Nonconformity. have failed to effect mixed up with party politics the better; may at last be brought about by sacer- for there is a good deal of truth in the dotalism-by the foes of the Church's cynical saying that the managers of no own household. This word “sacerdotal- political party will support a Church for ism” must be understood in its widest five minutes longer than the interest of sense as a convenient term to express their party requires. A partisan that general drift of opinion among the Church can hardly be in the truest sense clergy of the Established Church which a national Church. is widening and accentuating the Of all these political dangers the breach between them and the laity, and Church has had ample warning. The so far, in the opinion of many, preparing fate of the Irish Establishment and the the way for disestablishment. Let us, more recent attack upon the Welsh porhowever, consider these three heads of tion of the English Establishment are a possible danger in the order stated warning of what Parliament may do in above.

the hands of a Liberal or Radical min. 1. Political danger. To this an istry. Nor have recent events been alestablishment must always be liable in together reassuring to the expectations the natural course of political change. entertained by Churchmen from their Over its head there hangs, like the Parliamentary friends. It is no secret sword of Damocles, the possibility of an that some of the lukewarmness of minadverse vote in Parliament; and though isters and their supporters towards the the consumption of such a vote may, late Educational Bill was due to relucand no doubt would for a time, be de- tance that their educational policy layed by the House of Lords, it could should be dictated by the bishops. not be finally averted. “Put not your They wanted, in fact, to help voluntary trust in princes" is a warning to institu- schools as educational, but not appartions as well as to individuals. “Put ently ecclesiastical, institutions. not your trust in political parties” is a The refusal of the government to take variant of the same advice to which the up a measure of much-needed Church rulers of the Church would do well to reform such as the Benefices Bill, and take heed. At a time like the present, its almost contemptuous indifference to when a party avowedly favorable to the the cry of clerical tithe-owners against Church-or, at any rate, unfavorable to the really “intolerable 'strain” of rates her declared opponents-holds an im- upon their whole income, must have mense numerical majority in Parlia- come as a sad disillusionment to sanment, the temptation is strong for guine expectations. With Lord SalisChurchmen to associate themselves and bury in power, and a majority of one the Church more closely than ever with hundred and fifty in the House of Comthat party and trust to its protecting mons behind him, it was excusable if in care, forgetting that a Church which the first flush of victory some Churchclaims to be the national Church must, men thought that the golden age had if it is to keep that title, be the Church dawned and exaggerated the impor. of all parties alike, not of one set of tance of their own share in the triumph. political opinions. Those whose gen- They forgot for the moment the comeral line of policy is to uphold existing posite character of the new govern. institutions will naturally be the ment, some of the most influential friends, as those who like to destroy members of which, though at present and upset them will be the foes, of the working loyally with the Conservatives Church when questions arise affecting to prevent the disintegration of the emher status or her property; and so far it pire, have not abandoned all the tradiis natural that Churchmen should look tions of Liberalism. Does any one for support to the Conservative party in suppose, for instance, that Mr. ChamParliament, the more so that the Rad- berlain supported the Education Bill ical party have shown their hand so in the interest of the Church; or that, if plainly. But the less the Church is ever disestablishment becomes the main



