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The first, and the one probably however, speaking the sentiments of nearest to its settlement, is the ques- a better party in the Established tion of voluntary or compulsory pay- Church, expresses approval of the ments in support of religious worship. course taken by the abolitionists of During a whole generation contests Church Rates, and says that the for the abolition of Church Rates Bill should be “accepted without have been spreading from parish to rejoicing and without regret."* parish, until, not merely in cities The second public question which and towns, but in many a country has an ecclesiastical side to it is the village, their blind and unblushing Education question. In general imadvocates have been outvoted. But portance this question far exceeds in the majority of rural parishes, the foregoing one: and hitherto and in some other places where there have been more various views Church influence predominates, these propounded as to the basis on which unrighteous imposts have invariably it should be permanently settled. been levied. Their iniquitous char- At the present time two measures acter has been so obvious to our are submitted for considerationrepresentatives in Parliament, that one by Mr. Bruce, which proposes year by year Bills for their abolition to bring in the help of compulsory have been introduced—sometimes rating, in supplementing and ex, making their way through the House, tending thescheme now being worked and at others coming to a dead halt by the Committee of Privy Council ; there. But now with a pro-rate or, in other words, to make people, party in office, and an anti-rate Op- who have not voluntarily provided position, Mr. Gladstone's Compul- denominational schools sufficient for sory Abolition Bill has passed its the districts where they dwell, pay third reading, without any division, rates for a further provision of schools and amidst bursts of cheering. Pro- of the same class. The other meabably before this article is circulated sure is that of the Conservative the measure, which is now before the Government, introduced by the House of Lords, may have passed Duke of Marlborough, but which is its second reading there, with the a mere modification of the Privy certainty of soon receiving the Royal Council scheme. It proposes that assent. For the Lord's have been
there shall be a Secretary of State warned, by high authority, that they for Education that the revised code will assume a grave responsibility if shall be turned into an Act of Parthey deny to the present parliament liament-that State aid shall be exthe satisfaction of settling a ques- tended to secular schools, and in tion which has perplexed it during poor districts to schools without the whole of its existence. The certificated teachers. No child is to progress which public opinion on be compelled to go to any Church, this question has made may be as or Sunday school, as a condition of aptly given in the wailing words of receiving instruction on week-days. a Church organ as in any
Both these schemes are more liberal can indite.
“ Who would have than those which have been conthought five years ago, or even two tended for by intolerant churchmen; years ago, that the enthusiastic ag- but the advance which they indicate gregations of 250, 260, 270, and is slight and trivial as compared with 280, which successive divisions were that which has been made among the the minorities, and eventually the majorities against Church Rate spo- of Lords, April 23, but from the bitterness disliation, would have sunk to thirty
played towards it by Lord Derby and by the
Archbishops and Bishops, and also from the provotes, and one speaker ? But such posal by the Government to refer it to a Select is the fact ?” Another periodical,
Committee, there is still room for apprehension of danger to the measure.
* The Bill was read a second time in the House
friends of education outside the walls sequence of the pressure of public of Parliament. The popular idea is business, will not come on for a becoming more favourable to the second reading until May 19. The severance of education from all simple object of this measure is to clerical influences, making schools make the two Universities of Oxford purely scholastic institutions, and and Cambridge what their very name not parts of a complicated ecclesias- imports-seats of learning for the tical machinery. Up to this day whole nation, without distinction of popular education has been treated religious belief. No sooner was this as a question of words and names, measure submitted than an appeal and of “ the law” of the most power- was got up to the Archbishop of ful party. Some have pleaded for it Canterbury to use his influence as “secular" education, and have against it. This appeal received thereby offended the prejudices or 1,600 signatures, and set forth, in scruples of pious Churchmen. Others
an exaggerated form, the effects of have insisted on its being“religious," the measure, which, in the judgment and so have made it impossible for of the memoralists, would be to imconsistent Nonconformists to accept peril the continuance of religious it. Elementary education is a suffi- education, and to inaugurate the ciently definite name for the train- establishment of a purely secular ing which is imparted in day schools, system. This numerously signed and to provide this necessary culture. appeal has been well answered by a may
be the proper work of the State. member of Oxford University, Mr. But as soon as any government ap- Raper, in a letter to the Times ; but propriates public money to furnish still better by four Baptist ministers religious education, it oversteps its of Cambridge, who, in a counter civil sphere, and encroaches on sa- appeal to the Archbishop, inform cred ground. All the arguments his Grace, that at Cambridge the adduced in favour of State provision number of Nonconformists in the for the religious teaching of children University has been steadily increasare equally valid on behalf of a State ing for the last twelve years; and Church for teaching religion to the has comprised two senior wranglers, people at large. Those Nonconfor- one second, one fifth, one seventh, mists who have accepted aid from two other wranglers, two first class the Privy Council in support of de- classics, and ten senior optimes. nominational schools have been justly Also that those who have won these twitted, by Church writers, with honours are far above the
in their obvious inconsistency.
