primate, who was one of those who signed the report, said at the time these words: The Bishops and clergy have been of late years too lax or, to use a colloquial expression, too casual. Episcopal authority will now be exercised decisively, and, if need be, sternly, wherever in England any difficulty arises. What has happened? Over 20 years have passed and it appears to be common ground that that authority has not yet been exercised as it might have been. What is the explanation, the excuse, which we are offered for this inaction? If I follow it it is this, that the Bishops were not in a position to deal with these specially grave and fundamental abuses, because there were many less grave illegalities and anomalies of which everyone more or less approved. The Archbishop of Canterbury when speaking in another place used an illustration which appears to me somewhat applicable in this connection. He was speaking of the argument which is advanced by those who say, "Why not accept the agreed portions of the Book and leave these few controversial matters on one side," and he said that that would be similar to men who were repairing a road which had various small holes and inequalities in it, but also certain places where it was actually dangerous and impassable, and if they were to do that it would be as if to repair all the minor defects in that road and leave the dangerous spots untouched.

Might not that illustration be applied in another way? If we are told that the Bishops could not deal with the grave abuses because of minor illegalities and abuses which exist, is not that very similar to men who refuse to repair the dangerous and impassable spots in the road because they are unable to fill up all the holes and repair the surface the whole way along its course? There are various things, as it appears to a layman, that could have been done. Was it necessary, if episcopal authority was to be exercised to the full, to appoint men who were, from an ecclesiastical point of view, notorious law breakers? Was it necessary? Yet it seems to have been done over and over again. We have been appealed to by many hon. Members to place our full trust and confidence in the Bishops as the recognised authorities of the Established Church. There is a great deal of force in that appeal, but at the same time I think the words of the Home Secretary used in the course of the last Debate on this matter are still applicable. He said it was not a question of trusting the Bishops— It is a question how so many of them can possibly deal with these offences when they have connived at their existence for 20 years past, and from time to time have appointed men who they knew to be guilty of these illegalities in the offices in the Church."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th December, 1927; col. 2546, Vol. 211.] 9.0 p.m.

It comes to this, that many of us are not satisfied to give this wider discretion under the mere plea of a greater elasticity or of bringing the Protestant Church more into harmony with modern ideas. Then we are assured that there is nothing in the Book which undermines the Protestant faith or changes the principles of the Reformation. In other words, that there is no change of doc- trine. This is one of the most fundamental matters we have to decide in arriving at a conclusion as Members of Parliament. We are told that all that is intended is to bring a Book that is 250 years old up to date and in accord with modern ideas. How is a layman, an ordinary Member of this House, to decide the fundamental question as to whether there is or is not any change of doctrine in the new Book when we hear that the authorities of the Church are disagreeing on the matter among themselves? We have had the opinion of the Archbishop of Wales quoted to us, and he says that there are fundamental changes of doctrine. We read that the Bishop of Birmingham says: I hold that the changes proposed are such that the Reformation doctrine of the Sacraments is imperilled. Bishop Welldon says that he disagreed with the Archbishop of Canterbury in his statement that nothing they had suggested made any doctrinal change in the Church of England. He thought there was a change. Then there is the Bishop of Worcester, who says: How could they honestly avow that here there was no change of doctrine? I will not attempt to decide between these conflicting authorities, but it appears to me that there is unquestionably an element of doubt among the authorities of the Church themselves as to whether there is or is not a change of doctrine in the Book, and, therefore, since that doubt unquestionably exists it would be most dangerous to give sanction for the new Book and extend these greater discretionary powers. But there are one or two tests which we can apply. It is said that there is no change of doctrine. Reservation is permitted in the new Book, it is not permitted in the old. I find it almost incomprehensible to understand how it can be said, in the face of that fact, that there is no change of doctrine. We are told in justification of Reservation that it was practised and proved of the utmost advantage during the years of the War to the men who were fighting at the Front, and that therefore, having been practised there it should be continued now.

Is that a really safe parallel? Many things were done during the War which one would be most reluctant to see brought into our life under normal conditions. Much of the Law of the land was definitely suspended during the War under the abnormal circumstances which prevailed, and, of course, that applied with greater force to what had to be done under the conditions which existed at the Front. Furthermore, what is the objection to Reservation? As I understand it is not in Reservation itself but in the view that Reservation inevitably must lead to abuses. Reservation may have been practised at the Front, but the very circumstances and conditions under which it was practised were in themselves a safeguard and a very powerful safeguard again any abuse. How can it be said, if Reservation is now permitted, that there is no change of doctrine, and it is a principle for which martyrs have been made and for which men have gone to the stake?

I am mentioning some of the difficulties which occur to one as an ordinary lay Member of this House who has listened with the utmost care to the Debate and who is trying to preserve an open mind and arrive at a sincere and honest decision on this question. We hear that prominent Anglo-Catholics proudly declare that this new Book gives them all that they have struggled for for 40 years. We hear further—I think the Home Secretary referred to it—that the revisions that have been made have actually improved the Book from their point of view. We read that the Bishop of Durham has stated that the proposed changes are largely of the nature of concessions to the law-breaking party. Surely all this points to a change of doctrine? Otherwise it would have no meaning. If the Book is wanted merely to bring things up to date without a change of doctrine I would recall a statement made by the then Attorney-General in December last. That statement appears to me to be of very great importance, because it is either accurate or inaccurate, and if it is inaccurate it ought to be challenged to-night. For my own information and possibly for that of others I would like to ask whether the statement is correct. This is what the then Attorney-General said: Ninety-nine hundredths of the new Book might he presented to the Church by the Bishops to-morrow, figuratively speaking, and ninety-nine hundredths of that Book, though open to criticism here or there, is not resisted by the great mass of British people or of the English Church. In substance we are all agreed about the whole of the Book, except for the service of Holy Communion and Reservation. If that statement is true, if ninety-nine hundredths of the Book is agreed to, what is there in the one-hundredth part, a comparatively small fraction, which is of such importance that the Church authorities are willing to jeopardise the whole Book if they can get that part—especially as we are assured at the same time that there is no change of doctrine whatever taking place in the teachings than are now put forward? I purposely avoided discussing these doctrines in detail or the safeguards which, it is said are provided. It is further stated, no doubt with truth, that there are two streams in the Church to-day, and that the new Book will unite those streams or bring them closer together. It may be true that the tendency of the new Book will be to cause those two streams to flow together, as it were, more in one channel. But what we fear is the direction in which the channel itself is going to flow, that the channel is a channel which is flowing towards Rome and away from the principles of the Reformation. Only in that sense does the new Book mean unity.

Then we were told by the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University (Lord H. Cecil) that the Book will make for order in the Church. He dealt with the statement that has been published by the 2,000 clergymen, to which considerable reference has been made. I refer to the statement that, although they held the views of which we have heard, nevertheless if the Book were passed they would be prepared to give obedience to it. Is that possible? Can we believe such a statement as that? If I understand the declaration and the meaning of the English language, it was an emphatic declaration of their convinced belief in the principles of transubstantiation, which is a fundamental principle and is emphatically condemned by the new Book. Therefore, how can they possibly give allegiance to the new Book if they sincerely hold, as no doubt they do, those particular views?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer made a solemn appeal to the House to consider the consequences of rejecting this Measure. It was a statement and an appeal from which I most respectfully dissent. If, as many of us believe, this is a question of fundamental principle, it is impossible for us to be swayed by any fear of the consequences one way or the other. The Chancellor's view certainly was not the view of the great Protestant leaders of the past, who considered and feared the consequences so little that they actually sacrificed their lives by their disregard. In conclusion, I would summarise my opposition to the Measure in this way: I oppose it because it seems to me to fail in the very three tests that were suggested by the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University. I oppose it because I believe it will not bring peace in the Church but will have the opposite effect. I oppose it because it appears to me unwise to entrust further discretionary powers in connection with the disallowance and curtailment of the practices of men, many of whom appear to be directly in sympathy with the practices which they are called upon to curtail. I oppose the Measure because it seems to open the door, whether intentionally or not, to doctrines and principles that were repugnant to the teaching of the Reformation. If it is repugnant to those principles, the question of safeguards appears to be altogether irrelevant.

It may be necessary to bring the practice of the Church up to date after all these years, but principles are what we are talking about, and the principles of the Protestant religion are the same today as they were 250 years ago. There is no need to modernise the Book because, although men may come or go, principles are, or ought to be, eternal. I oppose the Measure, finally, because I am sincerely convinced, from the limited sources of information which I have been able to reach, that the new Book does teach doctrines which are viewed by many earnest people in the Church with distress and anxiety and even with abhorrence, and that the enactment of the Book in its present form will cause real distress of hind and even disturbance of soul to thousands of God-fearing men and women throughout the country.


