Imatges de pÓgina
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the peril of the monarchy. It would surely involve also the unsettling of the tenure of all property, as a new order of inheritance followed the disendowment of the Church at the French Revolution, and a Land Bill rapidly succeeded disestablishment in Ireland. To the Church disestablishment means the lowering the social standard of the clergy, and so the diminishing of their influence with the higher classes and the leaders of thought; the spiritual dearth of the country districts generally; a dependence of the country clergy on the chance squire or the vestry of farmers; great uncertainty as to the action of the ruling Synod; and the probable disruption multiplying the already numerous divisions of Catholic Christendom, and risking fresh seams in the robe of Christ. Disestablishment would be a portentous catastrophe both to Church and State, though worse to the State than to the Church.

In conclusion I would express my convictions that the true remedy of our sore distress and anxious forebodings lies, where it ever has lain in Church matters, in adherence or return to èon ápxaia, and to the principles of our reformed constitution. Peace can never be attained, except either by unreasoning submission or constitutional order. There can be no question which of the two is the peace befitting Englishmen, and which alone is true. Beneath all the disorder and seeming insubordination, there is a deep yearning for peace; but there are minds, and specially such are ever being trained on English soil, which can never rest till just rights are accorded, and an honourable liberty secured.

The strain of the pressure of these new methods of jurisdiction, and of judgments widely regarded as prejudiced expositions of the mind of the Church, lies at present heavily on the upper section of the High Church party. The wind may shift and the tide turn, and the pressure lie on the other side of the vessel. As the popular will inclines, the unpopular party will in turn feel the force of the State power. Popular prejudice must necessarily, according to such rule, become the dominant power ruling the Church. Delirant reges, plectuntur Achivi.' But such methods fail in the civil order, and can hardly be expected to succeed in the spiritual order. The Church is the channel of divine grace and the interpreter of the mind of God, and within the Church God speaks through her councils and by her representatives, and blesses the discipline carried out in faithful accordance with her divine constitution. Kings and queens' were to be her ' foster-fathers and foster-mothers.' Obedience to the powers that be' implies the fulfilment of relative duties on the part of the State to the governed. There was to be harmony, the one power to help the other,' and both, in mutual respect for each other's rights, to glorify Him Who appointed each in its distinct order to accomplish His will.

T. T. CARTER.

1

SOCIAL ASPECTS OF DISESTABLISHMENT.

An institution so ancient, so venerable, and having so many claims to public respect as the Church of England, ought to be able to stand on its own merits, or it is tolerably certain that it will not long be able to stand at all. The friends of the monarchy are content to leave it thus without special defence. The speeches from the throne do not bristle with sarcastic allusions to evil-minded individuals who are endeavouring to undermine its foundations. The Heir Apparent does not think it necessary, whenever he appears in public, to weave into his addresses some eulogium upon the Crown and its value to the nation. Prime Ministers and Secretaries of State never dream of entering upon elaborate defences of our political system, or speculations as to the possibility of its maintenance. An evil day will it be when this is changed. It is difficult to conceive of the monarchy being thus placed on the defensive, environed with dangers so serious and menacing that ministers of State should take every possible occasion of assuring the country that its enemies were as weak as they were malignant, and that nothing was to be feared from them, or, what would be still worse, exposed to the attack of an active body of Republicans who had established a government of their own, to which a large section of the people gave their exclusive allegiance, and whose power so far impressed the Sovereign and her Cabinet, that, instead of resolving to stamp out the rebellion, they gave its leaders full toleration, and even assured them of the most kindly consideration, provided they did not attempt to set royalty aside altogether. If, unhappily, such a state of things should ever be brought about, it would not be rash to predict that the days of our monarchy were numbered-that it had at last come to be of the things which, having decayed and waxed old, are ready to vanish away.

The same reflection is suggested to many minds by those defences of the Established Church which certain bishops, following the example of the Primate, are so fond of attempting. If, indeed, their arguments were so strong as to be convincing to all but those who are under the dominion of blind and invincible prejudice, or their survey of its position so hopeful and reassuring as to impart a new confidence to all its friends, there might be an excuse for occasional utterances of this kind, though even then their policy might be questioned.

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But when their tone is apologetic rather than triumphant-when to all sensitive ears it tells of anxiety and distrust where there ought only to be courage and confidence--when, instead of a decided assertion of a right which ought to be maintained, there is little more than a plea for forbearance towards an institution which, though it may be an anachronism and an anomaly, is yet capable of accomplishing a large amount of good-it can hardly be doubted that these gallant attempts on the part of the bishops to stem the strong current of opposition to the Establishment are a mistake. They are, in fact, a tacit confession of weakness, which skilful strategists would be careful to avoid.

These episcopal manifestoes, of course, differ very greatly in character. The wild declamation of the Bishop of Bath and Wells is as unlike the forcible and practical reasonings of the Bishop of Manchester, as the somewhat supercilious and arrogant tone of the Primate's language differs from the easy and genial manner of the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol in the first number of this Review. But all are alike in their devotion to the Establishment, and in their scarce-concealed anxiety as to the destiny which may await it even in the immediate future. No one can even suspect the sincerity of their belief in the value of the institution to the nation, and those who are able to read between the lines can have as little doubt that they are full of fear that the nation may be deprived of its inestimable benefits. If they are optimists, and speak with a confidence which few share as to the prospects of their Church, there are nevertheless signs of uneasiness which it is impossible to mistake, and which greatly detract from the comfort which their followers would fain derive from their addresses. They speak because the burden upon them is too heavy to allow of their keeping silence, and yet, when they speak, it may be questioned whether their words do not give as much satisfaction to the enemies as to the friends of the Establishment. They are, for the most part, under a sense of responsibility which prevents them from stooping to the level of the gentlemen who go up and down the country challenging discussions, making reckless statements as to the designs of Nonconformists, starting wild theories as to the nature of Church property and the rights of the nation over it, and carrying on a warfare with a zeal which is not always according to knowledge, but perhaps is not on that account the less serviceable. Now and then a bishop may so far forget himself as to condescend to imitate such examples, as did the Bishop of Ely in the somewhat notorious sermon preached in his own cathedral on behalf of the Church Defence Association, and the Bishop of Ripon in his violent speech at Wakefield. But offences of this kind are not common. Bishops know what is expected from them, and are therefore more careful as to their words. During the discussions on the Public Worship Regulation Bill, the proposal to give them a certain discretion in relation to the prosecution of clerical offenders was

