Feast of faith: High Church Eucharistic teaching and piety in the Church of England, 1800-1833

[M]orality enjoins no observance of one day in seven – no feast of faith in sacramental rites upon the body and blood of the Redeemer.[1]

It is a commonly told story in Anglicanism. In the century before 1833, Anglican sacramental practice and spirituality was a “drab and spiritually barren environment.”[2] Communion was infrequent; altars (or should that be tables?) were used for storage; a bare memorialism was ascendant; Latitudinarian moralism prevailed, displacing sacramental grace; and parsons were more concerned with foxhunting than Sacraments.

This essay aims to show that the story so commonly told is grievously wrong. In the decades before July, 14th of 1833, the dominant theological tradition in the late Georgian Church of England advocated a rich Eucharistic theology which encouraged a warm Sacramental piety. Latitudinarian moralism and Hoadlian memorialism did not hold sway. Instead, a “feast of faith” sat upon the altar, “its benefits” recognized and celebrated as “present and unspeakably great.”[3]

“Spiritually, mystically, sacramentally”

You will instruct them, therefore, in the true nature of a sacrament, – that the sacraments are not only signs of grace, but means of the grace signified; the matter of the sacrament being, by Christ’s appointment and the operation of the Holy Spirit, the vehicle of grace to the believer’s soul.[4]

So said Samuel Horsley, Bishop of Rochester, in his 1800 visitation charge to his clergy. Quoting the teaching of the Catechism, he declared that “the Church of England … denies not, but explicitly maintains” a true partaking of the Lord’s Body and Blood in the Sacrament. He went on to recommend a work published the previous year by one of his clergy, Vicesimus Knox’s Considerations on the Nature and Efficacy of the Lord’s Supper (1799).[5] Knox expounded the grounds for what he described as “a due sense of the real dignity and importance of the most solemn act of our worship”:

Man, through Divine mercy, is rendered, in the Eucharist, a partaker of the Divine nature. A food to the soul is supplied by the Sacrament, in consequence of which it is nourished, and arrives at that wonderful improvement in goodness and purity, which resembles in kind, though not in degree, the Divine; hence the Eucharist has been named, by great divines, THE SACRAMENT OF NUTRITION … the principle of life will be extinct without this food; and this food is afforded in the greatest plenty, at the feast of the Eucharist; a feast for ever to be repeated after the one great sacrifice.[6]

The significance of Horsley and Knox lies not in their being unrepresentative of the Sacramental teaching of the late Georgian Church of England but, rather, in the fact that they are representative of a broad, mainstream tradition with a vibrant Eucharistic doctrine. In his 1812 Bampton Lectures – a critique of the ‘enthusiasm’ of Methodism for exalting emotion over the “ordinary sanctifying graces” of the Sacraments – Richard Mant declared:

And if a man can bring his mind to think thus meanly of baptism, ordained as it was by Christ himself, with a promise of salvation annexed to its legitimate administration; what will he think of Christ’s other ordinances? What of the other sacrament, the holy communion of Christ’s body and blood? If the spiritual part of baptism be denied, why should the spiritual part of the communion be allowed? If water be not really the laver of regeneration, why should bread and wine be spiritually the body and blood of Christ, and convey strength and refreshment to the soul?[7]

Van Mildert in his 1814 Bampton Lectures had no hesitation about referring to the “the real Presence, spiritually, mystically, and sacramentally understood.”[8] The fact that Van Mildert was raised to the episcopate in 1819 and Mant in 1820 emphasises the extent to which such teaching was uncontroversial, mainstream, and normative.

This emphasis had a particular focus through the influence of the Hackney Phalanx, the influential standard bearers of the High Church tradition.[9] William Vaux, chaplain to Charles Manners-Sutton, who as Archbishop of Canterbury 1805-28 was close to the Hackney Phalanx, used his 1826 Bampton Lectures to set out the benefits bestowed in the Sacraments, saying of the Lord’s Supper:

It is therefore of his body, as offered and sacrificed for us upon the cross, that he enjoins us to eat; it is of his blood, as poured out in atonement of transgression, that we are commanded to drink, in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.[10]