The House is now approaching the end of a discussion which has attracted great interest, which has been listened to with calmness, and to some extent without passion, and in a very short time the House will be called upon to give its vote. Those who are in favour of and those who are against this Measure will agree with me when I say that the effect of their vote will be of vital importance not only to the Church of England as a Church, but to the whole future of organised Christianity in this country. There are Members in this House who do not accept the Christian faith at all, who are free thinkers and agnostics. [HON. MEMBERS "How do you know?"] I do know. There are Members of this House who are free thinkers, who are agnostics, who do not accept either the new Book, the old Book, or even the Bible itself as a code of authority. I do not for one moment wish to suggest that those Members are not entitled to exercise their vote. The only appeal that I make to them is—that they will consider this question with a sense of equity, with a desire to give fair play, and exercise good will. My chief appeal to-night is to those who share the Christian faith, or accept revealed religion, and I want at the outset to make a special reference to those Members of this House who are, directly or indirectly, connected with the Free Churches. The hon. Member for Motherwell (Mr. Barr) made a veiled attack upon my position, and I want to reply to that attack and to indicate clearly what I mean by the Free Church position.

If the Free Churches of this country stand for one principle more than another, it is this—that it is wrong, that it is un-Scriptural, that it is a violation of the highest traditions of the Free Churches, that the spiritual supremacy of the Church should be subordinated to the secular authority. The Free Churches of this country, in season and out of season, have declared that the Free Churches can acknowledge no lordship but that of Christ and can accept no authority but that of the Holy Spirit working in and through the Church. I do not suggest that the Church of England, as such, has any right to complain. I am now dealing with the position entirely from a Free Church point of view. It will be said, "Yes, we accept that principle; we are opposed to the spiritual being made subordinate to the secular authority, but here you have a State Church, a Church established by law, and as long as that Church is established by law, we reserve to ourselves the right as citizens to exercise our power and our discretion, either to sanction, or to refuse to sanction, decisions arrived at by that Church." The answer to that argument is that an Established Church by no means implies the right of the State to interfere in matters of doctrine or faith. [HON. MEMBERS: "Question!"] If my hon. Friends will listen to me, I will try to make clear what I mean. The Established Church of Scotland is a State Church, but that Church has spiritual autonomy and, notwithstanding what my hon. Friend the Member for Motherwell may say, I say, distinctly, that there is nothing in the change suggested as between the Book of Common Prayer and the revised Book, which could not take place in the Church of Scotland to-day under the terms read out by him.




May I ask the hon. Gentleman what reason he has for making that statement?


My reason is that the hon. Member for Motherwell said that in the first Article it was laid down that the Church might not depart from the principles of the Reformation, but that, acting within that definition, the Church of Scotland has spiritual autonomy, and my declaration—hon. Members may disagree and I know some do disagree with it—is that there is no departure from the principles of the Reformation in the Revised Book. A second point is this. When the Prayer Book of 1662 was presented to this House there was more opposition against it than there is against the Revised Book now submitted. Yet Parliament, which asserted its right to reject the Measure if it so desired, accepted that Measure, notwithstanding the enormous opposition throughout the length and breadth of the country. The Church of England, I freely admit, is compelled now to come to Parliament and to obtain sanction for any change in its method of worship. As the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) said, "It is in the bond." But there are legal and moral limitations even to the enforcement of a bond. There is a classic instance of a man who enforced his bond to his own undoing. Shylock may have been a good business man and a good politician, but he was neither a statesman nor a saint. It is possible to enforce a bond in such a way as to violate even legal and moral obligations. But the reply to the hon. Member for Motherwell is this. Even if we have a legal right, even if we have, as citizens, a right to interfere with the verdict of the Church, no man who accepts the principle that it is wrong for the secular authority to overrule the spiritual authority of the Church should be guilty of using his vote as a citizen to do something which I contend is absolutely wrong and a violation of that principle. If a man puts expediency before principle, that is another matter; but if a thing is wrong, it is wrong, and because I am a citizen I have no right to take advantage of my legal position to commit what I believe to be wrong. Either it is right or it is wrong for the State to overrule the Church in matters spiritual; but if we Free Churchmen say it is wrong, then we have no right, whatever our legal position may be, to use that position to promote what I believe to be a violation of the fundamental principle of the Free Churches.


Is it not true also that we should not be in such a position but for the establishment of the Church of England?


Yes, but the Church is established by law, and whether a Church is established or disestablished is not a matter for the Church; it is a matter for this House. If we want to disestablish the Church, we are perfectly entitled to use our political rights to do so, but I say, as a Free Churchman, that we are not entitled to use our rights to promote something which is diametrically opposed to the fundamental principle upon which the Free Churches are based. Having replied to my hon. Friend, I now make one or two observations of a general character, for I am under a pledge not to take many minutes. In the first place, we are told that one reason why we should reject the Measure is that it does not represent the real opinion of the Church of England. We are told that the Bishops have used their position and their power to obtain a vote in favour of the Measure which is not representative of the laity. I reply to that contention in two ways. In the first place, if the Bishops have used their authority, influence, and guidance to secure a vote in favour of this Book, they have done something with which no believer in episcopacy has any right to quarrel. If you believe in an episcopal form of government in theory, you must accept the result of an episcopal form of government in practice, and if the Bishops, who are the princes of the Church, have used their influence to guide the Church along certain channels, they have only fulfilled the function for which they were appointed, which is part and parcel of Episcopal government.

In the second place, when you tell me it does not represent the expressed opinion of the laity of the Church, that does not move me very much and for this reason. There are registered upon the parochial councils of this country something like 3,500,000 to 3,600,000 communicants of the Church of England. That is not an insignificant number. I believe it ought to be larger, twice as large, but, if laymen of the Church of England who have had this Act in operation for eight years have never taken the trouble to register themselves and to exercise the vote, why should they come to this House and ask us to do in this House what they might have dote for themselves? I would remind my hon. Friends on these benches that that is the charge often made against the trade unions and that charge will be made again. They are giving away a vital principle if they are willing to concede that those who will not take the trouble to exercise the franchise have the right to come here and get those who do exercise it over-ruled. After all, if people will not exercise the franchise they must take the voice of the people who do. Moreover, who are these 3,500,000 who have registered themselves upon the parochial councils? They include the very men and women who have not shirked their responsibilities, who attend their church, who take Communion, woo teach in the Sunday school, who fill the official positions, who carry on the work, month after month and week after week, and without whose work the Church and the Sunday school could not be carried on. What are the qualifications? Three Communions a year. I know a, Member of this House—I shall not mention names—who is going to vote against this Measure, a member of the Anglican Church, who has never taken the trouble to register himself on the parochial council or take Communions and who has neglected his duty as a Christian in his Church, yet he comes to this House and asks us to do something for him which he ought to have done for himself.

We are told that, if only this Book is rejected, another Book is being produced which can be presented to the House with the good will of the Bishops and that all will be well. It is a very audacious proposal to make to a body of men, who, having spent 20 years of their lives on this Book, that they are now expected to accept a Book which is introduced by a body of competent men elsewhere. Had the Bishops accepted that offer, they would pronounce their own unfitness for their office, they would lose their self-respect, and would split the Church from top to bottom. I want to make a few inquiries from my hon. and learned Friend who is going to speak next. He said, in reply to my speech on the last occasion, that they would accept the whole Book with the exception of that part of it which related to the Communion Service. I put this question to him. Is his right hon. Friend the Home Secretary prepared to accept the whole Book with the exception of the Communion Service? Is he prepared to accept Prayers for the departed? Is he prepared to accept other matters which are controversial? My hon. and learned Friend knows perfectly well there is no agreement among the opponents of the Book as to what is controversial and what is non-controversial. If that offer were accepted, even then they could not get agreement upon the Book.

Supposing the Communion Service were withdrawn? Nine-tenths of the trouble surround the Communion Service and it would still remain. If the Communion Service were withdrawn, you would be back absolutely in the position of 1906 when the Royal Commission was appointed. It is because the real difficulties surround the Communion Service that, if you were to drop the Communion Service from the present Book, you have not solved those difficulties. You have got all these illegal practices. Drop the Communion Service from that Book and every minister and every congregation will be a law unto themselves and the abuses will still go on.

