FIVE POINTS against the Church of England and a PRAYER – Thomas William Allies (1850)

T.W. Allies (1813-1903), a member of the Oxford Movement and Knight Commander of St. Gregory “in whom the poetical vein was tenderly blended with the philosopher’s wisdom” (Cath. Ency.) was the author of The Formation of Christendom which Cardinal Vaughn called “one of the noblest historical works I have ever read.” Mr. Allies, who had sufficient experience to make a judgement about the legitimacy of the Church of England, once wrote in a note from Launton Rectory to then Archdeacon Henry Edward Manning :

“I find at least five different points, more or less involving each other and widely branching, but each capital, on which I am unable to acquit the Church of England. These are the questions :

(1) Of Unity; and, involved in it,
(2) Of Infallibility ;
(3) Of Heresy;
(4) Of Schism ;
(5) Of Jurisdiction (that is, the substitution of Royal for Papal supremacy—in the case of Parker, &c).

I consider that to be wrong in any one of these points cuts off a province of the Church from all the privileges of the one mystical body. What, then, and how great is the cumulative force of all five?”

On these five points, Mr. Allies would later compose a prayer which is “one to be incorporated in the living Literature of the Church—a passage to place beside the words of Basil and of Augustine and of Chrysostom— the golden-mouthed.” :

O Church of the living God, Pillar and Ground of the Truth, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army in battle array, O Mother of Saints and Doctors, Martyrs and Virgins, clothe thyself in the robe and aspect, as thou hast the strength, of Him Whose Body thou art, the Love for our sake incarnate : shine forth upon thy lost children, and draw them to the double fountain of thy bosom, the well-spring of Truth and Grace !

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