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UHURCH DEFENCE MEETING AT BLAENAVON. ADDRESS BY THE REV G. BISHOP. A jsnblic meeting was held on Thursday eves- ing week at the Infant Schoolroom, Blaenavon, '1 when an address was given on the XJisesiaMishment and Disendowment of TJbe Church of England by the Rev 1J. Bishop, of Nottingham. There was a large attendance, the room being crowded, and ifoe greatest interest was taken in the proceed- ings. Mr Ivor Richards occupied the chair. The Chairman The subject of Mr Bishop's -atidre. is one that we are all more or less familiar Triik, and I will not take up your time with any remarks of my own respecting 1+. I hope you will listen patiently to what Mr Bishop has to -say, and at the close he will be prepared to ans-wer any questions that may be put to him. I will aow call upon Mr Bishop to deliver his lec- ture. The Rev G. Bishop I do not knew what your opinion may be about words, but we live in a day -wlien -gords are put forth that have no meaning. a-nd unfortunately people take up with words of rhiy kind and vote for them and against them. I tiank it is very on wise to dispute about words which we do not attach clear meanings, be- cause if we do not understand them our discus- sions are not of much value. I do not know what the word Disestablishment means, but I do know what is meant by Disendowment. Our friends of the Opposition say the Church should be disestablished, and I saw from a copy of your ioeal press that a gentleman asked why should act the Church be disestablished, and he seemed To be triumphant beciuse no Churchman answered it. Disestablisbment means nothing as far as I can see, but if he means why should it aot be disendowed I can reply to him. I say dtiatt the Church of England should not be dis- endowed because we live in a free country, and it has as much right to exist as anything else. Pteople say of me in my own district that I like lighting. Perhaps I do and perhaps 5. don't, but I like to do my duty, and one of the things we Chacch people most do in these days is to fight for wkat we believe is right. Some people think that they have the exclusive right to attack the Church and the Church people have no right to speak in its defence. I say that the Church has an equal light to exist as any other religious body in the eoiuatry, and it is a piece of impudence for any rrrtrt to why it should not be disendowed. These people display a lot of ignorance when They talk so and seem to think they can attack -as at their leisure, and people who take no side in this question find a lot of assertions made on ÐÐe side which are met with timidity on the vther, and consequently get led to think that the man whe attacks must be in the right, and the Churchman who is silent is supposed to be de- feated. The Church has rights and privileges, And if she should not exist it is only fair that Ñher religious bodies should be abolished. (Applause.) Do to others as you would have ;hem do to you" is the old motto,and that is true in this case. Property devoted to God's service most be looked upon as sacred, but if not why should property which is not sacred be left alone? It is our duty to one another that fair play should be given all round. Whatever there may have been done m toe past, and whatever es haTe been made,have nothing to do with -as, as we wre not in existence then. You no business to bring up anything that is said to have been done 200 or 500 years age, and what, then, is the good of raking up old grievances? Our op- ponents are constantly raking up old grievances as the reason why the Church should be dis- endowed. Each of the individuals whose speeches I have read in your local paper display a wonderful lack of information. If a man mukes an untrue statement he is either ignorant or wilfully false, bat I prefer to regard a man as Tery ignorant rather than false. You had a gentleman down here who stated that the Church in this country was created by Act of Parliament, and when he was asked to bring f or- ward the Act of Parliament his reply wag that I it was DOt set up by one Act of Parliament, but by several, one after the other, which is rather fanuj. It is very curious, if the Church was set sip in thia way, that no Act of Parliament can be funml rvwurdiug it. It' yoa were to write to be funml rvwurdiug it. If you were to write to Jfesøn Spottiswood and ask them to send you I 4ova the Act of Parliament that started the fShoxch of England, I am afraid they would think you had gone a little wrong. (Laughter.) Sow is it, in the face of th is, that men can s^o "about the country talking such nonsense? It t? quite true that all Acts of Parliament from ) generations past cannot be got there, but they can be got somewhere, and that is at the British Museum, and you can get there the Act of Par- liament appertaining to Nonconformity in Wales, but our friends cannot find the Act of PaWamont that started the Church. I deny that any Act of this kind is in existence. No Act of Parliament ever started the Church, nor the bishops, nor the sacraments, nor the creeds, mhd no Act of Parliament ever found the Church's money. In the name of common sense, then, what do they mean by saying an Act ef Parliament founded the Church of England ? (Applause.) I have been on this subject for 17 years, and know pretty well what can be proved, and I say distinctly, without fear of contradic- tion, that there is no Act of Parliament for these things. If you take a book published by the Liberation Society you will find several Acts of Parliament referred to, the whole of which, according to this book, constituted the event known in