With regard to the doctrine of Reservation! I am not a Catholic, I am not an Anglican, but I say quite frankly that the practice of the Reservation of the Sacrament is not, either in origin or in inception, a Roman Catholic doctrine. We talk about pre-Reformation practices. The early Christian Church was pre-Reformation; the Bible was pre-Reformation. We did not start de novo at the Reformation. Some of the great Catholic doctrines and practices have gone back right to the second century of the Christian Church and the Reservation of the Sacrament is an old-established doctrine of the Church practised in the second century and practised to-day by Churches nearly all over the world which owe no allegiance to Rome. Supposing you leave that out. What are you going to do with those who continue to practise it?

The other day I was talking to a friend of mine who is the vicar of a suburban church. He told me that on Whit Sunday he had something like 400 communicants at the church. He took three additional services in public. On the Monday morning, he went away at 7 o'clock to a hospital some mile away. He celebrated the Sacrament in the hospital chapel to some 25 or 30 people and then went into seven different wards to administer the Sacrament to several individual cases. Being a law-abiding clergyman, he went through the whole Service each time. He came back and went to six different houses to different sick people and again went through the Service there. I am not a Roman Catholic or an Anglican but a Nonconformist, and I say quite frankly that, if I were called upon to do that work, I would consecrate those elements in the church or chapel, taken them round, offer a simple prayer and administer them to the sick. Is a man going to be branded as a law breaker because he does that? What are you going to do with him? Are you going to unfrock him? Remove him from his position? Rob him of his benefice? Fine him or imprison him? You know perfectly well you dare not do it.

There is one thing that this Parliament and no other Parliament dare do with impunity, and that is to bring itself into conflict with the impregnable rock of a man's conscience who is determined he is going to do a thing he really believes in. Believe me, there are hundreds upon hundreds of clergymen in the Church of England to-day who will exercise self-denial, who will give up certain practices, who will exercise self-repression at the authority and command of the Church which they love, but they will not accept the authority of Parliament upon those things. [Interruption.] No, they will not do it, and my hon. Friend is probably one of those who would defy the law himself if it suited his purpose. What I am trying to impress on the House is that there is a sphere within which Parliament can exercise its jurisdiction, and that is a sphere in which Parliament commands the respect of every law-abiding citizen; but if it steps beyond that, men will not recognise its authority, and all the law will not prevent them carrying out these things. It is because I believe that, that I think the passing of this Book will do more to restore order, and to bring back some who may he transgressing within the sphere of the Church, than all your Acts of Parliament. Supposing you reject the Book, how can you make these men obey? The Church has sanctioned it: it has the authority of the Bishops. How can you expect these men to refuse to practise something that the Church has declared to be in keeping with Christian doctrine, Christian truth, and the teaching of the Scriptures? It has been said that the passing of this Book will make it more difficult to get union between the Anglican Church and the Nonconformist bodies.


Hear, hear!


I am glad to hear my hon. Friend say, "Hear, hear!" I have a word to say to him. The hon. Member is a member of the Congregational Church.


I am nothing of the kind.


The hon. Member is not very far from it, if he is not that. He is a Free Churchman. When I came to this House this morning, I passed the end of Farringdon Street, and saw there the building called the Memorial Hall. That Hall is the headquarters of the Congregational Union and of the National Free Church Council, both of whom have issued manifestos against this revised Book and therefore in defence of the existing Book; and yet the very building, in which they both find their spiritual home, is erected in memory of 2,000 clergymen who, in 1662, left the Church of England because they would not accept the Book of Common Prayer. These men left the Church and faced poverty, scorn and social ostracism and even death, because they refused to accept a Book because of its Popish doctrines, and this Book has suddenly become the bulwark of Protestantism. The late Dr. Parker, of the City Temple, in referring to the existing Book of Common Prayer, said it was drenched with Popery. Apparently these Free Church leaders think that these 2,000 clergymen were mistaken, and were over-suspicious, and that there is no Popery in the Book of Common Prayer. If we pass this Book, perhaps 200 years hence somebody will think that my hon. and learned Friend was also over-suspicious when he raw Popery in it without just cause.

I hope hon. Members will take what I am going to say in the right spirit. I have n ever taken part in any discussions with greater reluctance than I have taken part in this discussion tonight. If I could, without violating my conscience, have refrained from taking part in it, I would have done so. I have no quarrel with any Church. I am not a Roman Catholic, but I protest against same of the offensive references to those great sacred truths held by Roman Catholics. That Church has been a great spiritual witness throughout the centuries; it I as produced great saints, and although I cannot accept all its doctrines, I believe that that Church is a Church of God.

It has not been easy to take the line which I have taken to-night. It has cut across lifelong associations; it has strained many friendships, but I have done it because I felt that I ought to do it. I hope that this is the last occasion the House of Commons will ever be called upon to discuss spiritual and doctrinal matters. I hope some step will be taken to relieve the Church from submitting these matters to the discussion of a House which, with all respect, is not really competent to discuss them. [Interruption.] I mean no disrespect. Naturally, in a mixed assembly like this, these great sacred doctrines cannot be discussed adequately, and so I hope that we shall settle this to-night. The world is getting very tired of these disputes. The average man does not take much interest in our wranglings and our distrusts, and to-night, when I give my vote for this Book, I shall say that I do not like some things in this Book, I do not understand some others. Some things in it are vague and indefinite, but after 20 years the Church has twice asked us for it. In giving my vote, I say to the Bishops, "You have given us your pledge that you will carry all these restrictions out, and we trust you as honourable men. If you break your pledge, the responsibility is yours, and this House of Commons will take further action." By my vote to-night I am saying to the Church, "You have too long been distracted from your proper work. Take this Book. Get on with the work which is really your function, and may the blessing of Almighty God rest upon your future labours."


Until almost this moment, at any rate until this Debate began, I had regretted the necessity for it, but after the serious and informing discussion we have had I have changed my mind. The hon. Member who has just spoken expressed the hope that this might be the last occasion on which the House of Commons would discuss a spiritual question. I do not agree with him in the very least. I have been taught to think that character depends upon religion, and that this nation expects that its citizens should have characters founded upon a right conception of God and the relation of man to God, and I do not know how the National Parliament could spend its time better than in sometimes discussing these great questions. Therefore, I at once take leave to say that I disagree with the hon. Member. He is a minister, and I am a layman, but, if this House can discuss these questions as this question has been discussed during the last two nights, I believe that it would be as salt to the life of the nation that we should be obliged to consider matters of such great moment as these. The hon. Member then suggested that people outside the House of Commons took but little interest in these discussions. I confess that is not the evidence which has come to me.


I said, in my opening remarks, that for two days this subject had been discussed with great calmness. I never meant what the hon. and learned Member suggests.


I was dealing with a remark which the hon. Member made almost in his closing sentences, that the people outside this House take but little interest in this discussion. I repeat that that is not the evidence which has come to my notice. Whether the interest is rightly directly or well informed I do not pause to consider, but that the interest is as great and as far-reaching as any question has excited in my time I have no reason to doubt. Some people have wondered, as the hon. Member has wondered, why the House should take part in a discussion of this sort. I believe some people have thought and represented that the Bishops have been unwilling that the House of Commons should have a Debate of this character. I wonder which the Bishops would really prefer. Would they have preferred this Debate, or would they have preferred a scornful indifference to the whole question on the part of this House? I think I know enough of the Archbishops and Bishops to believe that the answer they would give to that question would be that they would rather this House was taking part in a Debate which might result even in the disappointment of some of their best hopes than that we should count these matters as of no interest to us in our deliberations. If that be so, and if that be the answer that we as well as the Bishops should give, that we must discuss those things, we must form our own opinions; and we must form those opinions free from the over-influence of political hopes or fears, and upon the information, the knowledge, and the teaching which we have been able to derive from the discussion of this question during the last few months.

I entirely agree with my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who said that these were grave issues and that it was our duty not to shirk them, but to decide. As to the gravity of the issue, nobody will have any doubt. It is that which has made this Debate so impressive. Why have hon. Members attended in numbers and for periods to which this House is unaccustomed unless they were seized of the gravity of this question? I do not know for a moment what the result of this Debate may be, but, if the Book were to be rejected, I do not believe there is a single Member who would say its rejection was due to any hostility to religion, but rather that it was the result of a genuine passion for the Faith of the nation. Surely, it is too late for the hon. Member to suggest that this is a matter upon which only members of the Church of England may intervene. The hon. Member himself intervened. A very Daniel come to judgment; more royalist than the King in some of the opinions he has expressed. We have been invited to attend discussions and addresses by learned men belonging to all the Churches. Dr. Selbie addressed the members of the Free Churches. A Presbyterian Minister, at the invitation of my Noble Friend the Noble Lady the Member for Perth (Duchess of Atholl) addressed Presbyterians. Was the object of those addresses to invite Members who attended them to refrain from holding, or forming, or expressing any opinions upon these matters? Or was it rather to enable them to form right opinions upon these matters?

