[p47](From the Report. 1896-97)
The second occurrence was of a different kind, and arose out of the sad disaster which befell the S.S. Drummond Castle in the same month of June. It was suggested by Mr. L. Ehrmann, Secretary of the Lavender Hill Branch, and the Council gladly made use of the suggestion, that it would be most desirable to raise a small fund for the purpose of presenting to the Church at Molène some article or ornament for use in the Divine Service which would be a memento of the event, and also a slight recognition on the part of Anglican Churchpeople of the Christian Charity of the Rector and his flock in not merely caring for the bodies of those who were drowned and giving them burial, with solemn rites, in Consecrated Ground, but in celebrating Masses for the repose of their souls both at the time of the interment and at the “month’s mind” of their sudden call into eternity.
It was felt also to be an opportunity of proving to Continental Catholics that English Churchpeople are at one with them in valuing and practising prayer for the faithful departed which it would not be right to neglect, and the Council very thankfully records that the response made, both by Members and others, to the appeal put forth was so generous as to enable the original proposal to be carried out in a most creditable manner.
After correspondence with Abbé Le Jeune, it was found that the most acceptable form the gift could assume would be a Chalice and Paten. A very handsome and suitable design, by Messrs. Barkentin and Krall, was selected and the result was most satisfactory. A full description of the gift appeared in the Churchwoman of January 8th. and also in the Church Unioti Gazette for March.
With ready and willing consent of his Government, the French Ambassador in London most kindly took charge of the gift and conveyed it to its destination, through the Bishop of the Diocese, free from all charges for conveyance or Customs Duty.
The following letter of thanks has since been received from the Rector of Molène, and it will be seen that the Bishop, who solemnly consecrated the vessels to their sacred use, expressed himself as much touched by the gift which he considered very rich and in perfect taste.
“I received your Chalice last Sunday, and used it the same day to celebrate Mass for the repose of the souls of the poor shipwrecked people of the ‘Drummond Castle.’
“It is impossible for me to show enough gratitude to the members of your pious Society for this magnificent Chalice. The Lord Bishop [p 50] of Quimper and Leon (Finisterre) has consecrated it, and he was much touched by this beautiful offering; he thinks it most rich and in perfect taste. For my part I consider it a very rare work of art. and I beg you to offer my sincere congratulations to Messrs. Barkentin & Krall who excel [sic] so well in their art.
“Awaiting the pleasure of expressing my gratitude in person, will you please, Sir, receive my feelings of deep thankfulness, and offer the same to all the Members of your Society.”
(Translated from the French).
A few extracts from our Archbishop’s reply to the Papal Bull condemning our Orders and criticising our teaching.
“When he (the Pope) touches upon the matter itself and follows the steps of the Council of Trent, our opinion does not greatly differ from the main basis of his judgment He rightly calls laying on of hands the ‘matter’ of ordination. His judgment on the ‘form’ is not so clearly expressed; but we suppose him to intend to say that the form is prayer or benediction appropriate to the ministry to be conferred, which is also our opinion. Nor do we part company with the Pope when he suggests that it is right to investigate the intention of a church in conferring holy orders ‘in so far as it is manifested externally.’ For whereas it is scarcely possible for a man to arrive at a knowledge of the inner mind of a Priest, so that it cannot be right to make the validity of a Sacrament depend upon it, the will of the Church can both be ascertained more easily, and ought also to be both true and sufficient, which intention our Church shows generally by requiring a promise from one who is to be ordained that he will rightly minister the Doctrine. Sacraments and Discipline of Christ, and teaches that he who is unfaithful to this promise may be justly punished.
“This topic of Confirmation requires to be treated rather more at large, for it throws much light on the question proposed by the Pope. He writes that laying on of hands is a ‘ matter’ which is equally used for Confirmation. The matter therefore of Confirmation seems, in his judgment, to be laying on of hands, as we too hold in accordance with apostolic tradition. But the Roman Church for many centuries has, by a corrupt custom, substituted a stretching out of hands over a crowd of children, or simply ‘towards those who are to be confirmed.’ in the place of laying on of hands to be conferred on each individual.
