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adopt a modified form of episcopacy in organizations presuming to do the same parts of the foreign mission field. The kind of work. Where the Dissenting Church of England form of service, too, minister is also a cultured gentleman is no longer an object of positive aver- the vicar's contempt for his position sion, as it once was. As long as thirty cannot but be modified by his respect years ago a stalwart Congregational for the man himself, and cases are not minister used to take his children to the rare in which the High Church priest parish church on Christmas morning and the Nonconformist minister are and to St. Paul's Cathedral on Sunday personally on good and even familiar afternoons, and
called him terms. But when the differences of weak-kneed or suspected him of secret origin and education are great, however leanings to the Scarlet Woman. Since the Dissenter's moral character may then the waters of strife have been dry seem to command respect, there is little ing up apace, and no prejudice is so chance of that social intercourse which nearly evaporated as that against the takes the edge off ecclesiastical conAnglican liturgy. In the case of the tempt. All the Dissenting bodies have Baptists, the denominational spirit is been accustomed to this; but the Methstrengthened by the distinctive tenet odists, having attached the least imwhich gives them their name. Never- portance to education as a qualification theless, even in their ranks a kindlier for the ministry, and drawing their spirit towards the Church of England members most largely from the huinhas grown up and continues to grow. blest social rank, have had the bitterest This spirit, however, shows no signs experience of ecclesiastical bigotry. of developing into indiscriminate ad- The consequence is that Methodism has miration.
been alienated as Puritanism was; and The Nonconformists recognize the lately the more conservative organ of fact that the Anglican clergy, with the Wesleyan Church has expressed a comparatively few exceptions, are sorrowful foreboding that the conferearnest workers for the Christianiza- ence will be led to pass a disestablishtion of the world, and that many of the ment resolution. In the minor sections clergy are practically at one with Non- of Methodism the same movement is conformists in theological opinion. For visible--a movement towards disestabthese, the evangelical section of the lishment, fostered, if not created, by Church, Nonconformists have in- the un-Protestant transformation that creasing sympathy. The others, the has come over the Church of England. High Churchmen, while they compel Even the Presbyterians, who include a admiration by their energy and devo- large percentage of Conservative politition, and often win personal friendship cians and are composed to a great exby their geniality, have provoked by tent of State Churchmen from Scotmany of their practices and much of land, have had their friendship for the their teaching a feeling of repugnance English Church seriously weakened. which every year intensifies. The The old feeling of hatred to "black prelgrowth of sacramentarian opinion acy,” burnt into the Scottish heart by among the Anglican clergy has been the Stuart persecutions, has almost accompanied by an accentuation of in- faded away; but something closely akin tolerance towards other communions. to it is being aroused by the arrogance This intolerance seems to be a logical of those Episcopalians who proclaim result of that opinion; and the effect is and insist that they, and they alone, one of the strongest arguments against are “the Church." the cause. In proportion as a man ex- Opposition to the State establishment aggerates the authority of his own or- of sacerdotalism and opposition to all ganization and approaches the point at State establishment of religion are, it which an organization appears to its may be argued, not the same thing. Inmembers to be infallible, so his annoy- deed, an eminent
might ance increases at the existence of other sionally be found in Congregationalism,
to say nothing of Methodism or Presby- fore, which made dissent political. terianism, whose political ideals in- Civil disabilities
one by one clude a close connection between the dropped. But we had been taught by State and a Church of which he could bitter experience to protest against the approve. But in practice those who appointment by crown or 'patron' of would disestablish the Church of En- men to wield spiritual authority as an gland form a single force; and those interference with the most inalienable who begin by admitting that dis- rights of a Christian society. It is not establishment in our present circum- enough to say that the particular Chrisstances is expedient end by adopt- tian society in question wills to have it ing disestablishment as a policy appli- so. Even if there were no signs of incable to any circumstances in which the ternal revolt against State control it country is likely to find itself. If there would be our right as members of the are any members of a Christian com- State to work for the release of the munion who are actuated by jealousy, State from functions which it is unby an unworthy desire to benefit their fitted to perform, and it would be our own denomination at the expense of an- duty as members of the Christian other, or by any motive except an