question of the hour, his powerful force, and acquired that specially politadvocacy will be heard on her side? ical character with which we are all He, at least, has never encouraged such familiar. Now, however, that political a belief, and the same is no doubt true power has been transferred to the workof other Liberal Unionists. But this is ing classes, Nonconformity as a purely not all. It is better to look facts in the political force will, perhaps, be less face; and there seems to be spreading influential than it has been. The work. among the rank and file of Conservative ing classes are not so largely or so M.P.'s, the traditional supporters of the earnestly Nonconformists as the lower Church, a certain feeling of indiffer- middle classes. Many of them ence with regard to it. They are be- nominally members of the Church of ginning to ask themselves whether the England; many are indifferent to any support of the Church is quite as vital form of religious organization. And to their party as it is supposed to be any hostility which they may hereafter whether, in fact, the interests of the show to the Church will be more probChurch and of Conservatism are any ably due to a feeling that the Church is longer identical. Nor are such doubts identified with capital and privilegeslikely to be diminished in the minds of that it is, in fact, the Church of the average English gentlemen by the in- “classes”-than to any sectarian jealcreasing drift of the clergy towards ousy. The Church, it is true, has done what has already been alluded to as much within living memory to remove “sacerdotalism,” and which, despite its this reproach, and her undoubtedly inassociation with great improvement in creased popularity is due to the efforts the Church's work, is likely (as will that her clergy have made and are presently be shown) to be a serious dan- every day making to get into touch with ger to the Establishment. This in the working classes. But still in every difference of the Conservative party is part of England, and especially in not yet strongly marked or openly ex- country districts, it is as a rule the rich pressed; but it will have to be reckoned and those of good social position who with. And when one reads or hears are Church people, the smaller people that the present political situation is a and the poor who are Dissenters. And golden opportunity for the Church it is it is of the utmost importance that the impossible to help thinking of the warn- impression of exclusiveness should be ing, "Put not your trust in princes, for diminished or removed if the national there is no help in them.”

Church is to defend her title in the eyes 2. Under the head of social dangers of the democracy. We have made threatening the Establishment, we may great improvement, but we are still far consider-first, its association, real or behind the Church of Rome in being the supposed, with the gentry and aris- Church of high and low, rich and poor. tocracy; secondly, the attitude of Non- From Nonconformity, especially from conformists, influenced, as it undoubt- political Nonconformity, the Estabedly is to

extent, by social lished Church must expect, as in the jealousy. No one can deny that the past, the bitterest opposition. Recent Church has been in former days too ex- events have shown that it is Dissenters clusively the Church of the "classes," rather than Churchmen who make it as distinct from the “masses." The impossible for the friends of religious Church has attracted the gentry, while education to present a united front and the strength of Nonconformity has al. press unanimous demands. In the hisways lain in the middle and lower tory of religious and educational conclasses-among the small tradesmen in troversy there have been few more towns and agricultural laborers in the humiliating episodes than that of the country. When the first Reform Bill Wesleyan deputation to the prime mintransferred political power from the ister last autumn, the leaders of which aristocracy to the middle classes, Non- devoted themselves, not to conformity became a strong political consideration of how best to secure

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religious teaching in elementary wise have claimed. Nor can it, we fear, schools, but to a disingenuous attempt be said that the clergy of the Estabto misrepresent the character of that lished Church are holding their own teaching in the schools of the Church of with the present generation. Their England. From incidents like this, and social position is admittedly not what from the temper and spirit in which cer- it was. The decline in her worldly prostain prominent Nonconformists de- pects, and the opening of so many nounced what one of them was pleased other careers, or means of earning a to term the “damnable” Education Bill livelihood, to the sons of the gentry and of last session, it is excusable to infer upper middle classes, have deprived the that with such persons the interests of Church of some of the best material religious education, nay, of peace and for her service. And, though it may be tolerance in religion itself, are as noth- good to have relieved the ministry of ing in the balance against the smallest some who formerly entered it from opportunity for humiliating and dis- purely worldly motives, the substitucrediting the Church. Not that this tion of "literates" and others from a animus, politico-theological theo- lower stratum of society, however much logico-political, represents the real in earnest such men may be for the inner spirit of Nonconformity. It is spiritual side of their calling, is not calblatant and loud-voiced, but it does not culated to increase the influence of the speak for all. And there are signs that Church in the country. Intellectually, many earnest Nonconformists feel too, the clergy are, it is to be feared, deeply that the religious aspect of Non- dropping behind. The average level of conformity has been too much ob- culture in general, and of insight into scured by party politics, and regret the theological . questions in particular, tendency to make every minister a among the laity has distinctly risen, Radical agent and every chapel an But have the clergy kept pace with the electioneering platform. Right-think- rise? Do we not hear on all hands ing Dissenters, no less than right-think- complaints of want of reading and ing Churchmen, are beginning to realize study, of crude and ill-informed pulpit that religion is, after all, the first and treatment of questions with which the main business of religious organ- many of their hearers have, at least, an izations and of their appointed officers; intelligent acquaintance and look for and this feeling is undoubtedly shared help, too often in vain, from their by the community at large. The Chris- spiritual guides? Is not this, with the tian Church in its various denomina- educated classes at any rate, one cause tions may leaven politics and social life of that increasing disinclination to with religion, but not bring religion attend church services, which is an addown to the level of politics, except at mitted fact? its own peril.

