A short quote on the Caroline Divines

Caroline Divines – montage

Source: A Saint Study: Charles Stuart, King and Martyr | The North American Anglican

“The English School of Theology experienced a renaissance of sorts under the ‘Caroline Divines,’ the theologians who delineated the manner in which the Church of England did and did not agree with the Reformation as articulated on the Continent; these Divines number among them Blessed Lancelot Andrewes, Blessed George Herbert, Blessed John Cosin, Blessed Thomas Ken, Blessed William Laud, Blessed Jeremy Taylor, and Richard Hooker. These men were most emphatic on demonstrating their adherence to the Fathers of the Church rather than to their own reading of Scriptures.”

— from “A Saint Study: Charles Stuart, King and Martyr,” by Raymond Davidson, May 15, 2020

 

The Via Media—Between What and What? | The North American Anglican

John Whitgift (c. 1530-1604): Archbishop of Canterbury and a defender of the Elizabethan Settlement, the classic attempt to bridge the divide between Reformed Catholic Anglicans and what McDermott calls Calvinist (I would call them Reformed Protestant) Anglicans.

One could say that the argument over the Via Media is its own via media, cutting through two camps in the Anglican Communion.

Source: The Via Media—Between What and What? | The North American Anglican

Gerald McDermott – recently retired Chair of Anglican Divinity at Beeson Divinity School, the author or editor of 23 books, and teacher of courses in Anglicanism, history and doctrine, theology of world religions, and Jonathan Edwards – on the much-debated subject of the Anglican via media.

As quoted above, McDermott writes that “One could say that the argument over the Via Media is its own via media, cutting through two camps in the Anglican Communion,” and continues,

“Although there have been various ways of interpreting the term [via media], more recently its interpretation has divided two groups of Anglicans—those who insist on the Reformed character of Anglicanism and those who see Anglicanism as a way of being reformed and catholic but distinct from Rome.

The first group of Anglicans (let’s call them ‘Calvinist Anglicans’) says that the via media runs between Wittenberg and Geneva but finally ends in Geneva. The English Reformation, by its lights, was first inspired by Luther’s doctrine of justification by faith alone and grace alone. Then it turned to Calvin and his Institutes as its best expression of Christian faith purged of papist ceremonial. Cranmer and Jewell turned attention away from Catholic spectacle and back toward the preached Word. The Protestant center of Anglicanism is demonstrated by the Thirty-Nine Articles’ exaltation of biblical authority and rejection of Catholic sacramentalism.

“The other group of Anglicans (‘reformed catholic Anglicans’ might be apt) acknowledges Reformed influence on the early Anglican theologians and continued Reformation influence on Anglican soteriology and authority. For a few examples, Anglicans have always rejected Pelagianism, papism, and Mariolatry. But reformed catholic Anglicans point as well to the embrace of catholic worship—not Roman but patristic, and that of the undivided Church of the first millennium of Christianity—by its earliest reformers and continuing through the Elizabethan and Restoration eras.”

“For these and a hundred other reasons, historians such as the general editor of the Oxford History of Anglicanism have maintained that ‘[d]eveloping within Anglicanism over centuries was a creative but also divisive tension between Protestantism and Catholicism, between the Bible and tradition, between the Christian past and contemporary thought and society.'”

It will probably surprise few regular readers of this blog that The Anglophilic Anglican falls into the second of these two camps: seeing in the Anglican tradition an expression of Christianity which is both Reformed and Catholic, but not Romanist. So, it appears, does McDermott; and he spends the rest of this fairly long but interesting essay in defending that stance – or as he puts it, endeavoring to

“show in this space that the reformed catholic conception of the via media as running between Rome and Geneva more accurately depicts the Anglican story than the Calvinist one. The Reformed tradition has had an undoubted influence upon our faith and worship, but it is only part of the story” –

as well as providing some cautions for those who would behave in a manner too over-zealous, on either side. As he concludes,

“I would suggest that… we should accept our Calvinist Anglican brothers and sisters as good Anglicans whom we can invite to share more of our rich Anglican patrimony. Come not only to hear but also to taste and see.

“We ask in turn that our Calvinist brethren would accept us as genuine Anglicans [as well]. Let us say to one another, Come let us reason together and learn from each other.

A very good and useful read, in my opinion!

 

“Angles at Play” – England in sport and spirituality | Crisis Magazine

 

“England is a strong land and a sturdy, and the plenteousest corner of the world… England is full of mirth and of game, and men oft-times able to mirth and game; free men of heart and with tongue.”

Source: Angles at Play – Crisis Magazine

An interesting take, from a Roman Catholic perspective, on the relationship between England’s “land of mirth and game,” and the English spirit, and spirituality – particularly as expressed in traditional faith and practice during the centuries of medieval catholicism, but continuing well into the modern era, especially in more rural (and thus, typically, traditional) areas:

“The English have a genius for play. Which other nation of Christendom has at the center of its villages not just a church but a field for sport? Along with the church and pub, the quintessential center of the English village is the cricket green…

“The origins of sport lie in the recreations and pastimes of pre-modern rural people. The agrarian and religious calendar shaped popular recreation as it did nearly every other aspect of English culture. From the land full of mirth and game, originated the primordial forms of many of the sports the world enjoys today.

“During the Middle Ages, the Church’s feast days were firmly embedded in England’s seasons of agricultural labor. Plough Monday, spring-time celebrations, harvest feasts, and autumn fairs were vital moments within the rhythm of organic English society. Robert Malcolmson notes how feast days were the occasion for festive leisure and for archaic forms of contemporary sports.