hon- Church to protest against the degradaest wish to advance the cause of Chris. tion to which we see an important sectianity, they must be very rare. One of tion of that Church subjected. At the the promoting causes of the disestab- same time we have not the least er. lishment movement is undoubtedly a pectation of disestablishing the Church sense of the injustice which an estab- by ourselves; disestablishment is bound lishment system involves. But a sense to come, but the deciding force will of injustice can only be identified with come from within." jealousy by a stretch of the polemical In the same way the feeling of Nonimagination. As a matter of fact, the conformists towards the Church as general conviction and hope among Church may be summed up in these Nonconformists is that when the words:Church of England is disestablished, when the responsibility for her manage
The religious revival in the Church dur ment is thrown on her own members, ing this century has had no more sympalay as well as clerical, she will become
thetic observers than ourselves. As the
late Dr. Dale declared, there has been be more respected, more vigorous, and
yond question a large endowment of the more successful than before; and even
Spirit in the new life of the Anglican among strenuous liberationists there is Church. With a larger catholicism than to be found a belief that the increased that of the Anglican clergy themselves, success of the disestablished Church the Dissenter has rejoiced to see their reliwill be to some extent gained at the ex- gious activity, their consecration to the pense of the other denominations. cause of the outcast and fallen, and the “Our attitude towards the Church as
extent to which the old Evangelical beliefs an establishment,” an intelligent Dis
have been emphasized under sacramental
forms. To us it would seem profane to senter would say, “is not of our
question the validity of Anglican orders making; it was made for us by the which the Christian life and work of the State. By the Act of Uniformity, to go ordained are every day proving valid. no further back, the State imposed cer- Imagine, then, our feelings when a young, tain conditions on all who wished to untried, and perhaps altogether third-rate hold office in the Church. All who be- curate claims a Divine authority which lieved that the articles to be sub- he denies to the most venerable, scholarly, scribed were contrary to the spirit of and devoted Christian who has spent a
life of self-sacrifice in the Nonconformist Christianity had no option, if they were honest, save to dissent; and dissent in. ministry. Even supposing that the physi
cal line of Apostolical succession could be volved a multitude of civil disabilities proved unbroken from the beginning, to which they as freeborn men could not place reliance on a series of ordination accept as final. It was the law, there- ceremonies, especially as those ceremonies
were often performed by popes and sin is ours as well as yours. If, as we bishops whose lives disproved their Chris- believe, it is to be found in the spirit of extian professions, seems to us on a par with clusiveness for which Christ reproved his the mediæval belief in the efficacy of mag- disciples, and in the refusal of Christain ical spells. To question the validity of recognition and fellowship to all who folNonconformist orders where every evi- low the same leader without wearing the dence of validity is given by a man's life uniform of your regiment, we are bound and work is to deny the most sacred right to say that the responsibility is yours and of the great Head of the Church to choose not ours. his representatives where he pleases. While we feel great sympathy towards the
Theologically, the position of Nonconreligious revival, we feel a deepening formity has undergone more than one antagonism to the form it has assumed. striking change in the last half-century. The Christianity of Christ was free from First came the latitudinarian any official priesthood and any sacerdotal ment, most strongly marked in the two acts or institutions. We believe that older bodies. It was a fear of this new Christianity to have been so essentially heretical tendency and an exaggerated spiritual, and to have so enfranchised and empowered all Christian people, that they impression of its extent that led the were the true sources, or rather channels, Congregational Union, about twenty through which the “orders" received years ago, to proclaim its orthodoxy by validity-not that the Christian people re- a resolution very closely akin to ceived from "orders" the validity of their creed, and that caused, later on, the seworship and sacraments. In our opinion cession of Mr. Spurgeon from the bapthe priest is arrogating to himself the tist Union. There is now, apparently, attributes of the Christian community, ex
a reaction in the orthodox direction. ternalizing and so depraving a spiritual The "advanced” men seem to have rereligion, and making dependent on his own acts the effects and conditions which traced their steps. With few excepcan come from God alone. Beyond this tions, they preach the Incarnation, the fundamental difference we are persuaded Atonement, the Trinity, and even in the that nothing has so tended to deteriorate matter of Biblical criticism they are not the Christian religion and to suppress so ready as they once were to jump at liberty both in Church and State as the all the conclusions of the “higher critconversion of the Christian ministry into ics.” On the other hand, the attitude a priesthood. We hold that all history is of the orthodox Dissenters has been on our side in proving the mischievous
