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HELSGIOUS ASPECTS OF DISESTABLISHMENT…

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HELSGIOUS ASPECTS OF DISESTABLISH- MENT AND Di £ <ENDOWMENT. Tho REV. CANON JOYCE said: If the Church in Wales is disestablished and disen- dowed, that also will be the fate of the Church in England. Nor is it likely that any long in- terval would be allowed to elapse between the two events. We stand or fall, together. As a matter of tactics the attack is concentrated upon us m Wales at the present moment, but it is plain enough that the whole principle of estab- lishment and endowment is in dispute. There are no special circumstances in Wales which would justify the adoption of different policies in the two countries. After the evidence which has been given before the Commission, I should sup- Pose that even the boldest of platform. orators toll hesitate to bring forward the old calumny ^b&nt ""tfte .alien Church." So certain is it that the fortunes of the Church on both sides of the ooraer will be identical that I propose to speak on the question, as it touches the whole country, without, special and particular reference to our own dioceses. CONSIDERATION OF THE RELIGIOUS rp. ASPECTS. '11 u Sa Jec^ so' *or our consideration is, as you *ill have observed, not disestablishment, and dis- endowment in general, but disestablishment and lUsendowment in their religious aspect. That quaJfication fixes certain limits without which our subject would be unmanageable. We shall hot oe concerned, for example, with the legal aspects ')f the question. Wo need not trouble ourselves Its to the early history of tithe, and the much spated question whether a thousand years, ago it y as a state'imposed tax or a voluntary gift. It :8 not our business to examine the legal title of t he Church to her possessions. Those are im- i-ssues; and must, cf coure. be dealt, with '11 their right place. Nor need we be in the least Miaid of the vordic-t. But it is not on legal Q!'gUIH:'llt3 alone rchiefly that wo rely. Ques- tions of great national moment are, not settled by .awyer3 in a musty court by means of elaborate 'eirrence to ancient, precedents, but before the hlr of the national judgment and the national conscience. The nation is the Caesar. .to whom 1tnal appeals must go. I do not think that we stall appeal in vain. Nor need we consider the; social and political consequences w hichmight: be ^peteted to follow feom an act of disestablishment s-nd disen lown'.ent, serious as those consequences v>ould eertainly be. must climb to a higher plane h111 that of legality or expediency before We can find decisive arguments. Fot- us it is the religious. aspect of the question which will be the"delermining factor. We do not ask what will Je the effect of disestablishment, and. disendow- ment on the national prosperity, but what, will be, 'ts effect on the national character. Will it make us a better, a more religious, a more God- 'earin.* nation, or will it leave us ni'ore than ever "e.voted to mammon-worship,. more absorbed in the pursuit of mere material comfort? Accord- ■:i^g as you answer t,hat quest ion; be either enthu- siastic advocates or resolute opponents of the policy of disestablishment. It is not a matter on Which a man may take his opinions at second hand. He must think out the question himself nd act on his own convictions. In a serious this men must not try tc avoid respon: sibility by adopting the "follow-mv-leader"' atti- tude, and still less by standing aside in the char- 2-eter of indifferentists.. INDIFFERENCE IN SUCH A MATTER UNWORTHY. It has beer, pointed out by a very, acute writer, Mr J. E. C Bodlev. that in Franco disestablish- naent hils been brought about almost through a of accident-.becau-e the country as a whole 00red verv littie about, the matter. Let us hope fKat it will otherwise here. There is little mftftrht'tiind small patriotism in the ma.n who does feel 1 hat in. the rehtion of Church to State fit- roaqhin'^ n^oiViV issuer of great &nd lasting ^h'nortahec a re. involved. If the alteration of that Nation y tö. be the subject of controversy. Jp-f it, at least be a con- trOver^V V'arried on' with a. flue sense of Spoilsibili'tV. A gr,eat question'is in the balance. ihere teuld'.not bb a more stupid mistake than •. '*Q. suppose it pnlv a squabble over social jealous.