Elderfield, Otterbourne,
March 30. [1880s?]

MS location unknown. Printed in Coleridge, Life, 322.

My dear Annie-

These are such deep, wide questions that one cannot answer them off-hand. The Three analogy goes much further in nature and in grace. For instance, three parts of ourselves: body, soul, spirit. Three primary colours: red, blue yellow. Three pioneers of the sun’s rays: light, heat, actinism. Three kinds of life: angel, man, brute. Three animal orders: beast, bird, fish. Three natural kingdoms: animal, vegetable, mineral. Three orders of ministers: bishops, priests, deacons.

The three covenants are, I think, right, but Marriage and the Commandments, to abstain from murder, are universal as moral. I should put them as divine institutions belonging to the universal law, the ten Commandments to the second covenant, Christian rule to the third.

Then the Christian rule divides, as you say, into Christ’s direct law, the Apostolic (ruled by the Holy Spirit, bringing His principles into practice) and Ecclesiastical, which is defined in the twentieth Article.

I think the Lord’s Day is more divine than apostolical if you remember the discourse in John v., but I do not think you can say that corruption was only in ecclesiastic ordinance. The whole system of adoration of the Blessed Virgin and the Saints transgresses a divine command, as does much of the teaching about Masses for special souls in Purgatory, Indulgences, etc.

I think you confuse a little about the ranks of the clergy; the only necessary and universal ones are the three orders. The Archbishop or Metropolitan is only primus inter pares, a sort of chairman to the rest, introduced for convenience sake; you know the American Church simply gives the precedence to the Senior Bishop, so the Archdeacon (who used to be really a deacon) is really only the Bishop’s officer, and his special duties are peculiar to our branch of the church; Canons ought to be the Council of the Bishop round his Cathedra or chair. Dean is the ruler over Ten, ten canons; when a rural dean ten parishes. These are only officers, not ranks, and are not in the least essentials. Did you ever read Mrs. Mercier’s Our Mother Church, or meet with Dr. Hook’s Church Dictionary? I think those would clear up a good deal for you.

I am afraid for the teaching of the Church about a person dying in known unrepented sin, one can only turn to the teaching of the Head of the Church about the rich man in the intermediate state. The Church judges no individual except by her interdiction of the burial service to the excommunicate and suicides.

Your odds and ends are useful, and shall come in some time or other.1 I have no time for more.-

Your affectionate

1Annie Cazenove contributed to MP both under her own name and as 'the Muffin Man' under which name she was a member of the Spider Society, but the 'odds and ends' referred to here cannot be identified.

Cite this letter

The Letters of Charlotte Mary Yonge(1823-1901) edited by Charlotte Mitchell, Ellen Jordan and Helen Schinske.

URL to this Letter is: https://c21ch.newcastle.edu.au/yonge/3499/to-annie-louise-cazenove

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