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tion. In 1903 he formally took upon himself-at what infinite personal sacrifice we all know-to go out into the wilderness, to leave the Government, and to appeal to the people as the Missionary of Empire. In February 1906 Mr. Balfour publicly announced the enthusiastic adoption of his principles by the whole of the Unionist party in both its branches. And to-day, in 1908, we begin to see the certain and inevitable result. The recent elections have been sufficiently numerous and sufficiently decisive to prove that the question is, in one most important respect, reverting to its ancient position in pre-Cobdenite days. In the country, if not in Parliament, it is ceasing to be a party question. It is quite clear that the huge turnover of votes shown in practically all the numerous elections of the past few months cannot have been due merely to the return of rebellious Unionists to their old allegiance, or even to the conversion of waverers. It is evident that common-sense and the absolutely unanswerable arguments of Mr. Chamberlain and Mr. Balfour and their followers have brought into the Tariff Reform camp large numbers of those who have been hitherto accustomed to vote Liberal. And, indeed, Liberals who vote for Tariff Reform are only returning to principles which might have been the reasonable development of those of Fox and Burke but for the agitation of Cobden and the so-called Manchester school, undertaken for anti-Imperial purposes entirely foreign to the genius of Liberalism.

But however this may be--and I do not doubt what will be the ultimate decision of that patriotic section of the Liberal party that regards the British Empire as the common beritage of both parties in the State—I claim to have shown in this paper that a Tory who voted against Tariff Reform would be unfaithful, not only to the principles of his party, as based on the national and Imperial needs of the present day, but also to the traditions of the party, and the political faith of all its greatest historical leaders.

ROPER LETHBRIDGE.

AN IMPERIAL CONFERENCE

CONFERENCE OF THE

CHURCH AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE

THERE have been some dispassionate observers, not in Great Britain only but upon the Continent of Europe, who have felt the Church of England to be in a special sense the hope of Christianity and of religion. They have looked perhaps upon Christendom from the intellectual side ; they have been firm believers in the rights of the individual conscience ; liberty of thought, of speech and of worship has been to them a sovereign principle of life; they have been welldisposed and sometimes devoted to religion, yet only to such a religion as was in their eyes not a hot-house plant but a tree strong enough to brave the stress and storm of a critical world ; and while they have found themselves more or less repelled by the hard, dogmatic, authoritative system of the Church of Rome, and driven to doubt whether a church, if she had misled them, as they believed, in many earthly things, where it was possible to test her teaching by experience, could be an infallible guide in the heavenly things which admit of no such testing, they have turned wistful eyes to the Church of England as uniting in a singular degree freedom and faith, intellectuality and spirituality among her members, and as helping to produce, in the words of the venerable Archbishop of Armagh, the welcome spectacle of a faith which was not afraid to reason and a science which was not ashamed to believe. Or they have taken perhaps what may be called the historical view of Christendom; they have set a high value upon tradition as the exponent of unbroken Catholic practice; it is the antiquity and the continuity of the Church which have appealed to their sympathies ; they have resented the idea of a Church beginning or seeming to begin with the reformers of the sixteenth century and still more with a Robert Browne or a John Wesley; and it has appeared to them that the Church of England by her apostolical orders, her regular sacraments and her whole ecclesiastical system is capable of offering them the spiritual atmosphere which it was not so easy to breathe in the Presbyterian bodies of Ireland and Scotland and of Protestant Europe. Or it may be again that such persons, if they have imbibed something of the spirit commonly, but not upon

the whole correctly, associated with the name of Erastus, have been

attracted by the Church of England as avoiding the falsehood of extremes,' or realising the via media which was in their eyes the path not of safety alone but of truth, or allowing a great and wide liberty of profession and practice to her clergy and still more to her laity, or as influencing the course of public affairs not so much by any exercise of authority as by the wise statesmanship of her bishops and the quiet unobtrusive sympathy of her ministers with the highest and noblest aspirations of the national life.

It may be worth while in this regard to quote two or three significant testimonies.