George D’Oyly in a sermon published in 1827 declared that the Sacrament was “not merely a commemoration, but a communion … The worthy receiver therein spiritually eats of the flesh, and drinks of the blood of his blessed Redeemer.” Such partaking is because “in some sense, the bread and wine in the Eucharist do become the body and blood of Christ.”[11] Hugh James Rose, preaching in 1831, spoke of the benefits received through the “high communion of [our] Saviour’s body and blood”:

[D]oes not the Church of Christ remind us in that solemn service of the blessed purposes for which it was ordained, and tell us that we who approach with faith to that high communion shall have our bodies made pure by our Lord ‘s body and our soul washed with His most precious blood, that we shall evermore dwell in Him and He in us?[12]

As can be seen, these figures from the most influential tradition within the late Georgian Church of England publicly articulated a rich Eucharistic doctrine of a true feeding upon the Lord’s Body and Blood in the Holy Sacrament. A consistent theme throughout is a robust rejection of Hoadlian ‘memorialism’. Knox described Hoadly’s sacramental theology “in the gentlest terms, imprudent and pernicious”. Vaux stated of “the Hoadleian theory”:

It cannot therefore, as has been contended by Hoadly and his followers, be a sufficient account of the observance, to consider it as a simple memorial, or bare act of commemoration … Considered, indeed, in the light of a mere festive commemoration, both the matter and the mode of the feast (the symbolic meaning of the bread and wine being by this supposition excluded) would … be alike unintelligible and capricious, contradictory to all experience of such celebrations, and little befitting the dignity of the occasion.

In other words, the dominant theological tradition within the late Georgian Church of England utterly refuted the ‘bare memoralism’ of Hoadlian Latitudinarianism, and confidently affirmed a true feeding upon the Lord’s Body and Blood in the Eucharist.

“Most really”: is this Receptionism?

This was understood to be an exposition of Articles 28 and 29 of the Articles of Religion. The true feeding in the Sacrament, Horsley reminded his clergy, “rejects the doctrine of a literal transubstantiation of the elements.”[13] This was a standard denunciation of transubstantiation, sometimes forcefully repeated, as with Van Mildert:

[T]he monstrous doctrine of Transubstantiation; a doctrine, not only repugnant to the evidence of our senses and to every principle of reasoning founded upon such evidence, but also to Scripture itself.[14]

The characteristics of a Reformed Eucharistic theology are routinely repeated in any statement of sacramental teaching by the High Church tradition of the late Georgian era: the real presence of the Lord in the Sacrament is not ‘in’ the bread and wine; we do not feed on the Lord by the mouth; the wicked do not partake of the Lord’s Body. Thus, as Van Mildert put it, “the sacramental meaning of the institution … consists in a right apprehension of what the symbols themselves were intended to represent.”[15] In the words of Vaux, “the body and blood of Christ [are] symbolically represented by the bread and wine of the Eucharist.”[16]

While Nockles, entirely understandably, describes this sacramental understanding as ‘Receptionism,’[17] we might want to hesitate before using a term routinely employed to designate a ‘low’ theology of the Eucharist. For the authors of the late Georgian High Church tradition, this teaching was not ‘Receptionism’: it was the Eucharistic doctrine of the Church of England, what Vaux simply describes as “the doctrine of our church.”[18]

Hesitation about use of the term ‘Receptionism’ is justified when we consider how this doctrine was given expression. Take, for example, Knox’s use of Hooker’s famous dictum:

The real presence is not indeed in the sacramental elements, but it is in the worthy receiver; man becomes Christ’s by this glorious privilege of divine union, through the Spirit’s influence; and this constitutes the PRIME benefit of the Sacrament.[19]

It is surely difficult, to say the least, to describe such Eucharistic teaching as ‘low’, with its explicit understanding of the Sacrament as the means of our participation in the divine nature. Similarly, Henry Phillpotts in 1826 (four years before he was appointed to the episcopate) gave a characteristically High Church Hookerian account of the Sacrament in which the (classically Reformed) emphasis on ‘spiritual’ participation is regarded as more, not less, ‘real’:

[I]n the sacrament, to the worthy receiver of the consecrated elements, though in their nature mere bread and wine, are yet given truly, really, and effectively, the crucified body and blood of Christ; that body and blood which were the instruments of man’s redemption, and upon which our spiritual life and strength solely depend. It is in this sense that the crucified Jesus is present in the sacrament of his supper, not in, nor with, the bread and wine, nor under their accidents, but in the souls of communicants; not carnally, but effectually and fruitfully, and therefore most really.[20]

