Occasional Papers eBook

Richard William Church
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 378 pages of information about Occasional Papers.
and sarcasm with a large portion of the press.  It has been equally obnoxious to Radical small shopkeepers and “true blue” farmers and their squires.  It has been mobbed in churches and censured in Parliament.  Things have gone against it, almost uniformly, before the tribunals.  And unfortunately it cannot be said that it has been without its full share of folly and extravagance in some of its members.  And yet it is the party which has grown; which has drawn some of its antagonists to itself, and has reacted on the ideas and habits of others; its members have gradually, as a matter of course, risen into important post and power.  And it is to be noticed that, as a party, it has been the most tolerant.  All parties are in their nature intolerant; none more so, where critical points arise, than Liberal ones.  But in spite of the Dean of Westminster’s surprise at High Churchmen claiming to be tolerant, we still think that, in the first place, they are really much less inclined to meddle with their neighbours than others of equally strong and deep convictions; and further, that they have become so more and more; and they have accepted the lessons of their experience; they have thrown off, more than any strong religious body, the intolerance which was natural to everybody once, and have learned, better than they did at one time, to bear with what they dislike and condemn.  If a party like this comes to feel itself dealt with harshly and unfairly, sacrificed to popular clamour or the animosity of inveterate and unscrupulous opponents, it is certain that we shall be in great danger.

V

MR. GLADSTONE’S LETTER ON THE ENGLISH CHURCH[7]

  [7]
  Guardian, 29th October 1884.

Mr. Gladstone’s Letter, read at the St. Asaph Diocesan Conference, will not have surprised those who have borne in mind his deep and unintermitted interest in the fortunes and prospects of the Church, and his habit of seeking relief from the pressure of one set of thoughts and anxieties by giving full play to his mental energies in another direction.  Its composition and appearance at this moment are quite accounted for; it is a contribution to the business of the conference of his own diocese, and it was promised long before an autumn session on a great question between the two Houses was in view.  Still the appearance of such a document from a person in Mr. Gladstone’s position must, of course, invite attention and speculation.  He may put aside the questions which the word “Disestablishment”—­which was in the thesis given him to write upon—­is likely to provoke—­“Will it come? ought it to come? must it come?  Is it near, or somewhat distant, or indefinitely remote?” On these questions he has not a word to say.  But, all the same, people will naturally try to read between the lines, and to find out what was in the writer’s thoughts about these questions.  We cannot, however, see that there is anything to be gathered from the Letter as to the political aspect of the matter; he simply confines himself to the obvious lesson which passing events sufficiently bring with them, that whatever may come it is our business to be prepared.

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Occasional Papers from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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