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knowledgment may be, it must be confessed that these things are principally, if not entirely, to be found in, or to have arisen out of, its internal state. There is in some respects a lack of vitality, from faults of tending and culture, which hinders vigorous and healthy growth. And there are positive hindrances and not negative only; some of them in full operation; others less active now, but having left dark traces upon our religious and social life. Unfaithfulness to the doctrine and the discipline of a Church will be found, perhaps, at all times, in one degree or another, among the members of that Church, but it is not every time that produces this unfaithfulness in its most revolting aspect; that is, when exhibited in the persons of men who have come under the most solemn voluntary obligations to be faithful, and who retain the emoluments and the positions of a Church which they do all in their power to discredit and overthrow. "Of this we have had of late a most unhappy instance, one charged with great and insidious danger, in the publication of Essays and Reviews. And there are worse signs of our internal condition than the publication of the book, even under the aggravated circumstances just noted. It is bad to have such a book at all. It is worse to see it eagerly bought up and read, and either palliated or feebly and faintly condemned. It is bad to have authors of such a book in charge of the education of the youth of the Church. It is worse to see parents and guardians still content to entrust their children to their keeping.
Again, it is not every time that sees proposals to destroy at the call not only of an unproved, but of a disproved necessity, a necessity not many years old, and born upon the hustings of the great towns in the excitement of 1831-2, a portion of the Church's inheritance; one identified with its national position: of this we have had not one, but many instances in Bills for abolition of Church-rate. Other bills there are, the offspring of abolition, which alike destroy the principle but keep the name. This is the way in which not a few Churchmen have met the abolitionist. A proposal to kill is met by counter proposals to kill, invigorate, and cure all at once; and, what is more wonderful still, by the same process. Almost every man has his nostrum for " the settlement of Church-rate." The first ingredient in each nostrum is the admission of a grievance, which it has long been contended has no existence, and which is now allowed to have no existence except as being a part of the great comprehensive grievance of the Established or National Church. Nevertheless the proposals go on. Individual and collective wisdom are continuously taxed to invent them. It is a sort of epidemic which we will hope will pass away with the finer weather of 1862. Now all these proposals, as addressed to those who would kill, and as inviting their concurrence and co-operation in the proposed killing, invigorating, and curative process, are comical enough; and, as addressed to those who are really minded to save, they lack cogency, as surrendering the entire principle of that which they would conserve, and slaying by slow poison and lingering death instead of by a blow. No Conservative who knows what he is about will vote for what is called, in parliamentary language, "Compromise of Church-rate." No man can do
at the same time two opposite things, maintain a building and pull out the foundations.
It is not every time that has witnessed the growth of jealousies and suspicions directed against the clergy, arising principally out of a hasty and inconsiderate return by some of their number to portions of ritual and ceremonial which in themselves are good to revive, but which should always wait upon the revival of doctrine, and not be made to forestall it; and to other portions which are in themselves indifferent, and from one cause or another affronting to popular feeling. It is not every time which has seen some considerable number of clergy and laity evidencing their want of faith in the position of the Church of England by a desertion of it for the Roman obedience.
There is a revival, too, of that which, if it could succeed, could only issue in the disruption of the Church. It will not succeed; but it is an evil that the question should be stirred at all, and a hindrance and offence. At no time, indeed, since the Reformation has "Revision of the Book of Common Prayer, and Administration of the Sacraments, and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church," been advocated at once so recklessly and so feebly. But it is no testimony to the depth and calmness of the judgment of our time that men should think it possible to persuade the public mind that the changes they seek would have no effect but to relieve conscience. They would aggrieve conscience very far more than relieve it, as every one knows who knows anything of the matter. There is no grievance here, any more than there is in Church-rate, or in the case of clergy whom it is proposed to "relieve" of their orders.
