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DIOCESAN CONFERENCE. -

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DIOCESAN CONFERENCE. SITTINGS AT CHESTER. INTERESTING DEBATES. The Chester Diocesan Conference commenced itB sitting in the Music Hall, Chester, on Wed- nesday morrang, when there was a largvj gather- ing of both clergy and laity. The members of conference filled the body of the hall, and overflowed in considerable numbers to the gal- leries, whence also numerous ladies watered the proceedings with interest-. The Lord Bshop of the Diocese (the Right Rev. Dr. Jayne) presided, and was supported on the platform by the Arch- deacon of Chester (the Ven. John Barbor), too Archdeacon of. Maoclesfield (thp Vcn. Ma-tlaiid Wood), the Rev. Canon Gore, the Rev. C&acn Royds, Colonel Cotton-Jodrell, C.B., Mr. G. B. Baker-Wilbiaham, Mr. Russell Hall, and the two hon. secretaries (the Rev. J. G. Elstob and the Rev. J. Stapleton Cotton). THE BISHOP'S ADDRESS. Proceeding Wllh msadaiesa his lordship re viewed some of the piaetical results of the conference;, during the iast twenty years. Commending the Church Lads' Brigade movement, he said:- Viewing it from the side of citizenship, I think the time has come when its relallOll to trie auxiliary forces should be carefully considered. I hope that a meeting for this purpose may soon be arranged between representatives ot tiie Volunteers and of the Oiiurcli Laxis Brigade within our area. Here is something, and, some- thing important, to be done. I am convinced that the quest-on should be frankly faced, but 1 must not attempt to antiapate the answer, which will, I hope, .n due time and after full dektvra- tion be forthcoming. The latest con ference, held m January, 1904, at Birkenhead, -was delightfully exhilarating, and our delibera- tions there have certainly borne fruit. As a diocese which knew from repeated experience the advantages resulting from sub-division, we were able to join in supporting the division of the hugie dioceses of Rochester and Worcester, now happily accomplished. The tilaims of thp deal and dumb were explained, thus leading to the foundation of a diooesan church mission, which is already at work. A resolution concerning the migration of lads and young men from the ooun- try to towns Led to the appointment of a com- mittee which met and reported, and whose work will be oont.nucd anl developed in our business I this aftemocn. Finally, after a debate conducted throughout with excellent temper cn a dcl oate and difficult subject, it was resolved cnat, m the opinion of this conference, it is desirable that the question of the better adaptation of the book of Common Prayer to the work of the Church under present conditions of 1-fe and thought, should receive early consideration." Tho resolu- tion I have quoted brings to mind some words written in 1706 by Joseph Bingham, the learned author of the "Antiquities of the Christian Church," to the enduring value of whcse monu- mental work the Bishop of Salsbury ha3 reoently borne testimony in his "Ministry of Grate" (pp. 8, 9). In one of his minor treatises—"The French (Reformed) Church's Apology for the Church of England"—B-ngh;.m is endeavouring to reason the Nonconformists of his day into union with the Church of England upon such principles as are common to all the Churches of the Reformation and, with this end in view, he draws his argu- ments either from the French Synods, or from their most approved writers, as tha subject re- quires. After quot'ng the treatise, his lordship said Two aenturies have passed since Binghaiii wrote thus, and the eaaa for suoh "adaptation" has surely become clearer and stronger. It should be observed, moreover, that the present pressure for a reasonable and seasonable settle- ment of differences comes dhiefly, not from with- out, but from within our own Communion. Our business is to become a really un ted family our- selves, that we, who have been and are 60 sadly "divided," may with a somewhat better grace in- vite these without to "join our happy throng." As things stand, we must admit with profound self-humiliation, yet not without profound thank- fulness to Him Whose ways are not our ways, that the essentially Christian Spirit of concilia- tion, forbearance and magnanimity is to be found, not where it should first of all be found, within any of those organiaat ons whidh represent the Christian Church, but in the international statesmanship and diplomacy of some of those Kingdoms of this world which, in so far as they exhibit the temper and promote the work of righteousness, peace and goodwill, are on their way to become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ. Here, as too often, those who may be aooounted the children of this world have shewn themselves wiser and worthier than the children of light. Let us devoutly hope that the good example of these civil governments, in- cluding conspicuously our own, may provoke to godly emulation the state ecclesiastical. Return- ing to Bingham's treatise, it is relevant and in- structive to notice his view of the Ornaments Rubric. Richard Baxter, in his "English Non- conformity" (1689), had taken exoeption to this rubric, fearing that it might be so interpreted as to restore the use of discarded vestments. B ng- ham simply scouts the notion. It is "Mr. Bax- ter's great mistake." "His exceptions are founded upon mere ignorance and m stake." The 58th Oanon and too rubrics "all speak of surplices and hoods but of no other ornaments belonging to private m n"ste rg. He then prcceds to shew from French Protestant writers that in their opinion the uge of the surplioe in d vine service is lawful. ("French Church's Apology, etc. Bk. iii. oh. 7.) Far be it from me to suggest that Bingham himself, so peculiarly competent an authority, was mistaken in his view of the true ",ind of the Church of England upon this subject. But t:he controversies of the last half century have abundantly proved that he was "greatly mis- taken" in denying the possibility of such a con- struction of the rubric ias Baxter and other Non conformists feared. The lesson to be leamt from this strange upstarting of the unexpected aeems to me plain enough. You are aware of my con- viction (in which I am very far from standing alone) that a rubric so ambiguous, so miserably .prolific in demoralising controversies, ought no longer to be allowed to work mischief among brethren and dishonour to our Master's cause. If our Christian common sen'ID and regard for one another is unequal to the task of solving straightforwardly and equitably such a problem as this—if the adaptation of our Prayer-book in this minor respect is an achievement tro hopeles. to be attempted-then, I ask, into what spirit were we baptised? But I am persuaded better things of our Church, and, as regards our own diocese, the resolution adopted at Birkenhead has encouraged me to believe that, borrowing Bingham's words, you will mainta:n that "he is no true Churchman, nor true Protestant, who will not contribute his utmost endeavour to- wards" so reasonable and desirable a nacification. THE ATHANASIAN CREED. Another rubric, which was much before us at Birkenhead, is the rubric which governs the use of the Athr.nasian Creed. S:nce th?n it has b-en amply shewn that we had good reason for con- cluding that in this case also considerate "adapta- tion" is urgently needed. What was said at our conference has s;nce been ga:d after full delibera- tion and with precision of statement by the Upper Houses of bcth Convocations, by 18 Deans of Cathedral and Collegiate Churches, by Metro- politans of daughter and sister Churches, and bv manv other voices, which, for the learning and fidelity they represent, have a right to be respect- fully heard. The question as to the t per- e manent solut'on of the d fficulties connected w t.- the liturgical use of the Quicunque Vult is to h" brought before the Lambeth Coffr-nm, in IgOR. As a provisional remedy, the Bishop? of the Southern Province suggest "that each Diocesan Bishop should be authorised, upon sppl'o.t.'on from an incumbent, with sufficient reason s'npwn. to dispense with the public recitation of fie Quicunoue Vult, either on all or on poire of th.. days Whon the rubric orders its reeit?t'on." T shall content myself now with repeating what I have stated more than one-- before, that. having regard to all the circumstances of the cne, thef" is no rubric which can less justifiably oliim to be rigidly enforced than the rubric wh;r<n makes re- citation of the Athanasian Creed compulsory. Wis lordship havinsr tiaid a compliment to M". Elstob for the careful and sugorestiv^ papers which he is contributing to the "D:oce«an Gazette" on the musical renderings of the ser-

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