“Most of the saints’ days fostered in medieval England were tragically suppressed during the English Reformation, but many of the associated customs survived. Parish feasts (known as wakes) continued into the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries while the principal holidays—Christmas, Shrovetide, Easter, May Day, and Whitsuntide—continued to be observed despite the best efforts of the essentially urban puritan movement.”

Well worth a read!

 

“The British Church” – George Herbert (with some reflections thereupon)

Image may contain: sky, tree, grass, outdoor and nature
“A Distant View of Hythe Village and Church, Kent” – Arthur Nelson (c. 1767).

The British Church

~ by George Herbert (1633)

I joy, dear mother, when I view
Thy perfect lineaments, and hue
Both sweet and bright.
Beauty in thee takes up her place,
And dates her letters from thy face,
When she doth write.
A fine aspect in fit array,
Neither too mean nor yet too gay,
Shows who is best.
Outlandish looks may not compare,
For all they either painted are,
Or else undress’d.
She on the hills which wantonly
Allureth all, in hope to be
By her preferr’d,
Hath kiss’d so long her painted shrines,
That ev’n her face by kissing shines,
For her reward.
She in the valley is so shy
Of dressing, that her hair doth lie
About her ears;
While she avoids her neighbour’s pride,
She wholly goes on th’ other side,
And nothing wears.
But, dearest mother, what those miss,
The mean, thy praise and glory is
And long may be.
Blessed be God, whose love it was
To double-moat thee with his grace,
And none but thee.

 

Nota Bene: Herbert is referring, of course, to the Anglican via media (“middle way”), which is perhaps best thought of in Aristotelian terms as the “Golden Mean” between the extremes of surfeit (too much of something) and deficit (too little). Indeed, “via media” is itself a 19th-century term for this phenomenon; earlier centuries expressed it as the mean (cf. Herbert, above) between extremes, or even, as we shall see below, a “virtuous mediocrity.” But all can be understood in fundamentally the same sense.

Herbert’s view in this poem is expressed in rather more extreme language by Bishop Simon Patrick of Ely (1625-1707), who wrote of “that virtuous mediocrity which our Church observes between the meretricious gaudiness of the Church of Rome and the squalid slattery of fanatic conventicles” – though it should be noted that, as one scholarly commentator has pointed out, “squalid slattery” fits the sectaries of the Civil War and Commonwealth period better than the sober demeanor of the Lutheran and Reformed Churches of the Continent, the products of the magisterial Reformation.

And indeed, it was within that context – the era of the English Civil War and Interregnum, and the eventual Restoration, that Bishop Patrick was writing.

In any case, a love of order, seemliness, and good taste (cf. I Corinthians 14:40 – “Let all things be done decently and in order”) has led the Anglican Church along a middle path between these two extremes. And as it has furthermore been elsewhere noted, the via media meant positioning the English Church such that it could recognize not only its affinity with the medieval catholic tradition, on the one hand, but with the enduring legacy of the Reformation, on the other: a position of both-and, not either-or.

Indeed, I would submit that the Anglican via media represents the point where several axes come together, if one can visualize a multi-dimensional graph: the legacy of the medieval Catholic tradition and that of the magisterial Reformation, as noted above; “High Church” and “Low Church” liturgy and churchmanship; Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical theology; and indeed Eastern and Western forms of catholic orthodoxy.

I believe that, as a contemporary Collect for that great 16th-century Anglican divine, Richard Hooker, has put it, the Anglican via media is to be understood

“not as a compromise for the sake of peace, but as a comprehension for the sake of truth.”

The challenge, and the sadness, of course, is that humans have a tendency to want to hive off into our own little enclaves, and to declare our understanding of the “truth” to be the only one that is acceptable. Anglicans are no less guilty of this than are others!

 

Morning Prayer with Sermon and Litany: Third Sunday in Lent, 2020, and A National Day of Prayer

I have not been regularly sharing my Sunday offerings of Morning and/or Evening Prayer here on The Anglophilic Anglican, but today it seems especially right to do so. On Friday, March 13th, President Trump has proclaimed today – Sunday, March 15th, 2020 – as a National Day of Prayer for All Americans Affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic and for our National Response Efforts.

I have done so – and also included some introductory comments. Here ’tis:

I have uploaded several other videocasts to my YouTube Channel, should you want to visit.


FYI, here are the President’s original Tweets on the subject:

Screenshot_2020-03-15 (8) Donald J Trump on Twitter It is my great honor to declare Sunday, March 15th as a National Day of[...]

Also from President Trump:

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The Lent Prose (Hymn): Hereford Cathedral 1982 | The Stoic Catholic

Eric James of “The Stoic Catholicposts this and comments,

“Perhaps one of the most beautiful gems of Anglican worship that comes out during the Lent season. The Lent Prose – or Attende Domine, as the original Mozarabic hymn was titled – is a wonderful and chilling reflection on the journey of Lent as we prepare for Easter.”

Hear us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against thee.

To thee, Redeemer, on thy throne of glory:
lift we our weeping eyes in holy pleadings:
listen, O Jesu, to our supplications.

Hear us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against thee.

O thou chief cornerstone, right hand of the Father:
way of salvation, gate of life celestial:
cleanse thou our sinful souls from all defilement.

Hear us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against thee.

God, we implore thee, in thy glory seated:
bow down and hearken to thy weeping children:
pity and pardon all our grievous trespasses.

Hear us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against thee.

Sins oft committed, now we lay before thee:
with true contrition, now no more we veil them:
grant us, Redeemer, loving absolution.

Hear us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against thee.

Innocent captive, taken unresisting:
falsely accused, and for us sinners sentenced,
save us, we pray thee, Jesu, our Redeemer.

Hear us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against thee.