That such a Eucharistic theology belongs to the historic Reformed family of sacramental theologies is self-evident. Hence, Knox invoked Calvin by name – amongst “the Reformers from popery” – to support the contention that “pardon is annexed to the Eucharist,” summarising his teaching:

It was Christ’s design to hold out his body under the representation of bread to be eaten for the remission of sins.[21]

Symbols; representation; worthy reception; not in, with, under the bread. This, of course, may all sound rather too Protestant for some, leading to a search for an alternative Eucharistic theology in other High Church sources.

An Episcopalian alternative?

Such a search often leads to Episcopalianism in Scotland and the United States. Here, we are told, is found something rather less Protestant, a precursor of Tractarianism, a more ‘catholic’ Eucharistic liturgy with a more ‘catholic’ Eucharistic doctrine.

It is, however, the Anglican version of fool’s gold.

The consistent theme of Scottish Episcopalian writers during these decades was not how they represented a different stream of sacramental theology. Their emphasis, rather, was on how Scottish Episcopalianism shared the same sacramental theology as the English Church. William Skinner – later Bishop of Aberdeen and Primus – commenced his 1807 defense of the Scottish liturgy with such a declaration:

The Episcopal Church in Scotland having adopted the same articles of religion with the United Church of England and Ireland, one would have thought, that even the suspicion of a difference, in the principles of the two Churches, would have been for ever laid to sleep.[22]

In the work he quotes Alexander Jolly, who was consecrated to the Scottish episcopate in 1797:

In adopting, therefore, the Articles of the United Church of England and Ireland, as the Articles of the Episcopal Church in Scotland, we of that Church must be candidly understood, as not thinking any expression in these Articles with regard to the Lord’s Supper, in the least inimical to our practice at the altar, in the use of the Scotch Communion Office.[23]

The standard Eucharistic theology of English High Churchmen such as Daniel Waterland, Charles Daubeny, and Vicesimus Knox (whom we have already encountered) are quoted by Skinner throughout the work. Daubeny is cited to defend the invocation of the Holy Spirit in the Scottish Liturgy against suggesting that it implies “the transubstantiating doctrine of the Romish Church”:

In this sense the consecrated bread and wine are the body and blood of Christ in figure, or by representation. They continue bread and wine in their nature; they become the body and blood of Christ in signification.[24]

There is in the Scottish Liturgy, Skinner contends, “nothing that supposes a corporal presence, either by way of transubstantiation, consubstantiation, or of infusion.”[25] Instead, Scottish Episcopalianism is in agreement with the Eucharistic doctrine of the English Church:

[S]he finds the Church of England as now constituted, in her Liturgy, in her Articles, in her Homilies, in her Canons, and by the writings of many of her best and truest sons, professing the same devout regard, the same inviolate respect, which she herself professes, for primitive practice and for the Lord’s Supper.[26]

The High Church tradition within Episcopalianism in the early United States similarly offered no alternative Eucharistic doctrine to that understood to be the teaching of the English Church. Samuel Seabury stated the bread and wine in the Sacrament become “representative” of the Lord’s Body and Blood “in virtue and efficacy to all worthy receivers.”[27] Similarly, Henry Hobart in an 1819 Charge, lamented that transubstantiation was “a literal construction of language evidently figurative,” invoked the witness of “the martyrs of the Church of England,” and declared that the purpose of the Communion Office was “to bless the bread and wine, to be symbols of the body, and blood of Christ.” He continued:

[A]s symbols and memorials of the body and blood of Christ; assuring to those who worthily receive them all the blessings of his meritorious cross and passion.[28]

As Nockles notes, “the genuine Nonjuring tradition in Scottish episcopalianism” was not a proto-Tractarian Eucharistic doctrine “of an objective presence.”[29] Instead, it – and High Church Episcopalianism in the early United States – adhered to a “virtualist doctrine” which was an essentially Reformed Eucharistic understanding: “In asserting a ‘heavenly’ Real Presence, the advocates of receptionism were at one with virtualists”[30]. There was, in other words, no alternative Episcopalian stream, standing apart from the Eucharistic teaching of late Georgian High Church tradition.