“The Orientals (with Eugenius IVth) teach that the matter is chrism, and use no laying of hands in this rite. If therefore the [p 51] doctrine about a fixed matter and form in the Sacraments were to be admitted, the Romans have ministered Confirmation imperfectly for many centuries past, and the Greeks have none.
“Whatever the Pope may answer, it is clear enough that we cannot everywhere insist very strictly on that doctrine of a fixed form and matter; inasmuch as all Sacraments of the Church, except Baptism, would in that way be rendered uncertain.
“The authority of that Council (Trent) has certainly never been admitted in our country, and we find that by it many truths were mixed with falsehoods, much that is uncertain with what is certain. But we answer as regards the passages quoted by the Pope, that we make provision with the greatest reverence for the consecration of the Holy Eucharist and commit it to the properly ordained Priests and to no other ministers of the Church. Further we truly teach the doctrine of Eucharistic Sacrifice, and do not believe it to be a ‘nude commemoration of the Sacrifice of the Cross’ an opinion which seems to be attributed to us by the quotation 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 - to signify the sacrifice which is offered at that point of the service in such times as these.
“We continue a perpetual memory of the precious death of Christ, who is our Advocate with the Father and the propitiation for 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 remission of sins and all other benefits of the Lord’s Passion for all 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 have necessarily to take its part with the Priest, we are accustomed to call the Eucharistic sacrifice.
“The Pope says nothing of the well-known intentions of our Church set forth in the preface to the Ordinal, and nothing of the principle which our Fathers always set before themselves, which explains their acts without any adverse interpretation.”
“We acknowledge that the things which our brother Pope Leo XIII has written from time to time in other letters are sometimes very true and always written with a good will. For the difference and debate between us and him arises from a diverse interpretation of [p 52] the self-same Gospel, which we all believe and honour as the only true one. We also gladly declare that there is much in his own person that is worthy of love and reverence.
“But that error, which is inveterate in the Roman Communion of substituting the visible head for the invisible Christ, will rob his good words of any fruit of peace. Join with us then, we entreat you, most reverend brethren in weighing patiently what Christ intended when He established the ministry of His Gospel. When that has been done, more will follow as God wills in His own good time.
“God grant that, even from this controversy. may grow fuller knowledge of the truth, greater patience, and a broader desire for peace in the Church of Christ the Saviour of the world.”
Extracts from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s letter published 1915, dealing with the crisis that had arisen in the Mission Field of East Africa. The controversy is not referred to here, but these extracts are of use generally.
“The threefold ministry comes down to us from Apostolic times, and we reverently maintain it as an essential element in our own historic system. . . We believe it to be the right method of Church government, a method which no new generation in the Church of England would be at liberty to get rid of, or to treat as indifferent, we believe further that the proper method of Ordination is by duly consecrated Bishops.”
“The Consultative Body has pointed out with perfect clearness three items of special difficulty which arise:
(a) The admission to our pulpits of men who have not been episcopally ordained;
(b) The admission to Holy Communion of Christians who have not been episcopally confirmed; and
(c) The sanction directly or by implication given to members of our Church to receive the Holy Communion at the hands of Ministers not episcopally ordained.”
“If. for the sake of securing what looks like a gain in the direction of Church Unity, or of attaining in the Mission Field a nearer prospect of a Church in the true sense ‘Native.’ we were to treat the question of a threefold ministry as trifling or negligible, it is obvious that we might do irreparable ill to the future life of the Church of [p 53] Christ in that region of the earth. Putting the matter at its lowest the contribution which we make to the Church of the future must be of our very best.”
“The subject of Reunion and intercommunion is with us day by day: It is not going to be forgotten: Our efforts are not over: we ask continuously for Divine guidance towards ‘the haven where we would be.’ We do not. I am persuaded, ask in vain.”
1. God Who reigns in Heaven above.
Is Spirit. Trinity and Love.
2. Jesus says to all in strife.
I am the Way, the Truth, the Life,
Without that way
There is no going.
Without that Truth
There is no knowing.
Without that Life
There is no growing.
3. What Christ brought
What Christ taught,
Led by Him, and fed by Him,
I hold all that was said by Him.
4. Here on earth true life begins.
Here on earth, I lose my sins,
Here by grace I run the race
That brings me to the Holy Place.
