Page:Satires and profanities -microform- (1884).djvu/21

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SATIRES AND PROFANITIES.

that the writing of such a letter in such circumstances could make the appellant "a common and notorious depraver." Whence it is clear that a man may deprave the Book of Common Prayer as much as he pleases in private conversation and letters, yet retain the precious privilege of "eating and drinking damnation to himself" in the Holy Communion; he can only forfeit this by common and notorious depravation of that blessed book—for instance, by a depravation repeatedly published in a newspaper, or persistently proclaimed by the town-crier.

So far the law seems most clear, and the judgment quite incontestible. But leaving the strait limits of the law, and looking at the facts in evidence, there is one part of the judgment which to the common lay mind is simply astonishing. Their most learned lordships "desire to state in the most emphatic manner that there is not before them any evidence that the appellant entertains the doctrines attributed to him by the Dean of Arches;" wherefore their most learned and subtle lordships "do not mean to decide that those doctrines are otherwise than inconsistent with the formularies of the Church of England." Nor, of course, do they mean 'to decide that those doctrines are inconsistent with those formularies. No, "This is not the subject for their lordships' present consideration." Indeed, "If they were [had been] called upon to decide that [whether] those opinions, or any of them, could be entertained or expressed by a member of the Church, whether layman or clergyman, consistently with the law and with his remaining in communion with the Church, they would have looked upon this case with much eater anxiety than they now feel in its decision."

Mr. Jenkins compiles and publishes a book of "Selections from the Bible," carefully excluding all passages relating to the Devil and evil spirits. The book is bulky; and, in fact, though this is not expressly stated, seems to contain pretty well all the Bible except such passages. He further exhibits in