“In its character as a feast upon a sacrifice”[31]

The affirmation of a spiritual and therefore true, actual feeding upon the Lord’s Body and Blood in the late Georgian Eucharistic doctrine was intimately related to the traditional High Church emphasis on the Sacrament as ‘a feast upon a sacrifice.’ The term originated in the mid-17th century with Cambridge Platonist Ralph Cudworth but was popularised in 18th century High Church circles through the work of Daniel Waterland.[32] It was an integral part of the High Church refutation of Hoadlian memorialism. Knox, for example, contrasts it with a Hoadlian “general commemoration of a deceased benefactor”:

The partaking of the feast, after the grand Christian sacrifice, is also a participation in it, and confers all its advantages. The Eucharist is this feast, this epulum sacrificiale; to be repeated, while the world endures, after the great sacrifice of Christ on the Cross; which itself is never to be repeated, but the benefits of which are to flow by means of the feast upon it, as from a perennial fountain, till time shall be no more.[33]

Likewise, Vaux uses the term to emphasise that the Sacrament is a participation in the fruits of the Lord’s atoning sacrifice:

If the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper be rightly considered as a feast upon a sacrifice, it will follow, that in it are communicated generally to the participants all the benefits of that sacrifice, of which they become partakers in its due celebration. And the sacrifice of Christ, being a sacrifice of atonement and peace-offering, pardon of sin and reconciliation to God, would seem to be the immediate fruits of a participation in it, the primary and fundamental benefit annexed to the ordinance.[34]

Such vibrant use of the ‘feast upon a sacrifice’ motif is striking. For Knox, it points to the Eucharist as the “perennial fountain” from which flows the benefits of the Lord’s sacrifice[35]. For Vaux, we become “partakers” in that sacrifice through sharing in the Sacrament[36]. D’oyly points to the motif as rooted in the sacrificial context of Passover and Last Supper:

When therefore the shadow gave way to the substance, when the true paschal Lamb was once offered up an offering for sin, it was natural to expect that some feast upon this great sacrifice would be instituted, bearing an analogy to that which had been so expressly and so particularly ordained amongst the Jews. Observe then how many circumstances combine to support this idea of the nature and purport of the Lord’s Supper. Recollect, once more, the peculiar juncture selected for the institution, when our Lord was engaged with His disciples in partaking of the paschal supper. Consider the words employed, leading undoubtedly to the notion of a sacrifice, and to an actual partaking of the sacrifice, of the body broken, and the blood shed … our Lord, in instituting this holy rite of the Eucharist, designed it to stand in the place of a feast upon that great and peculiar sacrifice, from which such unspeakable benefits are derived to all mankind.[37]

That the Eucharist is “an actual partaking of the sacrifice” exemplifies the nature of the High Church Sacramental doctrine of these decades. To “spiritually, mystically, sacramentally” feed on the Lord’s Body and Blood in the Sacrament is to partake of His saving sacrifice, to receive what Horsely (echoing Augustine) described as “the cleansing fount set open” in the pierced of the Crucified.[38]

It is again worth noting that Episcopalianism in Scotland and the United States offered no different or distinctive understanding of this aspect of the Eucharist, despite the oblation of the consecrated bread and wine being part of the Communion liturgy of both churches. Skinner defended the oblation in the Scottish Liturgy on the grounds that Waterland and other English High Church figures “though they are not fond of admitting any material-sacrifice in the Holy Eucharist, do yet plainly admit of a feast upon a sacrifice.”[39] (He also quotes Daubney: “The first Christians had no idea of the Holy Eucharist being a proper propitiatory sacrifice.”[40]) In similar fashion, Seabury explained the oblation in the American rite as preparing for the elements to be “distributed among the Communicants as a feast upon the sacrifice.”[41] The oblation in both rites, then, was understood in the term characteristic of English Eucharistic doctrine, the feast upon the Sacrifice.

“With devout feelings”: High Church sacramental piety

In his 1800 Charge to the clergy of the Diocese of Rochester, Horsley exhorted more frequent celebrations of the Sacrament:

I very much wish a more frequent celebration than I find in many places of the sacrament of the Lord ‘s Supper. Four celebrations in the year are the very fewest that ought to be allowed in the very smallest parishes.[42]

Horsley was here anticipating by more than three decades Newman’s criticism of “the Eucharist scantily administered”[43]. That said, care needs to be taken regarding this depiction of the frequency of the Sacrament in late Georgian Anglicanism. As Horsley’s words imply, there was a difference between larger and smaller parishes. Quarterly celebration was indeed the norm in smaller, rural parishes, but as a number of commentators have highlighted, monthly celebrations tended to be the pattern in urban parishes.