Another reason why, as many think, 3. More serious for the Established the clergy of the Establishment are in Church are the dangers from within. danger of losing touch with the laity is The “unhappy divisions”

among their increasing drift to what bad alChurch people, which apparently make ready been alluded to under the conit difficult for them to come to an agree- venient term "sacerdotalism"-that is ment even upon so vital a question as to say, a tendency to magnify the cler: the religious teaching of the young, can- ical office, and to accentuate and widen not but discredit the Church in the eyes the difference between clergy and laity of practical men. Whenever its posi- until they move in almost a different tion as the Established Church of the plane of thought and action. I wish nation is seriously threatened, it is to speak with the utmost respect of the inevitable that a Church so divided “High Church” party

whole. against itself on important points of Every one must recognize their efforts doctrine and practice will forfeit some during the past fifty years to put new of the sympathy which it might other life into dry bones, to raise the standard



of clerical life and duty, to improve and in the path of the Established Church beautify Divine worship. The Tracta- that may one day be the cause of its rian revival, no less than the Evangelical political overthrow. From that overrevival before it, has stamped its mark throw the Church may rise, like Anfor good upon the Church and people of tæus from the ground, with fresh this country. But every such move- strength. Some of its friends think so; ment has its errors and excesses almost some of its enemies say so, making bein proportion to, perhaps even as a con- lieve that they would chastise it for its sequence of, its earnestness and its suc- good. But surely the true friends of the cess. And the extreme into which this Church, who see the work that it is particular religious movement some doing and yet may do, would prefer to times drifts is for many good reasons avert the fall. abhorrent to Englishmen. Anything But how is the fall to be averted ? approaching to or savoring of Roman- How is the Church of England to beism will always have a cold reception come so strong in herself and in the among us; and nothing is more likely to affections of the people as to be unaslessen the influence of the Church of Sailable by the forces arrayed against England upon the nation at large than her? The Church has had rude warnthe idea that she wishes to imitate or ings; how is she to profit by them? The adopt the doctrines and practices of two remedies that seem to find most Rome. That some handle to such an favor with Church people are Church idea is given by the less judicious of her defence and Church reform. Church members is beyond dispute. The osten- defence has the advantage of episcopal tatious assumption of the title of sanction and parochial organization. "priest,” harmless in itself and even Its idea is to organize committees in justifiable by the language of the every diocese, archdeaconry, rural Prayer-book, is unfortunate from the deanery, and parish for the purpose of special associations of that word with disseminating information about the the clergy of the Church of Rome, and history and work of the Church and her with the ideas embodied in such a term claims to the endowments which she as "priestcraft.” More serious than possesses. Lectures, literature, and this is the adoption, by some of the more leaflets for distribution are to be the extreme ritualistic clergy, of terms and chief modus operandi. All these are no practices that were deliberately aban- doubt useful. Lectures on Church bisdoned at the Reformation and are con- tory will give much-needed information trary to the letter or spirit, or both, of to those who can and will attend them. the Prayer-book. The term “mass," Books, if only people will read and renow openly used in some churches; the member them, should enlighten many "reservation” of the consecrated ele. ignorant minds and refute many ignoments at Holy Communion; the teach- rant statements. Above all, short, ing about “fasting communion” and simple, and telling leaflets scattered "non - communicating attendance" - broadcast over the country are (as the these are samples of innovations which, Liberation Society well knows) an effecwhether forbidden or not by the lan- tive

