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necessary concomitant, a constant elevation of the standard of veracity, the end of the evolution of theology will be like its beginning-it will cease to have any relation to ethics. I suppose that so long as the human mind exists, it will not escape its deep-seated instinct to personify its intellectual conceptions. The science of the present day is as full of this particular form of intellectual shadow-worship as is the nescience of ignorant ages. The difference is that the philosopher who is worthy of the name knows that his personified hypotheses, such as law, and force, and ether, and the like, are merely useful symbols, while the ignorant and the careless take them for adequate expressions of reality. So it may be, that the majority of mankind may find the practice of morality made easier by the use of theological symbols. And, unless these are converted from symbols into idols, I do not see that science has anything to say to the prac tice, except to give an occasional warning of its dangers. But, when such symbols are dealt with as real existences, I think the highest duty which is laid upon men of science is to show that these dogmatic idols have no greater value than the fabrications of men's hands, the stocks and the stones, which they have replaced.




FEW men can have watched the movements of opinion during the past year without being impressed by the change of attitude observable in the two contending parties engaged upon the assault and defence of the possessions of that mysterious entity which goes by the name of the Church of England.

This entity it must be premised, so far as it has a collective existence, exists in the person of certain officials who are supposed to be devoting their lives to certain duties, and are in the possession of funds which, after every deduction from the grossly exaggerated estimates of the rhetoricians, are certainly very large and yet are being added to every week by the lavish offerings of the English people. We must go back to a remote past if we desire to trace the origin of that reserve fund for the maintenance of our clergy on which they now live; a fund which has gone on growing, sometimes rapidly, sometimes slowly, for considerably more than a thousand years.

When people talk of disendowing the Church of England, they mean that this accumulated fund shall be confiscated by the nation for whose benefit it exists, and that it shall no longer be used for the purpose to which it has been so long devoted.

But what is this Church that is to be despoiled and beggared, to be disestablished and disendowed? We cannot call it a corporation, for it has no corporate existence as a chartered company or a college has. It has no representatives in the Lower House of Parliament, as the universities have. It has no common council with disciplinary powers, as the Incorporated Society of Law or the Inns of Court have. It has no voice speaking with authority, no homogeneity deserving the name. It cannot pass ordinances for the regulation of its minutest affairs, or impose rules of conduct upon any one, or levy the smallest contribution from man, woman, or child by its own decrees. You may call it an army if you please; but it is an army in which the commissioned officers have no control over the rank and file, no power of enforcing attendance at drill, no articles of war which any one heeds, and no generals whom any one fears. This mysterious entity, which is the sum-total of a multitude of more or less isolated units, we say is the owner of lands and buildings and

rent-charge, and this property it is said is the property of the Church -the Church? Nos numerus sumus!

Without any very great misuse of language, it may be said that among us there is another mysterious entity; this, too, the sum-total of a number of isolated units. These units, too, were only the other day in possession of houses and lands, and buildings considered to be public buildings; the units were almost in the same position as the clergy are at this moment, freeholders and practically irremovable; they were expected to perform certain duties which, as a rule, they performed with zeal and fidelity. In many cases, when sickness or old age came upon them, they discharged their functions by deputy; they had practically little or no discipline of control over them; 'visitors' who never visited, feoffees who never interfered, governors who never governed. Each of these functionaries was called a schoolmaster, and the building in which he officiated was called a School. The sum-total of these many units had no name; but if the public buildings were rightly called schools, the aggregate of them might for convenience be called the School. A noun of multitude, standing in the same relation to its units as the current term 'the Church' does to its units-the Churches.

To whom did the property from which the schools were kept in efficiency, and their masters furnished with a maintenance-sometimes with much more than a mere maintenance-to whom did this property belong? I can find but one answer. It was the property of the nation; a reserve fund which the nation had permitted certain individuals to set apart from time to time for the furtherance of the education of the people, the object aimed at being considered so excellent that the conditions imposed by the founder upon posterity were allowed to remain in force, he being supposed to have entered into a contract with the nation that, in consideration of the value of the surrender made, the reserve of property should be sanctioned, and the conditions imposed be held to be binding upon posterity. The land or the rent-charges which yesterday were private possessions ceased to be so to-day: they were private property; they became public property, and constituted the Educational Reserve.

I can no longer resist the conviction that, as in the one case so in the other, the nation may reconsider its treaty with School or Church; may determine that the reserve hitherto set apart for the education of a class, or a district, or the founder's kin, should no longer be applied according to the compact sanctioned in previous ages, and may in the same way reconsider its compact with the alienation of property now known as Church property, and deal with that far larger reserve hitherto applied for the promotion of the moral and spiritual welfare of the people. The nation has the right to do this, as it undoubtedly has the power. Whether in this case

summum jus would not be found to be summa injuria is quite another question.