This is the pattern seen in the 1779 Visitation Returns for the Diocese of Exeter, with most of the parishes in the city of Exeter offering monthly Communion.[44] The Sunday of the month chosen to administer the Sacrament differed across parishes, presumably allowing for more frequent reception when desired, as Boulton points out was a practice known amongst the laity in 18th century Dublin.[45]

According to F.C. Mather, in the late Georgian era monthly Communions “were much more widespread” than some historians have suggested:

In parts of the country remote from London, like the large and densely populated deaneries of Manchester and Warrington in South Lancashire, celebrations more frequent than quarterly predominated throughout the area.

He provides figures which show that in the Manchester and Warrington deaneries in 1821-25, 45% of parishes had monthly Communions, with a further 33% having more than quarterly celebrations. Only 19.5% of parishes in these deaneries during this time had a pattern of quarterly Communions.[46]

In his 1842 Charge to the clergy of the Diocese of Down and Connor, Richard Mant noted:

I should, however, be better satisfied for my own part, if our communions in all our churches and chapels were monthly, as they are in the town parishes and in some of the larger villages, besides occasional additions by reason of the high festivals.[47]

In other words, we have evidence that prior to, during, and immediately following the period this essay seeks to address, monthly administration of the Communion was not uncommon, particularly in town and city parishes.

While this does challenge Newman’s claim that “the Eucharist scantily administered” was characteristic of the pre-1833 Church of England, it contrasts with the more frequent reception which became normative for many Anglicans following the success of the mid-20th century Parish Communion movement. That said, a deeper Sacramental piety was associated with the more infrequent reception of the late Georgian era compared to the late 20th century and early 21st century weekly parish Communion. As Michael Ramsey famously warned, “a disregard of the character of Communion as a responsible and dreadful act on the part of the individual” was one of the “weaknesses which haunt … the ‘Parish Communion’ in our parishes.”[48]

Words from Knox give some indication of the depth of piety and emotion which accompanied High Church Eucharistic teaching and practice:

Notwithstanding the cold and comfortless representations of the detractors from the dignity and benefit of Sacramental Communion, it is certain that the whole of the transaction is begun and completed in love. It is a delightful exercise of the finest affections or sensibilities of the human soul. The name Eucharist signifies the expression of gratitude, always a pleasing office, and more especially delightful when, shewn to the God who is love itself, and multiplies his benefits in proportion as they are gratefully acknowledged … devotional love, must fill our churches and crowd our tables of Sacramental Communion; and it is right to excite an ardour of this kind to counteract the ardours which the world and its vanities never fail to kindle.[49]

In D’oyly there is the same encouragement of communicating “with devout feelings,”[50] while in an 1831 sermon Hugh James Rose addressed those who had “an earnest longing” to share in the Sacrament but were “ashamed and afraid”:

Fly to His sanctuary for refuge from thy ghostly enemies, and to His altar for grace and strength and peace. The voice from that altar need not alarm thee. To the unrepentant sinner, and to the hypocrite the Church of Christ may speak the language of fear, and warn him against mocking his God by pretending to desire His help, when he desires it not. But to the penitent, the believer, the faithful, humble, Christian, what are her words of consolation and of comfort? Does she not call with her voice of love to all the weary and heavy laden to come and lay down their burden there? … But yet more, does not the Church of Christ remind us in that solemn service of the blessed purposes for which it was ordained, and tell us that we who approach with faith to that high communion shall have our bodies made pure by our Lord ‘s body and our soul washed with His most precious blood, that we shall evermore dwell in Him and He in us?

