Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

6 articles on this Page






CHURCH AND STATE. MOST men, at some period or other of their.lives, have read a play, by one WILLIAM SHAKSPERE, entitled "The Tempest." That play we are not about to criticise, and shall merely refer to it by way of illustration. The drunken STEPHANO meets CALIBAN and treats him with, wine, and the former, in the eyes of the latter, is immediately transformed i-nto a god. CALIBAN exclaims- I'll swear upon that bottle to be thy True subject; for the liquor is not earthly." And when assured gravely by STEPHANO that he was the Man in the Moon, from which place he has dropped, the admiration of CALIBAN knows no bounds- I have seen thee in her, and I do adore tlice I'll kiss thy foot; I'll swear myself thy subject; I'll show thee the best springs; I'll pluck thee berries I'll fish for thee, and get thee wood enough. I prithee, let me bring thee where crabs grow, And I with my long nails will dig thee pig nuts; Show thee a jay's nest, and instruct thee how To snare the nimble marmoset. I'll bring thee To clustering filberts; and sometimes I'll get thee Young sea shells froiu the rock." In some such manner was the union of Church and State formed. Intoxicated with power, the Genius of State Churchism came to this outlandish isle, and to a people savage, ignorant, and brutal, it appeared-RS,STUUANO to CALLBAN-S-a god. A league of amity was immediately eon- eluded. The conditions were that the State—the swinish multitude—the monster CALIBAN-Was to be subject to the Church—to be her creature and perform her will. All that the State has to do is to provide things temporal—to build and endow churches everywhere-to colleet church-rates and tithes-to multiply office upon office, and dignity upon dignity, as alps rise on alps"—to allow her mitred bishops to stand on an equality with, and to beard the highest and proudest in the landtopersecute all who have not con- sciences suppliant, to allow them to come within her pale. The Church is the master, and the State the tenant. This, or pretty nearly this, is the theory that has always been held secretly or otherwise by the priests of the Church, as by law established, which, creeping from the hiding-place. where it has long ignominiously skulked, is again showing its hideous head and cloven foot, and venturing forth once more in the light and glare of day. For some time past it has been putting forth feelers one after another, and it now imagines that no danger is to be apprehended—-that the coast is clear. ■- "We notice it not for the sake of detecting its fallacies, which have been exposed and answered a thousand times before-nor for the sake of refuting its impudent and blasphemous assertions. Its advocates are utterly beyond the reach of argumentation. We for once will allow this theory, visionary and absurd as it evidently is—we will take for granted 'the truth of High Church claims, and the reality of High Church pretensions. To all- the, V apou ring S of its paid and professional advocates, we echo a hearty amen. The State Church, then, has a Ileaven-derived authority and power. It not only exists in, connexion with the State, but it must so exist.for a nation not to seek thus to ally herself with it were to exclude herself from the reach and blessings of Christianity. The State must be the servant of the Church—it is the duty of the State to give her services to the Church, and she is bound imperiously to require them- All this, for once, we admit. We go far enough even to satisfy HENRY OF EXETER, or to win a. smile of recognition from Professor SEWELL. The Church has the right of com- mand-it is the duty of the State to obey. But duty is never one.sided-the servant has rights, and the master has duties to perform. Transfer as we have done the figure to the Church. Under such a comparison shadow forth the p relationship of Church and State, and still we have the same idea. The servant has his right, and the State its—and the right of the State is equally as strong as that of the Church. What those men mean who talk of the right of the Church we know, well—such language implies that the State must perform its part of the contract—must collect the revenues— must maintain the privileges—must assert the dignities of the Church. This is all fair enough, but it is equally fair in us members of the State to see that the Church performs her part of the contract—that she is what she professes to be —and that she teaches that which she professes to teach- for which she is well paid, and invested with the pride and pomp of power. This is the inquiry we now propose to make. That the State has done her duty every one must admit; indeed in her generosity she has been rather above than below the mark, sending out bishops to Jerusalem, and Timbuctoo, and else- where, as if modern bishops travelled as cheaply as their pre deccssors Peter and Paul. To turn to the other side, has the Church been equally active in doing her duty ? The condi- tion on which the State binds itself to her, is that she should teach the truth. Has she done this or not ? Professing to be the guide and instructress of the people—to clear the thick atmosphere of earth—to lead man to heaven and to God—has she'acted in accordance with these high and sacred pretensions? We trow not: we find within her pale every shade of ortho- doxy-every variety of creed—the thousand watchwords, and angry passions, and discordant interests of a thousand varying beliefs.; All is contest and strife—curate pitted against rectort;ector against bishop-bishop against bishop. So far from teaching the truth to others, many parsons seem utterly unable to decide what is the truth for them- selves. In the mazy labyrinth of the Church there seems hopeless and inexplicable confusion. Moderation Evangeli- eism-Puseyism-Ba.ptismal Regeneration like sunken ro IeksIat sea,, are perpetually threatening danger and disso- lution. Most State priests seem to have nothing in common but the Articles they have signed, and either disregarded or misunderstood-the oaths they have sworn and broken—the tithes they have pocketed and spent. It were unreasonable to call on such men to teach the truth. With the units all in discord and strife, how can the aggregate which calls itself the Church profess to be able to make good her professions or to perform her duties? The conclusion of the whole matter is, that the Church has failed in her part of the contract, and the State has no- thing left but to cease to perform hers. The agreement is null and void. If, as we believe, a State Church on fair principles be an impossibility, let us act accordingly, and release her ministers and bishops from their arduous duties. If it be kept up, let us see to it that the truth is taught, and that its teachers have formed their belief before they come to the State for its pay. As honest men, they are bound not to sophisticate, but to renounce the gold which is given them for teaching a doctrine different to that which they believe. If they are advocating error, let them at once re- nounce the patronage and benefits of a Church which derives its power to wield that patronage and confer those benefits solely on the supposition that it teaches the truth and nor- thing but the truth. We are not enemies of free discussion but we cannot too much denounce the conduct of men who, differing from each other as light from darkness, can yet remain together and ingeniously torture articles and creeds far, very far from their legitimate meaning, merely that they may retain their standing in society, their parsonage, and their tithes. Matters are coming to a crisis. The State Church, as it is, reads a humiliating lesson. That gold is strong, stronger than truth—strong against the truth,—that men for it can become perjurers and hypocrites, lost to all sense of shame,—all this the Church is teaching at this very hour. We look at the thing simply as members of the com- monwealth, and denounce its Jesuitical character, and evil tendency. If you establish truth, be careful that you do what you profess to do if that be impossible, at any rate do not establish error. It is clear, however, something must be done with our huge, overgrown, grasping State Church. The only agreement its members have in common is to enrich themselves, and insult, and impoverish, and browbeat men who arc too upright to co-operate with them. The history of its insolence, of its worldliness, of its ambition, Can soon be told,—•" Jeshurum waxed fat, and kicked."

v,TOWN LETTERS—Xo, 54,' '~…