« ZurückWeiter »
of matured age, when men are more cautious and deliberate, less dogmatic, more convinced that there is more than one side or aspect of truth, and so more tolerant of opposition. Again, in youth men are more Quixotic, more fully persuaded that they are born to set the world right. After this follows a semi-Epicurean indifference. So it is with nations and with churches,-that is, with men in a religious society. They must pass through a period of heat, impetuousness, religious zeal, intolerance, followed by a reaction, the offspring of disappointment, because the expected good has not been attained, a weariness and indifference, strengthened by the conviction of the utter uselessness of former persecutions, and in better minds a deeper sense of the wickedness of the former method. The age of tolerance has succeeded to that of persecution.
We have now arrived at the last stage, but as a church we have passed through the former period, when it was attempted to suppress error by force. It is, therefore, beside the mark to seek to separate Church and State on the grounds that their union has rendered persecution possible. He would be a bold man who would prophesy that the fire of persecution will never again rage in our land ; indeed, there is even now much social and domestic persecution, particularly among the sects: but one thing is certain, the State will never again at the bidding of the Church persecute those who are beyond her pale. The persecution of the future will arise from secularism and infidelity, not from misdirected religious zeal.
vi. Another objection to the Union has been made, that it creates a forced uniformity of clerical teaching, and so depraves the higher life of the people by making the teachers cowards to their own convictions; and the old illustration from natural science is again brought forward, of the evils that would have res ed to science from a compromise of conflicting opinions three centuries ago, petrified into an unchanging standard, and protected by statute against the smallest alteration.
The comparison will not hold good, for, as has been often pointed out, while physical science is inductive, theology is deductive. In the first, what is new is most probably true; in the second, what is new is almost certainly false. It may be added that no Churchman will allow that the Church's doctrine, resting as it does upon the creeds, is a compromise of contradictory opinions made three centuries ago, and petrified into an unchangeable standard.
to make the clergy hypocrites ?”
and the colonies.
But the question remains, “Does the establishment of religion bring about an unnatural uniformity of teaching, and so tend of the sects, and the same limits of comprehension exist in the
There is more comprehensiveness in the Church than in any disestablished Churches of Scotland, Ireland, the United States,
But are the English clergy cowards to their own convictions ? If so, it is by a hypocritical assumption, not of uniformity, but
no class of men that is so open and outspoken as the clergy of the present day. They speak out whatever they think boldly and plainly enough, and without regard to personal consequences. each one of the three great schools of thought, High, Broad, and
This same openness marks Low. Each one of them has in turn been dragged before the in each case has been to make the school attacked more determined and outspoken than it was before. This may be an evil or not, but it proves two things : I, that whatever other charges may be brought against the Union, it has not made the clergy in teaching; 2, that when they are agreed, as they are on many guilty of a cowardly tampering with their convictions by reserve more points than certain objectors suppose, that agreement is acquiescence, but of conviction. But are not Dissenting minis
or of State fetters, or of mere unthinking ters sometimes constrained by their congregations to prophesy
them. that it is rent by internal dissensions, that it cannot present an
vü. An opposite charge is also brought against the Church, against itself, must fall. Really our opponents are very hard to against its
ponents, and, like a house divided please. At one time the Church is too united in the deadness much split up into factions, owing to the loss of discipline ! produced by overpowering State force; at another it is too Surely these charges cannot both be true at the same time, but
one another, the wion of all Christendom, as well as for increasing unity in
of disunion are great, and we may well pray for W branch of the Church. Indeed, the last more closely concerns us, as being more near to us; and the scandal of watests between different parties carried on through the press,
and even in the pulpit—though the last are
the result, not of habit,
must neutralize The evils
on the platform,
ruer I y ese to be are still greater : but worst of all is e greici tectiez going to law against brother, if not before Fekeztetvers, a: least before a secular court, touching e es c , even if they are not Nothingarians, we Eure eo secus their fath may not be but small.
But even if iese eatests be given up, as most Churchmen begeerte the case, sal] there remains the envy, hatred, and nickness between members of the different schools, wee who are without seize hold of as a pretext for desdalsmen: Tha: enmity has been greatly exaggerated. I: is thing at sil now compared to what it was thirty years
There may be a few who cherish a narrow, intolerant Lacred of all who do not follow with mathematical exactness in their own way of thinking; but the majority of every school are every year learning still more to appreciate one another, to esteem one another, to bear and forbear, to work together for good. The increase of clerical meetings or ruri-decanal chapters, of diocesan synolds, of diacesan conferences, of Church congresses, and the like, bare helped to bring about this result. It is not that the cler y have learnt the lesson of the age, “indifferentism to the truth” so long as the outward conduct be decently respectable, or that they hold their own convictions touching Church dogma with less firmness and decision ; but they have learnt to respect the opinions of others, and to bear in mind that “truth,” while it is one in itself, is also many-sided in its manifestation to men and its apprehension by man, so that they can give and take the portion of truth which each holds.
