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that the voice of protest in the Church against wrong both in precept and practice was oftentimes but faintly heard for fear of the rebuke of those whom her ministers regarded as the source of their power. This was likely to be the case more then than at present. The monarch had in his single person an extent of prerogative which has since been wisely curtailed. And weak human nature failed oft to see the right when to look with the monarch's eyes was the pathway to promotion. This is an evil to set against the advantages of an establishment, and we should all hail with delight every advance in public opinion which tends to mitigate the dangers thence arising. Legislation has done much already, and if a way could be found of reducing such dangers to a minimum without disestablishment, it would deserve the approval of all lovers of the nation as well as of the Church. I said without disestablishment. That measure, if it ever come, must needs, I think, tend to the downfall of religion, and so prove as great a calamity to the State as to the Church. Perchance the voluntary contributions of the congregations would maintain religious services in large towns and in populous and wealthy
villages, but to the smaller and poorer parishes disestablishment would be nothing less than the precursor of entire spiritual destitution. Those religious bodies without the Church to whom we have most alluded in this discourse have done their best to gain a permanent support from volunteer efforts. Yet their warmest adherents confess that as a whole that system is a complete failure. From this her Establishment has preserved our Church, and from many ills beside. And not the least of its blessings is that it secures to us an independent as well as a permanent ministry.
If, therefore, while enjoying the good which the Established Church confers, the members of her Communion and her ministers would combine to bring about some internal voluntary self-government, her constitution would leave little to be desired. It has been the misfortune of our day to see secular authority too often invoked to adjudicate on doctrinal questions, and this by our constitution may be repeated again and again. And it would seem as if one body of men among us were anxious to make these appeals as frequent and as prominent as possible. With what motives they do this is best known to themselves; but all who have foresight must deeply regret a course which will in the end lead to such state-imposed restrictions as will make union between the State and the Church incompatible with the freedom of the latter. If to secure such a result be the object of those who are most given to courting legal enquiries and decisions, let them pause before they go further, and ask themselves, what the consequences of such dissolution would be. Let them look at the ruptures which have taken place in all other religious bodies compared with our own. Let them consider the scope that is allowed in our Church for freedom of opinion. Let them look at the work she has done and is doing. Let them meditate on what would even in a few years be the result of the removal of the clergy, as they would in that case be removed, from the places they now occupy. How many good examples would be withdrawn, how much selfdenying zeal would be quenched, how much active charity would be suspended ! And what, I ask, would supply their place? Let these men hesitate before they press their present policy to its issue. For though we admit that there are dark places in her history, we may yet be thankful that we have such
a Church as ours. Yea, I do believe that in spite of all differences such thoughts make, as well they may, most men, whether Churchmen or Dissenters, thankful in their inmost hearts for the existence of our Established Church of England.
ACTS VII. 26. Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one
AST Sunday we endeavoured to trace briefly
the history of those times in which arose the older forms of Dissent. The intent of such a retrospect was that we might derive from it some idea of the feelings which these earlier dissentients held towards the Church from which they withdrew or were excluded. With such or nearly such feelings we may expect their descendants to be imbued at this day. So true is it that in religious matters we are all of us what our training in youth has made us. By appreciating this we shall be