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Richard William Church
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 378 pages of information about Occasional Papers.

The question really calling for solution is—­How to reconcile the just freedom of individual teachers in the Church with the maintenance of the right and duty of the Church to uphold the substantial meaning of her body of doctrine?  In answering this question we can get no help from this volume.  It simply argues that the present is practically the best of all possible courts; that it is a great improvement, which probably it is, on the Courts of Delegates; and that great confidence ought to be felt in its decisions.  We are further shown how jealously and carefully the judges have guarded the right of the individual teacher.  But it seems to us, according to the views put forward in this book, that as the price of all this—­of great learning, weight, and ability in the judges—­of great care taken of liberty—­the Church is condemned to an interpretation of the Royal Supremacy which floats between the old arbitrary view of it and the modern Liberal one, and which uses each, as it happens to be most convenient, against the claim of the Church to protect her doctrine and exert a real influence on the authoritative declaration of it.  We all need liberty, and we all ought to be ready to give the reasonable liberty which we profess to claim for ourselves.  But it is a heavy price to pay for it, if the right and the power is to be taken out of the hands of the Church to declare what is the real meaning of what she supposes herself bound to teach.

IV

SIR JOHN COLERIDGE ON THE PURCHAS CASE[5]

[5] Remarks on Some Parts of the Report of the Judicial Committee in the Case of “Elphinstone against Purchas." A Letter to Canon Liddon, from the Right Hon. Sir J.T.  Coleridge. Guardian, 5th April 1871.

No one has more right to speak with authority, or more deserves to be listened to at a difficult and critical moment for the Church, than Sir J.T.  Coleridge.  An eminent lawyer, and a most earnest and well-informed Churchman, he combines in an unusual way claims on the attention of all who care for the interests of religion, and for those, too, which are so deeply connected with them, the interests of England.  The troubles created by the recent judgment have induced him to come forward from his retirement with words of counsel and warning.

The gist of his Letter may be shortly stated.  He is inclined to think the decision arrived at by the Judicial Committee a mistaken one.  But he thinks that it would be a greater and a worse mistake to make this decision, wrong as it may be, a reason for looking favourably on disestablishment as a remedy for what is complained of.  We are glad to note the judgment of so fair an observer and so distinguished a lawyer, himself a member of the Privy Council, both on the intrinsic suitableness and appropriateness of the position[6] which has been ruled to be illegal, and on the unsatisfactoriness of the interpretation

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