5. There before the Holy King.
There where Holy Angels sing,
None can move but those who love
The Holiness of God above.
6. The Cross of Christ upon my brow.
Has bound me in a threefold vow,
The grace of God within my heart
Enables .me to do my part.
That Cross is token
Of God’s word spoken
And I must keep that vow unbroken.[p 54]
7. In the Lord’s Book I learn my way.
In the Lord’s House I kneel to pray.
At the Lord’s Feast I get His strength,
And I shall see my Lord at length.
8. Great and small, and rich and poor,
Are equal at the Church’s door;
Of rich and poor, and great and small.
There is one Father, Lord of all:
One Faith, one Hope; one Holy Ghost.
One Christ, one Eucharist, one Host.
I believe in God Who all things made:
I believe in God Who the ransom paid:
I believe in God Who makes me pure:
And I hold my Faith with courage sure.
At the request of the Vicar I am writing a few words about the “Crusade” in Abbey Wood. First and foremost, I wish to mention how greatly we were cheered by the kindness of our welcome from all that made the beginning good.
Then I was very much struck with the very great difficulties under which people are living. The hours are long the work often monotonous; many are far from their homes, and the general pressure of the war, and liability to air raids makes life strenuous, and to some extent unnatural. I was equally struck by the cheerfulness and great determination with which everyone took the events of daily life.
Where does religion come in? It is in danger of being crowded out; but nearly everyone feels its necessity. There is a soul as well as a body and a mind. But there is for many little time to cultivate the mind or the soul.
The great thing, I think, is to hold on bravely. If only people do not let the Lord’s Prayer and Holy Communion go, they feel sure that God will not let them go either.
These are some of the things I thought
1. Let religion be very simple. It has got too organised and too complicated.
2. Be sure of your own position. Many people do not know exactly where they stand, or what they stand for. They say “Church of England,” but we must go further. What does the Church of England stand for? [p 55]
3. Our real religion lies in living for others. When work is plentiful and wages are high it is very easy to forget that the only life worth living is the life of unselfishness.
4. Remember that Christians have always been in the minority. Don’t be dismayed at small numbers. Christians are few, but they know and God knows they are on the winning side.
[It will be seen from the above that Canon Daldy’s remarks are almost prophetic; they apply equally to 1949, hence I gladly reproduce the words of one who was a great help in my parish at the time. A Deaconess and two “Pilgrims “assisted in this fortnight’s crusade.
Printed in the Parish Magazine of Hindhead.
Hindhead, April 19th, 1927.
My Dear Friends,
I do not think I am wrong when I address you as such, for you have proved yourselves to be friends already. We have had a sad time together for some weeks, but I shall never forget how faithful you have all been to your Church. Nothing cheered the dear Vicar more in his illness than to hear how well you have attended the Church services.
One day all will be made known to us, especially as to why the Vicar’s work here came to an end so quickly. Nobody can doubt the divine purpose in all affairs of this life. “Now we see through a glass darkly “----that is time, but very often we have the experience of seeing the meaning of events in later years as we look back. So it may be in the case of our dear Friend. I will make my remarks about him under two headings
1. At Catford, Mr. Morrell, as Vicar of St. Laurence, always attracted large congregations, and during his time there the Communicants increased immensely. He usually preached on Sunday evenings, and the large Church was generally quite full. Besides being Central Chaplain of the Mothers’ Union, he was for a time Chairman of the Lewisham Board of Guardians. His Vicarage always had an open door for Churchworkers and for all who wished to see him and seek his advice. I need hardly say that everybody loved Mrs. Morrell as much as her husband, and she was a tremendous help, as Mr. Morrell himself testified at his last Annual Church Meeting there. Personally I could not wish for a happier time on this earth than I spent as his colleague in 1924-25. We never had the slightest difference of opinion he was always the same to me, and I used to remark what a happy trio we were, i.e., with the Rev. C E. Parsons. I extract the following from a letter I wrote to the Kentish Mercury on the day of his death:- [p 56]
“Working with him at Catford was a real joy to me; he extended (as I reminded him recently) the right hand of fellowship in such a manner that showed his lovable and generous character. His aim was always to encourage people to do their best and be useful in the Master’s service. What we all appreciated so much was that he always spoke plainly and meant what he said he was, indeed, straightforward and never gave way to mental reservations or insinuations. That is why people trusted him so much. In short, he was a real man - truly human, enjoying humour and a good joke as much as anybody could, and yet he was an excellent and devotionally-minded Parish Priest. Only those who took the trouble to know him are fit judges of his character and great personality. His advice was sought from both far and near.”
