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never for a moment looked
the commodity can
be perous. Had to be abandoned counted upon with confidence. on sheer obligation.
But that is never the case with Now, if that is the true an- such bargains as the proposed swer to the question, “Why no agreement with Russia—which agreement with Russia ? ' should never be heard of again much the more reason is there till the suggestion comes from for regretting the querulous per- St Petersburg. sistency of the inquiry. The fact being that no such agreement can be got, that it is denied, that it is obtainable So far, no speech on the only on humiliating and haz- troubles in the Church has ardous conditions, that, to com- made so deep an impression as mon knowledge, it would not the pregnant little sermon adbe trustworthy for as many dressed to the House of Lords years as there are days in the by the Prime Minister. There week—the clamour for it seems is a mastery of words which, worse than undignified. Un- while it conveys one plain dignified it certainly is. After meaning in a full, unbroken, a well - remembered speech of unconfused stream of light, carMr Chamberlain's, he
ried other and auxiliary meanloudly reproved for presenting ings by rays imperceptible. It England to the world as is a mastery of which we are beggar for alliances. It could always sensible in the greater be said with much greater poets, often in such prose as truth that large numbers of Burke's; and though Lord her more thoughtful citizens Salisbury's powerful mind is are praying their Government not poetical, and though it has to buy off the Russian advance, no cousinship with the like of so that they may live at peace Burke's, the same fine faculty within whatever lines may be comes out in his speeches very determined by the bargain. strongly sometimes. It did so Of course, I am not speaking on this occasion, when judgnow of the limited arrangement ment and feeling were both in Chinese affairs which Lord moved to speak. Salisbury (they say) is endeav- The confessional, which has ouring to make with Russia, succeeded the “mass” as the but of the general live-and-let- main point of dispute between live agreement, extended over English Catholics and Protesnearly the whole of the East, tants, was Lord Salisbury's which has so long been the aim theme. Lord Kinnaird had of a certain British sagesse. At moved for returns showing the bottom the
cry for such an agree- number of churches in which ment is an offer to purchase rest the confessional had become an and peace. And rest and peace established thing. The Bishop may be wisely bought some- of Winchester had said that “no times, no doubt : it may be greater calamity could befall wisely bought when retention the English Church” (nation
would have been the better that between these two word) “than that the practice shall have to choose, the Prime of private confession should Minister ended as follows :become general.” The Arch
"I greatly fear that if men wish bishop of York had said that to confess to men, or perhaps I should “if it would be any comfort put it more accurately by saying if to the noble lord, he could
women wish to confess to men, all
the power that this Parliament posassure him that no
sesses will not avail seriously to a greater dread than he him
arrest the process.
The power of self of anything like private arresting it lies with the organisation confession going beyond the
over which right rev. prelates precarefully - defined limits laid flocks and they cannot do it too
side. It is for them to teach their down in the Book of Common earnestly or too often -- the evils Prayer.” The Bishop of Win- which may attend habitual and chester had also said that he systematic secret confession. But
let us be careful lest we hinder their had “always considered it the
work and prevent them from doing duty of the bishops to do
bishops to do that which it is their proper charge everything in their power to to carry out, by bringing in the arm repress the practice; yet the of the flesh, which never yet beat question still is how it should down a religious error and has often
made the evil worse than before." be done. It was to this point that Lord Salisbury addressed Now the beauty of this little himself. He entirely agreed in series of sayings — they comdreading the growth of habitual prise nearly the whole of the confession in the Church of speech—is this. While strongly England. “If there were any impressing his audience in and means of repressing or dis- out of the House of Lords with couraging the practice, such his main purpose — dissuasion means would deserve all from attempting to cure the consideration,” “But," said he, disorders of the Church by Act “remember that you are deal- of Parliament—he puts these ing with a spiritual question. same disorders in the shrewdest I very much doubt whether light, pictures the excess to Parliament will find that its which they are tending, shows powers are adequate to accom- how untenable the Catholic plish the end which I believe position is while repeating the the enormous
of the Catholic account of it, suggests people desire. I fear that you by alarming innuendo the are undertaking an effort to necessity of combating what coerce consciences, which greater Parliament can hardly touch, powers even than the British points to a strangely unatParliament have failed to effect, tempted way of making the and that you are more likely fight,--and accomplishes all this to increase the disease than to without giving the least ground stop it.” After declaring that of offence to anybody.
No he would rather have the open Roman-Anglican can complain confessional box in the church of it, and it does its work in than the secret interview in the many a breast unconscious of vestry, and after warning us the Minister's intention.
Look again to what the outrage. Then we reflect-again speech asserts, implies, sug- at Lord Salisbury's suggestion gests. The practice of hab- —that as to coercing the conitual confession in the English science of the Romanising AnChurch is described as a disease. glican priest, no such thing has An indication of its character ever been proposed; while outis given (rightly or wrongly, rage of the Protestant conscience but certainly not by accident) is practised every day. Habitual identifying it with an old social confession is one of various and domestic trouble, particu- things which
false and larly grievous to fathers of abhorrent teaching in the families, and not long ago sup- Church of England. What is posed to be reformed out of the conscience of the man who, existence. That the evil should entering the Church as its serspread is much to be dreaded, vant, sworn against subverting but, we
are told, not to be its doctrine and bound not to do doubted; for its disseminators so by common honesty, persists are such that if they cannot in inculcating habitual confeshave open confessional boxes sion? And in what but a ridicin the church, they will have ulous sense can it be averred secret interviews in the vestry. that this same conscience is As matters stand, indeed, “it coerced when its owner is bidden is between these two that you to leave the Church if he must will have to choose"; and the needs play traitor by remainconfessional box is recom- ing? And-spiritual question mended for preference. Con- here, spiritual question therefessional boxes are illegal, but if, this being a spiritual quesit would be judicious to bow tion, certain sacerdotalists may to the illegality rather than lawlessly reimport evils which risk the only other alternative the Reformation expelled, why, -secret resort to the vestry. this being a spiritual question, Resistance is vain. Govern- may not Protestants find ment, parliament, law—there way of preventing them with is no help in them : the griev- a similar independence of law ance must be endured.