history as the Reformation. This hook talks about Acts of Parliament passed in the reigns of Henry VHI. and Elizabeth, but tloes not produce the Act of Parliament which started the Church, and why not ? Simply be- cause it cannot. But we find later on, in a copy of the Liberator, the admission was made in an article that the Church of England was not faniided by an Act of Parliament, inasmuch as the Act could not be produced. Now, in the face of this admission, it certainly is a bold ihing for men to go about the country stating the Church was founded by Act of Parliament. Of course we all know that all bodies exist by right of Parliament, and Acts of Parliament rule everything, including the Great Western Railway. By the way, this is the reason given -wAy the Church should be disendowed. Why, 1enoonformity was started by Act of Parlia- jotent, and if there be any logic in the matter it 11 against our Nonconformist friends, and a plea If their disendowment. Let them go on with T-eir work of saving souls, and let the Church do own noble work. Another reason given for ^Heiidowment is, they say, that before the Re- Xpoaation the Pope was head of the Church of Sugland. The Bishop of Rome, I say dis- ly. was never the head of the Church before Reformation. He only had his way here by Tnission of the ruler of this country. Sup- Ping you allowed a friend to come into your $se freely, it would not mean that he had any it there except by permission, and if you aid object you could shew him the door. ore is all the difference, therefore, between in a country by right and by permission, this, we maintain, is the history of our ifch. If you refer to Stubbs's Constitutional ory," you will find it stated that the reason the Norman Conquest took place was be- » the Bishop of Home complained that the Tjsh Church was not subject to him, and he b Tjsh Church was not subject to him, and he William of Normandy over here and William the Conqueror got here the p of Rome wanted to rule, but the king "No; none of my predecessors acknow- 4 yorr authority, and neither shall I." and did he. Thereupon the Bishop of Rome d his ecclesiastics to leave the country, illiam said, Not without my leave," and id to stay. Since that time. however, we .n very free, and have let Roman Catho- vtle in this country. I deny, therefore, 3 Bishop of Rome was the head of the 7, of this country. It is retorted that Slizabeth once said to an archbishop, be- Is wo.1 ld not do what she told him, If t't de what I want I will unmake you." Jdno do that, as a man can only be HBILO > by those who were bishops before '0. hV that the clergy sometimes went to (U advice and counsel, which was per- jhfc. When the seat of Government was from Rome t» Constantinople, the as the chief man left in the imperial I he was the head of the church there, -ere, however. When men got into dis- tome, they would go to the Bishop of ■r his advice and counsel, and he acted, as an arbitrator between the parties, laster, and he was paid a salary from ry and other countries as well to settle rnational disputes. This salary was Peter's pence, and was abolished by .Parliament, and it was decided that i no appeal should be made to Rome is is given as a reason why our Church •obbed. These generous gentlemen, will not touch a penny belonging to uilt after 1820 and why, I should W, should they touch anything be- churches before that date. Your in Blaenavon was built in 1805, ry unlucky for you, as they intend under a Local Board or County ienty of elections for you in future. The Liberation Society have not i what they will do with the money, tr Gee proposes that those churches SO shall be left to the people who tin as long as Protestant doctrines in them and your church having — » — ■*— *Vatiinw 1tA endowments are to be taken away, because, as they say, the Bishop of Rome was head of the Church before the Reformation. (Laughter.) If the money is to be used for secular purposes, some better reason must be given than this. Another reason given for disendowment* is, that the Church is helpless and cannot do anything without getting an Act of Parliament passed. Five years ago I produced an Act of Parliament passed in the year 1871 in the interests of the Wesleyana in Ireland, to assist them with power to hold and invest money and to regulate generally the Wes- leyan Society in that country. There are -,trings of Acts passed for the Government of Noncon- formists and yet they complain that the Church cannot stir without an Act of Parliament. What ridiculous nonsense. You will find that the Church can act when it is necessary. The Wes- teyans cannot alter the system of changing their ministers every three years without an Act of Parliament—(hear, hear)—and there i, not a trust deed belonging to the chapel which can be altered or chapels sold without first of all getting permission from the Charity Commissioners, and even then the Nonconformists are bound to build another chapel with the money and a simi- lar trust deed must be drawn up. No one is free from Actof Parliament, either Church or Dissent. I should have preferred, if your Vicar could have arrainged it for a public debate, so that we could have the whole matter thrashed out, but the other side have thought it fit not to come forward. I would not have any book quoted unless that book was on the platform at the time of the debate. If a man is honest in what he says he has no need to fear, but there are a great many men going about making doubtful state- ments and calling them facts, which simply mis- leads the people. Another reason our opponents give for disendowment is, that the Church of Irelafid was