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DISESTABLISHMENT. TO THE EDITOR OF THE GUARDIAN. SIR,—I think it is not altogether inopportune to say a few words on the question of Disestablish- ment in relation to centrifugal tendencies of thought, and legislative attempts that constantly crop up to the surface in our day. Every tyro in politics wants to celebrate his entrance into public life by some nostrum of destructive legisla- tion. The term has been forced to the surface, and become popularised in a certain false and one-sided sense. The negative and the positive political presentations of the question is utterly misleading in its historical and spiritual aspects. Encrustations of popular prejudices have been worked up most assiduously for 50 years by the press and the plat- form, that the mere prospect of the sheer drudgery of cartage and clearance that is absolutely necessary before the real question can be approached at all, is enough to discourage the most enlightened zeal 01 devoted patriotism. And then the faults and abuses of the past, complicate the question immensely, and add to the difficulties of the situation by lending a kind of lunary halo to the assailants of religion. Bare-faced assumptions are made to stand sponsors for facts, and history is disregarded in histrionic appeals to the fostered ignorance of the popular mind. Sectarian hatreds and political rivalries have done all that can be done to darken, and compli- cate, and falsify the real issues by calling into play all known aud available sophistries and logo- machic arts to distort facts and misinterpret the laws on which the stability of nations depends. A congeries of suppositious notions that have no foundation whatever in law or fact, have been worked up into the word" establishment," so as to make it convey to the popular mind, ideas of iajus- tice, of wrong, and of religious intolerance. There is no such thing known in England as an establish- ment in the popular acceptation of the word. The Church of this country was never established by any compact in the sense foisted on the people by her enemies. By the well-known party tactics of piling epithets of abuse, and so lash the national mind into paroxysms of fury against some facti- tious and imaginary grievances, the ground is prepared for the introduction of the word" Dises- tablishment" into the arena of contention, with a new set of glittering ideas, as the unfailing panacea for all sufferings and disappointments and failures of pet and much-boasted pro- jects. There is no such idea as Church and State in the commonly abused sense of the phrase. The Church was not created by the State, nor the State by the Church. There never was any al- liance, or compact, or establishment; no parlia- mentary, or legal, or imperial, or monarchic estab- lishment whatever of religijn of any kind in this country as is wilfully asseverated by the political Liberationists. The Church and State are abstract conceptions of the one concrete body politic. The Church of this country is older than the State, and presupposes and underlies all modern State ideas. For the last thousand years they have grown to- gether, their roots inextricably intertwined, reach- ing to the dim past, and their branches inter- penetrating each other, and the result the Christian constitution of the free and independent England of our day, grandly repudiating the interference of either foreign prince or prelatp. What never was established cannot be disestablished. What we are, we are by natural growth, not by any artificial establishment whatever. The deadening of spiri- tuality through luxurious indulgence, with religious rancours growing thereon as fungus on a rotten tree, and the sectarian lust for social aggrandisement and Church property, may alienate from the nation, endowments and money devoted to its highest moral and material advancement, by prostituting them to the gratification of perishable wants under the euphonious and captivating sound of religious equality, but in reality it cannot possibly be any other than dowmight unjustifiable robbery and spoliation. In fact, a suicidal act of national in- sanity depriving itself of inherited benefactions towards the growth and sustentation of the very highest life and hope of humanity. As certain as high heaven is above the earth beneath, the Faith of Christ pregnant with the Ten Commandments underlies all national greatness and power. The material is conditioned by the moral. And sec- tarian activity and z^al must be subjected to the orderly and unambitious obedience of Christianity. But before we can profitably follow this line of thought, and apply these moral axioms to the sub- ject before us, we must clear up some popular mis- conceptions and difficulties connected with the title, The Established Church." The commonly ac- cepted axioms and postulates of this question must be re-examined in the light of our national history and legal enactments and codification of ancient usages. We shall work our way back by degrees, and resume the thread of our argument with greater force and clearness after having touched upon a few collateral points by the way. Our motto for ever must be Educate, educate enlighten, enlighten." More light we want. True and strong light is the irreconcilable enemy and disturber of the cobwebs of prejudice and super- stition. We have no alternative left us but to. keep pegging at it in season and out of season, if our country is to be kept on the high road to prosperity. We should take away every shadow of an excuse from beneath the feet of would-be agitators. HLlll- dreds of things are risked into the ears of ignorance that would not be whispered in the light of know- ledge. And we cannot repeat too often that ignor- ance and prejudice are fertile sources of national sufferings, popular discontent, and political revolu- tions. Ignorance is the mother of prejudice, and long-seated prejudice is an ineradicable disease of the mind which almost defies all hygienic efforts, from its metamorphosic powers over all presenta- tions of truth that make against self or party in- terests. It is of no use arguing against a diseased eye, and demonstrate, from the nature of colours, that the unclouded sky is, and must be, blue; the man sees it yellow, and further argument only stirs up strife and not conviction. And if he is backed by a host of others similarly afflicted, their peculiar perceptions assume an offensive attitude, which neither history nor science can pacify; and when the fostering of prejudice