There are other internal hindrances and offences of longer date; some of them in process of partial removal; of others of them the remedies do not yet appear. Among them the chief blot is the abandonment, as it were by general consent of the members of the Church, of spiritual discipline by way of formal censure of notorious offenders; and this notwithstanding that the civil power, while modifying in some respects the exercise of the ancient jurisdiction of the courts spiritual, has taken express care to guard and provide, by acts of parliament of this century, for the substance of that jurisdiction. There is no greater cause of inherent weakness than that which is found in this dereliction of the office and duty of the Church; none which is a more just ground of scandal and reproach, none which supplies a more striking instance of the facility and complacency with which thosewho are themselves in fault lay the blame anywhere but on themselves. It has somehow or other come to be assumed as an historical fact, and as such is often deplored by Churchmen, that it is the legislature which is to blame for the unhappy condition of the Church of England in this particular. Now the fault is not with the legislature at all, but with the people, the clergy, and, most of all, with the ordinaries of the Church; and that man, whether clergyman or churchwarden, would do the greatest service to the National Church, because he would assist very powerfully towards the relief of it from a great scandal and reproach, who should present to the ordinary, sitting in his visitation court, a case of notorious offence against the morality of the Gospel, existing within his parish, and which he is prepared to prove, and, upon the refusal or the neglect of the spiritual judge to deal with such case so brought under his cognizance, should proceed to compel him, by way of "mandamus," to do his duty. The abeyance and present discouragement of the other manner of spiritual discipline, that by judgment in Synod of heretical books, will be dealt with elsewhere.
The argument might be extended farther. It might be shown in detail that, even in cases of actual legislation unfavourable to the well-being and efficiency of the Church, the primary cause of such legislation has not been so much hostility ab extra as some failure of the Church in respect of this or that portion of her mission and her office. This might be shown from the history of the abolition of Irish Bishoprics, the appropriation of the property of Cathedrals, and the Divorce Act. It might be shown from other failures and losses in which legislation has had no part: e.g. from those connected with the mismanagement of the Wesleyan revival in the last century. But it is not necessary to pursue the matter, and certainly is not a grateful task. There is a great awakening to responsibilities, a deepening sense of shortcomings and of opportunities lost: if Churchmen will only grasp and hold fast the principle that the Church cannot suffer, except by Churchmen's fault; if they will make profit of the opportunities now presented to their hands by the political and social circumstances of the time, all will be more than well.
One happy result at least would be that, in looking principally to ourselves for the causes of failure and distress, we should be less given to make complaints of the action of the civil power. In truth, it is unwise, if it be possible, to separate into its component parts the complex notion of Church and State in such sort as to assign to each its precise share in any given act of public policy. And, indeed, when it is spoken of as two things instead of as one thing compounded of both, this indicates a tendency to fall into the great mistake of viewing the Church as composed of the clergy only, and not of the clergy and the people. There are doubtless some things in respect of which there is a quicker jealousy of the direct action of the civil power; for example, the appointment of Bishops by the Crown; and some Churchmen wish to see this appointment otherwise ordered. In this we cannot agree. A Churchman's business is, surely, not to call for organic changes in Church and State, but so to assist, according to his gifts and opportunities, in doing the Church's work for all men's good, that it will be scarcely possible to make bad appointments. It is another question, and one which need not be touched in this place, whether any other manner of appointment would not be full of extreme difficulties, and be of dangerous consequence to the peace of the Church.
Some Churchmen, again, want to see the line between Church members and Nonconformists more defined than it is now. In this, again, we cannot agree. On the contrary, it seems abundantly plain that nothing could be devised more harmful to the Church, and more destructive of her national character: and certainly, in the absence of spiritual
discipline amongst ourselves, the Churchman cannot pretend to cast out the Nonconformist by act of parliament. There is surely a grave inconsistency in taking no account of the life of the professing Churchman, however bad it may be, and seeking to exclude the Nonconformist—against whom it may be that all that has to be said is that he is a Nonconformist—from so much of Church membership as has belonged to him, and which he desires to retain. It were better than this to return to the old days of civil disabilities and penal laws; for there was then at least something like equal dealing, because there was such a thing as Church penance too. Those days cannot return. It is not to be desired, under any circumstances, that they should; no, not even with the revival of spiritual discipline within the Church. But it looks like a lingering desire to see them return to attempt to supplement the Church's failure by statute law. The Church of England can have no more to do with civil disabilities, much less with penal laws. Within her own pale she must needs guard her children against teachers who hold her endowments but deny her teaching. This is essential to the life of every religious body. Without her pale she accepts "religious liberty" in its true meaning of the recognized freedom of the Nonconformist from all manner of coercion, and the admission on her own part not only of the fact that it is impossible, but also of the principle that, if it were possible, it is not good to coerce.