And moral and religious excellence; and they are now not afraid to advocate that, if the whole University had scheme of national education been like them, it would have
prewhich leaves the question of religion sented a scene of purity and piety untouched, being persuaded that such as neither Oxford nor Camwith the loud pretensions of giving bridge has yet approached. His this pious culture these State-assisted Grace, however, as also the Bishop schools have in fact given no more of London, has expressed thorough religion than, as Mr. Spurgeon sympathy with the opponents of the bluntly says, “ could be put into a
Bill; but they have been severely lad's hollow tooth !”
- criticised by such journals as the A third measure, which is gradu- Guardian, the Pall Mall Gazette, and ally receiving augmented support, in even the Saturday Review. Three the face of the most formidable op- years ago the proposal thus to throw position, is called the Universities' open the Universities was treated Test Bill, which has been introduced with indignation by the Guardian, by Mr. Coleridge, but which, in con- was pooh-poohed by the Times, and
bitterly reviled by the Saturday Re- in proportion to the number of its view. As an illustration of our members, and its utter inefficiency topic—the progress of opinion on in conserving, to say nothing about questions of this kind-and as a extending, Protestant Christianity proof that this progress has been in the sister island, have been so very rapid in all that relates to the clearly seen and severely commented admission of students to the Uni
upon, that legislative action could versities - we could quote largely no longer be forborne. from these literary organs, but our It may be proper to repeat the space restrains us.
All we can Religious Statistics of the country. transcribe here is the last confession The following are the numbers given of the Saturday Review : “ The ad- the best existing authority. mission of Dissenters to the highest Roman Catholics, 4,505,265 ; Presacademical degree is in itself a mat- byterians, 523,291; Methodists, ter of simple justice and good taste. 45,399; Independents,4,532; BapIf a man is to enter a University at tists, 4,237; Quakers, 3,695; other all to be educated by it, to win its persuasions, 18,798, or, according to chief intellectual distinctions, to some lists, 14,695; leaving the Epishave his abilities and industry recog- copalians not more than 693,357 !! nised by its class lists, it is ridicu
66 small remnant” monopolous to suppose that he is to be one lizes all the ecclesiastical property of day brought face to face with a set the State, and engrosses its entire of theological statements which the patronage. The services of this University has never professed to Church are in numerous cases perteach him ; and on his rejection of formed in empty buildings, and one these to be punished for an error in instance was given in the late partheology by a loss of the highest liamentary debates in which nearly degree in arts. There is a sort of £40,000 per annum was appropricomplicated absurdity in such a ated to the payment of services in a course which defies any attempt at population less than many a single defence or apology.” The carrying London parish. Latterly the conof this measure is now only a ques- viction has been deepening in the tion of time; and opposition and public mind that this anomalous delay will only make its character Church is one of the chief sources more perfect, and its triumph more of Irish disaffection; that its consignal. But considering the rate at nection with the State lowers its which right views have lately been religious character and degrades its proceeding, we are not too sanguine clergy in public esteem; that it in asserting that before very long all stands in the way of the peace
of the old University Tests will be the country; and that its disestababolished, and that the very Colleges lishment is demanded by considerawill soon offer the rewards of learn- tions of imperial policy. ing to Dissenters as well as to The hour being come for publicly Churchmen.
acting out this growing conviction,
and the man being found who in the The last great movement which public judgment was best qualified makes our era so memorable is the to lead the movement, we have had contest for the Disestablishment of the the whole question laid before the Irish Church. From the days of parliament, and resolutions have Edmund Burke to those of Sydney been carried by a large majority of Smith, and Lord Macaulay, and on- the people's representatives which ward to the present time, the enor- may be considered as sealing the mous wealth of this Establishment, doom of this unrighteous establish
ment. The first of three resolutions the magnitude of the movement, or passed in the beginning of the last describe the enthusiasm which has month affirms that it is necessary been excited by it. And if to the that the Church of Ireland should ardent agitation of the subject cease to exist as an establishment, among the masses who have crowded due regard being had to personal to bear public lecturers, is added the interests, and individual rights of calm expression of deliberate sentiproperty. The second pronounces ment upon it by professors and pubit to be expedient to prevent the lic writers of the highest eminence, creation of new personal interests the whole case must be accepted as by the exercise of any public patron- a clear intimation of the
purpose age. And the third, in conformity Providence to put away one other with parliamentary etiquette, pro- evil from the earth.
We give, a vides for asking Her Majesty to be short
from one of the most graciously pleased to place at the popular of living writers, Mr. Golddisposal of the House her interest win Smith, who says of the Irish in the temporalities of the different Establisbment:-“ The case is literdignitaries of the Church. These ally beyond argument.