The interest we have all taken in this Debate is due, I believe, to the fact that the Established Church is more enshrined in the hearts of this nation than some of us had suspected up to this moment, enshrined not merely in the hearts of those who claim and own its allegiance, but in the hearts of those whose forefathers, perhaps, and families were connected with it, though they themselves find a difficulty about it. Many an hon. Member who belongs to the Free Churches loves the Church of England for all its traditions, and honours it for the purity of its doctrines, as they believe them hitherto to have been, and is glad to uphold a Church established, as they believe, on the sound foundations which have enabled that Church to prevail hitherto.

I am not impressed with the cry that if we reject this Bill the Church is likely to be disestablished. I could understand tint argument if, for instance, by permitting perpetual Reservation you were wanting to commend the Church of England to the people outside the Church of England, but when you know, as, I think it must be admitted, that by admitting perpetual Reservation you are going to disappoint and trouble the consciences and hearts of people who are not within the Establishment, I should have thought it would be recognised that it is that which would tend to a revival of an active campaign for the disestablishment of the Church. Nor am I impressed with the opinions that have been expressed as to the chaos that is likely to follow from the rejection of this Measure. The Noble Lord the Member fir the University of Oxford (Lord H. Cecil) said in 1924 in the Church Assembly that it would be the height of stupid, insolent arrogance if the Church we it to Parliament and said that it should do as the Church told it. Parliament has exercised the duty of being a partner with the Church Assembly in the settlement of these questions, and does anybody believe that the Church, the, clergy and the laity are so petulant that they will deliberately allow a state of chaos to come into existence. I think better of them.

We have had some ill-considered comparisons made between the so-called freedom of the Church of Scotland and the Church of England. I should like to ask the Scotsmen present what chance they think the Church of Scotland would have of retaining its freedom if it did not satisfy the religious instincts of the nation. Everybody knows that in the Church of Scotland the right of the people to choose the Minister has been established for three generations. Hon. Members who make these comparisons appear to want the freedom of Scotland for this purpose, but why are they not prepared to bring into the Church of England the same freedom? You cannot take this matter in parts. If you want to build the Church of England upon the Scottish motel, you must build it upon the whole Scottish model. [AN HON. MEMBER: "Why not?"] Is it suggested that the Church of England is likely to be built upon that model?


It is quite capable of doing it.


My right hon. Friend the Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Horne) says Scotland is quite capable of doing it, but I would like to ask him if hon. Members are prepared to apply the same principles of religious freedom as exist in the Church of Scotland to the Church of England. If so I think I am entitled to say that he should have secured the consent of the Bishops.

Duchess of ATH0LL

I am very sorry to interrupt my hon. Friend, but he has, quite unintentionally, I know, misrepresented what I said when I compared the position of the Church of Scotland with that of the Church of England in the matter of spiritual independence. I said that in the Revised Player Book the Church of England was only claiming a fraction of the liberty-enjoyed by the Church of Scotland, and I ventured to suggest to my fellow Scottish Members they should be very chary of helping by their votes to refuse to the Church of England something much less than the Church of Scotland enjoys.

10.0 p.m.


Of course, I entirely accept the Noble Lady's correction, and the accurate statement of her argument, but I think I am within the recollection of the House as to what was said about the freedom of the Scottish Church. The Scottish Church is able to be free to some extent, because her laity have the means of seeing that her Ministers and services will be conformable to their taste. It is said that the Episcopalian Church in Scotland has perpetual Reservation. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Is it possible that it is because that Church practises Reservation that it is so much out of touch with the great mass of the people of Scotland? It really is not much good stating the practice of the Episcopalian Church of Scotland in this connection.

It is said that we do not really appreciate the merits of the Measure before us and the extent to which the authorities honestly attempted to meet us. I think we do understand. I thought we understood it on the last occasion when my hon. and learned Friend the Member for South East Leeds (Sir H. Slesser) supported the Measure, and the Bishop of Truro and Lord Shaftesbury supported it. Now that the Measure has been altered, it is said, to meet the opinions of the House of Commons, these three gentlemen find it impossible to support the Measure. Does it not follow from the attitude of these gentlemen that we were right in our understanding on the last occasion, and I think that now also we understand the position?

I do not think the observation of the Noble Lady the Member for Southend (Countess of Iveagh) was altogether worthy of her eloquence when she said that it, is, in fact, much easier to appeal to prejudice than to reason. If the Noble Lady had stopped there, I should not have criticised her, because that is something in the nature of a platitude. The Noble Lady went on to say that in that matter the opponents of the Measure had been in a much stronger position, and, when she says that, I respectfully say that I do not think that was worthy of the tone of this Debate. The hon. Member who has just sat down made a statement not very far from that made by the Noble Lady, when he wrote a letter to the "Times" and said opposition to this Measure was based upon either prejudice or bigotry. Therefore, there is no escape for me or my hon. Friends from that dilemma. Either I am prejudiced or else I am a bigot of the deepest dye. That is the hon. Member's opinion of those who are opposed to him on this matter.

Then we are told that this Measure is only opposed by extremists? But who are the extremists? What is the answer which has been given? It is said that they are the people who oppose this Measure, but is that really so? Who is the more extreme, the Bishop of Exeter or the Bishop of Durham? The Bishop of Durham supports the Measure and the Bishop of Exeter opposes it. Does the Bishop of Exeter become an extremist because he opposes this Measure? Who is the more extreme, the Archbishop of Wales, with his long record of distinguished service, or the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University? Can it be possible that the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford Uni- versity is moderate and the Archbishop of Wales is an extremist?

A few days ago there were two letters in the "Times" newspaper. One was sent by a number of heads of colleges at Cambridge, and another was sent by a few other heads of colleges at Cambridge, and I think all, or almost all, the Professors of Divinity at Cambridge. Are all the Professors of Divinity who oppose the Book extremists, and extremists merely because they oppose the Book? That seems to me to be the logic of the hon. Members who say that this Book represents the middle way and that only extremists oppose it. We can- not settle our vote on this question by looking round for people to follow. That is not the Englishman's way. Nor can we do it by looking round for somebody to oppose. I received a letter two days ago from a Bishop who is supporting the Book, and he said in his closing sentences: If you people could only see how you are helping the Anglo-Catholics. So that is why I am required to support this Book, to dish the Anglo-Catholics, and not to support it on its merits. He criticised my opposition to the Book because I am helping the Anglo-Catholics. It shows a radically wrong perception of the attitude which some of us take up. I have no desire to dish or drive out the Anglo-Catholics from the Church of England, provided they will agree and find themselves capable of agreeing to the proper limits of the Church of England. They are entitled to as much liberty as any of us, and to the opinions which they hold, within the limits which I have described. We cannot settle our individual votes by looking round for people to oppose.

The Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University referred to the declaration of belief which 2,000 clergymen have made, and he said that that is not a declaration of what they intend to do in the future, but only a declaration of belief. At any rate, it is a declaration of what these people regard as their duty to do in the future, and I mention this because I want to pass on rapidly to consider another question, and that is the possibility of this Book as a producer of peace. How is peace going to be ensured by the Bishops after this Book has passed? The Anglo-Catholics are the people who are chiefly concerned, and it is a curious fact that this Book has provoked, apparently, their fighting spirit, if that Manifesto is to be intelligently understood. The theory of the first Book was that the Anglo-Catholics were to support it, and they were prepared, we understand, to support it. We Evangelicals were not prepared to support it. Now the Book offends not merely the Evangelicals but the AngloCatholics also. The curious merit of this new Book as a peace-producing instrument is that, instead of offending only one section of the Church, it now offends two sections of the Church. That is a curious argument for this Book as a. peace-producing Book.

Then my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General, in that speech which we all so much admired, so sincerely admired, if he will allow me to say so, referred to a letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury in which a promise was given that discipline would be enforced and the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University painted a picture in which I half believe and which I half doubt, as to the way in which the Bishops would impose discipline upon the Church in the future. I do not know whether hon. Members heard the Home Secretary read the speech of the Bishop of Lincoln, in which he said, they must take their liberty, if we would not give it to them. They have been taking their liberty in advance for the last six months or year. If these people are so ready to take their liberty in advance, why will they not give us a little discipline in advance? If they are not going to wait for liberty, why should we wait for discipline? I should believe in some of these roseate pictures of the ease with which the Bishops in future will produce discipline in the Church, if I saw some indication and desire on the part of these persons who believe in discipline to give an earnest of their intentions.