justified on the plea that as they came nearer to the charmed circle of society, and felt more of its influence, they must be assumed to have a greater amount of worldly wisdom than excited parishioners eager for the redress of their supposed grievances. In like manner they may be expected to gauge the state of public opinion, and to know how it may best be affected, far better than those who are in the midst of the mélée. But the very caution which is thus induced weakens the effect of their arguments. They concede too much for the taste of ardent partisans, as well as for the success of their own cause. A more defiant and uncompromising attitude would be more acceptable to their supporters, and if, for any reason, they feel they cannot assume it, it would probably be more politic to maintain a discreet silence.

What, for example, is an earnest churchman to say to Dr. Ellicott's article ? It was intended to be a solace to his spirit, but his mind must be peculiarly constituted if it produce any such result. Take two points only out of many, which are calculated to prevent him from attaining that state of mind which the bishop is so desirous to cultivate in himself and others. The disposal, by sale or otherwise, of spiritual spheres of labour' is an extremely mild way of describing that system of purchase which is a crying scandal in the Church. The bishop himself admits that it is a vital question,' and so far everyone will agree with him. It is only necessary to refer to the startling statements made by the Bishop of Peterborough as to his own experience, to feel that this expression is not at all too strong. It may indeed be taken in its most literal sense, for the very life of the Establishment is involved in its wise settlement. Patronage is a cancer in the body ecclesiastical, which must be removed, or the patient will die. But the bishop's tone in relation to it is one of utter despondency. He admits the abuses, and confesses that they are too strong for reformers, who can but 'curse the evils wbich they cannot cure.'

Be it so. Such curses must certainly come home to roost, and numbers will feel that when the bishop tells us that it is painful to be forced to say so, but we fear it must be said, frankly and fairly, that there is now no likelihood that this evil will ever be effectually remedied,' he virtually confesses that the doom of the Establishment is sealed. It is idle to talk of the moral restraint' which public opinion is now exercising,' for the question is as to those over whom this opinion has no influence at all. If that is all the consolation which the bishop has to offer on a point like this, the outlook must be gloomy enough for all who desire the continuance of the Establishment. It amounts to a confession that the constitution is not strong enough to throw off the disease from which it is suffering, and that all which can be hoped for is that palliatives may abate its violence. Under such conditions, it seems only to be a question of time when the disease will have completed its work.

On another danger by which the Establishment is menaced, the

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bishop is equally discouraging. “If there really is,' he says, gravitation in the rank and file of the High Church party to sacerdotal theories-if there is, as is sometimes asserted, a tendency to caste-separation and to the assertion of order-privileges—then we must verily fear for the maintenance of the National Church. Then, will be the conclusion of all who are capable of taking a moderately fair view of the situation, the prospect is alarming indeed. The “if' with which the bishop commences his sentence suggests an uncertainty as to the facts which assuredly cannot be felt by any but those who are resolved to doubt what it is very unpleasant to believe. The growth and prevalence of sacerdotalism in the Church is one of the few facts which it might have been supposed everybody would admit. It is far from being confined to the rank and file of the High Church party, or indeed to the High Church party at all. The extent to which it is leavening even the Evangelical clergy is deplored by those who have been accustomed to look to them as the champions of Anglican Protestantism. To write about some indications of the spread of a sacerdotalism, and of the stealthy progress of a priestly assumption,' is a mere trifling with the subject. The bishop is quite right in his belief that the old English hatred of priestism is as strong as ever, but if he fancies that the priestly temper is developed only among a few extreme men, whom he would fain keep in the Church, but with whom, he fears, it will be necessary to part, he is deceiving himself and all who put their trust in him. This is not the place to adduce proof of this, but one fact may be quoted as a sign of the times. I

say nothing of the visits of Canon Liddon and Canon Gregory to Mr. Tooth in Horsemonger Lane Gaol. I honour them for their consistency and courage in thus identifying themselves with one whose views were the logical outcome of their teaching. But it is a significant fact that two leaders so. eminent should thus associate themselves with one who had taken the most extreme position, and it is more significant still that they devoted the amount of an offertory at St. Paul's to the fund for the defence of Mr. Tooth, suffering persecution as a priest. The disposition of some of the bishops to underrate the gravity of such facts is, to many, one of the most alarming features of the crisis. In those, however, who cannot see that there is any hypothetical element in the case, and who, on the contrary, are filled with intense anxiety about the extent to which sacerdotalism is leavening the clergy, his estimate of its influence on the fortunes of the Establishment can awaken only a sentiment of despair. They see a priesthood becoming every day more numerous, more arrogant in temper, more extreme in its assumptions, more impatient of all control, more defiant alike of secular and spiritual authority, more insolent to bishops, and more contemptuous of Parliament and courts of law. To tell men who have all this present to their view continually, that the growth of sacerdotalism means the downfall of the Establishment, and yet, in Vol. 1.- No. 3.

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