and the State ? Even that Now these are really counsels question arises quite naturally of desperation; and such they from the Prime Minister's are found to be when, their speech, being implanted therein tissue wrappages stripping from by the speaker. them in the process, they sink We may believe, however, and dissolve into the mind that there would have been Taking new shape there, a story less of stirring suggestion in of what must be endured re- the speech but for the wise solves into a tale of what should word of counsel with which it on no account be borne. That
was to end. This wise word consciences cannot be coerced is was addressed to the bishops; no more true, we perceive, than and they have only to act upon that consciences ought not to be it as their duty and the occaviolated or tamely submit to sion demands-learning at last
- and a
to underrate neither
demned. The doers of the evil great incalculable mischief will are priests over whom the be reduced to nought. After bishops have authority. But saying that all the power that the people whom these priests this Parliament possesses will mislead are also the charge of not avail seriously to arrest it, the bishops. The priests hold Lord Salisbury added, “The that they have as good a right power of averting it lies with to judge of what is sound and the organisation over which expedient in matters of doctrine the right reverend prelates pre- and ceremonial as the bishops side. It is for these to teach themselves. Speaking genertheir flocks—and they cannot ally, the people are of a difdo it too earnestly too ferent opinion, but interpret often—the evils that may at the bishop's silence as betokentend habitual and systematic ing agreement or at least consecret confession."
sent. His silence, therefore, There is a little ambiguity convenient
be of language here, no doubt; between himself and his and but for the nature of the Romanising clergy,
clergy, is incase it might be possible to fidelity to the people. Surely contend that this exhortation that is a reproach which the is addressed to the ordinary bishops (who are all in it) Protestant Church clergyman, must desire to clear away, now and not at all to the bishops that its consequences appear. themselves. But besides that Discovery of the fault, and the words bear against that the good sense of the Prime contention, it is otherwise in- Minister, invite them to repair credible. How likely is it that damages; and, fortunately, this the Catholic Anglican priest, they can do over the heads of weaving the glamour of the their Romanising priests, and confessional about his flock, without putting themselves to will desist
desist at the voice of the pain of naming any one of the mere Protestant minister them. Why should not the preaching in the next parish? bishops begin by taking this Lord Salisbury is far too wise -the shortest, the easiest, a man to found his hopes on and perhaps the most effective such a probability as that. at their command, and blest, No. His admonition was ad- too, with the happy advantage dressed to the bishops, and that it neither prosecutes nor with reason good indeed. persecutes, and cannot make
Silent while for years an evil martyrs? Why should they change has been working in the not address themselves to the Church, the bishops have now laity direct, not merely anbeen compelled to open their nouncing the true doctrine of eyes upon it, and to acknow- the Church in such matters as ledge that it is evil. Not, of transubstantiation and confescourse, all that is complained sion, but expounding them, of, but some things, such as defending them, and more parthis that Lord Salisbury con- ticularly making known why
they differ from similar doctrine Church ” might be turned to in the Church of Rome? When happy account after all. the bishops of the Reformed That, however, they will not Church of England speak do. It would seem to them of the " evils” that
contentious, a prolongation of from the confessional, they disquietude, offensive to Roman know precisely what they Catholics. In all that they say
. mean. Men of reading and men on the matter their cure for the of thought, it is not to them a evils that spot the Church is word of vague generality, ex- plainly seen: it is to fold them pressive (as it often is in other in, and cover them down, and applications) of small mis- think of them no more. If left chiefs and annoyances.
They unnoticed, they will presently cannot utter the word in this disappear. Similar disorders connection without raising be- have been safely treated in fore their eyes evils that are that way, no doubt; but with evils indeed : evils that enter this one it is different. We are with sap and mine into every
presence of a turn to the relation of life, every function Church of Rome from causes of citizenship, finally reaching so natural that it was expected. to the foundations of national One of these causes is the revolt character. These are the evils from agnosticism-terror at the which the bishops declare them- outlook from Mount Science. selves so sensible of, and it is Others are the softenings of of them that Lord Salisbury luxury, the growth of a cravspeaks when he says that, in ing emotionalism, a fashionable the present state of the Church, twist to Rome, an æsthetical its prelates cannot warn the twist in the same direction. people against them too earn- These
- of which the estly or too often. Questions of ightest may be more lasting swinging censers and lighting than they seem — have been
candles and praying to saints turned to full account by the may most properly employ the sacerdotalists in the Church; princes of the Church—that is and they have a long field not denied; but the main of before them yet. In these cir
. their duty at the present time cumstances, minor questions of is this. It was never much ritual need not concern us much. less, and they have doubled its Shelter should be denied, of obligations by neglecting them. course, to Romanising priests But if now they would only in the English Church; and, apply themselves to their duty that determined, the prelacy with the learning and the au- should follow Lord Salisbury's thority they possess, and with counsel with all the eloquence the heart and fervour they they are possessed of and all might borrow from the great the ardour of which they are divines of old, the “crisis in the capable.