But, indeed, this promise of acquiescence is a curious business. Let us analyse it for a moment. There are a large number of priests in the Church of England who practise at the present time Reservation with Adoration. Adoration is given to Reserved Elements because they believe sincerely and deeply that it is their humble duty to give it. That is what is expressed in that Manifesto to which I have referred: We believe that Our Lord is present in the Sacrament when Reserved, and, therefore, is always to be adored with like acts of adoration. Very well, in future they will be allowed Reservation, but they will give up Adoration if Reservation is made legal. They do not give up their belief in that duty to adore to which I have referred. Does it really seem likely that a bargain of that sort, so unreal, is likely to have the character of permanence about it? Can they help in time teaching, almost unconsciously, to those who are their pupils the duty at any rate if not of adoring, of making the Reserved Elements the focus of devotion? This promise of acquiescence in the discipline of the Bishops in the future, it seems to me, is an unreal one unless we can be satisfied that these 2,000 clergy are genuinely convinced that in the past they have been wrong in believing that Adoration is due to the Reserved Elements.

I think there is a little misconception in the minds of some hon. Members about the nature of Reservation altogether. We speak of it sometimes as if it were always the same thing, and very often it is two things and perhaps even three things. For instance, my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General gave some experiences on the strength of a letter that appeared in the "Times" as to the practice of what was called Reservation in the field. I was a little sorry that that was brought up. There were many practices in the War which may have been necessary, but I cannot believe that it is right that the Church should alter its doctrine or practices because of what was done in circumstances of grave difficulty in the War. I have been shown a letter in which a mother who lost her two sons was harrowed to think that such practices in the War had been brought up to justify something which, in her deepest heart, she believed to be wrong; but that is by the way. Reservation of the character that took place on those occasions, at any rate, was not the Perpetual Reservation that is likely to lead to Adoration. It was the immediate administration which many people have described as Current Administration or Extended Communion. So far as I am concerned, as the Solicitor-General said, I have been prepared to assent to some such practice as must necessarily be carried out in our large hospitals, where you cannot have a separate celebration in every ward and room in a hospital, from one end to the other. But Reservation which is really Reservation is not this Extended Communion, but Reservation in circumstances which lead to adoration. Here, I think, if he will allow me to say so, my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General a little failed to appreciate one passage in the Report of the Royal Commission to which he referred. Reservation under conditions that lead to adoration was one of the illegal practices. Everyone knows, or, at least, I think that the Royal Commission certainly knew and intended to show, that Reservation in a place above or about the High Altar, with a light burning before it of a perpetual character, was Reservation under conditions which were likely to lead to adoration—which would inevitably lead to adoration; and, if that be so, this Book is going to legalise that. If that be an illegality, and my hon. and learned Friend admitted that it was one of the illegalities in the Royal Commission's Report, it is an illegality which this new Book is going to legalise.


My hon. and learned Friend will remember that, in the new Rubric, there is a provision that the Reservation shall not be immediately above or about the High Altar.


The Elements of the Sacrament will be reserved either in the north or in the south wall of the chancel, and they will be there under conditions which, in my submission to the House, will inevitably lead to adoration. My hon. and learned Friend may not agree with me, but I think I am justified in repeating what the Home Secretary has mentioned, namely, that, when the proposal was made to the House of Clergy that, in order to prevent these conditions that are likely to lead to adoration, no light or other mark should be used, nor any public notice to indicate whether the bread and wine are or are not reserved, the House of Clergy rejected it by 82 votes to 74, and the Bishops, I suppose in consequence, refrained from inserting any such Rubric as that. Therefore, in future, by the deliberate decision of the House of Clergy, the use of a light will be permissible in front of the aumbry or in front of the north or south wall of the chancel where the reserved elements are kept, and, having regard to the deep and sincere belief which these Anglo-Catholics have in their duty to adore, I say that those are conditions which will lead to adoration. The Archbishop of Canterbury himself is conscious of this danger. He said, in his book which was circulated a few days ago: Most fully do I admit the existence of dangers in connection with Reservation, and it is, therefore, our deliberate policy, not only to discourage it as far as is in our power, but to prevent any use of the sacred elements except for the Communion of the Sick. The important passage in that sentence is, "as far as is in our power." Our forefathers had experience of Reservation of this character. It was in the 1549 Book, but the experience of three years years led them to agree with the Archbishop of Canterbury that there were dangers, and that it was necessary to do all in their power to discourage it. They knew the extent of their powers, and they dealt with it by making it illegal altogether. That was the way in which they discouraged it to the utmost of their power. I respectfully suggest that we shall have the same experience in the years before us. We, too, shall have to turn back our steps if we take this step to-night.

Then I want to refer to what has been said more than once in this Debate, and said in rather a wounding way, namely, that we are anxious to repress and restrain the religious convictions of people who have as much right as we have to hold religious opinions. My right hon. Friend the Member for Hillhead said that he wished to see charity as wide as the love of God. I agree with him. I would discourage no man's religious belief or his expression of it, but there are limits to every Church. I could understand my hon. Friends making this plea if they themselves were not going to impose any limits upon the religious expressions of people in the Church of England; but it is the essence of their case that they are going to impose such limits. Their whole case for appealing to the House of Commons to trust them is that they are going to repress and restrain—[Interruption]. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer is good enough to say, "Not by Parliamentary authority." Yes, if he will allow me to say so, it will be by Parliamentary authority, because the enactments, either in the Measure or in the Rubrics of the Book which are part of the Measure, make it illegal for anyone to adore the Sacrament. I should like to ask my right hon. Friend: Is that exercising charity as wide as the love of God?


My hon. and learned Friend forgets the passage in which I said so long as the fundamental basis of religious truth is preserved and the essential character of Protestant doctrine is not endangered, charity ought to be wide.


I entirely accept my right hon. Friend's explanation. All say is that the difference between us is not as to whether we should exercise charity or not. The difference between us is what are the fundamentals. We are indeed making a. momentous change in this matter. The expression is not mine. It is the expression of so moderate, learned, and holy a man as the Archbishop of Wales. Once you begin to touch changes of religion, you do not know where you are going to stop. I should like to commend to the House, as the wise expression of a very wise and learned man in days when these troubles were engaging men's hearts, in the time of the Commonwealth, what John Selden wrote in his Table Talk: Alteration of religion is dangerous, because we know not where it will stay. "Tis like a millstone that lies upon the top of the stairs. It is hard to remove it, but, if once it be thrust off the stairs, it never stays till is come to the bottom. We are making a momentous change in religion. Beware lest you do not know where it is going to stop. When you find it has gone further than you intended, a new generation will have been trained, with ideas foreign to the teaching of our Church.

We have been challenged to produce a policy. The hon. Member who spoke immediately before me challenged me to refer to what I said in the previous Debate as to accepting nine-tenths of this Book. He asked me what I would do. I will tell him a little piece of history—it is hardly right to call it history, but a statement of what I have done in that connection. I was prepared to take a great responsibility upon myself, which perhaps I had no right to do. I ran the risk of being told I was sacrificing my principles to expediency. With the concurrence of the Home Secretary and the present Lord Chancellor, I went to the Archbishop of Canterbury and told him that, with whatever influence we had, we were prepared to assent to a Measure passing through this House provided it did not include this perpetual Reservation, which is the keystone of the system. In his wisdom the Archbishop of Canterbury perhaps thought that offer unworthy of further consideration. It was honestly made. 1 believe if the Home Secretary and the Lord Chancellor and myself— I hope the House will not think this is taking too much upon us—had expressed that opinion, I believe that we should have had enough of our hon. Friends to go with us to ensure the passage of such a Measure through this House of Commons.

Was not that a fair offer, more especially as we are told by Sir Lewis Dibdin, the Dean of the Arches, that this perpetual Reservation is going to be used only in one or two cases where there is a nursing home or a hospital. It is true the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University said the Dean of the Arches' narrow interpretation was rather in the mind of the Dean than in the rubric itself, and the Archbishop of York gave weighty support to the Noble Lord's interpretation. At any rate, the Dean of the Arches said that this is only going to be the practice in one or two churches here and there. Is it really worth while raising all this upheaval because of this small practice, which is not going to be for the relief of consciences all over the Kingdom and bring the doctrines of the Church of England into accord with the doctrines of the people, but is merely going to provide facilities which Archbishops Temple and Maclagan, a few years ago, said might be provided by the priests in the course of their ordinary administration and duties?