Oh! my brethren, what promises and prospects are these! Do we hail and accept them with joy? or do we neglect and despise them?[51]

Here was a heartfelt Eucharistic piety, of much greater depth than is normally experienced in contemporary Anglican Eucharistic practice. The dominant High Church tradition in the Church of England in the first three decades of the 19th century had a robust affirmation of a true partaking of the Lord’s Body and Blood in the Sacrament, a rich ‘feast upon a sacrifice’ teaching, and a vibrant Eucharistic piety. This ensured that Anglicanism was largely exempt from what John Williamson Nevin in 1846 described as the “unchurchly, rationalistic tendency” which had overcome the Eucharistic theology of many Churches of the Reformation.[52]

Conclusion: “feast of faith”

What relevance can pre-1833 Old High Church Eucharistic theology and piety have for contemporary Anglicanism? It certainly challenges the narrative usually offered regarding Anglican Eucharistic experience in the second half of the 20th century. Changing the shape of the liturgy, moving to weekly reception, and the widespread use of eucharistic vestments are normally suggested as indicators of Anglicanism moving in a more ‘catholic’ direction. This overlooks, however, a widespread understanding of the Eucharist as little more than a fellowship meal. Against this, the Old High Church Eucharistic experience emphasizes the importance of doctrine over externals. North end, surplice, and 1662 – how the Eucharist was celebrated in the Church of England during the decades examined in this essay – may appear ‘low’ by contrast, but the doctrinal understanding of the Sacrament was significantly more catholic. Old High Church Eucharistic theology of this era, then, offers an important challenge to contemporary Anglicanism to value Sacramental doctrine more than externals.

The clearly Reformed credentials of the High Church Eucharistic theology of these years (and in the centuries previous) might also suggest that contemporary Anglicans lose their embarrassment about the Reformation era and the explicitly Reformed Sacramental teaching of the Formularies. Too many Anglicans have adopted Eamon Duffy’s lament in The Stripping of the Altars and its implication that Eucharistic life died with the Reformation, the communal joy of the Mass replaced by dreary Protestant preaching.[53] By contrast, two and a half centuries later, the Reformed liturgy of the Book of Common Prayer and the Reformed theology of the Articles of Religion were sustaining a rich, vibrant Eucharistic practice and piety. This practice and piety was also understood to owe more to the primitive Church than was the case with non-communicating pre-Reformation and Tridentine Masses. The late Georgian High Church tradition demonstrates how the Reformed commitments of the historic Formularies, rather than being an embarrassment to be forgotten, set before us a convincing theology of true participation in the Lord’s Body and Blood in the Sacrament.

Lastly, the contrast between the Eucharistic theology and piety of the High Church tradition in these years and contemporary Anglican Eucharistic theology and piety is quite stark. To return again to Ramsay’s critique of the Parish Communion movement, “There is too often a lack of teaching, bringing in its train a lack of meaningfulness and reverent understanding.”[54] In such a context, could High Church Eucharistic theology be a source of renewal? This should be considered, not least because this theology coheres with what we might term ordinary, conventional Anglican practice in a way that is not the case with Anglo-catholicism. Elevation, tabernacle, and Benediction are unknown to most Anglicans but are the logical corollary of the Anglo-catholic de facto acceptance of transubstantiation – an acceptance made explicit in, for example, Catherine Pickstock’s contention “the event of transubstantiation in the Eucharist is the condition of possibility for all human meaning.”[55] The reality, however, is that such practices are highly unlikely to become routine outside of Anglo-catholic circles. It is even more unlikely that an affirmation of transubstantiation will become a doctrine accepted by a majority of Anglicans.

The High Church theology of a feeding upon the Lord that is ‘spiritual, mystical, sacramental’, by contrast, is much more likely to resonate with conventional Anglican piety and practices. Added to this, ‘feast upon a sacrifice’ reflects classical and (most) contemporary Anglican eucharistic rites in a way that ‘the sacrifice of the Mass’ does not. It could be, then, that the High Church Eucharistic theology of the first decades of the 19th century offers means for a much-needed deepening of contemporary Anglican Sacramental teaching and spirituality.