- ,'e.i 01* a s^ranible for the loaves and fishes. .,t)};E CHTJRCH IN ESSENTIALS iNDEPEN- T)ftNT OF PRl VILEGE AND PROPERTY, Ijdo n jt, see ho v. we can fsee the question of ^sestablishnient unless, we begin by insisting on We"distinction between those things which the Mbjirch' must have, without hich she is not the v^'urch at all; and. those other things which the Church may have like privilege and prosperity, ^rtBout which, however, she still remains herself, .wiotugh her opportunities of usefulness may be re- She must have her creed and her Sac- •^nients. Having these she is the accredited re- presentative of her Master, carrying on His mis- sjoii upon earth, the guide and teacher of men, the witness of heavenly truth. In all these mat: terR she-is beyond the reach of the attacks of the Secular pqwei. She has an energy, a vitality, a Permanence to which there is no parallel among •'he states of the world. The most ancient of tfiem all cannot boast, a continuous history of U)0Q years. The largest Em])ire is small in area ocnipa-rcd with the. kingdonl of Christ, The forces Sbfi-t make for the ultimate triumph of the Ch.urch are irresistible. Slow though they may OS-in aotion according to our systems of measure- nnenb, they work inevitably to tho accomplish- ment of the divine purpose. moves ever ?teacti]y forward, surmounting obstacles and un- jrpeded by opposition. To the Church, so con- the threat of disestablishment and dif.cn- ^cwmont in England and WTales presents no very ormidablo appearance. "The Lord is in the ^Ud?yt. of her, therefore shall she not J.- removed;" not "though the earth be moved and the hills f^-rried into the midst of the seas." Let the tf 1 Uak0 come! The most tremendous poli- °°nvulsions, the most, violent shocks c-f revo- Wion, which oan bring society to the ground in 'Will leave the Church standing firm as ever, d founded on the rock. THE PRESENT A PERIOD OF TRAN- SITION. I have thought i well to dwell for a moment on that familiar thought, because it banishes from the mind all tendency to panic. Let us neither Bay nor think that the Church is in. danger. The Church, properly understood, is no more in dan- ger than (I man's life is in danger, when his oompanion3 threaten to strip the coat from his backttnd to remove the money from his pocket. And yet, of course, these are not the easy days of security. It is an anxious age in which we live, l'uage of rapid change and quick transitions. The whole organisation of our national life is being transformed. The England of to-day is unlike that of a generation ago; the England of to- morrov/ will be yet more different. We are in the throes of a revolution—a revolution affecting not so much the form of government, but the man- ners and morals and eocial life of our country- What will England' and Wales be like when we issue from this period of instability and re- arrangement ? We have high hopes. We think that we shall find the pollution of those problems which press so hardly upon ui«, the problems of housing, of unemployment, of poverty. Please God, it may be so. Meanwhile we engaged in the momentous and perilous task of reshaping the institutions of our country. Each in turn is called before the bar of oriti- cism, tihe Monarchy, the House of Lords, the Church, the family, marriage. -ibo-ut them all it is asked whether they are to be retained, abolished, or remodelled- SURVIVAL OF CHURCH CERTAIN: OF ESTABLISHMENT DOUBTFUL- And' what is to be the answer with regard to the Church? That she will survive through the period of transition, and ill "lay her part in MR R. W. LIVINGSTONE. I the new era that is comin there is not the slightest shadow of doubt. Before, now she has aeen the whole fabric of European society dis- solved and reconstructed, and has hen-self come (safely through the sboani. So she will again. But in that new England and v vales will she be, aa of old, an established and endowed Church ? That is an altogether different question, and the answer will depend upon the action of the national will and the n.atio,nal conscience,—the will and conscience, it would seem, of the pre- sent generation- We cannot shirk the issue. The responsibility for the future lies on us. The establishment and the endowment of the Church is now a great feature in our constitution. Is it to be transmitted as part oé our goodly heritage to ouir children, or swept away as an anachron- ism ? AN IMMEDIATE ANSWER REQUIRED TO PRESENT PROPOSALS. Whether we like it or not the question is now thrust upon us. The voices which cry for dis- establishment are loud and clamorous- The present Government stands. pledged to intro- duce a. measure giving effect to these demands- And if ouir resistance jb to be successful, it must be based on sosne few