Mr. DUNNICO rose—[Interruption].


I must ask all hon. Members not to interrupt.


On a point of Order.


The hon. Member himself knows that he has gone beyond his time, and he should not interrupt.


I think it is fair to the hon. Member to say so much. I think it is fair to the country and to this House to say that the people who are called extremists and are said to be unwilling to yield a jot or tittle, made a genuine effort to secure the passage through this House and through the Assembly of the Church of England of a Measure which would include not everything we like, and something we do not like, but, at any rate, would exclude that fundamental and fatal error, as we believe it to be. I have said all I have to say on this difficult question. People wonder why the House of Commons is so strangely moved over this question. We feel in the House of Commons the pulse of the people. The Noble Lady the Member for Southend (Countess of Iveagh) said that public opinion is ill-informed on this question. I do not agree with her. In three or four centuries we have had some practice in considering it. The English people need no brief to inform or instruct them on this matter. The Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University spoke about unity in essential matters. I do not know why in a larger spirit of charity in the future we should not recreate our English Church by bringing into it elements that are out side, that are not in it now. But if it is to be the Church of England it must teach the faith of the people of England. That Church need not fear disestablishment, for it will be established in the hearts of the people.

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Baldwin)

I should like at the beginning of the few observations which I desire to make to thank my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary for the reference which he made to me at the begining of his speech. No colleagues have worked in closer harmony than we have, or than we shall. On this matter every Member of the Cabinet recognises that those who have taken part in this Debate have been actuated by sincere and profound convictions. He has done me the honour to say that he respects my convictions, and he recognises that whatever office we hold in the Government we have an equal right, no more and no less, to speak to this House on a matter about which we feel deeply. This is the third day, counting the one day last December, that this matter has been discussed, and by this time, if not before, the vast majority of this House have made up their minds as to the course which they are going to take in the Division half an hour or so hence; the more easily, perhaps, because in questions of this kind guidance comes so much more from instinct than it does from reason. To whichever side we belong, those of us who are already convinced of the course which we shall take, no argument can move; but there are some among us, o mere fraction by now, who have had sincere difficulty in making up their minds whether to abstain or, if they vote, which side to take, and who do not feel perhaps directly interested in these matters and have felt, possibly, that the arguments on either side were so evenly balanced. It is to them, perhaps, that I, as one with no special learning or knowledge of theology, belonging to no organised party in the Church of England, and who has taken no part in any of these discussions from the day they first began until these Debates in the House, address myself: and it may be, possibly, that I can be of some help to such hon. Members if I put before the House some of the reasons which have seemed to me good in making me take the course I am taking, and some of the points which, I think, perhaps have hardly been adequately answered for those of us to whom they appeal.

I will speak very briefly on two or three points which have been raised in the Debate and then I will say a few words on some points that have had, in my view, insufficient attention paid to them. I wish to remind the House of a point that was raised in a very able and sincere speech made by the hon. Member for North Camberwell (Mr. Ammon) last night, unfortunately at so late an hour that the attendance in the House was not such as the speech deserved. I would once more emphasise, in a few words, the point that he made. He was speaking as a member of the Ecclesiastical Committee on the examination which was given to this Measure by that Committee, a Committee of selected Members from amongst us, whose duty it was to advise the House; Members of all parties and belonging to various denominations. He called tae attention of the House to their Report, which they laid before the House, and in which these words occurred: The Committee would not recommend any interference with the decisions of the Church Assembly on matters so clearly lying within the province of that Assembly as the doctrines and ceremonial of the Church, unless persuaded that any proposed change of doctrine were of so vital a description as mater ally to alter the general character of the National Church as recognised in the Act of Settlement and by the oath sworn by His Majesty at his Coronation, whereby His Majesty has promised to maintain the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law. The Committee have carefully examined the Measure and the Deposited Book from this poin5 of view, as well as the arguments of the objectors in relation thereto, and the replies of the Bishop of Chelmsford and other authorities of the Church. Without entering into argument on doctrinal questions, but having considered all that has been I lid before them and the expressed opinion of the Archbishops and Bishops and to the doctrinal position of the Church of England, the Committee take the view that no change of doctrine of constitutional importance is involved, that accordingly the constitutional rights of all His Majesty's subjects ' are not in this respect prejudicially affected, and there is nothing to modify the purport of the Coronation Oath. The hon. Member argued, and with reason, that that being the reference from the Ecclesiastical Committee, it was doubly important the House should give the most unprejudiced consideration to this Bill as to whether they should accept it or reject it. The other point on which I desire to say a word is a point that has been mentioned in several speeches a 1c1 has been alluded to within the last hour. It is this. Suppose the Measure goes through it will be giving a setback to, and possibly destroy, any prospects there may be of what is called Christian reunion. I have heard that view stated from several quarters in this House; and I will place my difficulty frankly before the House. What puzzles me is this. I read, as every other hon. Member has read, that Professor Garvie, Dr. Scott Lidgett, Professor Carnegie Simpson, Professor Selbie and Dr. Vernon Bartlett would like to see this Bill pass, and the reason I lay stress on these names is this, that the first three gentlemen whose names I have mentioned have been engaged for the last four years in the conferences at Lambeth con- netted with Christian re-union, and that the other two gentlemen have been closely associated with this work. If there was any prospect that the passage of this Measure would imperil Christian re-union, I cannot think that these gentlemen would be supporting it.

There is one other point which deserves an answer, although it almost answers itself. It has been said, and said with truth, that there is a lack of enthusiasm in the support for this Bill. Of course there is. There is always a lack of enthusiasm for compromise. Enthusiasm naturally belongs to the two parties who do not want it, that is to say, not as the hon. and learned Member for Bristol Central (Sir T. Inskip) said, on the part of the Evangelicals, but a portion of the Evangelicals, not on the part of the Anglo-Catholics, but a, portion of the Anglo-Catholics. Having touched briefly on these points, I want to make one or two observations about the nature of the Church of England, upon whose faith we have to give a decision very shortly. I spoke briefly on this subject last December, and I will try not to repeat myself. But there is something I said then which I must say again, because it is very pertinent to my argument. I speak my own convictions in this matter, though I think they are probably shared by a great many people in the Church of England.

To me and those who think as I do, the great value of the Church of England in the world lies in this, that she occupies, as it were, an intermediate position among the great Churches of the world, and she alone, from a set of causes that can hardly have been designed, has, from the time of her emergence in her present form, contained two distinct streams of spiritual thought, Evangelical and Catholic. Those two streams have helped to keep each other pure and sweet, and have ensured spiritual progress, and have been, as it were, a preservative salt against sterilisation and decay. It has been only when the Church has lost her elasticity and her sympathy and when she has come, as churches do from time to time, under the dominant influence of those—I was going to use the word "fanatical," but I will not say that—who would exclude all others but those who see eye to eye with them—it has been at those times that disaster has come to the Church.

It was at such a time that the Church lost Wesley. It was a time like that when the Church lost Newman. It was a time like that when the Church persecuted Colenso and the modernists of his time. It was a time like that when the Church instituted those prosecutions under the Public Worship Regulation Act —prosecutions that proved the greatest stimulus to ritualism in the Church of England that it has ever had. The Church has never been without her saints, drawn indifferently from both those streams. Within our lifetime—I shall mention only two names though there are many more—there have been two saints, if ever there were saints, in Edward King, Bishop of Lincoln, and Bishop Chavasse, of Liverpool, who is just dead, representing those two streams. I want those two streams to go on. I want to see the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University (Lord H. Cecil) and my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary representing those streams in the Church of England.

We have heard a great deal about lack of discipline in the Church, and great stress has been laid upon that, and very naturally. I do not think that anyone, at least not while I have been in the House, has tried to make clear to the House what is the origin of this lack of discipline. I shall tell the House shortly how I see it. It is difficult, perhaps, for those who are not members of the Church of England to realise that, so far as the law is concerned, you may make no changes in the contents of the Prayer Book; that is to say, if you employ a shortened form of service, if you leave out the Litany or the Athenasian Creed on the day when it is due to be said according to the rubric, you are committing an illegal act. From that you can imagine how many illegal acts may be and are committed to-day in nearly every parish church in England. As was suggested by one hon. Member, the difficulty of choosing and selecting the particular illegal act upon which the authorities of the Church will try a man is almost insuperable. This position has arisen because in a constantly changing world, and under modern conditions, and in the light of modern knowledge, the Church is hound legally hand and foot to a Prayer Book dating from 1662.

