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our ideas of territorial aggrandizement on the eastern coast of Africa have now become obsolete, the late Lord Aberdeen entertained strong opinions as to its necessity. Believing that we must ultimately lose India, it was thought that an extension of territory in Africa would afford compensation for the loss. But this notion is given up, though had it assumed a practical form, our influence in Africa must have been very great, had we wisely allied ourselves to Abyssinia and assisted in developing the resources of the country. At present we seek only the liberation of the captives, and when this object is attained, our troops will at once retire. In anticipation of our destruction of Abyssinian power, the Viceroy of Egypt has opportunely sent 10,000 troops to the frontier, and when the British have wrecked the Christian power that has so long resisted him, he will find little difficulty in substantiating the claim that Turkey has for centuries laid to Abyssinia. The power of resistance being removed, the Mohammedan wave will soon extinguish the light of Christianity, and the evils that have everywhere followed in its course will soon fall with inevitable precision on one of the oldest Christian nations in the world.
Yet one result of the expedition may possibly emit a ray of light amid the general gloom. Christian England may plant Mohammedanism in Abyssinia, but science will probably be enriched thereby. At the instance of Sir Roderick Murchison, the Government have sent scientific men with the expedition, whose labours must be in accordance with the length of occupation. Geographers will see latitudes and longitudes, as well as altitudes, accurately defined ; while representatives of other sciences will explain the characters and relations of the rocks, and will add to our acquaintance with the fauna and flora of the country, as well as with the antiquities of the old Greek cities of Adulis and Axum. We shall look with great curiosity for the antiquarian revelations of Mr. Deutsch. Rüppell discovered much that was rare in Abyssinian literature; we hope Mr. Deutsch will find even greater treasures. In Adulis and Axum will be found evidences of a past civilization, which existed in Abyssinia at a very remote period. Remains of far greater antiquity than the Greek settlements have already been found, bearing Amharic' inscriptions. In Arabia and Babylonia, Sir Henry Rawlinson has found characters in Amharic, some of which he dated at 1,000 B.C., and others at 3,000 B.C. For more of these interesting treasures we shall anxiously and hopefully wait.
The view we have taken of the Abyssinian question is not calculated to excite enthusiasm in favour of the course pursued;
The Church of England in 1867.
but we have endeavoured to be impartial and unprejudiced, taking common sense, obvious facts, and simple reason as our guides. If the progress of events should dispel the gloomy apprehensions we now entertain, we shall heartily rejoice to see the glory of England untarnished by the enterprise, and her name saved from additional reproach.
SRT. VII.-(1.) First Report of the Royal Commission on Ritual.
(2.) The Church Congress at Wolverhampton.
(3.) The Pan-Anglican Synod. The Church of England is at length fairly afloat on the current of the age, and is feeling all the agitation of this restless time. Last of all institutions to be moved from its moorings by the force of the ever-gathering tide, it is now rocking most violently of all the things that have been set afloat, and is casting more foam on the surface of the social stream than any other. The 'soporiferous period’ of the Church (to borrow Lord Derby's latest bon mot) has entirely passed away, and the whole body is entirely awake. The spirit that for years past has been stirring Westminister Hall has now aroused the neighbouring Abbey; and the noisy activity of the State has compelled its bride—the Church-to open her eyes to the broad daylight that is streaming upon her. The comfortable somnolency of the last century, which extended from Lambeth itself down to the snuggest and ivy-est of country parsonages, when the Church lay without a care and almost without a dream on her State couch, has been rudely dispelled ; and the last thing that anybody in the Church, from archbishop to agricultural curate, can reasonably look for is rest. Even the farnily rector, with a nobleman for his patron, who has undertaken the cure of a parish of some three hundred souls, at the moderate rate of £3 per head per annum, is liable to perpetual disturbance from the weekly visits of the Record, or the Church Times, or the John Bull
. If he be Evangelical, Dr. Colenso and Mr. Mackonochie will be sure to disturb him sorely. If he be Ritualist, probably he will find quite enough sources of unrest in his own parish, without seeking them elsewhere. And if he be neither, the squabbles of the other two will effectually break up his peace.
There are, happily, also, better signs than these of the altered condition of the Church. It is not alone by her strifes that she is showing symptoms of a condition of wakefulness and life, but also by her manifold religious activities. In her new-born fervour to do her proper work, some of her extravagancies are but the exuberant growth of a strongly healthy life: mistakes, that come of an unwise zeal, but which are unspeakably better than the apathy which makes no blunders, because it makes no attempts. In many of the large towns of the kingdom she is sending a little army of cūrates amongst the poor, with needful secular as well as spiritual help. In country districts she is working hard, if not well, at the education of the
poor; and we will not here question either her motives or her methods. There are moreover unmistakable indications that a very large portion of her members, both lay and clerical, are at length conscious of some of her defects, and anxious to remedy them. They are beginning to open their eyes to the fact, that for a National Church to be the Church of only half the nation is a thing for which they cannot be wholly without blame; that the existence of a vigorous, powerful Nonconformity, numerically its equal, alongside of itself, recognised by the law equally with itself, and in much of its action, not only separate from, but antagonist to itself, is a matter not to be acquiesced in, without at least considering whether anything can be done to alter so sad a condition of affairs. They feel the burden of this huge artisan class, which is multiplying at an enormous rate every day, and which has somehow outgrown all existing religious agencies, and slidden or torn itself out of the grasp of religious love; and they are taking their full share in efforts that are directed to the evangelization of the world.
