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State ought not to lend any aid to religion, though there is no objection on the part of the world to control and parcel out the things belonging to the Church as if they were public property.

In theory, the Crown is over all persons, and in all causes within these dominions, supreme. This is a supremacy in religious matters such as Jewish kings and Christian emperors have exercised; none are excepted, no sect or religious denomination is exempt, theoretically, from this influence; but, practically, it is regarded as a mere fiction. Dissenters ignore it : they have set up an imperium in imperio totally independent of the Crown, and instead of considering toleration as a favour or indulgence, accorded to them in compliance with their religious prejudices, they scorn the very idea of a Royal supremacy in their religious (or irreligious) proceedings. They will not even concede it to the Church. While they have been assuming greater independence and an overbearing assurance, the freedom of action in the Church has been gradually narrowed. The revival of Convocation has, so far, formed no exception to this. The Church, instead of being governed by the Queen and Convocation, is subjected to the legislative jurisdiction of Dissenters, Jews, and Nothing-arians, who have not the modesty to accord to the Church that liberty which they are such sticklers for themselves. What to them are the solemn obligations by which the Crown has bound itself to exercise faithfully its ecclesiastical

functions? They virtually deny the existence of such functions, and would put on an air of amazement if the Crown were to exercise the Royal prerogative, and refuse to sanction any Church-spoliation measure which the voice of the people had decreed. While professing themselves to be most loyal, they would rob the Crown of its fairest inheritance, and its only sure stay, the ecclesiastical moiety of its dominion.

By the coronation oath the Crown is sworn to maintain and preserve inviolably the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government of the Church, and to preserve to the bishops and clergy all their rights and privileges. But the arguments used by Henderson, in the time of the first Charles, will be used again by the successors of the Puritans. "To disengage the King from his coronation oath, as far as related to the Church, Henderson observed, that when an oath has a special regard to the benefit of those to whom the engagement is made, if the parties interested relax upon the point, and dispense with the advantage, the obligation is at an end. Thus, if the two Houses of Parliament agree to repeal a law, the King may conscientiously assent, notwithstanding his personal oath. The King, while he admitted Henderson's principle, denied its application. For, if it be inquired for whose benefit the clause in the coronation oath was made, the answer must be, it was made for the Church of England. Thus, it is not in the power of the two Houses of Parliament to discharge the obligation of the

oath. It is only the Church of England, for whose benefit he took it, which can release him from it; and therefore, when the Church of England, lawfully assembled, shall declare him discharged, then, and not till then, shall he reckon himself at liberty." According to this lucid statement of the case, copied from Carwithen's "History of the Church of England,"* it would seem incompetent for Parliament to entertain such a Bill, for instance, as Sir Morton Peto's Burial Bill; and, if this is so, it would be a saving both of time and temper if the Lord Chancellor or the Speaker, as the case may be, had the power of an ordinary chairman to declare the incompetency of Parliament to discuss questions which interfere with the rights and immunities of the Church. By the statute 24 Henry VIII., where the King himself is a party in any ecclesiastical suit, the appeal lies to the Bishops assembled in Convocation.† And, even in 1689, the House of Commons showed a just estimation of the use of Convocation; for, when the Dissenters of that time wished all matters to be settled in Parliament, that House had the virtue to declare that Convocation was the proper place for the consideration of ecclesias-tical affairs.

*Vol. ii., p. 454.

+ Blackstone's Commentaries, B. iii., c, 5

EXCUSES,

[Church of the People, October, 1863.]

E ought not to be surprised at the success which attends every introduction of the Offertory, when we remember that it is GOD's way and the Church's way of finding means for every holy work. The surprise would be rather, that so many still believe that pew-letting, and other worldly ways of raising money is preferable, were we not aware that great allowance must be made for prejudices of education and early training, which cannot be overcome in one generation. We were, however, scarcely prepared to find that the opponents of the Offertory were so far driven into a corner as to make use of the most weak excuses for standing aloof. It is said, that a bad excuse is better than none, a maxim which has more wit than wisdom, for an excuse is, in general, but the putting off a plain duty. Indeed, by such very weak arguments have some of the clergy excused themselves from signing the petition to Convocation on behalf of the Offertory, that

we fear in many instances where it is not established, the fault lies rather in the disinclination of the priest than in the disaffection of the people.

We are not going to set up puppets for the mere pleasure of knocking them down. The excuses we are about to mention, have been actually received within the last month or so, as grave reasons either against the petition or against the Offertory. They would scarcely deserve a passing notice, but that, possibly, such idle excuses satisfy the consciences of very many who have neither sent their signatures nor their apologies.

The first objection we meet with is directed against the three words, PETITION TO CONVOCATION. "What is the use of a petition to Convocation, what can Convocation do? It may meet and deliberate, but it cannot authoritatively enjoin a Weekly Offertory; and a clergyman may, in fact, introduce the Offertory without consulting Convocation." This is all very true, but no reason for not signing the petition. A clergyman may introduce the Offertory; but the objector will no doubt tell us that he has not, because the people won't have it. Now will not the deliberations of Convocation do something to remove prejudices and soften down opposition? The deliberations of such a body as Convocation must have their weight and inffuence, and be felt to the furthest part of the kingdom. The enemies of the Church know the value of a debate, when they introduce measures into Parlia

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