distinctly liberalized. They have effects of that transformation; and we believe that the intrusion of the priestly idea speaking generally, of course-abanin Christian society is due to the action doned the language of rigid literalism of partly Levitical and partly Pagan ideas. against which the new movement was With the Evangelical party in the Church a protest. Their fear that the applicaof England we are so largely in agreement tion of literary and historical methods that we fail to understand why they to the study of the Bible would destroy should maintain an attitude of isolation men's faith in Christ has largely died from us. So far, however, as they are
away, like the panic which followed restrained from brotherly co-operation the promulgation of Darwinism-alwith us by a law of their Church, we understand only too well. The law for- layed partly by reason and partly by bidding an Anglican clergyman to parti- the fact that the leading heretics of the cipate with Nonconformists (or even with critical school have proved themselves conforming members of the Established men of the warmest Evangelical fervor Church in the northern part of this king- and the keenest devotion to the person dom) in any religious service is, whatever of Christ. According to Doctor Berry, glosses you may put upon it, an open and chairman of the Congregational Union, standing insult and a continuing act of schism. If the sin of schism is to be found speaking lately at a Baptist meeting, in the mere act of maintaining our sepa
these two Churches, after passing rate organizations, however willing we
through a period of intellectual discusmay be to fight shoulder to shoulder with sion and analysis which is rarely a you against the common enemy, then the time of great spiritual activity,
emerging into an epoch of certainty most remarkable instances of ceremoand enthusiasm characterized by “more nial elaboration among Nonconformcredible views” of the Gospel of Christ. ists. At Paisley there is a Baptist Among Methodists the latitudinarian cathedral, with a surpliced choir-of movement was never strong enough to both sexes. In a Glasgow Congregaarouse excitement, but the orthodoxy tional church a liturgy is used, with on which Methodism prides itself has choral responses, including the Ten assumed a somewhat modernized form. Commandments and the chanted The theological position of Noncon- psalms; the lessons are read from a formity as a whole may be described as lectern; daily services are held, and “broadly evangelical.” The Unitarians over the altar communion table form an obvious exception, but theirs is stands a large gilt cross. English Nona small body. Their activity has conformity, which alone this article athelped to liberalize opinion in other de tempts to describe, has not yet gone so nominations rather than to increase far, but it is feeling its way. Under the their own numbers.
pressure of increased æsthetic culture, Passing away from the great dogmas which is no longer checked either by referred to, we find a marked indisposi- the old prejudice against all the ways tion to attach importance to the doc- of “the Church," or by the sturdy trines which used to distinguish the whole-souled Puritanism that found it sects from each other. The Calvinism easy to worship in a barn as in a which marked in varying degrees the cathedral, attempts are being made in a Congregationalists, Baptists, and Pres- multitude of churches to add to the er. byterians is not, and for a long time ternal reverence and beauty of public has not been, the cruel creed denounced worship. The use of chants and an by the old Arminians; and the Armini- thems is now well-nigh universal; the anism of the Methodists, against which singing of the “Amen” at the close of the old Calvinists used to fulminate, every hymn is general; and a choral has come to embrace a more explicit “Amen" is creeping in at the end of the recognition of the sovereignty of God, benediction. Many a Nonconformist which was the strength of Calvinism. minister uses an occasional collect from The insistence on adult baptism, which the English Prayer-book; and the forms the only appreciable difference chanting of the Lord's Prayer by the between Baptists and Congregational- congregation is often heard. Doctor ists, can be called insistence no longer. Barrett, an ex-chairman of the CongreThere are groups of “strict Baptists” in gational Union, and the chief spokes. various parts of the country; but even man of the service-reform movement .n Mr. Spurgeon admitted unimmersed that denomination, emphatically repuChristians to the Communion, and in a diates any desire to substitute a liturgy great many churches they are allowed for “free prayer,” believing that such a the full rights of church membership. change “would kill Congregationalism Some Baptist ministers go so far as to in less than fifty years.” One great obperform a dedication of infants-a prac- jection to the English Church service is tice substantially identical with the in- felt to be its invariability. The protecfant baptism of Congregationalists, tion which this affords to a congregaMethodists, and Presbyterians.
