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PROPOSED REPEAL OF THE ECCLESIASTICAL…

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PROPOSED REPEAL OF THE ECCLESIAS- TICAL TITLES ACT. IN those days when the first Rome was mistress of the world, and wished to annex a new province to her empire, she formerly effected her object by issuing an edict from the Flaminian gate. In 1850 the modern Rome promulgated an edict from the Flaminian gate against our country. By this act she formally annexed England to the Papal em- pire, put an end to a revolt which had lasted three hundred years, and subjugated our kingdom once more to the Pontifical obedience. The Ecclesias- tical Titles Act' of 1851 was the reply which Eng- land gave to this act of assumption on the part of Rome. Rome had sent a cardinal with a papal brief. In pursuance of that brief A territorial hierarchy was erected, the country was divided into twelve dioceses, and all avowedly on purpose to introduce canon law, and slowly but steadily to reduce the nation to obedience to it. The 'Ec. clesiastical Titles Act which was passed by the Minister of the day, Lord John (now Earl) Russell, forbade the territorial hierarchy, voided all acts done by popish bishops with territorial titles, as weil as all gifts of money or property made to them. We could scarce have done less for the defence of our national independence, not to speak of our Protestantism and even Rome herself might have I despised us as utterly spiritless, and willing to submit to the most haughty acts of any foreign power who might, choose to trample upon us, I had we not passed this or some similar Act. The Ecclesiastical Titles Act of 1851 it is now proposed to repeal. It is necessary to cast our eye back a little upon history to be able to note the significance of the change which then passed upon the Romish Church in Britain, and the dangerous and hostile character of the object aimed at in that change. For some time after the Reformation the Romanists of Eng. land were superintended by priests. This arrange- ment permitted to the Roman Catholic body the full exercise of their religion, but not of their re- gular canonical government; for priests, unlike the bishop, have not jurisdiction, or the power of law, although every rite of worship, and every function of their office, they were permitted to perform. This was to tolerate the religion of Rome, but to forbid the exercise of her jurisdiction. This did not content her she had full liberty, but she coveted power she wished to bring back into our country her government as well as her religion, and now she began to intrigue and conspire tor that object. In 1623 the Pope sent to England a vicar apostolic. The vicar apostolic stands half-way, as it were, in point of jurisdiction, between the simple priest and the territorial bishop. He is the Pope's delegate but the power he possesses is limited, temporary, and provisional that of the bishop is original, full, and permanent. In 1688, the vicars apostolic in England were increased to four, and in 1840 they were still farther increased to eight. Thus a beginning was made. The Roman Catholics in Britain had so far become an organised body. The Roman jurisdiction was planted in our country, but only in a comparatively feeble, incomplete, and uncanonical form. The Pope wished to give it a shape which would impart more vigour and steadiness to its actings, and more binding power over the conscience. Accordingly, in ]850, there arrrived on our shores a man tfrom Rome, in the full plenitude of apostolic power, and the full blossom of scarlet hat and stockings. His commission was to put an end to vicars apostolic, and to replace them by territorial bishops. He abolished the temporary arrangement of Benedict XIV, and he introduced the permanent constitution of Pius IX. For what purpose did he so? He made no concealment of the matter; on the contrary, with a frankness and openness which was meant to persuade us that what he announced was the most innocent and harmless thing in the world, he told us that he had set up, by his master's orders, a territorial hierarchy in England, that he might introduce canon law, 'the real and complete code of the Church of Rome.' The cardinal might have added the real and complete code of the state of Rome. But in what consisted the danger to our country in this change ? Is not government by vicars apostolic as hostile to liberty, and as much an ag- gression upon our Queen's prerogative as govern- 11 L, ment by territorial bishops? No, it is not nearly so, according to the forms by which Rome has bound herself, and from which she may not depart with- out introducing weakness and confusion into the general economy of her Church. A few sentences will enable us to make this matter clear. Vicars apostolic are simply bishops inpartibus, for no one can exercise jurisdiction but a bishop, and no one can be a bishop unless designated to a particular see; and as the law of the land forbade Romish priests to be designed to sees in England, they were appointed to sees in