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required. Such is the only necessary principle involved in StateEsUiblishmeid. The temporalities are accidents which vary in their character in different States; but wherever the Church is established, there indeed its laws are maintained by the secular arm."
If we are to accept the words of Lord Mansfield, the worship of Nonconformists has been long established in this country.
"The Toleration Act," he said on one occasion,* "renders that which was illegal before now legal. The Dissenters' way of worship is permitted and allowed by this Act; it is not only exempted from punishment, but rendered innocent and lawful; it is established; it is put under the protection and is not merely under the connivance of the law."
The establishment of a form of worship is, however, obviously a different thing from the establishment of a Church or religious body.
We may, perhaps, define simply and generally the practical embodiment of the principle of national religion, by saying that it will result in the nationalization of the Church with which the State enters into connection. That Church, with its functionaries, laws, institutions, and property, becomes, for those religious purposes to which it and they are dedicated, public and national. The State adopts them as its own. It will respect, protect, and maintain them; and the Church, in return, will regard herself and all that she possesses as at the service of the whole nation for the promotion of religion. Such of the particulars of the connection between Church and State as are not merely accidental will follow naturally upon the carrying out of the definition we have given; and in proportion as they tend towards a complete fulfilment of it, will be the stability and success of the union. Mr. Birks has given ns, in a concise form, his ideas of what these particulars should be, in the fourth and two following of his propositions, which we have quoted above; and he has entered into a full discussion of this branch of the subject in the second part of his book. He there divides the duties devolved on the civil ruler by the union of Church and State into eight heads, and considers them as comprising,—(1) with respect to religious assemblies, sympathy, honour, and reverence towards such as are conducted in a spirit of true worship, toleration of those which are not positively mischievous, and suppression of all that veil actual evil under the cloak of religion; (2) protection of and control over the property of the Church; (3) the exercise of ecclesiastical jurisdiction; (4) the promotion of the missionary labours of the Church; (5) the observance of the Lord's-day; (6) a reverence of places set apart for God's service; (7) the grant of due immunities to the ordained ministers of the Gospel; (8) the recognition of the social relations and distinctions created by the Church, especially marriage.
* Speech in the House of Lords, 4th Feb., 1767, in the case of " The Chamberlain of London v. Evans."
We have thus far, in the course of our review of Mr. Birks' recent work, endeavoured to indicate the outline of the argument in favour of the union of Church and State to be derived from abstract principles. To the details of that argument it would be wholly impossible to do justice in an article like the present; we prefer, therefore, instead of dwelling further upon them, to offer a brief sketch of the line of reasoning by which the principle of Establishments may be supported from a utilitarian point of view. This method of treating the subject has the advantage of proceeding from premises which even those who question the absolute truth, not only of any particular form of Christianity, but of Christianity itself, may be expected to admit. It is true we may deal with it in such a manner as to exclude them, by starting from the consideration that religion of itself supplies the only true happiness to mankind; but we may secure their assent at the outset by a reference to experience for the beneficial effect which Christianity tends to produce upon the morality and good conduct, and, by consequence, upon the material and temporal happiness of the persons who come under its influence. If this be so, surely it is for the interest of the State to foster religion. The State does not leave the bodily wants of its needy citizens to be relieved by chance or by voluntary efforts alone. It supplements private endeavours to meet the intellectual requirements of the poorer classes. And shall it furnish no supply for their spiritual necessities, those which are, in the eyes of all Christians, the most important of all, and the existence of which even infidels must admit to be conducive to moral degradation and temporal misery? What system of voluntary organisation could ever be expected to take the place of a National Church whose ramifications are coextensive with the country itself, among whose clergy the whole of the population is allotted as a charge, so that no individual, however lone or however poor, can feel that he has no claim upon their ministrations, or is beyond the reach of the offices of religion; while they, on the other hand, can be restrained by no feeling of reserve or dread of appearing intrusive from engaging in active efforts for the spiritual good of persons who have been authoritatively committed to their charge?
How is it that, in the present age, when there is a growing tendency to look to the national administration to carry out works which appear to be beyond the power of private enterprise, when a compulsory State education is looming in our future, when the Government has undertaken the management of our telegraphs, and many desire that it should also undertake that of our railways,—how is it, we ask, that there should be an increasing demand for the withdrawal of the State provision for the spiritual wants of the people? Doubtless many make this demand from sincere conviction; but we fear that a large number of those who joined in the cry for the disestablishment of the Church in Ireland did so from a desire summarily to get rid of a problem which they shrank from the difficulty of solving, and that the case will be the same if ever a serious attack is made upon the Establishment in England. Mr. Birks has accurately pourtrayed the feelings that actuate such persons :—
"Most errors on these subjects have their source in the love of a false simplicity. Men, in a busy, worldly age, like to be saved the trouble of laborious thought, and to find some theory that solves their doubts in a moment. They cut the knot which they have not the patience to untie. It is troublesome to limit and define the true rights of conscience, and therefore they proclaim it one and indivisible like the first French Republic, or even omnipotent
When such a lazy spirit prevails, national religion will be looked upon with dislike and suspicion. Its claims force upon us a more laborious course of thought and enquiry. Questions of public and private duty then arise, which cannot be solved without Scriptural research, silent meditation, and insight into the nature of man and the true wants of society
"The difficulties of national religion, are those which attend every effort to approach a pure and lofty ideal in a world of sin. Such difficulties are the price of excellence, the condition of all moral progress. It is easy to exalt the rights of conscience and reduce the province of rulers to a mere point. There is nothing sublime in the policy which leaves every one to do what is right in his own eyes. It is just as easy to resolve all religion into the infallibility of the Pope, or blind obedience to royal orders, whatever they may be. But such ease is dearly purchased, and is fatal to all true moral advancement. It is a downward path, in which kings and subjects, in turn, renounce their duties because they are hard to fulfil, and leads to moral degradation and ruin."