But it is one thing to say this large reserve shall be administered otherwise than it is, and quite another thing to say that it shall cease to exist as a reserve at all. It is one thing to deal with our ecclesiastical endowments on the lines that school endowments have been dealt with, and quite another to deal with them as Henry the Eighth dealt with the property of the religious houses. To adopt the one course would be readjustment, to adopt the other would be confiscation. Nevertheless, if the majority of the new electorate should decidedly and unequivocally pronounce that such is its pleasure, assuredly the property now held in reserve in the shape of religious endowments will be confiscated. Religion will be the luxury of the rich and well-to-do; the proletariate and the agricultural labourer will have to supply themselves with an inferior article, or to do without it altogether.

If a revolution so tremendous, if a calamity so overwhelming, is to befall this nation, and is to take effect by the deliberate choice of its people, at least let a great nation address itself to the task with the semblance of dignity; at least let it be clearly explained and firmly adhered to that the clergy reserve is not to be given over to general pillage. Do not be guilty of the baseness of bidding for the votes of the proletariate by holding out hopes of a general scramble. Do not corrupt the poor dwellers in the villages by inviting them to embark in a filibustering raid upon their friends and neighbours.

It is a question which a philosopher might worthily employ himself in answering-how it has come to pass that during the last fifty years the struggle for supremacy between political parties has tended to become less and less a regular warfare and to assume more and more the character of a game. Nay! It is rapidly developing into a game rather more of chance than of skill, and one in which the most daring and reckless adventurer is just as likely to sweep off the stakes as the most gifted and sagacious player. It is one of the most unhappy results of this condition of affairs that there has grown up in our midst a class of touts and hangers-on who do the dirty work of either side and bring discredit upon both. They are the swell-mob of politics. Such creatures live by inventing grievances and fomenting discontent, their doctrine being that whatever is is wrong; their artillery is always charged with explosive promises. These men are going up and down the land loudly proclaiming that the parsons have robbed the poor of their own, and are holding out to their dupes the wildest hopes that when the spoliation comes the poor shall be the first to benefit by the great change. We shall never be able to silence the voice of charlatans. The sausage-seller in Aristophanes is the type of a class of men who have

found no scope for their talents in any honest calling, and who because they must live have been forced into the trade of lying vociferously. I do not write for these to these I have no word to say. It is with the men whose hearts are throbbing with some patriotism and who have not lost all loyalty to truth and honour that I desire to have my dealings. It is with such that I would humbly and earnestly expostulate, whatever (their philosophical or political opinions, and whatever may be their creed. Even if it were as easy to prove, as it is demonstrably the reverse, that there ever did exist in England at any time or in any place a right on the part of the poor to any portion of the tithes of a parish or to the glebe, who, it may be asked, are the poor? The receivers of parochial relief, whether in the workhouse or outside it? Or every able-bodied peasant who claims to belong to the needy classes? Are you going to ask the agricultural labourer to cry for spoliation and to bribe him to raise the cry by the promise of converting him into what our fathers called a sturdy beggar'? And then are there no poor artisans? Are the millions of our towns to be left out in the cold while Hodge disports himself with his new possessions? Are Liverpool and East London to go on as they are, while Little Mudborough is to enjoy a feast of fat things?

But the demagogues who live to corrupt the people have promises to make to others than the labourers. They are telling the tenant-farmers, too, that they will be gainers by the great confiscation, and endeavouring to persuade them, too, that when it comes they will be relieved from the burden of the tithes. Would they be so? If the payment of tithe were abolished to-morrow, can any sane man believe that the tenant-farmer would be allowed to put the tithe into his pocket or to keep it there? Can any sane man believe that rents would not rise exactly in proportion to the amount of charges from which the tenant was relieved? Rent is nothing more than the money payment supposed to represent the just return which the owner claims from the occupier for the privilege of cultivating his land. The occupier makes his account and calculates how much he can gain by the compact. The landlord's share is his rent. He is the sleeping partner. Relieve the expenses of the going concern from the payment of the tithe, or, which is the same thing, add it to the profits, and what power on earth will prevent the landlord, directly or indirectly, sooner or later, absorbing the proceeds of the newly-created bonus?

Moreover, if you begin to do away with the tithes,' are you going to do away with them only in the case where the parson receives them and does something—at any rate something-in return for the income he derives from them? Are you going to let the tithes be levied as before where they are paid to laymen, to corporations, or colleges? Are those tithes which are necessarily spent in the parish by the resident parson to be done away with,' but all such tithes as

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