foreign or heathen lands, and so were termed bishops in partibus infidelium. In these remote territories they possessed juris- diction, and might have exercised it, provided they were able to visit their see or knew where it lay but in England they had no jurisdiction, none, at least, beyond the special and temporary object for which the Pope had delegated them, and nonethnt had reference to any particular district; thev were amongst ns, in fact, as the Pope's missionaries I rather than as the Pope's judges. But under a territorial hierarchy all this is changed, and especially is it changed in the intent and interpretations-of the canons of Rome. A bishop with a tei-ritoi4!ill designation takes bold, as it were, of the soil he has an immediate, full, and original jurisdiction over all baptised persons livin"* within hia district. And, moreover, the bishops o° a whole province may now meet in svrod and they have authority, so met, to frame laws and constitutions which, when ratified by the supreme authority at Rome, are binding, and are to be en- forced. This was what Cardinal Wiseman meant when he said that the object of the hierarchy was to introduce canon law, which is inapplicable under vicars apostolic The territorial hierarchy was essential—was a sine qua non-to the intro- duction and administration of canon law into Enz- laud, aroording to the general economy of the Papal Government; for bishops only can consti- tute synods, and synods can only enact constitu- tions. applying the general provisions of the canon law to the position and circumstances of Papists in Great Britain. A territorial hierarchy is the only machinery by which it is possible, fully and effectually, to v ork canon law and when the territorial hierarchy was set up, the judical framework was constructed and set wgoing by which canon law is brought to the door and to the conscience erf every Papist in the Queens dominions. This was the advantage gained by the^ step taken by the Church of Rome in 1850. She pianted her authority in England in strict canonical form she invested herself with a higher authority in the.eyes of her members and she brought to bear, with a more powerful sanction, upon the conscience and life of the Romanist, a law which governs him in his temporal as well as in his spiritual affairs. In short, she placed him under the jurisdiction of a foreign prince.. But how did the Ecclesiastical Titles Act reach the evil implied in this state of things ? Very simply, but with tolerable efficiency. It put its interdict upon that part of the plan which was the turning- point of the whole—the pivot on which all turned. It declared the assumption of territorial titles illegal; but territorial titles Rome had declared essential, and indeed territorial titles, as the symbol of a territorial hierarchy, are, essential for without a territorial hierarchy there can be no synods, and without synods no application of canon law; an I so the Ecclesias- tical Titles Act, by forbidding this, forbade all, and had it been tolerably enforced would, to a very large extent, have frustrated the object of the Church of Rome in the aggression of 1850. The Act forbade no spiritual function of the clerey, no spiritual privi- lege to the people it left the Rowanists in England in the amplest possession of religious liberty, and forbade only territorial titles which as no part of reli- gion and which, on their own admission, were as- sumed, as the means of introducing a law which is subversive of the law of the land, and of establishing an authority which claims to be paramount, in the last resort, in even temporal matters, to that of the Queen. The latest phase of Roman Catholic doc- trine. published only a few weeks ago under the imprimatur of an eminent Papist, is, that the (Roman) Church possesses the supreme sovereignty in all countries that it has a right to punish non-Catholic sovereigns, and that the last punishment of sovereigns is despotism. That is, the Roman Catholic body in England now openly avow before the world that they have a right, whenever they judge it expedient, to depose the Queen. It was to fetter this power that the Ecclesiastical Titles Act was framed; it effected its object by interdicting what Romanists held to be the sine qua non of their scheme and if now we shall repeal the Act, we shall be held as giving to Rome a power to exercise her jurisdiction in this country which she has not many Popish king- dom, which she had not among ourselves even in Popish times, and we shall be charged with persecu- tion should we venture to limit, by one iota, the working of a hierarchy which we have virtually tolerated. But the subject is a large one, and as the discussion proceeds in parliament, other opportuni- ties will occur of illustrating the mischiefs which will flow from a repeal of the Act.—1 he Christian Times. EPIDEMICS.