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THE FREE CHURCHES.

| DISESTABLISHMENT.

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| DISESTABLISHMENT. THE movement for the Disestablishment and Disendowment of the Church of England is receiving additional strength day by day. The Irish Church has long been disestablished. Here in Wales the question has long been ripe for legislation, and in parliamentary language, has reached the stage of practical politics, and has been the subject of a Government Bill, which, however, was not finally carried through the House of Com mons, because of the defeat of the Liberal Government on another question. In Scotland, the movement in favour of Dis- establishment is also in an advanced stage. It is England alone that has held back, but now the conversion of England is proceed- ing by leaps and bounds. The Ritualists of the Church consciously or unconsciously, make for disestablishment. They are so determined in their adherence to forms and ceremonies not sanctioned by the Prayer Book, and therefore not legal, that many of them are prepared to abandon their emoluments rather than abandon their convictions. Others object to the veto of parliament on things ecclesiastic, and for the sake of freedom, are prepared to sacri- fice the loaves and fishes. Others again are so disgusted with the impotency of the Bishops, that they long to have the Church of England under popular control, so as to purify it of Romanist teachings and Romish practices. De Foe once wrote a pamphlet entitled A short way with the Dissenters.' The Protestant and Evan- gelical sections of the Church of England are prepared to deal with the Ritualists much in the same way, not, of course, by bloodshed, but by casting them out of the Church, bag and baggage, and to enable them to do this, disestablishment and dis- endowment must come. All these forces from within the Church tell most empha- tically in favour of disestablishment. But the particular form of progress in the movement to which we desire to refer this week is, the awakening of the Noncon- formists of England to its importance. At the Council of the Free Churches already alluded to in our previous article, a resolu- tion was unanimously passed in the follow- ing terms That the National Council, whilst rejoicing in the signs of quickened spiritual life in the National Church, deeply deplores the widespread adoption and inculcation of'ideas'and 'practices' by large and increasing numbers of the clergy concerning I religion,' the Church,' the 'priesthood,' the mass,' and the « con- fessional.' (2) The council protests against the defiant, persistent, and unscrupulous determination of such clergy to undo the work of the Reformation as a flagrant wrong in itself, wholly inconsistent with the letter and with the spirit of their con- tract with the State, and entirely inimical to the moral well-being of the nation. (3) And earnestly urges Parliament to do its utmost to maintain its own authority, and to safeguard the Protestantism of the realm (4) Seeing the difficulty the State has in controlling the clergy of the Established Church, the council is convinced that there is no final and effective method of termina- ting the spread of Romanism within, and by, the Anglican Church except that of dissolving the existing connection between the Church and the State, thus setting the Church free for the management of its own, affairs, and delivering the State from the burden of duties it cannot adequately dis- charge, And therefore (5), the National Council appeals, not only to its own mem- bers throughout the country, and to all citizens, but also to the Evangelical party of the Anglican Church, to support a policy of justice and freedom in the interest of real religion, 'sound Protestantism, good government, and the well-being of the nation.' We have said that the above resolution was passed unanimously. When it is con- sidered that the council is composed of members of all the great Nonconformist denominations, this unanimity is significant. It was moved by Dr. Randies, and seconded by the Rev. C. F. Aked, and Mr. P. W. Bunting, a prominent London Wesleyan supported. As may be seen from the word- ing of the resolution, disestablishment was advocated not so much from the standpoint of religious equality, but as the only way to repel the Romanist attack upon the country. Dr. Randles said that' those who were trying to undo the Reformation and take the country back to the darkness, ty- ranny, and cruelty of the middle ages, were their servants, as servants of the nation, and were they to stand by in silence when they saw their servants promoting work which tended to sweeping the very founda tions of national virtue, and to weaken and eat away the fibres of moral rectitude ?' Dr. Randles, alluding to Ritualistic practices in the Church of England, said that it was a disease that would never cure itself, for Satan never casts out Satan.' The Rev. C. F. Aked, in his short but pithy speech, that the Romanisers argued that the devil was the first Protestant, and Judas Iscariot the first anti-ritualist.' As soon as the people understood that all this man-millinery and man-monkery' meant Rome, they would make short work of the business. When the little curate first pro- claimed that he carried about the key of heaven with his latch key, people laughed —they could do little else-but they now understood that something more serious was meant, and they showed that the fires of Smithfield had burnt into the hearts of the people, implacable hatred of everything that spelt Rome. We have said enough to show how earnest were those who passed this resolution. We rejoice in Wales that England is coming to our help, but more particularly to help her- self in the battle for the purity, thorough- ness, and the freedom of our Protestantism.

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