Because none can resist the principle of your proposal, who admit that the Church has a sphere of proper jurisdiction at all, or any duty beyond that of taking the rule of her doctrine and her practice from the lips of ministers or parliaments. If it shall be deliberately refused to adopt a proposition so moderate, so guarded and restrained in the particular instance, and so sustained by history, by analogy, and by common reason, in the case of the faith of the Church, and if no preferable measure be substituted, it can only be in consequence of a latent intention that the voice of the Civil Power should be henceforward supreme in the determination of Christian doctrine.
We trust that such an assurance, backed as it is by the solemn and earnest warnings of one who is not an enthusiast or an agitator, but one of the leading men in the Parliament of England, will not be without its full weight with those on whom devolves the duty of guiding and leading us in this crisis. The Bishops of England have a great responsibility on them. Reason, not less than Christian loyalty and Christian charity, requires the fairest interpretation of their acts, and it may be of their hesitation,—the utmost consideration of their difficulties. But reason, not less than Christian loyalty and charity, expects that, having accepted the responsibilities of the Episcopate, they should not withdraw from them when they arrive; and that there should be neither shrinking nor rest nor compromise till the creed and the rights of the Church entrusted to their fidelity be placed, as far as depends on them, beyond danger.
JOYCE ON COURTS OF SPIRITUAL APPEAL
Ecclesia Vindicata; a Treatise on Appeals in Matters Spiritual.
By James Wayland Joyce. Saturday Review, 22nd October 1864.
Nothing can be more natural than the extreme dissatisfaction felt by a large body of persons in the Church of England at the present Court of Final Appeal in matters of doctrine. The grievance, and its effect, may have been exaggerated; and the expressions of feeling about it certainly have not always been the wisest and most becoming. But as the Church of England is acknowledged to hold certain doctrines on matters of the highest importance, and, in common with all other religious bodies, claims the right of saying what are her own doctrines, it is not surprising that an arrangement which seems likely to end in handing over to indifferent or unfriendly judges the power of saying what those doctrines are, or even whether she has any doctrines at all, should create irritation