of propagating opinion. guage of the reformed Prayer-book, are But a literary and historical campaign contrary to its spirit; the insistence will not carry the war far. When pro. upon which provokes uneasy suspicions posals to disestablish and disendow the in the minds of steady-going English Church become a question of practical Churchmen. Nothing is here implied as politics, perhaps amid all the exciteto either the theological importance of ment of a general election, the cause of such points or the motives of those who Church defence will need other weapinsist upon them. All that is meant is ons than pens and notebooks. It must that the growing tendency of which be strengthened by Church work and such things are a sign, as straws show by Church reform. The work of the thi direction of the wind. is a danger Courch, it goes without saying, may be

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its passport to the good-will of tens of attracting increased attention among thousands of citizens who seldom read Churchmen. Many of them recognize, and to whom history does not appeal. perhaps better than the official heads of And Church reformon proper lines the Church, that they must put their might allay the misgivings of would-be shoulders to the wheel and help themdefenders of the Church, who hesitate selves. They cannot trust any minister to take an active part in schemes for or any government to play the part of the defence of the Establishment be Hercules and lift the wagon from the cause of abuses which they cannot de- mire. Church reform, accordingly, is fend. An earnest layman, asked to join to occupy an important place in the a committee for Church defence, may deliberations of the forthcoming Church conceivably ask: "What do you wish to Congress at Shrewsbury, two meetings defend? The Establishment as it is? being assigned to the discussion of Shall we then be committed to approval Church patronage and the position of of inelastic rubrics, preventing the adap- the laity. Another sign of increased tation of worship to changed times and attention to this subject is tbe formafresh ideas? To the system of clerical tion of a “Church Reform League,” non. freehold in benefices, hindering the re- political in character and embracing moval of scandals and the exercise of Churchmen of all schools of thought, proper discipline over the officers of the inaugurated in November last at the Church? To the abuses of patronage Church House, Westminster. This and the virtual barter of the cure of body has recently issued a pamphlet, in souls? To a so-called representative which, after reciting the terms of the assembly of the Church, which has no first clause of Magna Charta—“that the power but that of talk, and in which the English Church be free and have its representation of the parochial clergy rights whole and its liberties unimis little better than a farce? To the paired"—the principles of reform advopractical exclusion of the laity from all cated by the league are set forth under voice in the choice of their ministers the following heads: (1) Self-governand the conduct of their worship?" It ment of the Church.—That, saving the may, indeed, be said that one indispensupremacy of the crown, and subject in sable preliminary-some would say, the legislation to the veto of Parliament, only possible preliminary-to Church the Church should have freedom for defence is Church reform. And it may self-government by means of reformed be that those are right who hold that Houses of Convocation, which shall be the Church has only two alternatives thoroughly representative. (2) Posibefore it in the coming years—disestab- tion of the Laity.—That the laity have lishment or reform. The importance of the principal share in the administraChurch reform has always been recog. tion of finance, a real control in the ap. nized by the enemies of the Church. pointing of their pastors, and in matters They are more active and determined in of administration a concurrent voice opposing than the professed friends of with the clergy. (3) Discipline.—That the Church are in promoting any meas- all ministers and church officers be ure which comes before Parliament for removable by disciplinary process, the remedy of Church abuses. They benefices being made tenable only durwish to prevent Church reform for the ing the adequate performance of the same reason that they wish for disen- duties. (4) Patronage.—That all transdowment-viz., to humble the prestige fers by sale of next presentations and and diminish the efficiency of the advowsons. be made illegal, but that Church; so that when the time comes where patronage is transferred to a for delivering their final attack they diocesan trust reasonable compensation may not find the position strengthened. should be given. (5) Finance. That a

Despite, however, the opposition of diocesan trust be established in each foes and the indifference of friends, the diocese to receive and administer diocause of Church reform seems to be cesanand parochial endowments on lines

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