Consider the position of the ordinary parson, of whom we have heard very little to-day—of someone who is trying to do the work which Mr. Shepherd is doing in St. Martins-in-the-Fields. All that work of his is illegal. What men like-minded with him want is a Prayer Book drawn up more in accord with the times and with the spirit of the age in which we live, with Morning and Evening Prayers such as are given in the new Prayer Book shorter and more flexible than the old form. In the new Service and the new Book, you have the possibility of these shortened forms and you have—and these points I do not think have been mentioned—allowed for the first time in the history of the Church of England the use of what has always been regarded as a great privilege by members of the Nonconformist Churches, namely, extempore prayer. You are also allowed the use of special collects and special prayers provided they have been authorised by the Bishop. The whole of the work that has been done on the Deposited Book is work of a liberalising nature, to make the Book more adapted to the times in which we live. I know what the answer will be and I will come to it in a minute, but as little has been said about this, there are just three instances which I would give of the spirit—the New Testament spirit, if I may so call it, as opposed perhaps to the Old Testament spirit—which permeates this Book. I would refer particularly the members of my own Church to the Service for the Public Baptism of Infants. I know myself how many parents feel pained at the phrases to which our ancestors were accustomed and which caused no pain to them. Forasmuch as all men are conceived and born in sin. These words have become very painful to many parents who are for the first time taking a child to the font. As the new Service runs the words are: Seeing that all men are horn their birth prone to sin, with which none of us would disagree. I will only give two more instances, one from the Burial Service and one from the Ordination Service. In regard to the Burial Service, many parents have felt as the Service was being read over the body of a child, that some of the phraseology was unsuitable, and instead of the passage: In the midst of life, we are in death; of whom may we seek for succour but of Thee O Lord, who for our sins art justly displeased. the words of the 103rd Psalm are inserted as an alternative: Like as a Father pitieth his own children: even so is the Lord merciful unto them that fear Him. These words will make for the greater comfort of many, many parents. Then there is the Ordination Service, and this is the last quotation which I have to give. Where in the old service the Bishop said to the ordinand: Do you unfeignedly believe all the Canonical Scriptures of the Old and the New Testament the words are now added: as given of God to convey to us in many parts and diverse manners the revelation of Himself which is fulfilled in our Lord Jesus Christ. I have read those few extracts. They are typical and characteristic of the emendations throughout the Book to show that the one object in this Book is to make it more suited and better adapted to this generation than the wording of the existing Book, however sacred it may be to us. But all these advantages are to go if this Measure is defeated, because there yet remains the question of Reservation, on which so much has been said during these Debates. When I see that, for one thing alone and that on which no party is united, the rest of this work of 20 years is to be sacrificed, I cannot fail to see how history repeats itself, and I will follow the example of the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University, by giving one more extract from Froude. In 1545, Henry VIII issued a General Proclamation that certain prayers at morning and evening Service and the Service for the Burial of the Dead, all in English, should be used in all churches a ad chapels in place of the Breviary. The ultra-Protestants and the ultra-Catholics disapproved, and Froude's comment is: The surest testimony to wise and moderate measure s is the disapproval of fanatics of all kinds. I would remind the House of just one other thing. The time is long past when the field of this Parliament and the Church of England was co-extensive. The Church of England has spread with the Empire and exists in our Dominions, in India, and in the Colonies, and has an enormous membership of various native races. The problems common to us at home are not unknown abroad and overseas; they are looking with grave anxiety at the attempts we are making at home to restore discipline to the Church and to give the Church a Service Book adapted to the times. The unity at home is bound up in a way it never was before with the unity overseas, and more than one speaker has attempted to forecast what may happen if the Measure should either get through or fail. If the Measure fails to get through, I will tell the House quite frankly what it is that disturbs me. I feel that the result of defeat will weaken the hands of those in authority in the Church for a considerable time to come, that it will give an immense impetus to the very forces which those who are opposing this Book are desiring to curb; and if hon. Members will put to themselves frankly the question, "Which vote of mine will help or hinder the cause of religious progress in this country?" I feel that, although difficulties will follow, whatever the result of our voting may be, the difficulties that will face the Church, in the event of the rejection of the Bill, are infinitely more formidable.

I want, before I finish, to say one word on a subject which has been mentioned by several speakers, and that is the question of Disestablishment, which, I think, has much more chance of being brought nearer again into the political sphere by the rejection of the Bill. [Interruption.] I am giving my own opinion. We all have our opinions on this subject, and this is what I fear. It is not the loss of income, but the spiritual loss that I fear, and that alone. Under whatever auspices and under whatever conditions the Church of England were freed completely from such State control as exists to-day, I do

not believe—I hope I may be wrong—that she will remain long as an entity, with these two streams of spiritual life, the Catholic and the Evangelical, running together. I believe that it is its connection with the State, galling as it may be at times, illogical as it seems to many, that keeps these two streams running in confluence in the Church of England, and I should regard loss of that as irreparable, because if the Church of England as we know her were to disappear, there is nothing that could be set up to take the peculiar place which she holds.

The Church is asking of the House of Commons liberty, as she believes, to achieve unity. The House will say whether they believe that to be a request which should be granted, and they will express by their vote their confidence in her to do what she thinks she can do, or otherwise. Those who are responsible for the government of the Church, the great majority of them, believe that by this means alone they can bring back the discipline which we all desire to see. That is their belief. They have pledged themselves, as was told the House by the Solicitor-General, to that end, and they will act as a body in attempting that task. What is the answer of the House of Commons to be? Will the House say to them, "We do not trust you. We do not believe you. You are promising what you cannot do."Or will the House say to them, in the words of the hon. Member for North Camberwell (Mr. Ammon) last night, "We accept your word, and we wish you God-speed in the work to which you have put your hand."

Question put, That, in accordance with the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act, 1919, this House do direct that the Prayer Book Measure, 1928, be presented to His Majesty for Royal Assent.

The House divided: Ayes, 220; Noes, 266.