On the other hand, it ought not to be possible that the principle of a Bill, such as Mr. Bouverie's Bill, which includes a clause making it compulsory on a Bishop to violate the law of the Church, should receive that amount of sanction which is implied in its being read a second time in the House of Commons, to whatever extent it may have been in contemplation to amend it in Select Committee. Sir Morton Peto's Bill for "extending the rights of parishioners in parish churchyards," doubtless with the ulterior view of "extending" them in parish churches also, is in one respect less objectionable, in that it is brought in by a Nonconformist, and not by a professing Churchman. But the question is not what the man is, or professes to be, who brings in a Bill, but what Parliament does with it. This Bill, too, has been referred to a Select Committee, but without the justification which is found in the other case. It includes a provision enabling a clergyman legally to dispense with obedience to the Rubric in a primary point.
What is not in the mind of the Church will not be heard in her voice. Harshness of language and imputations of insincerity in those who differ are no part of her preaching. That is never the purpose the best assured in itself, nor the steadiest in action, which is the loudest in complaint. To denounce Nonconformity and Roman Catholicism can answer no good purpose, and the Church herself is not free from blame in either case. But it is as much our duty to protest and to guard against a spurious Nonconformity and Roman Catholicism as it is against a spurious Churchmanship. Religious antagonism is one thing, political antagonism is another. It may not be easy in a country where there is a Church established by law to keep the two apart and distinct, but it should always be the aim on either side. The National Church may not concede equality instead of toleration. She cannot accept, in place of the religious nonconformity of many conflicting denominations, the merging of all religious differences in a general conspiracy against her national existence. She cannot accept comprehension of creeds instead of religious liberty. In so far as she does any one of these things deliberately she is unfaithful to her trust. In so far as she allows herself to be betrayed into them, or any one of them, she is not holding fast that she hath. To win the Nonconformist and the Roman Catholic is the truest praise. The Church may not despair of winning even the political Nonconformist and the Roman Catholic, because it is her mission. In proportion as she is faithful to her trust she will fulfil her mission. Assuredly there is such a thing as conversion to primitive faith and Apostolic order, and to the true principles of government in Church and State. The wav to win is not so much to reason upon the defects of opposing systems as to carry out our own in truth and love. It is by the heart much more than by the understanding that we must learn to approach the gainsayer. Without the heart arguments to them are powerless; for ourselves they are not required; but rather, by fixing attention upon others, take off the edge of keen perception of our own deficiencies. Neither is it the true way of defence. The true way of defence is, having faith in the position as being not of human foundation, to lay out and extend our building on every side, and to watch anxiously and painfully lest any portion of it, as of a thing committed to our trust to keep and to enlarge in all its strength and beauty, be allowed to crumble under our hands. This is the Church's work; and the work will be done the more her clergy and her people press onward and upward through the ice and snow of worldliness and sloth, bearing on high the word written on her banner by no earthly hand—the word which tells at once of their calling, their answer, and their reward—ExCelsior.
common observation that a day which opens too brightly is generally overclouded
before its close is one that must often
occur to a Minister at the commencement of what is called a quiet Session of Parliament. Few Sessions have been so tranquil as the present, and there has seldom been a time when Ministers have had less of opposition to encounter; yet slowly and surely their position has been changing for the worse, and they are now visibly less strong than when Parliament met, while embarrassments are increasing and storms are brewing around them.