2. At Hindhead. Here I found him already dangerously ill, but still the same man, keenly interested in all the people of Hindhead, and delighted to hear any local news I was able to tell him m the five minutes which the nurses allowed me to spend with him. All the time he was very weak, but his great willpower was remarkable. Those moments that I had with him I shall never forget, nor his loving smile as I left him. I learnt much from him during the eight weeks I was privileged to minister to him. Whenever I told him about the tender enquiries of parishioners, and how much they missed him - not omitting his morning visits to Beacon Hill Road— he would say with much expression: “The dear People.” You may like to know that he compiled the Lent Services List. How he did it I cannot tell, for he was then very ill. He knew, moreover, from me the present arrangements for Easter Day, and also that our kind friend, the Rev, E. H. Rowe, was giving us his help. During his illness I promised I would not leave him, and it seemed to please and comfort him. Seeing everything as I do now, I would not have missed this opportunity for worlds.
The object of my coming to you is now accomplished. For many reasons I should have liked it to be longer. The Churchwardens, have, however, asked me to remain during the interregnum, and the Bishops of Winchester and Guildford are assuming that I should do so. It will enable me to carry out the arrangements for the Confirmation and see the preparations of the Candidates through to the end. I deplore the fact that several matters about which I had spoken to Mr. Morrell and had his hearty concurrence, and with which I had hoped to deal, must now be left to the new Vicar. It will, however, be my endeavour to continue all the ordinary work and visiting with the assistance of the Rev. W. A. Wordsworth, whose brotherliness I appreciate immensely. I am greatly interested in the reorganisation of the Scout Troop, which Mr. Lindley is undertaking. I know of nothing better for lads and hope his efforts will be successful.
Please do not hesitate to see me if I can be of any use, or ask me to call. My one aim is to leave the Parish in as good a condition [p 57] as possible for the new Vicar, and I know I can rely upon your hearty co-operation.
P.S. Many of you may like to have a copy of the following prayer, which was a favourite one of the late Vicar, and which was used before the Blessing at the Requiem Eucharist
“O Lord, support us all the day-long of this troublous life, until the shades lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over and our work is done. Then, Lord, in Thy mercy, grant us safe lodging, a holy rest, and peace at the last: through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” (16th Century Prayer).
Yours very sincerely,
L. E. A. EHRMANN.
MR. EPIPHANIUS EVESHAM:
LOST TREASURES OF SCULPTURE:
A DISCOVERY IN KENT
By Mrs. Arundell Esdaile
On June 8th, 1928, The Times ended a leading article with a plea for “the scrupulous preservation and systematic study of records— no matter how trivial in appearance “—as an advantage to learning. Once again that plea has been amply justified.
in a little book entitled “The Epigrams of P. Virgilius Maro and Others, Englished by J[ohn] P[enkethman], Lover of Learning,” printed by U. P., 1624, Vertue two centuries ago found and copied a passage seemingly trivial, which Horace Walpole inserted, without the epitaph, in the “Anecdotes of Painting.” as the sole record of an English sculptor of distinction. The passage, as Penkethman wrote it, was as follows:-
Now seeing I have before inserted an Epigram made by M. John Owen, give me leave in this place to annex his own Epitaph, which is ingraven in a plate of Brasse, and fixed under his monumental Image, newly formed and erected by the most exquisite Artist, M. Epiphanius Evesham, within the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, thus Englished.
Small was thy state and stature, which do claime
Small statue, through great lands thy small Booke flies.
But small thine honour is not, nor thy fame,
For greater wit than thine the world denies
Whom a small house, a great Church shelter gives.
A Poet when he dies then truly lives.
A note before the text bids the reader “Correct with the Penne these faults ensuing . . In Owens Epit. Lin 2, lands make lookes,” the actual word, preserved in Dugdale’s St. Paul’s, of 1658, being ora.