Not only propositions, so distinct, so practicalreason, but our own practice, in the and so decisive in themselves, were case of Scotland, is against us. The submitted with so much firmness by only grounds on which we dealt diftheir illustrious author, and were ferently with Ireland were such that insisted upon with so much emphasis we could now scarcely speak of them and eloquence by himself and his without shame. They were the conscarcely less powerful followers, that queror's contempt for the conquered all resistance to them was overborne. race, and the intolerant Protestants' The terrible earnestness of the unchristian hatred of the Catholic Liberal leader, and the thorough religion. The last subterfuge is to single-mindedness of his political represent this wealthy Establishparty, have advanced the cause of ment as
a missionary' Church. religious equality in the British Par- Strange missionaries, truly, these, liament to an extent which no one and unparalleled in religious history, a few months ago would have sup- who, as prelude to their missionary posed to be possible. How the Con- efforts, and before they have made a servative Government can endure single convert, appropriate to themthe defeat they have sustained, and
selves the ecclesiastical property of how long they will remain steadfast the nation. This missionary church to their avowed principle of “No of yours,' said Robert Peel when the Surrender,” remains to be seen. It argument was used to him,' with all is a much more interesting subject that wealth and power could do for of inquiry as to how the assailants her-can she, in two hundred years, of the Establishment will henceforth show a balance of two hundred conproceed in their future conflicts, and verts ?' The truth is, that this how early their hard battle will be Established Church, with its centufought out.
ries of hateful associations, and cold, In connection with the progress formal services, wearisome even to of opinion on this grave question the English, and absolutely repulsive among our legislators it is even more to the Irish temperament, is the assuring to observe how the desire grand obstacle to the spread of Profor the disestablisbment of the testantism, which otherwise would Church has been spreading through- stand as fair a chance among the out the country. No reports, con
Celts of Ireland as it does among tained in the newspapers, can show those of the Scotch Highlands,
Wales, or Cornwall, than whom every parish whose income and inthere are no more fervid Protestants telligence diffuse benefits among the in the world.” Since this was writ- population, was one of the weakest ten Mr. Smith has spoken at a Man- which could be advanced. If this chester meeting on the same topic, educated gentleman at all resembles when he said: “I am a free Church- others of the clerical fraternity in man, and believe that as the Chris- England, his influence is anything tian religion was most powerful to but wholesome. Indeed the system subdue the whole world when it was which naturally tends to foster supernot connected with the State, in all ciliousness towards Catholics and probability it would recover its force Nonconformists, is positively baneand regain its hold on Society if it ful; and the sooner it is undermined were dissevered from the State." and subverted the better.
As an illustration of the effect of The proposal to disestablish the State alliance on social life in Ireland Irish Church was met by the Governwe refer to a letter just written by ment and its supporters by citing the Catholic Dean of Limerick, Dr. the Coronation oath, and it is even O'Brien. This well-known gentle- said that Her Majesty has been man says that he spent some years made to believe that she cannot give in one of the North American colo- her consent to the proposal because nies—that he was at the head of a of having sworn to preserve their college there, and was also connected rights and privileges to the bishops with the press. His most intimate and clergy. But it is found that friends were Protestants, and Protes- there is no difficulty of this kind in tant clergymen were sometimes his the case—the Coronation oath bindguests. He lectured frequently be- ing the Sovereign to preserve those fore societies exclusively Protestant, rights and privileges which by law and received from them many
tokens “ do or shall appertain to them.” of strong regard. He has “ now The law may increase or lessen been twenty-three years in Ireland, them, and the Sovereign is not without speaking a dozen times to a sworn to forbid a change either way, Protestant clergyman, or sitting down but merely to carry out the law as in social intercourse with a Protestant it is for the time being. The same one score times.” Is this one of the may be said of the Act of Union, in fruits of religious establishments ? which an argument has been found Then they are social as well as against the disestablishment. That spiritual evils. And the experience Act, like all others, is alterable, and of many an English dissenting min- must cease to be binding, if the ister might be appealed to in illus
supreme power of Parliament so tration of the anti-social working of wills it. For while it identifies the State patronage in the Church of our Church of Ireland with that of own country. We are familiar with England, and decrees that the docone who has lived in the midst of trine, worship, discipline, and govern. three clergymen for seven years past, ment of the said united Church shall paying tithes to one, and Church remain in full force for ever, yet as it Rates for the support of a second, is not quite seventy years since this and frequently crossing the path of Act was passed, its repeal would be the third, without even the sign of only the removal of a human and a recognition from any of them! quite a modern statute. ParliaThe plea of the honourable mem- mentary enactments may aspire to ber for Sheffield in favour of the a perpetuity of operation, but they Irish Church, that its establishment never attain it; and the “for ever" planted one educated gentleman in of their existence is a mere techni