Unless the Church had been hopelessly dead, it was impossible but that this arousing should come. The separate departments of human affairs are not wholly isolated from each other and incapable of being mutually affected by each other's movements ; on the contrary, they are the common growths of one life in diverse directions; they are the separate branches of one tree, and the sap which the spring-time sends up in one direction tends towards them all; they are the diverse organs of one and the same body, and the revival that comes to any life-centre must, unless some part be paralyzed, spread itself to the whole. The marvellous activity which marks our age, involving the casting aside of a whole host of things which our grandfathers thought supremely comfortable, and beautiful, and useful; and the substitution for them of things immeasurably more convenient and pleasant and serviceable, and this immense and universal quickening of the human pulse have extended
their influence to every human thing. Religious thought and action have felt it; and the quaintness of the past, both in thought and speech and dress, has departed. This vigorous young manhood, very radical in its tendencies, will not wear the stiff, brocaded and laced garments of its ancestors, nor utter its music through its nose. The Church of England, comprising a great portion of the religious life of England, could not help feeling the influence of such a change. Both her ritualism and her rationalism are natural outgrowths from the new sap of the age, the peculiarity of the products being due to the abnormal conditions under which they have been brought forth. The source of each of them is precisely the same as that which is sending the broad brim, the high collar, and the bad grammar of the Quakers to the limbo of the dead past.
But all such times have their dangers. They are testing times. When this human ebb has spent itself, and turns back again to flood, all rickety and rotten craft must look to it; in the upheaving and jostling and on-moving which must ensue, only those vessels that ride easily at their moorings, that obey the helm well, and are easily handled, can hope to escape damage. When the spirit of an age is changing, and all human things are being carried in a new direction, those which are pliable and adaptable will have the best of it; with things of an opposite character it must go hard. The people who live in railway times, and persist that they will ride in nothing but stage coaches, will have, for the most part, to stay at home; and there is not much doubt but that even religious affairs are subject to the same law. Changeless, and one as is the truth on which the Church is built, the Church of each age is but the human form which the truth is made to assume; and this must be subject to the laws that affect all human affairs. So, though a Church may be able to trace its history for centuries, and boast of its changelessness through them all, certain it is, that when one of these new human cycles comes, if it cannot alter and adapt itself to the new times, it must be overpowered and swept away. These currents and cycles are Divine ordinances, that come of great inward working laws: they have been traced beforehand by the finger of Providence. The Church's forms are not necessarily such; they are very often the results of human weakness, passion, or mistake : and so, if ever there should be a conflict between the two, there can be no doubt which must give way.
The Church of England, as by law established, is in the very worst condition for passing safely through such a crisis as the present. She is the most rigid of all imaginable institutions.
She possesses the least possible power of self-adaptation to altered circumstances and times. The minutest particular of change must first be framed into an Act of Parliament, read a first, second, and third time in each House of Parliament, and receive the Royal assent, before it can be carried out. Nor is this all. All this might be done rapidly and easily, and as mere matter of form, if there were no differences of opinion, and no debate. But it is certain that such will never be the case; and that for every little item of change there will have to be strenuous battle, with its hubbub and delays. The entire re-casting of the formularies of the Church is a thing which some of the wisest and most earnest of her children have seen to be most desirable, -absolutely necessary, indeed, if she is to retain her hold of that portion of the nation which is now included in her pale: but it is beginning to be felt that such a thing is hardly possible, and that the attempt might involve the utter breaking up of the Church itself. The strife of the seventeenth century would have to be renewed in hotter fashion; and the hostile sections of the Church, which at present must be content with muttering mutual anathemas, would be brought into close and keen conflict, each striving with its might to give the new Prayer Book a character suited to its own particular views. We have seen already how powerless is the Evangelical element of the Church either to cast out the Ritualistic element, or to compel it into conformity with Protestant usage; what would be the tumult and strife if the tables were turned, and the Ritualistic element were to endeavour to compel its opponent into conformity with its own interpretation of the rubrics? Let the times change as they may, and demand institutions to fit the altered habits of men, a Church by law established is the last organization that can change with them, and is therefore exposed to much danger. It is the price which such an institution must pay for the privilege of being established.
What wonder, then, that we should find such symptoms of unrest and dissatisfaction with her own position as are indicated in the issue of a Royal Commission to inquire into the Ritualistic movement, the Pan-Anglican Synod, and the discussions at Wolverhampton of the Church Congress of 1867. We know not how Churchmen in their hearts interpret these signs; for us they have a most significant interest; they point surely to an inevitably approaching issue, for which both ourselves and the friends of the Establishment will do well to be prepared. Let us be allowed to say, that we have no pleasure at all in the sufferings of a friend, except as those sufferings may be regarded as the inevitable prelude to the healthier and