  1. Bishop Samuel Horsley, ‘Charge to the Clergy of the Diocese of St. David’s’, 1790, in The Charges of Samuel Horsley (1813), p.20.
  2. Paul Owen, ‘The Ornaments Rubric, Again: A Friendly Critique of Recent Commentary’, The North American Anglican, 12th June 2020.
  3. Vicesimus Knox Considerations on the Nature and Efficacy of the Lord’s Supper (1799), p.7.
  4. The Charges of Samuel Horsley, p.162.
  5. The Charges of Samuel Horsley, p.163.
  6. Knox Considerations on the Nature and Efficacy of the Lord’s Supper, p.96.
  7. Richard Mant An Appeal to the Gospel (1812), Bampton Lectures 1812, p.384.
  8. William Van Mildert Theological Works, Volume IV (1831), Bampton Lectures 1814, p.237.
  9. The influence of the Hackney Phalanx was particularly associated with its role in the ecclesiastical patronage exercised by the government of Lord Liverpool, 1812-1827. See William Anthony Hay Lord Liverpool: A Political Life (2018), p.191.
  10. William Vaux The Benefits Annexed to a Participation in the Two Christian Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (1826), Bampton Lectures 1826, p.226.
  11. George D’Oyly Sermons, chiefly doctrinal, with notes (1827), p. 118 and p.114.
  12. Hugh James Rose Eight Sermons Preached Before the University of Cambridge at Great St. Mary’s (1831), p.17.
  13. The Charges of Samuel Horsley, p.162.
  14. Van Mildert Theological Works, Volume IV, p.187.
  15. Van Mildert Theological Works, Volume IV, p.188.
  16. Vaux The Benefits Annexed, p.250.
  17. Peter B. Nockles The Oxford Movement in Context: Anglican High Churchmanship 1760-1857 (1994), p.237.
  18. Vaux The Benefits Annexed, p.321.
  19. Knox Considerations on the Nature and Efficacy of the Lord’s Supper, p.99.
  20. Henry Phillpotts Letters to Charles Butler, Esq (1826), p.236.
  21. Knox Considerations on the Nature and Efficacy of the Lord’s Supper, p.120.
  22. John Skinner The office for the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, or holy communion, according to the use of the Episcopal Church of Scotland (1807), p.5.
  23. Skinner, p.35.
  24. Skinner, p.52.
  25. Skinner, p.7.
  26. Skinner, p.134.
  27. Samuel Seabury An Earnest Persuasive to Frequent Communion (1789).
  28. Henry Hobart The Principles of the Churchman Stated and Explained: Delivered to the Clergy of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the State of Connecticut (1819).
  29. Nockles, The Oxford Movement in Context, p.243.
  30. Nockles, p.238.
  31. Vaux The Benefits Annexed, p.245.
  32. See Daniel Waterland A Review of the Doctrine of the Eucharist, as laid down in Scripture and Antiquity (1737), Chapters XI and XII.
  33. Knox Considerations on the Nature and Efficacy of the Lord’s Supper, p.43.
  34. Vaux The Benefits Annexed, p.243.
  35. Knox Considerations on the Nature and Efficacy of the Lord’s Supper, p.43.
  36. Vaux The Benefits Annexed, p.226.
  37. D’Oyly Sermons, chiefly doctrinal, with notes, p.120.
  38. Sermons by Samuel Horsley, Volume I (1816), Sermon IX, p.200.
  39. Skinner The office for the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, p.50.
  40. Skinner p.28.
  41. Seabury An Earnest Persuasive.
  42. The Charges of Samuel Horsley, p.161.
  43. John Henry Newman in the ‘Advertisement’ for Tracts for the Times (1834).
  44. The 1779 visitation returns for the Diocese of Exeter can be found at http://www.foda.org.uk/visitations/parishes.htm.
  45. F.R. Boulton The Caroline Tradition in the Church of Ireland, with Particular Reference to Bishop Jeremy Taylor (1958), p.175.
  46. F.C. Mather ‘Georgian Churchmanship Reconsidered: Some Variations in Anglican Public Worship 1714-1830’ in Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 36, No. 2, April 1985, pp.255-283: p.270.
  47. Richard Mant The Laws of the Church, the Churchman’s Guard against Romanism and Puritanism (1842), p.48.
  48. Michael Ramsey Durham Essays and Addresses (1956), p.20.
  49. Knox Considerations on the Nature and Efficacy of the Lord’s Supper, p.204.
  50. D’Oyly Sermons, chiefly doctrinal, with notes, p.124.
  51. Rose Eight Sermons, p.16.
  52. John Williamson Nevin The Mystical Presence. A Vindication of the Reformed or Calvinistic Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist (1846), Chapter 1.
  53. Eamon Duffy The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England c.1400-c.1580 (1992). It is useful to remind ourselves of Duffy’s description of the pre-Reformation Eucharist: “But the reception of communion was not the primary mode of lay encounter with the Host … for most lay people, most of the time the Host was something to be seen, not to be consumed”. This description should lead us to a renewed gratitude for Cranmer’s Communion rite and Article 28.
  54. Ramsey Durham Essays and Addresses (1956), p.20.
  55. Catherine Pickstock After Writing: On the Liturgical Consummation of Philosophy (1998), p.xv.