The symptoms of this change are various, but we shall at present content ourselves with noticing one of them. The most remarkable feature of the actual political situation is the attitude in which the two great parties that divide the country now stand to each other on the question of public economy, and of the necessity for Retrenchment. It
is the most pressing, if not the most important, question of the day; and it is the one upon the solution of which the balance of power in Parliament now mainly depends. A glance into the history of the past will show how the matter stands.
The hopeless confusion into which the Whig Administrations had brought the finances of the country before 1841, was one of the principal causes which led to Sir R. Peel's being called to power. SirR. Peel's measures restored the proper balance between income and expenditure, and up to the time of the Russian war that balance was not seriously disturbed. The war led, of course, to an enormous increase in our armaments, and consequently in our expenditure, and to a considerable addition to our debt. As soon as it was over, the necessity of reducing our establishments became obvious, and statesmen of all parties agreed that they ought to be brought as rapidly as possible to a peace level. Upon this point all parties, we say, were agreed; but there was considerable difference of opinion between statesmen in office and statesmen out of office as to the extent to which the reduction should be carried, that is to say, as to what should be considered a peace level for the future. Lord Palmerston and his colleagues were for keeping the establishments up, while Lord Russell, Mr. Disraeli, and Mr. Gladstone, being all out of office, were for cutting them down. It is probable that if nothing unexpected had occurred the views of the economical party would have prevailed. But just as the crisis of the struggle was approaching a series of events took place which materially disturbed the process of Retrenchment. Before the country was well out of the Russian war it had plunged into a war in China, and a war in Persia. Before these were concluded the great Indian mutiny broke out; and before the effects of that disaster had passed away a great war commenced upon the Continent, in which it was highly probable that England would have sooner or later to engage, and which, at all events, imposed upon her the necessity of arming in her own defence. The danger was happily averted; but though the country escaped an European war, it was compelled to undertake another contest in China. Lastly, upon the close of the Chinese war we have had to make provision against possible hostilities with America. Thus one event crowding upon another has prevented the accomplishment of the task to which at the conclusion of the Russian war we had been addressing ourselves, that of reducing our armaments to a proper peace establishment.
Meanwhile we have felt the consequences of this prolonged interruption of a necessary work in the disorder of our finances, the weight of our taxation, and, which perhaps is the most serious consideration of all, in the unhinging of our minds, and the formation of a habit of reckless expenditure of which it is very difficult to get rid. The cause of political changes has greatly tended to aggravate the evil. Lord Palmerston, the impersonation of the policy of expense, has upon the whole maintained an ascendancy over the mind of the country such as no minister has been able to exercise since the fall of Sir Robert Peel. Of his three chief opponents, he has absorbed two, Lord Russell and Mr. Gladstone, into his ranks, and has made them the, perhaps unwilling, instruments of a policy verydifferent from that which they advocated in 1857. Mr. Disraeli indeed has, to some extent, maintained his independence, and when in office, in 1858, made an effort, not wholly unsuccessful, to reduce our expenditure to a moderate standard; but the weakness of the administration, unsupported by a majority in Parliament, and the disturbing circumstances of the European war of 1859, prevented his doing much to stay the tide. Since i860 the financial measures of Mr. Gladstone have greatly stimulated the mischief by inducing the public to believe that they could at one and the same time bear a large expenditure and make large remissions of taxation.