The translation is very close to the elegiacs of the original, the translator, in spite of his prosaic profession of accountant, justly boasting that he could “translate olde manuscripts or bookes in any kind of Latin (according to the quality of the subject) into English prose or verse”: that original was probably by Lord Keeper, afterwards Archbishop Williams, who erected the monument to his friend and fellow Cambro-Britannus. and certainly chose the sculptor. Between 1622 then, when Owen died, and 1624, when Penkethman’s “Epigrams” was published, “a monumental image.” “a small statue“ - parva .statua is the phrase of the epitaph - by this forgotten artist was erected in St. Paul’s. [p 59]
“Epiphanius Evesham,” says Dallaway, “affords the first instance of an English sculptor, and if Penkethman’s praise be not immoderate, of considerable talents. The practice of placing the name of the artist upon the plinth is of a date much subsequent to Evesham’s time. It will not be suspected that Evesham had acquired fame without having produced many examples, the record of which will be sought for in vain.” Redgrave, rashly reiterating the statement that Evesham was the first known English sculptor, adds from the Gentleman’s Magazine for 1818 the obviously authentic detail that he was a pupil of Richard Stephens, of Southwark, though he wisely ignores his remark as to signatures being of a much later date; but that was all we knew or seemed likely to know of Epiphanius Evesham, and it amounted to nothing more than that, as a pupil of Stevens, author of the great Sussex monument at Boreham, Essex, he was trained in the Southwark School of Alabaster Workers, made a monument destroyed in the F ire and was admired by his contemporaries.
Now there is in existence a small and homogeneous group of works dating from the age of Charles I, all obviously by one hand, all in relief, and all carved with a delicacy and perfection of detail foreign to any other work of the period. There may well be more but these were all I had noted when, not long ago, a packet of photographs reached me from Mr. Ralph Griffin, F.S.A., among which were several of a monument with reliefs of sons and daughters on the base which instantly linked the work with the group of monuments in question. Turning one of them over, I found a note upon the back: “Lynsted. E. Evesham fecit.” It was but a matter of weeks since I had visited half a dozen churches close to Lynsted, but the darkening autumn afternoon had hindered more research and. profitable as that day’s work had been, it could show nothing to touch in importance this discovery of Mr. Griffin’s.
Here, at last, was the “exquisite artist” here was the author of my anonymous group of monuments; and the new monument revealed him as working in two manners, on a large scale and a small. It is the reliefs on the base, not the grandiose and not quite first-rate whole, which link the Lynsted tomb with the lesser and more charming works already mentioned.
Under a great arch of alabaster kneels Lady Teynham, widow of the second Lord, son of that John Roper who for his loyalty as the first man of note in England to proclaim King James I. was knighted and made a peer. His son lies beside his Lady in her widow’s cloak and hood, wearing ruff, cloak, and armour, his hand upon his sword on the base are reliefs of sons and daughters, flanking the inscription tablet, and along the base run in large capitals the words “E. Evesham fecit.” So much for Dallaway. [p 60]
Frankly, the main figures are not great art; Lady Teynham is stolid, though her draperies are good; Lord Teynham’s effigy is clumsy, and the right arm curiously ill set, though the fingers resting on the sword are carved with delicate perfection. The scheme is known to literature as well as art When the Duchess of Malfi spoke of “my figure cut in alabaster Kneels at my husband’s tomb,” she alluded to a real and definite type of English monument; but such conventions did not suit Epiphanius: it is only on the base that his gift is really seen. Two sons kneel to the right, the elder in armour, his head turned towards the spectator, his helmet and gauntlets laid aside ; his brother, in profile clad in cloak and doublet, rests one hand on his sword, but, like another Inglesant, he is lost in devotion, and his face is the face of a mystic. To the left are the daughters, Bridget, Mary. Catherine and Elizabeth, and behind another older woman, nurse or humble kinswoman perhaps, whose grief is partly hidden by her handkerchief. The girls themselves show no such boisterous emotion Bridget. veiled, kneels at a faldstool, lost in prayer; Mary, in plumed hat, bows her head, her hand upon her heart - she ended her days as Abbess of Ghent, but her face and form are grace itself; Catherine stands bareheaded to the left, beads and a cross about her neck; Elizabeth, beside the older woman, is behind in plumed cap and open ruff, and raises her head with a radiant gaze, opening her lips to join in the angelic songs about them. For here, as above the sons, the clouds of heaven are filled with cherub heads, though to her alone it is given to hear their voices.
