Saturday, June 12, 2010

An Interesting Bit of Verse

'For this, Seditious Spirits in disguise
Swarm in the Church, tho' they that Church despise:
Loudly they boast her Ancient rights and Fame,
Whilst underhand they play a Popish Game.
The Seed of Loyola with Artful Pains
First fixt this High-Church Poyson in our Veins,
Infecting too, too many of our Youth,
Who, blindly led, fell from the Cause of Truth.

Does that read like an attack upon the Tractarians, the early ritualists or even the late nineteenth century Anglo-Catholics? If you thought so you would be wrong. It was written and published in 1708, more than a century before the beginning of the Tractarian Movement. Those lines came from a poem titled: The Seditious Insects: or, the Levelers assembled in Convocation. I present it as evidence that as Frere wrote in the early twentieth century, the Church has always had its enemies who were in his words "too little of Churchmen to obey her, but too much of Churchmen to leave her."

And so the battle persists. Those of us who think of ourselves as Prayer Book Anglicans or Prayer Book Catholics and who believe that real high churchmen value the Church and express that by a full and complete obedience to our own version of the Book of Common Prayer, must remain aware that the Church still contains those whose real loyalties remain outside "the doctrines, discipline and worship . . . .of the church" as expressed in her classical formularies.

6 comments:

Rappahannock Rev said...

And where, in the fever-swamp of the Continuing Church Movement, are these Prayer Book Catholics to be found?

Canon Tallis said...

Hidden away in hopes of not being noticed by the more partisan and hostile self styled Anglo-Catholics.

And well did you choose the term "fever swamp," although I would never expected it to be. The clergy, present pair excepted, so frequently seem to have been chosen in the early days from the near insane, are much more balanced today if not quite as knowledgeable or well read. And what they have read are too frequently the wrong things. The little guys rather than the greats who can cause the wind of the ages to blow the cobwebs out of the cluttered modern mind.

They are hidden, like Little Gidding, waiting for their time.

Rappahannock Rev said...

"We do not realize the extent of our failure. With everything human in our favour -- learning, position, wealth, lofty traditions, the possession of the church buildings, the schools, the universities--we have gradually let our people slip away from us.

"Goodly was our heritage: if we had but kept what our forefathers had won for us, the whole Anglo-Saxon race would to-day be united in one Church, devotedly attached to it, and most diligent in worship as our ancestors were 1,000 years ago, as they were 400 years ago, as, indeed, a great majority still were, in spite of many losses, 200 years ago."

Dearmer. Loyalty to the Prayer Book.

Canon Tallis said...

I am very fond of Dearmer. He believed and expected others to do so. But so many around him, both low and so called high churchmen, did not. They played at something which gave them position, status and for the times, a good pay checque. The gospel they really heard was that according to Marx rather than Saint Mark. That was shown in what they both did and did not do. Dearmer even had a touch of it himself.

But what he wanted most was obedience to the prayer book and in St Mary the Virgin, Primrose Hill, London, he established a tradition of belief and obedience that lasted well beyond his being there or even being alive. Sadly it is mostly gone now, but real obedience made it stronger than most.

Death Bredon said...

The UEC, ACC, and PCK all have some very much openly Prayer-Book Parishes, many more Missal-and-Water, and another minority of fully committed Tridentine Anglo-Catholics. In short, while Roman Usage does predominate in the St. Louis Continuum, it is far from clear that the collective hearts and minds of the folk in the pews are not Prayer-Book Anglicans.

Canon Tallis said...

I think a great number of them are just that, Death, but they require more instruction both in Holy Scripture, the Fathers and the actual text of the successive classical prayer books than they have gotten. And that is the greater part of the tragedy.

One of the things which made the Restoration of Church and King possible was that the deprived clergy took on the job of tutoring the children of the gentry, especially the sons, making true and informed churchmen out of them. We have this great need to educate all who call themselves Anglicans so that they really know what both Holy Scripture and the central prayer book tradition is really about and what it demands of them.

I would like to see hedge row schools set up in every place where you could get enough clergy and especially laity which would begin with sung morning prayer and Eucharist followed by a breakfast in which what has just happened is explained to them and then others on subjects to firmly place both in the central prayer book tradition.

It would also be great to produce something as simple as a reading list for prayer book Anglicans that would be distributed to all the delegates of any synod or convention. But first and most important I want to get some real prayer book Anglican things on youtube.