At length we have come to a check, and the country is beginning to see, what in a short time it will see much more clearly, that Retrenchment is absolutely necessary, cannot be much longer delayed, and must not be trifled with. That this conviction would ultimately force itself on the public mind was certain. The time and mode in which it would be admitted, and the effects its recognition would produce were uncertain. It is a very happy circumstance that the Conservative statesmen have taken the initiative in dealing with it, for, had they left the question to be brought forward by the Radicals, it would have been put in a shape, and its discussion would have been attended with consequences, most injurious to the interests of the country. Between judicious measures of Retrenchment, adopted from conviction in the spirit of the Duke of Wellington's Government in 1829, and brought forward by a great party warmly attached to the institutions of England, and a hasty onslaught upon our establishments, conducted by men who would gladly make economy a plea for the destruction of much that we hold most dear, there is all the difference that exists between repair and demolition. The extreme Radicals have long had the will, but they have lacked the power, to do mischief. Had they been enabled to place themselves at the head of the Retrenchment movement, at the moment when that movement is about to become popular, they would have gained the power they have so long wanted. The Government, by their inconsistent and vacillating policy, had nearly made them masters of the situation. Mr. Gladstone in his Manchester speech had distinctly invited them to act. If we escape a great danger it will be because Mr. Disraeli had the acuteness to perceive the opportunity which was given to his party, and the courage to act upon his perception, even at the risk of a little momentary unpopularity. As a matter of party tactics the step was a most able one; but that is a very subordinate consideration. It is a step which, if boldly followed up, may prove most advantageous to the interests of the country. One only caution let us give. The path has been chosen, and they who have chosen it must walk in it without faltering. If when they have the power they hesitate to give effect to that which they now declare to be necessary, they cannot escape a day of heavy reckoning. The fortunes of the Conservative party for many a long year depend upon the use they now make of the opportunity which circumstances have afforded them.
BOLITION is dead: self-exemption is dead. Self-exemption meant compromise, and compromise meant self-exemption,and so compromise is dead: nothing can be done but upon the responsibility of Government; so private bills are dead : a pretty good riddance of parliamentary rubbish for one night's work. It is wonderful how much nicer the place looks now that it has been cleaned up.
It is a pity that Mr. Estcourt, whose name is honourably associated with all this slaughter and purification, has not known where to stop. After so gallant a defence, a retreat within the walls would have been both glorious and wise. But this ardent recruit from the ranks of self-exemption could not so be content.
We remember a poor woman whose gratitude to the village doctor was not measured only by his kindness, which was great, but rather by the quantity and rapid succession of his prescriptions. "I do believe, sir, he has given me all the physic as is in his shop." Upon this rule the Church of England should be very grateful to practitioners in town and country, young and old. For, certainly, there is no symptom even of the most trifling indisposition which is not attended to with the most solicitous kindness, and with every variety of treatment. They are at her bed three deep; some with knife and saw; some with plaister and blister; some with potion and pill. The poor woman died; the Church lives: but we suspect she would recover sooner if the doctors left the room, and gave her more air and less physic.
This is for those who desire to see the Church strong and well. There are others of the doctors who have an interest the other way, and can hardly be expected to take our advice.
If ever there was a contest thoroughly fought out and decided, it has been the contest on Churchrate. The very success of the assailants, for some sessions, in the Lower House of Parliament, was necessary to give to their ultimate defeat its peculiar significance, and to stamp the decision of the House with the character of finality. Never was the power of organization better displayed than in the campaigns of the Abolitionists. Backed by not a tenth part of the English people, but admirably drilled, and drawing to its support the Irish Roman Catholic members, this indefatigable minority for a time obtained an ascendancy in the House of Commons. It is one of the incidents of an establishment, and, in itself, a happy incident, that it is very difficult to move. But this tendency may be in excess. There is a lesson here which, we trust, Churchmen and lovers of the Constitution will never forget. Their apathy all but proved fatal to their cause. Even now they cannot be said to have put forth their full energies; and certainly they do not yet know their full strength. They have had to fight this battle as if with one of their hands tied: their remissness lost them all the waverers, and many of their natural allies. They made a terrible mistake in allowing the enemy to push forward his approaches so long unresisted. They allowed the banner of the Church to lie so long furled that many thousands in the constituencies, and dozens of members of the House, naturally gave up their cause as lost—as one to which the Church herself was indifferent—and enrolled themselves, many of them reluctantly, in the ranks of the Abolitionists. The consequences have been serious and the traces will not easily be erased. The men who have so often voted against Church-rate cannot soon release themselves from the pledges which they have so often given upon the hustings, and acted upon in the House. We trust, then, that the guardians of the National Church will never again be found asleep at their posts. Never, henceforth, let them forget the wisdom of resolutely withstanding the beginnings of evil. They may rely upon it their adversaries will always find work for them, in one shape or other; and even upon this question of Church-rate, let them bear in mind that the least relapse of energy or vigilance on their part—the least paltering with the great principle of upholding the Establishment as the Church of the nation— cannot fail to be attended by consequences deplorable for the present generation, and fatally disastrous in the future. If we would save the citadel, we must defend the outworks.