broad, cleair, and lofty principles- In such a cause it would be Avorse than foolish, it would1 be a disgrace to appeal to any lower motive than love of country and loyalty to the faith which we n/rofesis. To me it seems as though the whole case- were im- mensely simplified by the fact that we have be- fore us the precedent of 1894. We can form a shrewd guess off what the contemplated measure ia Likely to be. At leafct we may be sure that it will not be lesis rigorous or less drastic tlhan the Bill of thirteen years since. We know then that though disestablishment and disendowment are quite separate in theory, one not necessarily involving the other, yet in fact the two are for the present indissolubly joined together- We need not discuss what would1 be the effect, of disestablishment without ddsendowment- For that is the. iaet thiriig which the leaders of this particular agitation desire. Nor need we con- sider tlie justice or expediency of so-called schemes of concurrent endowment, i.e., schemes by which the ancient religious endowments would be divided between the different religious bodieti in proportion to their respective num- bers- That also is not. on the programime- What we have before us is the proposal to divert the ancient endowments from their present sacired use, and to devote them to the supply of material benefits, such as libraries model- dwellings and so forth- PROPOSED DISENDOWMENT DISHON- OURABLE AND DEMORALISING. Remember that this wholesale transference cf property from a siacred to a secular use involves its transieirence from one owner to another. If the (state chooses to use its irresistible poweir it can make the traneie.rence legal, it cannot in this case make it just or equitable. However much respect is paid to all the, fornix of law in the process, it will remain a dishonourable action; and the nation which deliberately adopts a dishonourable policv cannot hone to escape the inevitable penality- If we desire to keep the honour off our country unstained, we shall not sit1 tamely by, indifte,rernt and inactive, while the nation is hoodwinked into 'sanctioning1 an action that would be against the conscience' of the plain man. I began by saying "that the question before us is whether disestablishment^ and disendowment'would make us a better and1 more religious nation- I should answer that neither nations nor men become better or more religious by .performing or consenting 1:Q dis- creditable .actions. And iurther, when we consider, the circum- stances of our time, we caninot but feel that an act of dciseetablishment and disendowment would have a most tteiMoraiie-ing- eftect upon the char- acter of the nation. There is in modern! civi- lisation a terribly strong teinclency to become inai-easiingly materialistic, to lose sight of higiher and spiritual mtereattS in the frantic eagerness cf tihe race for wealth- Disendow merit woidld I believe, give a fresh and fatal impetus to tihis evil spirit, the besetting temptation of our argo. If the nation deliberately chooses to take money which has been spenf on the service of God and the propagation of the knowledge of spiritual things, and proceeds to spend it on making the MR LL. HUGH-JONES. I present life more comfortable, the natural in- ference will be widely {drawn, that it is this world and this life which really matter, and that the other world and the next life are scarcely worth a practical man's peirious atten- ion- Will a movement o^ that kind make ue a more godfearing nation ? POLITICAL ALLIANCES TO BE AVOIDED. This policy must be resisted, but let the re- sistance be so managed as not to involve the Clhur6h in the jsordid business of politics. Poli- tical alliances between the Church and any party, Conservative^ Liberal, o,r Independent Labour, are anathema. Tempting as they may be in the stress of conflict, and successful as they mav be at, the beginning, they bring in their train inevitable, disaster- It iis the degra- dation of religion- I would there'orc urge upon my brethren'cf the laity that it is their busi- ness first and foremost to organise this resifi- tatnee. It is not primarily a clercical question at all. It is a matter to be eiettled by the citi- zens of this country, and to be settled bv them not on the lower grounds of expediency and op- I portunism, but on the high grounds of principle, honour and faithful adherence to the best tradi tiaras of the past- Make it unnrr.takably clear that the resistance which you offer is not due to any desire to save your own pocket, that it is not caused by the apiprne hens ion