The motive of kneeling sons and daughters was nearly a century old when Evesham thus transmuted what is as a rule a dull convention into a vision of reverent devotion wholly in keeping with his other works. These, in order of date, comprise the Crewe monument in Westminster Abbey (1639), where Sir Clippesby, optimae uxori amore et admiratione virtutum moerens, sits in a domed and panelled room beside the lovely dying wife from whom he turns away his face; their children are grouped about them, the elder grave, as if half-understanding their bereavement, the little girl absorbed in the baby over which she bends. The next, the Brouncker monument at Christ Church, Oxford (1645), now sadly dirty, shows the parents of Pepys’ Lord Brouncker seated together in just such another room, a skull before him to show that she was the survivor. Each of these gracious works is framed by pilasters with skulls and crossbones on the capitals, each is surmounted by a cornice broken by a shield and wreathed by draperies borne up by finely modelled cherubs. The third, the monument to Thomas Wood of Hackney (d. 1649), prophesies of another age. Father and mother stand praying at a faldstool, their children reverently kneeling to right and left, in various poses and with various expressions, all alike devotional; it is again the common Tudor scheme translated by imagination from a convention [p 61] to a work of art, but the setting, with its broken cornice, flattened volutes, and curtain background, suggests the second half of the century, not the first, and shows as clearly as the Teynham monument itself that Evesham was a London sculptor.
There is nothing like these little scenes in English art; the rooms are real, the people are the men and women and children of the England of Vandyck, but not, like Vandyck’s subjects, posed and glorified. Nothing executed during the whole reign of that great Prince of the Arts seems to bring one so near to the heart of the domestic England of King Charles; but Epiphanius, as a person, has yet to be discovered. He was trained under a Southwark sculptor; he was working both under James I, and under the Commonwealth and he assuredly did more than we yet know, though more is not wanted to justify the praise of Penkethman. The great scale, the Mausolean monument, as Burton has it did not suit his gift. The Copeman monument at Alderton, Wilts., which resembles the figure of Lady Teynham as the cherub heads in the spandrels resemble those on her tomb, tells the same tale such work was better done by others; in his own field he is unique. His was the genius of relief, the fitting of figures to a background, the power of seeing a scene as a whole, and intensifying its emotion. with results as perfect in form as a Greek stele, but with a tenderer realism.
To recover such an art is before all things the justification of the archaeologist. Vertue found, and noted, the passage on the Epigrams: Walpole, scholar that he was, inserted it, trivial as it might well seem when set down before his many pages on Nicholas Stone; Mr. Griffin found the name of Evesham on a monument; and that work gave the clue to a small group of works noted over a period of years and crying out for an author. It is sad that we have not that earliest recorded work of Evesham’s in navi Ecclesiae, super Columpnam, gradibus Consistorii proximam occidentem versus, as Dugdale conscientiously tells us, adding the prose portion of the epitaph besides:
Jucundissimae mernoriae Jounnis Owen
Cambro.Britanni, Poetae Celeberrmi;
but it perished with old St. Paul’s, and the parva statua survives in literature alone. And if the last phrase of Owen’s epitaph seem strange to-day, we owe to him the currency (it was once thought even the coinage) of one famous line : Tempora murantur, nos et mutamur in illis. The sentiment even then was old and had many variants in form. Omnia mutantur, nihil interit, wrote Ovid ; and indeed Lyly in” Euphues” (1579) quotes it in English as a saying of Ovid. Owen’s first line would appear to have its origin in Borbonius’s epigram addressed to the Emperor Lothair I.
Omnia mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis;
Illa vices quasdam res habet, illa vices.
But there can be no certainty here, for Holinshed in 1577 quotes [p 62] the line as Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis, describing it as ‘the saying of the Poet” in reference to the development of case law. But the thought is expressed in changing terms, and Owen may with some justice claim to have handed it down as:-
Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis
Quo modo? fit semper tempore pejor homo.