Laudable Practice

Laudable Practice is a "poor priest" (c.f. Herbert's 'Aaron') in the Church of Ireland, living in Jeremy Taylor country, and enjoying the poetry of Wendell Berry. 'High and Dry', blogging on the riches of the 'Old' (Luke 5:39) High Church tradition, he is a historian by background, and particularly delights in leading Sunday Prayer Book Mattins in the parish. He blogs at http://laudablepractice.blogspot.com.

'Feast of faith: High Church Eucharistic teaching and piety in the Church of England, 1800-1833' have 3 comments

  1. November 12, 2020 @ 8:20 pm Ben Jefferies

    Your point is well taken that there is sufficient data to prevent us from making the standard sweeping generalization about Hanoverian coldness.
    And your conclusion is well taken — that we, on this side of the Liturgical Movement, could learn quite a lot from the very “school” that has been left behind — and that much has been lost by the way when it comes to eucharistic devotion.

    My one question/challenge is: If the Horsley/Vaux/Knox school was really — as you claim — “Normative, mainstream, uncontroversial”, then how are we to account for the *outrage* and censuring and barring from the pulpit for two years of EB Pusey for his 1843 sermon ‘the holy eucharist a comfort to the penitent’ (its on project canterbury) — his language there comports with the view of the Vaux/Knox school. It may be perhaps a tad higher, but if the Vaux/Knox school was really normal at the time, it would have gotten a raised eyebrow, not a censuring, no? His censuring seems to indicate that the ‘old high church view’ — while *around* was not *mainstream*


    • November 20, 2020 @ 9:35 am Laudable Practice

      Ben, many thanks for your comments on the essay. In terms of your question, perhaps I can make two points. Firstly, Nockles notes that Pusey’s sermon “was repudiated by many Old High Churchmen”. His handling of the Carolines was a particular cause of contention, becoming a significant dividing line between Old High Church and Tractarian, with the Old High Church accusing the Tractarians of misrepresenting the Carolines. And so, amongst others, Norris and Watson of the Hackney Phalanx both approved of the formal response to Pusey’s sermon.

      Secondly, the fact that the sermon was preached in the context established by Tract XC is important. The Old High Church suspicions of the Movement had been confirmed by the Tract (never mind the suspicions of others). Any missteps, misrepresentations, or exaggerations by Pusey were inevitably going to be interpreted as a repetition of Tract XC.

      I remain, therefore, convinced that the Old High Church Eucharistic theology was indeed very much the mainstream in the late Georgian Church. That dominance would probably have continued well into the Victorian era were it not for the Tractarians misrepresenting it as ‘Zwinglianism’ while also simultaneously promoting a reaction from the Low Church tradition. What had been a consensus was thus shattered by an unintended alliance of Tractarians (e.g. Keble’s rejection of Hooker in the 1850s) and Low Church evangelicals (who ironically came to hold an Hoadlian memorialism).



      • December 2, 2020 @ 4:45 pm ben jefferies

        Ah, that’s a good point, I had failed to reflect on how Tract XC was at that point hot as heck-fire in the air, and would have sharpened a find-and-destroy lens on all Newman’s comrades.
        Can you point me to writings wherein the tractarians (not Newman) dismiss the Old HighChurchmen as “zwinglianism”? I can think of no such passage in Pusey nor Keble (whom I have read less of than Pusey). I see them saying that their Anglican ancestors held views that *tended* to devolve to Zwinglianism, but they never pin the tail on the donkey directly, and admit that in some cases Anglican intuitive piety formed by the BCP kept the “lowering” in check.
        cf. Tract 81 (prob. Pusey) which showcases the sacrifical aspect of the eucharist in Anglican OldHighChurchmanship, which is so strongly related to a realist-ish view, and so totally disavowed by Zwingli and late-Calvin.


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