disendowed. Two wrongs don't make a right, and because one man is robbed of his watch that is no reason why another man should be treated in a similar manner. I deay, however, that the Disendowment of the Church in Ireland was right. The Irish Church Lad seven millions of money taken from her, and does that prove that she is better because she has been robbed of this amount? I defy anyone to prove that Ireland has been benefited since that time—she 1 has gone from bad to worse. When you touch money which is sacred and devoted to God, evil results will surely follow. The landlords of Ireland who helped on the disestablishment of the Irish Church thought to save themselves, but they found out their mistake, for the same thing was afterwards applied to the landlords, and I say serve them right. The French nation in- duced Louis XVI. to take away the property of the Church in France, but did that save his head, or did the nobility save their property ? Not a bit of it. Given the same circumstances in this country, and the same thiilgs would happen. Depend upon it, if you agree te this scheme of spoliation other property will be attacked later on-and why not ? If the best goes the others cannot stay. There is another thing I would like to mention, and that is this We are con- stantly being told, we Church people, that if we did not have a Bishop of Rome over our heads before the Reformation, we have property be- longing to the Roman Catholics. I totally deny this assertion, first of all by telling you what the Roman Catholic bishops in England said them- selves, in 1826, which you can get in a book for sixpence, and read for yourselves. In this year there were a number of bishops—Roman Catho- lics—called Vicars Apostolic, and I believe it was then illegal to call themselves bishops of towns in England. In 1850, the Bishop of Rome, Pius IX., sent a Bull into this country authorising the setting up of bishops taking their titles from English towns, and they were-allowed to do this by our Government, and called themselves bishops accordingly. Those Catholic bishops, in 1826, said they had no right nor claim to any property of the Church of England and if they had no right then, how can they have a right now in 1893 ? They repudiated the idea them- selves, and yet agitators and lecturers will go about the country telling their audience, who probably believe them in many instances, that we Church people possess property belonging to the Church of Rome. Before the Reformation the creed was the same as now, and you usually judge a church by its creed. The creeds in the Church of England, as they xrw stand, have been the same for hundreds of years be- fore- the Reformation, and the creed of the Bishop of Home was the same then, but the Romish altogether different now. Except in one point all our doctrines are Catholic, not Papal or Roman Catholic and we deny that we have any money belonging to those who held Pins IX.'s creed. In 1870 a doctrine was added to the Church of Rome, which laid down that when the Pope spoke officially he spoke infallibly, and the members were bound to accept and be- lieve this but previously, in 1854, another doc- trine was introduced, viz., the immaculate con- ception. These are two doctrines tadded to the Roman Church since the Reformation. The Church of England has never adopted the doc- trine of purgatory. It is what the Church de- fines in ner creeds that we believe in. Well, when men died, Catholics' money was frequent left to pray for the souls of the departed. What has become that money ? None of it went to theChurch of England. Another assertion is made, and that is that we confiscated the monies belonging to the monasteries, but where did the monasteries get the money from orginally ? Why, from the Church of England, who they had previously robbed, and our Church simply got back what belonged to her before. You will find this duly recorded, and you can get it from any historian. You will find as a general rule that when a church has a vicar, if it is an old church, it is very poor. And why ? Because it was robbed before the days of the Reformation, and when the monasteries were destroyed the money did not all come back again. Now do not take all I say for gospel, but read for yourselves. I was a working man one time Mr Howes told you so five years ago. (Laughter.) So do not take me as infallible. Do not believe Mr Howes nor me, but find out the truth for yourselves. (Applause.) I say if a man does not understand this matter he has no business, being ignorant, to be a party in robbing my Church when he knows nothing about it. (Applause.) If you are unable, through poverty or other causes, to read up, you should give the Church the benefit of the doubt, and not believe any speaker. We do not want to pull down Dissent, and we want our grand old Church to go and prosper. There is room for improvement in the Church-(hear, hear)—but reform is not revolution, and some people do not want to see it reformed, as the agitators would lose their stock-in-trade. The Church people will do their best to reform their Church, but if they fail it will be through the opposition of the Dissenters. Let the House of Commons take their hands off the Church, and let the Church have her freedom, and allow con- vocation to meet as freely as the Wesleyan con- ference does, and the Church will quickly reform its abuses. She saves more souls to-day than ever she did, and she grows so strong that her enemies are jealous of her. Like a big dog and a little one, they would like to bite her but dare not. It behoves us all who are true and loyal to our grand old Church to preserve her, and