tion against the vagaries or the infeliciIn regard to questions of ritual, we ties of the minister may be purchased find a movement of the most striking, at too high a price. Nor is this protecalmost startling, character. The prog- tion so sorely needed as it was. The ress-or retrogression, according to the “long prayer," which might be depoint of view--of the Scottish Estab- scribed either as a course of instruction lished Church towards liturgical to the Almighty or as a preliminary serform of worship has for some years mon to the congregation, has been not been familiar to English Churchmen, only shortened but improved in quality. and it is Scotland which furnishes the Young ministers are preparing their
prayers as they prepare their sermons; the respectable suburban type, but minand this branch of ministerial work is isters working among the poor no longer neglected at the theological under no such temptation. colleges. A fear of formalizing and There is one detail of this matter of stereotyping the expressions of devo- externals which must on no account be tion, and a dread of elevating any form omitted, and that is the costume of the of words or outward practice to a posi- minister. Churches have split up on tion in which it might come to be re- the great gown question quite as readgarded as having a virtue not its own, ily as on points of doctrine. It is not may be trusted to keep the development with Nonconformists a question of of ritual within moderate bounds, ex- black gown or white, but of black gown cept where a minister of exceptional in- or none. The gown has been very genfluence sets himself to break down erally abandoned by Congregationalists those limits.
and is practically unknown among the It must not be forgotten that there is Baptists and Methodists, but is still a simultaneous movement towards cherished among the Presbyterians. modes of worship even less formal than Doctor Barrett advises his fellow-minthe average Nonconformist congrega- isters to wear it; but this suggestion tion is accustomed to. This tendency is has been received with far more hoscaused partly by the restiveness of the tility than his liturgical proposals. The puritan instinct at the sight of Angli- fact is that the gown is felt to be the can ritualism and partly by the discov- badge of a caste in a community which ery that rigidity is repellent to "the does not believe in caste, the uniform masses;" but in practice it is not found of a commanding officer on a man who impossible to combine unconvention- is the chief servant of his congregation. ality with a certain elaboration of "To place the layman on a par with the forms. The Baptists in this matter priest," says Taine, “or at most sepahave shown less disposition to change rated by only one degree, is the work than the Congregationalists, and the of the Reformation." Nonconformists Presbyterians rather less than the Bap- tolerated the one degree of difference tists. A Presbyterian prayer-book has, while there was a difference of several indeed, been in existence for nearly a degrees in intellect; but nowadays the dozen years. It gives prayers for spe- pew often equals and sometimes cial occasions, such as marriages and passes the pulpit in education, and has funerals, and sample forms of words in any case an increasing dislike to any. for such regular petitions as the eucha- thing savoring of caste, priestly ristic prayer, with the suggestion “to otherwise. A number of ministers, in this or the like effect." But this mod- deference to this sentiment, which they est service-book has never been adopted share, have discarded even that last by the Synod, and many of the Presby- remnant of clerical attire-the white terians have only consented to hymn- necktie—and appear, whether in the singing under protest. The old metri. pulpit or out of it, in the ordinary apcal psalms are still sung, even where parel of an English gentleman. Some hymns are also used. Taking the ques- of their brethren, on the other hand, tion of ritual as a whole, the tendency of can scarcely be distinguished on the Presbyterianism is to allow great con- street from High Church clergymen. gregational liberty. As for the Wes- This may be maliciously ascribed to the leyans, a number of their congregations minister's personal vanity or love of have used the Church of England ser- authority, or with less hesitation to a vice from Wesley's days to our own. regard for the convenience of the pubIt was, however, very generally aban- lic whom he desires to serve; but it is doned as unsuitable for the evangelistic undoubtedly in large measure a repudiwork of a society which had evangeli- ation of the Anglican's claim to excluzation for its main object. The liturgy sive possession of valid orders. This, is now being introduced in churches of it should be said, appears to be only a