The actual divisions have been grossly exaggerated. On all those points on which the early undivided Church has decided, the clergy are unanimous. On these the late Dean Milman, Charles Simeon, and John Keble were agreed. It is only in those matters on which, though we believe that the implicit faith of the Church has ever been clear enough, yet no decision has been arrived at and promulgated by any Ecumenical Council, that men begin to differ, as on the divine decrees, the character of Scripture inspiration, the nature and extent of Christ's sacramental presence in His Church. Amid apparent diversity there is substantial unity,—much more, in fact, than exists in any other religious body of anything at least like equal size. So that this objection to the Union falls to the ground.
viii. But it is further objected that the Union makes reform in the Church slow, difficult, not to say impossible. The only
true, when perhaps they
much fettered by State control, and too much in need of reform representative body recognised by law, the Convocation, are too themselves to effect much; and as all measures have to be submitted to a parliament of all religions, an opportunity is to hamper, thwart, impede, if not check altogether proposed given to Non-Churchmen, or to the enemies of the Church, either reforms, or to help to fashion them according to their own Pleasure, whence Churchmen are unwilling to move.
It is true that the Union makes change more tedious and difficult, but is that a disadvantage? It is not for the good of the Church that reforms should be hasty. In religious matters both the good and the evil qualities of human nature may work grave injury under the colour of useful reforms. On the one hand when men's hearts are stirred, as they must be if they are in earnest about their religion, they are apt to take a onesided view of things, and assume hastily that their own impressions, drawn from that one-sided view, must be complete and hand, the more shallow and ignorant a man is, the more positive
are nothing of the kind. On the other is he on Church questions.
There are plenty of practical evils in the present system, and dearest interests, and the daily press takes care that they evils that make themselves felt, for they touch a man in his
than for would-be reforiners to air their crotchets. They generally touch upon real evils, but the reforms which is so bitterly censured, do not of neccssity apply, a
Loudly commended, the delay in the passing of evil worse. Hasty reforms are themselves a great evil.
or it may be even run the risk of making the there are many able, zealous, learned, thoughtful, and devoted
But wen, both in Church and State, who give their best attention to the building up of what is wanting; and have their efforts proved unsuccessful ? However slow the process may be, almost every year sees some improvement in our existing Church
is. But it is also said that the Established Church is far too wealthy for the best interests of vital religion; and just as Wysicians bleed those who are in the height of fever, so the Establishment ought to be relieved of its fever heat of dignified wala and idleness by the bleeding process of disestablishment ad disendowment. In other words, the State Church is too
nothing is more
which are so
rich, ani ought to be deprived of a goodly portion of its superabondant wealth.
Now the bleeding process has been all but abandoned in the bor physical Yone but very old-fashioned practitioners resort to it at the present day-of course, exceptis excipiendis.
Azi in the second place, is the Established Church so overwhelmed with wealth that it becomes a Christian duty to relieve it of some of its superfluities, and it might be added, thus lighten the por rate, or eduration rate, or any other local burden?
We have not heard so much wild talk latterly about the contrast between episcopal incomes and apostolical poverty, or fat mories and the hand-labour of Aquila, although the corresponden's in some Church papers write as though the income of an English bishop were equal to that of an average nobleman. The great mass of Englishmen have the sense to see that there must be a great difference in the state of the Church at its birth and a: its maturity, when under persecution and when at rest, in a wealthy and in an impoverished nation. If the clergy of the apostolic church were poor, the laity were poor also. It is said, whether truthfully or not, that the Church of England is the richest church in the world. One thing is certain, that it is the church of the richest nation in the world, so that the anomaly is not so great. It is the church of the most populous nation, so that she has to do the greatest amount of work, and requires the support of the greatest wealth ; but is that wealth excessive? On the contrary, every year makes the fact more glaring that it is not sufficient for the work that has to be done, or even for the work that is being done. Very few of the clergy can, as the Lord ordained, live of the gospel ; most of them find their work seriously hampered if they cannot out of their private means spend upon their parishes. The total amount of the Church's annual income, taking into account pew rates and surplice fees, has been estimated as something under £5,000,099, which if it were equally divided among the 18,000 clergy would give something like £270 a man,-no very excessive income; while, as a matter of fact, all the un beneficed clergy, and very many of the beneficed, have to content themselves with less.
It stands to reason that the higher orders of the clergy should have the better pay, the only question being, Is their income excessive ? That word excessive will vary according to the opinions and tastes of those who use it ; but we may compare the heads of the Church with the heads of the legal pro