Page:The Irish Church and its Formularies.djvu/22

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THE IRISH CHURCH AND ITS FORMULARIES.

by the Committee, and altered or retained accordingly. What is kept will be reckoned to have been left unaltered by deliberate forethought, upon the same principles as that which will have been changed, will have been confessedly recast for some special reason. Every portion therefore of what are considered the more High Church parts of the book which may survive will become for the future High Church with an accuracy and an emphasis which it does not actually possess, for it will have been deliberately reenacted by the revisionists. A moderate revision might accordingly result in actually strengthening the position of that section, which it was the desire of the promoters of the movement to keep in check.

On the other hand, a trenchant recast of the book would most probably lead to results little contemplated by a committee quietly working within four walls, and listening to little beyond each other's suggestions; and if it did not cause an absolute disruption, would certainly foster and consolidate a deeply discontented and aggressive party within the precincts of the Church. But possibly — such is the weakness and uncertainty of human action — the revision might neither be moderate all through, nor yet altogether trenchant; but in some places the one, and in others the other, retaining some things which High Churchmen may particularly prize, and omitting or qualifying others which Low Churchmen are most anxious to have omitted or qualified. This conclusion resulting, as it would do, in giving to both parties a legal status of a new and more precise character than either of them already possesses, would be simply the initiation and sanction of a legalised and interminable faction fight within the walls of the sanctuary, between two bodies of men, both of which would very acutely notice the improved vantage ground which it would have won from the revisionists, and would be very unwilling