Occasional Papers eBook

Richard William Church
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 378 pages of information about Occasional Papers.
a way which even its framers did not contemplate, has brought so much distress into the Church, and which yet, in defiance of principle, of consistency, and of the admission of its faultiness, is so recklessly maintained.  Feeling and stating very strongly the evil sustained by the Church, from the suspension of her legislative powers,—­“that loss of command over her work, and over the heart of the nation, which it has brought upon her,”—­so strongly indeed that his words, coming from one familiar with the chances and hazards of a deliberative assembly, give new weight to the argument for the resumption of those powers,—­feeling all this, he is ready to acquiesce in the measure beyond which the Bishops did not feel authorised to go, and which Mr. Gladstone regards as “representing the extremest point up to which the love of peace might properly carry the concessions of the Church":—­

That which she is entitled in the spirit of the Constitution to demand would be that the Queen’s ecclesiastical laws shall be administered by the Queen’s ecclesiastical judges, of whom the Bishops are the chief; and this, too, under the checks which the sitting of a body appointed for ecclesiastical legislation would impose.
But if it is not of vital necessity that a Church Legislature should sit at the present time—­if it is not of vital necessity that all causes termed ecclesiastical should be treated under special safeguards—­if it is not of vital necessity that the function of judgment should be taken out of the hands of the existing court—­let the Church frankly and at once subscribe to every one of these great concessions, and reduce her demands to a minimum at the outset.
Laws ecclesiastical by ecclesiastical judges, let this be her principle; it plants her on the ground of ancient times, of the Reformation, of our continuous history, of reason and of right.  The utmost moderation, in the application of the principle, let this he her temper, and then her case will be strong in the face of God and man, and, come what may, she will conquer....  If, my Lord, it be felt by the rulers of the Church, that a scheme like this will meet sufficiently the necessities of her case, it must be no small additional comfort to them to feel that their demand is every way within the spirit of the Constitution, and short of the terms which the great compact of the Reformation would authorise you to seek.  You, and not those who are against you, will take your stand with Coke and Blackstone; you, and not they, will wield the weapons of constitutional principle and law; you, and not they, will be entitled to claim the honour of securing the peace of the State no less than the faith of the Church; you, and not they, will justly point the admonitory finger to those remarkable words of the Institutes:—­
“And certain it is, that this Kingdom hath been best governed, and peace and quiet preserved, when both parties, that is, when the
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Occasional Papers from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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