In whatever form, of nothing is the sentiment truer than of English sculpture, which, long despised and neglected, is coming to its own. But it may well be true, though prophecy is rash, that we shall unearth no sculptor more original, or within his limits more delightful, than “the most exquisite artist Mr. Epiphanius Evesham.”
Reprinted from “The Times,” 30th January, 1932.
Preaching from S. Mark X, 9, at Lynsted Parish Church on Sunday evening, July 27th, the Vicar (the Rev. L. E. A. Ehrmann) said:-
We are living in an age of rather loose morals, and it is all the more necessary for Christian men and women to stand up boldly for all true principles. Principles are things which may not be whittled away.
The first principle for us to consider to-day is the family. God made the family, and no man has the right to tamper with it. This applies not only to Christians, but to all of any religion or none at all. We were born into a family, and the family is universal, because it is of Divine institution.
But to us Christians, who love our homes, our parents, our brothers and sisters, there is a further duty, viz., to see that disaster does not befall other homes and families. We must not live to ourselves only.
There are, alas, some people who are afraid to say anything outside their own homes, but that is quite wrong. Our business is to “let our light shine before men that they may see our good works and glorify our Father which is in heaven.”
Also, it was a murderer who exclaimed. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” A true human being has a responsibility towards his brother even outside his own family.
Now, the subject I wish to speak about specially is the smashing up of the family, which we call divorce. Here another great principle is at stake.
What are its causes? There are many, but some may be mentioned: (a) Getting tired of each other, either husband or wife, or both; (b) Bad temper, or a divergence of ideas. If this were [p 63] sensibly dealt with in its early stages, the little hill would not develop into a mountain (c) Judging from the constant reports in the Press, the chief cause is sexual, one or both parties allowing their affections to drift to a third party, thus frustrating all ideas of honour and religion.
We wonder sometimes how a religious person could so lower himself, but the answer is that a truly religious person knows that he has made vows before God and man, and even if it means some hardship, he will not break them.
What did Christ say? This is most important. First of all divorce was hateful to His pure mind. When asked about it, He said that Moses only allowed divorce because of the hardness of the hearts of the Israelites, but that from the beginning it was not so, and He added those significant words—.-” What God hath joined together (making a new family) let not man put asunder.” Our Lord, in the clearest words possible, said: “Whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another, committeth adultery against her, and if she herself shall put away her husband and marry another, she committeth adultery.”
If one of the parties find it impossible to live together, I can understand that, in the last resort, when everything has been done to mend the broken home, divorce is sought, but there must be no re-marriage.
What does the Church say? I must be brief, so hope I am concise.
(a) Marriage is indissoluble except by death. Remember, lifelong vows have been taken, and couples should be most careful before marriage to make sure that they are suited to each other in every possible way. Marriage is a far more serious thing than the average lad and lassie realise. Holy Matrimony means very little, as we see by the huge increase of divorces of recent years.
(b) A new marriage may not be undertaken while either party is still alive. This is strictly in accordance with Christ’s words. It is true that the State, which has to legislate for all people, including Christians and non-Christians, allows divorce. The Christian Church, however, does not, as Christ forbade it.
(c) The Church allows judicial separation, I think for two reasons: (1) so that it may be possible one day for the couple to be re-united, which is very much to be desired, and (2) it allows for those who cannot live peaceably together to be separated legally, at any rate for a time. There must be no thought of marriage to anyone else. After all, there is no necessity for anyone to re-enter the marriage state.
(d) The Church cannot give her blessing to any re-marriage, for this would mean dodging the Church’s laws. Alas, it has [p 64] occurred in some places of late that a “re-marriage” has taken place at a Registrar’s Office and a service of benediction held in a church afterwards.
We ask. “How can the Church’s blessing be given to a so-called re-marriage when the Church cannot and does not recognise such a marriage at all as consistent with our Lord’s teaching?”
It is becoming, I regret, a scandal to Christians who are decently-minded. We are well aware that there are many bard cases, but to remarry after a home has been broken up does not mend things, it makes them worse, especially where there are children. So let us do our best to make our country more faithful to Christ.