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the State as something altogether distinct; and, having done so, he draws the very conclusion that we draw that the one has no business to interfere with the other. Now this reasoning is perfectly conclusive in the mouth of a voluntary; and hence it has been declared from the Bench that the Government has no right to intermeddle with a voluntary church. But who does not perceive that the conclusion is a non sequitur, when it is not a church simply that is spoken of, but a church claiming the countenance and support of the State ?
It is a scriptural and incontrovertible position, that the church is not at liberty to yield subjection to any power on earth; but it does not, therefore, follow that the church cannot place herself in circumstances in which she forfeits her independence. A man may be free, and yet he may sell himself as a slave, or bind himself as a servant. May not the church do the same thing? May she not sell her birthright, or come under obligations that involve subjection? She ought not to do so; she never can be justified in doing so; but this is not the question: the question is, whether, when, instead of retaining her primitive position and dependence on her own resources, she chooses to be indebted for her support to another, she is then at liberty to say, I am as free as ever I was, and will not submit to foreign or external supervision and control? w The Voluntary-churchman is the only consistent advocate of the Headship of Christ over his body, the · church. Where wages are taken service is due; where there is State-pay there ought to be State-control. And let no one insinuate that by repudiating Church-andState alliance we seek to divest governments of everything like Christian character, and to reduce them to the rank of godless institutions. On the contrary, what we require of them is, that they shall religiously respect Christ's authority, and in no instance interfere with it, or set it aside. Voluntaryism in religion is essentially Christian and spiritual. It demands that in things religious there shall be no king but Jesus. Civil governments must not thrust the sword into the region over which his sceptre rules. This is voluntaryism. Is Free-churchism a more spiritual or heavenly thing, the church, except in the way of granting it endowthe church, except in the way of granting it endowments ? Compared with this, is voluntaryism low, political, earthly, sensual? Is the minister of the gospel who, as such, boldly confronts the Government, and says, I want your money, but will not be your servant, a noble testimony-bearer in behalf of the crownrights of the Redeemer; while he who declines such an appeal, and is content to live upon what the people among whom he labours is able to afford, is little better than a heathen? We wish that governments were more Christian than they are; that those who compose them were religious men; that they conducted the secu. lar affairs of the empire under the influence of Christian principle; and, especially, that they made conscience of not intruding into the presence of Him who alone is Lord of the conscience.
“The battle of Establishments,” said the Duke of Wellington, several years ago, “ must be fought in Scotland.” It has been begun; and if Scotch voluntaries bestir themselves, and prove true to their principles, the day cannot be far distant when their efforts shall be crowned with victory.
MIALL AND COCKSHAW, PRINTERS, HORSE-SHOE COURT, LUDOATE HILL,
Liberation of Religion from all State-interference.
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This Association was formed in May, 1844, at a Conference composed of upwards of 700 delegates, from all parts of the kingdom.
The following is the FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE on which it based :
"That ali legislation by secular governments in affairs of religion is an encroach. ment upon the rights of conscience, and a usurpation of the Divine authority; and that the application of the resources of the State to the maintenance of any form of religious worship or instruction, is unsound in principle, hostile to liberty, and opposed to the word of God.”
ITS OBJECT is to obtain THE SEPARATION OF THE CHURCH FROM THE STATE.
It does NOT seek the destruction of the Church of England, or an alteration in its doctrines and forms of worship, but to render it self-supported and self-governed, like other religious bodies.
While it holds that the bulk of the property now applied to the support of the Church really belongs to THE NATION, and ought to be applied to secular and strictly national purposes, it would SCRUPULOUSLY RESPECT ALL EXISTING RIGHTS AND LIFE-INTERESTS.
IT IS UNSECTARIAN in its constitution and object, and it asks for the co-operation alike of Churchmen and Dissenters, and of all who believe State-esnablishments of religion to be injurious to both the religious and the political welfare of the people.
Nearly 600 meetings, &c., were held in England, Scotland, and Wales, in the three years ending 1850.
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