In the relations between Church and State, as they now exist in this country, there are, no doubt, great theoretical anomalies, and some practical difficulties; but it is surely not the part of a philosopher to allow the former to blind his eyes to the main features of the system which they disfigure, but do not destroy, or of a statesman to succumb before the latter, and be diverted by them from following the true line of policy. If the foregoing considerations are entitled to any weight, it must be the duty of Christians and patriots to struggle to maintain the Union of Church and State as long as they can do so without sacrificing the interests of Truth. The time may come, as Mr. Birks himself acknowledges, when
..." thr so who oppose and detest the policy that is now ready to triumph, may be among the foremost to protest against the claim of a State, which has learned to act on infidel principles, to lay unholy hands on the ark of God, or to claim any right of internal control whatever over the English branch of that Church of the living God which He has purchased with His own blood. A thousand Parliaments are only dust in the balance compared with one jot or tittle of the rightful claims to supreme reverence of Him who is the Lord of lords and the King of kings."
We commend Mr. Birks' recent work as a noble protest against two cardinal errors in religious matters, which are, we fear, only too rife among professing Christians, and which, more perhaps than any others, contribute to hasten on the consummation hinted at in the passage we have just quoted. The one is a tendency to exalt subjective at the expense of objective truth. No doubt, the latter may be too much insisted on, without due regard to its relative side. Truth must, of necessity, from the varieties in our mental constitution, present itself differently to different minds, and will therefore emanate from those minds in diverse forms; but we must never forget that there is, at the same time, a Truth, one and indivisible as opposed to the multitude of errors; and that diversity of opinions, if it do not always involve error, always denotes imperfection. The second error is one, the condemnation of which involves no such reservation as that which we have imported in the former case. It is a tendency to ignore the first and great commandment, " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God," and to look upon man's duty as confined to his relations to his fellow men—a view of which we hardly know whether the impiety or the folly is the greater: the impiety in supposing that our duty to man ought to be, or the folly in thinking that it can be, performed irrespectively of the former. We feel sure that all who acknowledge the glory of God as the one aim and object of man's existence, will admire the boldness and cogency of Mr. Birks' reasoning; and while they will recognise the truth of the basis on which he grounds his arguments, they will, we think, admit the correctness of the conclusions which he has deduced.
THE WRITINGS OF TERTULLIAN.
Ante-Nicene Christian Library. Tlie Writings of Quintus Sept. Flor. Tertullianus. Vol. I. Edinburgh: T. 8. T. Clark. 1869.
Few circumstances would have appeared more improbable, thirty years ago, than that the example set in Oxford by the promoters of "A Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church," in the year 1839, should be followed by one of the largest and most enterprising firms of booksellers in. Scotland in the year 1869. The fact is, in an eminent degree, instructive and suggestive. The chief grounds on which it appeared desirable to Messrs. Pusey, Keble, Newman, and Marriott to engage in such an undertaking, are set forth under twelve heads, in one of which we find mention made "of the importance, at the present crisis, of exhibiting the real practical value of Catholic Antiquity, which is disparaged by Romanists in order to make way for the later Councils, and by others in behalf of modern and private interpretations of Holy Scripture." We give the promoters of the Oxford scheme entire credit for the sincerity of their belief that the via media views and principles which they then maintained would derive support from the writings of Christian antiquity. Events, however, seem to us to have shown that their expectations were, in two important respects, fallacious. On the one hand, in proportion as the genuine remains of the remotest Christian antiquity have been carefully examined, (and our remark applies as well to the early inscriptions and sculptures, as to the early writings of the Christians,) in the same proportion they have been shown to afford but little support to the peculiarities of the system advocated by the Oxford theologians to whom we have referred; and on the other hand, as the result of the experience of the last thirty years, it has become increasingly apparent that the development of much of the theology of the fourth century, to which the chief attention of the Oxford School has been directed, is to be found, not in the doctrine or practice of the Reformed Church of England, as set forth in her Book of Common Prayer, her Articles, her Homilies, and her other authoritative writings, but in the authorized standards, and still more conspicuously in the popular creed and worship of that Church to which so many of the most distinguished members of the Tractarian party have, at an earlier or later stage of their history, given in their adherence.
Under these circumstances we hail with peculiar satisfaction the appearance of the eleventh volume of the Ante-Nicene Library, not only as affording evidence of the increasing inVol. 68.—No. 881. 4 X