Division No. 162.] AYES. [11.2 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Atkinson, C. Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Attlee, Clement Richard Bourne, Captain Robert Croft
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Baker, Walter Braithwaite. Major A. N.
Albery, Irving James Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Brass, Captain W.
Alexander, E. E. (Loyton) Bainlel, Lord Briggs, J. Harold
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Briscoe, Richard George
Amnion, Charles George Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.) Broad, F. A.
Apsley, Lord Bellairs, Commander Cariyon Bromley, J.
Astor, Maj. Hn.John J. (Kent, Dover) Bennett, A. J. Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. T.
Athoil, Duchess of Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham)
Brown.Brlg.-Gen.H.C.(Berks, Newb'y) Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnlsy) Perring, Sir William George
Buchan, John Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P. Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.
Buckingham, Sir H. Henn, Sir Sydney H. Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James Hannesay, Major Sir G. R. J. Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)
Burgoyno, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Pilditch, Sir Philip
Burman, J. B. Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J G. Ponsonby, Arthur
Butler, Sir Geoffrey Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard Power, Sir John Cecil
Buxton, Rt. Hon, Noel Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Mun.) Pownall, Sir Assheton
Carver, Major W. H. Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar) Raine, Sir Walter
Cayzer, sir C. (Chester, City) Hopkine, J. W. W. Rice, Sir Frederick
Cazalet. Captain Victor A. Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities) Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W.Bromwlch)
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster. Moneley) Roberts. E. H. G. (Flint)
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.) Horllck, Lieut.-Colonel J. N. Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Home, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S. Ropner. Major L.
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K. Ruggles-Brise. Lieut.-Colonel E. A.
Cobb, Sir Cyril Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.) Russell, Alexander West (Tynamouth)
Cochrane. Commander Hon. A. 0. Hudson, J. H. (Hnddersfield) Sanders, Sir Robert A.
Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.
Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips Hurd, Percy A. Savery, S. S.
Cooper, A. Duft Hurst, Gerald B. Shaw, R. G. (Yorks. W.R., Sawerby)
Cope, Major Sir William Iveagh, Countess of Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Courtauld, Major J. S. Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen't) Slaney, Major P. Kenyon
Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L. Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'c ton) Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)
Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe) Kindersley, Major Guy M. Smithers. Waldron
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. King, Commodore Henry Douglas Spender-Clay, Colonel H.
Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick) Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R. Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.
Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West) Lensbury, George Stanley, Lord (Fyide)
Dalton, Hugh Leigh, Sir John (Clapham) Stanley, Hon. O. F. G.(Westm'elasd)
Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford) Lister, Cunllffe, Rt. Hon. sir Phillip Styles, Captain H. Walter
Davidson, Major-General Sir John H. Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley) Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Prater
Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset,Yeovll) Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester) Loder, J. de V. Thomson, F. c. (Aberdeen, South)
Davies, Dr. Vernon Long, Major Eric Thomson, Rt. Hon. sir W. Mitchell-
Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.) Looker, Herbert William Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Dawson, Sir Philip Lougher, Lewis Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough
Day, Harry Lowe, Sir Francis William Varley, Frank B.
Dean, Arthur Wellesley Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Duckworth, John Luce, MaJ.-Qen. Sir Richard Human Wallace, Captain D. E.
Duncan, C. Lemlay, L. R, Ward. Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)
Dunnico, H. Lenn. William Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Eden, Captain Anthony McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus Warrender, Sir Victor
Ellis, R. G. Macintyre, Ian Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-S.-M.) Macmillan, Captain H. Wayland, Sir William A.
Ford, Sir P. J. Malt land, A. (Kent, Faversham) Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Frsmantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Maltland, Sir Arthur D. Steel- Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Gadle, Lieut.-Col. Anthony Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Gates, Percy Me:rgesson, Captain D. Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton Marriott. Sir J. A. R. Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
GilIett, George M. Mason, Colonel Glyn K. Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)
Glyn, Major R. G. C. Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Wilson, Sir Murrough (Yorks.Richm'd)
Golf, Sir Park Milne, J. S. Wardlaw- Windsor-Cilve, Lieut.-Colonel George
Gower, Sir Robert Milchell, W. Foot (Saffron Waldin) Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Greene, W. P. Crawford MlichelI, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Withers, John James
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Coine) Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M. Wolmer, viscount
Grenfell. Edward C. (City of London) Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C. Womersley, W. J.
Grotrlan, H. Brent Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury) Wood, B. c (Somerset, Bridgwater)
Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon.F. E. (Bristol, N ) Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Cilve Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E. Maylor, T. E. Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)
Gunston, Captain D, W. Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge) Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Harland, A. Nicholson, O. (Westminster) Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (Norwich)
Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent) Nlcho!son,Col.Rt.Hon.W.G.(Ptrsf'ld.)
Hartington, Marquess of O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon. Totnes) Patin, John Henry Major Birchall and Lieut-Com-
Hasiam, Henry C. Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings) mander Kenworthy.
Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. Perkins, Colonel E. K.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Berry, Sir George Burton, Colonel H. W.
Ainsworth, Lieut.-Col. Charles Bethel, A. Butt, Sir Altred
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Betterton, Henry B. Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward
Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l) Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.) Caine, Gordon Hall
Allen, Sir J. Sandeman Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart Campbell, E. T.
Alien, Lieut.-Col. Sir William James Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Cape, Thomas
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Sawyer, Captain G. E. W. Cassels, J. D.
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W. Boyd-Carpenter, Major Sir A. B. Cautley, Sir Henry S.
Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W. Briant, Frank Cayzer.Maj.Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Brittain. sir Harry Chapman, Sir S.
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Brockfebank, C. E. R. Charteris, Brigadier-General J.
Barnes, A. Bromfield, William Chilcott, Sir Warden
Barr, J. Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Christie, J. A.
Beam'sh, Rear.Admiral T. P. H. Brown, Ernest (Leith) Churchman, Sir Arthur C.
Beckett, John (Gateshead) Bullock, Captain M, Cluse, W. S.
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Burney, Lieut.-Com. Charles O. Cohen, Major J. Brunei
Colman, N. C. D. Jephcott, A. R Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes., Stretfore)
Couper, J. B Johnston, Thomas (Dundee) Robinson, W. C. (Yorks.W.R., Ellano)
Cove, W. G. Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Rose, Frank H.
Cowan, 0. M. (Scottish Universities) Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvtrtown) Rye, F. G.
Cowan, Sir Wm Henry (Islingtn. N.) Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Saklatvala, Shapurji
Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim) Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Salter, Dr. Alfred
Crawfurd, H. E. Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William Sandeman, N. Stewart
Crooke, J. Smedley (Derltend) Kennedy, A. R. (Preston) Sanderson, Sir Frank
Crookshank,Cpt.H.(Llndsey,Galnsbro) Kennedy, T. Sandon, Lord
Cunliffe, Sir Herbert Kinioch-Cooke, Sir Clement Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir Leslie
Curzon, Captain viscount Knox, Sir Altred Scrymgeour, E.
Davies, Rhys John (Wetthoughton) Lamb, J. Q. Sexton, James
Dennison, R. Lawrence, Susan Sheffield, Sir Berkeley
Dixey, A. C. Lawson, John James Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Dixon, Captain Rt. Hon. Herbert Lee, F. Shepperson, E. W.
Drews, C. Lindley, F. W. Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Edmondson, Major A. J. Little, Dr. E. Graham Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) Livingstone, A. M. Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington) Locker-Lampson. Com. O.(Handsw'th) Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)
England, Colonel A. Lowth, T. Sinclair. Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belts"
Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith Lynn, Sir R. J. Sitch, Charles H.
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.) M'Connell, Thomas E. Smillie, Robert
Everard, W. Lindsay Macdonald. Sir Murdoch (Inverness) Smith, Rennie (Penistone)
Falle, Sir Bertram G. Macdonafd, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart) Smith,R.W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C)
Falls, Sir Charles F. MacLaren, Andrew Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Fanshawe, Captain G. D. McLean, Ma|or A. Snell, Harry
Fermoy, Lord Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Foster, Sir Harry S. MacNeill-Weir, L Sprot, Sir Alexander
Foxcroft, Captain C. T. Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I. Steel, Major Samuel Strang
Frece, Sir Walter de Macquisten, F. A. Storry-Deans, R.
Ganzonl, Sir John Makins, Brigadier-General E. Strauss, E. A.
Garro-Jones, Captain G. M. Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton) Streatfeild, Captain S. R.
George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd Malone, Major p. B. Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Gibbins, Jeseph March, S. Sutton, J. E.
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Meller, R. J. Tasker, R. Inigo
Gosling, Harry Meyer, Sir Frank Templeton, W. P.
Grace, John Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley) Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edln., Cant.) Mitchell. S. (Lanark. Lanark) Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Grant, Sir J. A. Moles, Rt. Hon. Thomas Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)
Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr) Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Greenall, T Moore, Sir Newton J. Thurtle, Ernest
Greenwood,Rt. Hn.Sir H.(W'th's'w,E) Morden, Colonel Walter Grant Tinne, J. A.
Grenfeil, D. R. (Glamorgan) Morris, R. H. Tomilnson, R. P.
Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Griffith, F. Kingsley Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph Vlant, S. P.
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Nelson, Sir Frank Waddington, R.
Groves, T. Neville, Sir Reginald J. Wallhead. Richard C.
Grundy, T. W. Nield. Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
Hacking, Douglas H. Nuttall, Ellis Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Hall, Lieut.-col. Sir F. (Duiwich) Oakley, T. Watts, Sir Thomas
Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah
Hall, Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne) Oliver, George Harold Wellock, Wilfred
Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad ) Owen, Major G. Wells, S. R.
Hamilton, Sir George Paling, W. Westwood, J.
Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland) Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple
Hammersley, S. S. Penny, Frederick George Whiteley, W.
Hanbury, C. Philipson. Mabel Wiggins, William Martin
Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Pilcher, G. Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)
Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon Potts, John S. Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Harvey. G. (Lambeth, Kennington) Preston, William Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)
Henderson. Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley) Price, Major C. W. M. Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Henderson, Lieut.-Col. Sir Vivian Pringle, J. A. Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield. Attercliffe)
Hilton. Cecil Radford, E. A. Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Hirst. G. H. Ramsden, E. Winby, Colonel L. P.
Hohier, Sir Gerald Fitzroy Rawson, Sir Cooper Windsor, Walter
Hoillns, A. Rees, Sir Beddoe Wood, E. (Chest'r, stalyb'dge & Hyde)
Hume, Sir G. H. Reid, Capt. Cunningham (Warrington) Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer Reid, D. D. (County Down) Wragg, Herbert
Hutchison, Sir G. A. Clark Remer, J. R. Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose) Rentoul, G. S. Young. Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Illffe. Sir Edward M. Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.
Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H. Richardson, Sir P. W.(Sur'y, Ch'ts'y) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert Riley, Ben Sir John Pennefather and Mr. Hayes-
Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)