—No less that 843,135 lives have been destroyed in England and Wales in the ten years 1857-66 by eight epidemic diseases alone :-43,029 by smallpox, 7,684 fatal cases occurring from this disease in one year 92,374 by measles, as many as 11,349 fatal cases occurring in one yeai 220,564 by scarlatina and diptheria, as many as 36,982 oc- curring in a sineleyear; 108,154 by whooping cough, of which 15,764 occurred in 1866 182,210 by typhus, the maximum annual number being reached in 1865, when 23.034 deaths were registered from this disease 165,009 by diarrhoea, 23,531 deaths occurring in a single year and 21,795 by cholera. As these diseases are more or less susceptible to sani- tary improvement, much may be done towards effec- tually arresting their progress. It may be stated that the mortality from each of these diseases to 1,000,000 persons living England and Wales in the first and last year of the decennial period under review—1857 and 1-866 respectively-was as follows: --Smallpox, 206 and 144; measles, 313 and 521 scarlatina and diphtheria, 746 and 699 whooping cough, 531 and 751 typhus 997 and 1,005; diar- rhoea, 1,111 and 811 and cholera, 60 and 685. In the aggregate, exclusive of cholera, the proportional numbers were 3,994 in 1857, and 3,938 in 1866. In this great slaughter children under five years of age were the greatest sufferers, constituting no less than 66 per cent of the total deaths of these eight epidemic diseases. THE CAPTURE OF MAGDALA.—Lieutenant Stumm, the correspondent of the Cologne Gazette in Abys- sinia, thus describes the taking of Magdala:—" About nine o'clock on the 13th of April the 1 storming companies,' as they triumphantly called themselves, began to advance, and after an hour and a quarter's difficult climbing we reached the ridge which connects Fala with Selassieh. We suddenly found ourselves, without meeting the slightest resistance, in the midst of Theodore's camp, surrounded by thousands of men, women, and children, who have been living here for months in the innumerable straw huts which cover the plateaux and rocks. Eleven chiefs, with 1,500 men, at once gave up their arms and hastened to show us the way to Magdala, which now for the first time, like an inaccessible eagle's nest, lay before our eyes. Before the fortress is a level space about one English mile long, which connects Magdala with the two other hills, and here was the head quarters of the Emperor. At our approach the in- habitants fled in all directions. Only at the fortress there was a body of horse, by whom a shot was fired at us from time to time. When our vanguard, con- sisting of 40 cavalry, halted, four horsemen suddenly sprang forward from the side of the enemy. The first was distinguished by the shining metal ornaments on his shield and saddle, and when the brave warriors approached us the natives hurried, with cries of 'Negus! negus!' behind the rocks for shelter. It was the Emperor himself, who, with three companions, was performing his last military achievement, and encouraging iJis hesitating followers to fight. At a distance of 200 paces from us they halted, fired their guns, and galloped back as quickly as they had come. Meanwhile Sir Robert Napier came up with the artillery. A reconnaissance was care" fully begun, and about two our fire was opened on Magdala from four different points, chiefly in the direction of the we§tgrp. side o{ the fortress, Th* Armstrong guns, the conveyance of which had given so much trouble, came into use at last, though, doubt- less owing to the unfavourable manner in which they were placed, they did not produce so much effect as the small mountain guns. When the fire had lasted two hours, and the smoke of the bursting shells became visible between the houses of Magdala, the troops, with the 45th regiment in fiont, advanced to storm the place. The Emperor had succeeded, with only 19 followers, in occupying us the whole day, and with them he defended the entrance to the fortress "P.tothe last moment. I joined the storming column, which, protected by a steady fire of smallarms, began to clImb up the steep path. The gate, about five feet wide, was not penetrated by our fire, and there was no powder to blow it up. A company of sol- diers found an entrance by climbing up the rocks on the right, while others tried to get over the thorn hedges with ladders. There was a desperate resist- ance, and ten of our men were wounded. The brave defenders of the gate were shot down by the troops as they climbed over, and the gate was then opened from the inside. A second gate was passed without resistance, and here we suddenly found ourselves before the body of the Emperor, who had just shot himself with a pistol. We leave the body and hurry on, a drooping fire showing us that the resistance was not yet over. We reach some large round huts, which are carefully covered with black cloths and skins. This was the Emperor's treasury. Silvery and golden mitres, swords with richly jewelled handles, English guns, valuable vases, and utensils of every kind, photographs, silken stuffs, illustrated books, church ornaments, and even a case of champagne, lay here in the greatest con- fusion. Otir commander iiov appeared with numerous troops, and all congratulated him on the brilliant close of the expedition,"