becomes a paying profes- sion, then religion and philosophy are garbled and distorted to administer to its perpetuation. Never- theless, our duty is to remove this prolific cause of chronic irritability by every legitimate and avail able means within the reach of self-sacrificing patriotism. Thousands of my fellow countrymen are ignorant of their ignorance; they are kept in darkness, and it is intensIfied by self-deception when they think they enlarge their knowledge they only deepen their prejudice. They live on false- hood, and it is no fault of their own they are not aware of it; such io the representation of the state of things made to them by the press and pulpit. And what is sadder still, there is no effort worth the name made to counteract this baneful influence of irresponsible and unreachable agitators. We want historic light, ecclesiastical light (not twilight), political light, theological light. Popular and puritanical notion as to religion and politics must be modified to an enormous extent if we are to keep on for another ten years without a terrible wrench to the whole existing state of things in this country. Those who feel this and have the courage to proclaim it, are called alarmists, and prophets of evil, for it is the part of revolu- tionary propagandists to pooh pooh every note of warning until the whole train has been laid, ready for the match. Now, the light will make against the Church, as well as against her enemies, in many respects; but that will help us to understand each other. And this will be the first step towards removing the repulsion of prejudice, and a step in the right direction towards a cordial live-and-let- live, even if union be not attained. Enlightenment must lessen the bitterness of sectarianism, for parasitical demagogues can only play upon ignor- ance, not light. All parasites thrive by sucking the life blood of the plant upon which they grow. The enlightenment of the body politic will enable it to get rid of these, so that calmness may succeed irritation, and a disposition created to listen to the voice of reason. We may take school boards, the burials agitation, and disestablishment as three converging powers, the result of their combined action to be national anarchy. Let us briefly indicate how this will be brought about. That which intellect without love, and passions unrestrained by the moral law, have invariably and always, under all conditionsof climate and forms of government, culminated in, in the past, are the data upon which we proceed to form our conclusions as to the future, when we shall have experienced the grand results of the all-sufficient three R's without religion, and the heathen burials of human beings without hope, and the alienation of Church property to liquidate, say the national debt, or some such secular purpose. Now, there are 1,500 board schools in England and Wales where the Catechism or any distinctive religious doctrine is not taught; but there are only 35 in the United Kingdom without any religious education whatever, and ,of these 27 are in Wales alone Four times as many godless schools in Wales as there are in England The astounding fact is staggering, and seems almost absolutely in- credible. One is stunned, and the bewilderment is as of one awaking from a trance; and you ask— Where am I ? Surely not in Wales ? This is not the Wales of my fathers; not the Wales of my youth; not the Wales of religious enthusiasm; not the Bible-reading and Bible loving Wales; not the Walos of the great preachers. Can it be possible that^his after all is the harvest from the sowing of a Charles, and Harries, and Rowlands, and John Elias that the present generation of Welsh boys and girls in communities of their planting should be reared up and taught in schools where the Bible and every Christian doctrine is jealously excluded ? Or, have some impudent modern sown tares in the fields prepared by them, and has the rapid growth of these poisonous weeds choked the good seed? Strange Nemesis! Still we cannot help perceiving that the spiritual lawlessness and schism which they created end in confusion, and creedless enthusiasm in infidelity. What has become of the holy-minded and philo- sophic Dr. Eclwards, of Bala, the author of those calm and high-toned articles in the Traethodydd, written in that inimitably pure and nervous style some 20 years ago, condemning in language of tei-rible power and import all Government grants and educational rates whatever, and all learn- ing apart from religious instruction, as something mischievous to a degree that could not be for a moment tolerated in a country so religiously en- lightened as Wales. Why is he now silent ? A nation that has been brought to the brink of reli- gious bankruptcy, and whose morality is lower than that of many heathen lauds—and this in great part brought about through the sebismatical teaching and practices of the body of which he ia the acknowledged head-has, methinks, a right to ask in no faltering accents, what has caused the change that has come over the spirit of his dreams ? An awakened and an indignant Princi- pality will soon demand an answer to the question. Why have we been thus deluded? I wish to speak with the utmost respect and cordiality of Dr. Edwards as a gentleman, a Christian and a scholar. No one who has read his calm and philosophical writings can hesitate for a mom. nt to recognise in him an able and fair polemic—the ablest of Welsh living writers, and I gladly and sincerely bear my humble-tribute to his great classic il and scholastic attainments, and the sterling integrity of his character; and yet I feel I have a perfect right to ask how is it possible that I13 can now countenance in his disciples the doings which he so un- sparingly and scathingly denounced, and, I may add, demolished, in his opponents ? He has not sounded one note of warning as far as I know. The teachings of history are not lost upon him. To a mind so comprehensive and trained as his is the direful consequences to a nation from a decade of godless education cannot but be perfectly evident; Faithlessness to God is the road to national little- ness and extinction. Anti• Scriptural and secular school boards are the pioneers of a veiled and infidel Republicanism. And dl school boards whatever are against teaching the Catechism to tho young. And we must look this fact in the face. What does it mean ? What does it involve ? And we must answer, Much in every way.—I am, Ac., Observatory Cottage. JOHN JONES.


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