In another point of view the Church-rate contest has furnished a lamentable example—perhaps the most remarkable of the many on record—of the readiness of the chiefs of the once great Whig party, so full of anxious care for the Church of England in 1688, to sacrifice alike their principles and their predilections for the sake of obtaining a momentary success; for the sake of gaining the support of a revolutionary faction, by the help of whose votes they might replace themselves in office. It was not until out of office, in 1859, that the Whig chiefs recorded their votes in favour of the abolition of Church-rate. Then, for the first time, they sold themselves on this question to the inexorable revolutionists who sit below the gangway. The Radicals saw their opportunity, and made the most of it. The Whig chiefs hungered for office, but Mr. Bright and his friends shrewdly refused to co-operate with them in driving out the Tories until they had exacted a goodly price for their aid. The price was paid—again and again the Whig chiefs have had to follow Mr. Bright into the lobby; but the bargain now proves to have been a bad one. There are political compacts not unlike those said to have been made by the sorcerers of the dark ages, who sold themselves to the evil one for the sake of obtaining powers greater than belonged to them, but which compacts, however shrewdly made, always proved fatal in the end. The Whig Ministers may repent of this monstrous treason to the Church, but they will be held to their bargain. The factitious power which they so shamelessly bought can no longer save them; their momentary success has been swept away before that mightiest of political forces — the rising tide of public opinion, and, by what is mightier still, the force of truth. The time is near atphand when this betrayal of Church and State will be regarded
in its true light by the great mass of the English people.
Mr. Bright—but "surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird"—wants what he is pleased to call a "compromise." Of what? Of English freedom. Of the right of English parishes to tax themselves. Of the right of the parochial authorities to take measures for the maintenance of the parish churches. It is a blow aimed at that best and oldest basis of English liberty—the right of local self-government. And what purpose would a compromise serve? If a compromise were either admissible or possible in this case, which indeed it is not, what would it do? Would it satisfy the enemies of the Church? Would it be regarded as a final settlement by the party which has voted and clamoured for the abolition of Church-rate? Not at all. Compromises have been offered freely, and as scornfully rejected. Not on points of detail, but because compromise of any kind, we were told, was out of the question. Some Churchmen, straining liberality beyond what it could legitimately bear, and to the destruction of that which they proposed to save, were willing to provide exemption for all who professed to have conscientious scruples against paying the rate. But every proposal of concession was scouted. It was not a point of conscience, we were told, it was " a question of supremacy." This settles the matter. The opponents of Church-rate have cut even the loose and shifting ground of "compromise" from beneath their own feet.
The House of Commons has not only rejected the Abolition Bill by a majority of one, in a House, including pairs, of 610 members, but has pledged itself against any such Bill by a majority of seventeen. It is a good position. Two things only can damage it. Slackening of exertion out of Parliament; unwise and ill-concerted moves in Parliament. We trust that Mr. Estcourt may be persuaded to withdraw his resolution. He has redeemed his pledge. At this juncture any resolution is out of place. This particular resolution is open to the gravest objections. It is, moreover, so loosely worded that it is not easy to say of a good deal of it what it does mean, and what it does not mean.
The Civil War in America.
pS 59 F in Europe the political horizon is someWm GlU wnat clouded, if one country is agitated Qhbs by a revolution actually in progress, if a second is threatened with extensive revolt, while in others even well-meant and judicious reforms, by unsettling the minds of the people, are embarrassing their own rulers, and perplexing the anticipations of surrounding countries; these difficulties, great and sad as they are, fade into nothing when compared with the state of affairs across the Atlantic, where the most terrible evils that can afflict a people are exercising uncontrolled dominion.
It is now something more than twelve months since the great Republic of the United States was suddenly torn asunder by the renunciation on the