that, should this measure pass, you would be called on to subscribe two shillings, whore now you subscribe one, A resistance based on that ground would oolilapse contemptibly and ignobly, as it would indeed dleeerve to do THE ALTERNATIVE POLICY CHrRCH REFORM. And make it clear, too, that you are not adopting a. policy of passive contentment with things as they are in regard to establishment and endowment. We don't deny that there are anomalies, inconsistencies and abuses; and that in the existence of theæ. things lie the Otfiilv potent reasons which can be urged on beL- half of a policy of disestablishment and dis- endowment- State interference in things spiri- tual, great inequality of endowment, the exclu- sion of the parishioner from all share in the exercise of patronage; these things aie not to be defended, and cannot be imdbfimtely tolera- ted- Let our ideal be the free Church in the free State. When we secure the power to man- age our own concerns, then these necessary re- forms will be carried through. Freedom is the neocs&ary condition of progress- And freedom we shall get, not, I believe, through the heroic remedy or diseetabciiishmefnt and dSsendowment, that perilous leap into the ({lark, that irrocover- t able breach with the past, but through the slow and eure aotion of constitutional forces. Let us seek the realisation of our ideal along the old path of deliberate and well-corisiid-crcd advance from reform to reform- We have an inspiring example in tho established Church of Scotland which has, these fifty years past, Avon its free- dbim-1 What they have done, wo may do. It ? th £ road of safety. And then out of this period of transition, when all things seem unstable, and every institution rocks on its foundations, the Church will emerge, not only unscathed, but liberated, purified, strengthened- CAPTAIN MYTTON, of Welshpool, con- tinued the discussion, and in a fiery, speech he appealed to Free Churchmen generally to exer- cise more of the spirit which had characterised the repreeentativee of the Oswestry Free Church Counoil that day. He hoped the gentlemen re- ferred to would go home and preach to t he* r flocks the doctrine .they had enunciated in the hall tha.t morning, and to influence the Free Church Press so a" to put a stop to the publication of tho scandalous statements circulated with re- gard to the Church in Wales, After declaring that the Church Commission was a farce, the speaker urged all Churchmen to gird their airmour in readineea for the forthcoming con- flict. DR. JEBB, Principal of St. David's College, Lampeter, declared his firm conviction that the Disestablishment and Disendowment of, the Church would have a very harmful effcct .upon all other churches. They should all take a way with them from such a Conference as that the conviction that that was not a matter of loaves and fishes, but one of national importance, about which there should be no two opinions. Let them at onca make up their mindli on which slide they were going to stand on that question, and above all things he hoped they would re- member that no permanent and lasting settle- ment could be arrived at apart from consider- ing the question in the proper spirit (applause). MR P. P. PENNANT said that the more seriously they took up that question the more likely their opinion would be to prevail. They in Wales would not be' able to withstand the enemy alone. They must be all thoroughly in earnest, for that would ensure for them the help of their sister Church in England, and to fight their batfe effectively it was absolutely necessary that that was assured. As far as they could they should strive to convince English people that they were in the same boat as the Welsh, for Welsh Disestablishment would ulti- mately lead tOo the Disestablishment of the Eng- lish Church (hear, hear). During the previous controversy the Eng.ish people had realised that fact to some exte-nt, and amongst the Welshmen who had been invited to addrers. English audi- ences c.n the matter, he was one. He had spoken at thirty-six places in England on that occasion, and at the following general ejection everyone of those places—with the exception of Durham, where the opposition candidate got in by one vote majority—returned anti-Disestab- lishciris to Parliament (loud applause). That proved to hisi mind that if the English Church put that matter forward it would have great power over the electorate (cheers). The VICAR OF HOPE also spoke on the question.

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St. Asaph Diocesan Conference.…