te do our best to upset this scheme of spoilation, and hand it down in all its glory and purity to those who come after us. (Tremendous applause, during which the lecturer resumed his seat.) The Chairman: Mr Bishop will now answer any questions. Mr Evan Williams, from the audience, who was cheered by his supporters, said he would like to know Mr Bishop's definition of the word tithe. Mr Bishop The word tithe means a tenth, and generally speaking means a tenth of pro- perty set apart for the use of the Church. Amongst the Jews it was used for the Jewish religious services. In this country it is pro- perty bequeathed by persons to support God's work. Mr Evan Williams: Are tithes voluntary contributions? Mr Bishop Certainly. Mr Williams How can you say they are voluntary contributions when men are obliged to leave their homes because they object to pay them? Mr Bishop I have spoken of men who leave this charge on their property. Any person who takes a farm, and agrees to pay a certain sum for it, out of which he understands that he is to pay nine-tenths rent and one-tenth tithe, if he objects to this when pay day comes round, and can pay, he ought to be made to pay it is purely a matter of business. Mr Fisher, of the Liberation Society, says there is no injustice in tithes while Mr Gee says when the Church is disestablished, tithes will still be enforced. I am sure our young friend would enforce his right if he was in this position. Mr Williams You have no right to say what I would do in such a case. (Uproar.) Mr Bishop I take it our friend is a man of common sense, and would expect a contract agreed upon between him and another man to be faithfully carried out. If a farmer objects to pay a tithe he should not agree in the fimt instance to pay it. Anyone who refuses to pay what he has agreed to is a dishorfest man, and breaks the eighth commandment. This answer did not satisfy the questioner, who repeated his question amidst some uproar, and Mr Bishop answered him again. Another person asked a question, which, how- ever; was not very intelligible. Mr Bishop I must object, Mr Chairman, to any more lads asking questions. Are there not any men in the room who can speak up instead oileavinK this sort, of thine tq-iioss ? Another questioner There was a time when tithes were voluntary, and one time they were made compulsory, and paid in kind, which was afterwards done away with. You just said that Acts of Parliament had nothing to do with the working of the Church. If so, when was the alteration made ? Mr Bishop I never said anything of the kind. What I did say was that dissent was as much regulated by Act of Parliament as the Church. I do not admit that where tithes did not exist, they were put on the land by Act of Parliament; it is not true. That is one of the fallacies men are so fond of putting about. Then my friend says tithes were paid in kind, which is Quite true, and that tithe was put on the land. Why, tithes were always on the land, and you have no more right to refuse payment when you have agreed to pay, than you have to refuse paying your rent. Tithes are a part of rent, not an addition to it. Questioner Why should a farmer pay tithe to support a church he does not believe in ? Mr Ulshop: The farmer knows the conditions before he takes a farm. If he takes a farm at say JilOO a year and pays JE90 rent and £10 tithe what is the difference in paying this, and in pay- ing J:100 a year and no tithu. The state simply interferes by insisting that a con tract agreed upon by two parties should be carried out. It is not only the Church who has tithes, some of the chapels own tithes as well, and you may depend upon it they insist on payment, and quite right too. Another questioner: Was there not a period when one-third of a tax was paid to the clergy, one-third for the relief of local rates, and one- third for the poor ? Mr Bishop Not in England, but such a thing was in operation in France, but it was not con- tinued. I deny absolutely that the tithe was ever thus dealt with in this country. (Applause.) The questioner then referred to a speech given by Canon Burbridge in Southport, and asked Mr Bishop if he agreed with those remarks, but the lecturer said he never heard of such an indivi- dual, and it was impossible for him to agree or otherwise with an extract from a newspaper which may or may not contain the sense of Canon Burbridge's ideas. Questioner Do you sav that the monev the church possesses was left by pious ancestors ? Mr Bishop: I do most decidedly. Questioner: Were not a lot of the churches built by a public tax? Mr Bishop: I quiet understand what you are driving at. You refer to the coal dues of the city of London which by the way granted for church and chapel. In the year 1666, as every schoolboy knows, the great fire of London took place and it burnt down 89 churches. Before this the streets were very narrow, and the King 'then said the streets were to be widened, and an act was passed placing the whole of the church sites in the hands of the Corporation. They took a lot of land away from the churches for this purpose, and by way of compensation the state agreed to rebuild the 89 churches; but only 63 churches were rebuilt so there are 26 still | °^ingi and I. wish the State would cash up. (Laughter). One or two more questions were asked and promptly answered, after which a hearty vote of thanks was accorded to Mr Bishop for his address. A vote of thanks to the Chairman terminated the meeting. There was considerable excitement while the questions were being asked, but on the whole the meeting passed off very well, and the lecture was very interesting and instructive.