Casaubon remarked long ago that, if he was not mistaken, the soundest part of the Reformation was to be found in England, where the study of antiquity flourished together with zeal for the truth. Madame de Stael wrote, “La Réformation a mis chez les Anglois les lumières parfaitement en accord avec les sentimens religieux.'' De Maistre wrote:

Si jamais les Chrétiens se rapprochent, comme tout les y invite, il semble que la motion doit partir de l'Église de l'Angleterre. . . . L'Église anglicane, qui nous touche d'une main, touche de l'autre ceux que nous ne pouvons toucher, et quoique, sous un certain point de vue, elle soit en butte aux coups des deux partis ... cependant elle est très précieuse sous d'autres aspects, et peut être considérée comme un de ces intermèdes chymiques, capables de rapprocher des élémens inassociables de leur nature.?

So too the late Mr. Lecky could say,' there is no other Church which has shown itself so capable of attracting and retaining the services of men of general learning, criticism, and ability.' 3

The Church of England, if it were her only title to the respect of Christendom that she has succeeded in harmonising to a unique degree the rival tendencies of faith and thought, history and liberty, practical common sense and spiritual devotion, would occupy a position of singular interest in the Christian world. But the providential course of secular events has affected and augmented her dignity. She is, as her name implies, the Church of the English nation. If she has exercised an influence upon the characteristics of the national life, she has in turn been influenced by them. Such reciprocal influence has been the outcome of a tacit sympathy between the Church and the nation. The Church has been or has aspired to be in faith and morals ahead of the nation; but she has seldom been out of touch with the nation. For good or for evil she has not unfaithfully reflected in her long history the dominant tones of national sentiment and conviction. Of this mutual understanding between the civil and ecclesiastical forces the State Establishment, as it is called, is the natural expression, but it is not the necessary condition. What has been essential to the peculiar influence of the Church of England upon the national life is that she has stood and has been felt to stand in a sympathetic relation to the English people. In the Abbey Church of Westminster, Roman Catholics still kneel at the shrine of the Confessor ; Nonconformists still look up to the memorials of Milton and Watts and the Wesleys. But the spiritual allegiance of Englishmen all the world over to the Abbey Church of Westminster is no more than a supreme example of the loyalty which attaches the English-speaking race in its many and wide ramifications by ties of silent sympathy to the Church of England.

' Considerations sur la Révolution Françoise, Part VII. ch. 5. ? Considerations sur la France, ch. ii. p. 32. Map of Life, ch. ii. p. 216.

The Church has shared the fate of the English-speaking race in its world-wide diffusiveness. If there has been an expansion of England, so has there been an expansion of the Church of England as well. It may be true that that expansion has been in most cases simply the following up of the unexampled expansion of commerce, dominion, intellectual and moral civilisation which has been granted to England, and which has made the English-speaking people one of the great ruling factors in the present and future history of the world.' 4 But the expansion of England has necessarily imparted a new strength to the Church of England. It could not but happen that the Church of the nation, whose Empire includes something like one-fourth part of the habitable world and of its population, should rise to a heightened sense of responsibility and opportunity. ' In religion,' to quote Lord Acton's words,• ' as in so many things the product of the centuries' since the Reformation 'has favoured the new elements, and the centre of gravity moving from the Mediterranean to the Oceanic, from the Latin to the Teuton, has also passed from the Catholic to the Protestant'; and the Church of England, like the nation itself, may be said, in Sir John Seeley's striking phrase,

have entered upon so great a possession, as it were, 'in a fit of absence of mind.'

The Church, then, has been spiritually responsive to the political and industrial energy which has in the last three or four centuries created the British Empire. If it cannot be said of her in the fine figure which Edgar Quinet applies to the Church at large, that she has preceded the peoples like a pillar of fire in their migrations, at least she has followed her own people with an illuminating and sanctify. ing power to their new homes. She has become something more than the Church of England; something like the Church of the British Empire. Other Churches indeed—other denominations—have evinced an activity not less impressive than her own in evangelistic and missionary enterprise. But it is the historical relation of the Church of England to the English people which has given her her peculiar

• Barry, The Ecclesiastical Expansion of England, p. 8. » Lectures on Modern History, Inaugural Le ure on the Study of History, p. 9.

influence upon the English-speaking race. The conception of an English patriarchate, quasi alterius orbis papa,' says Bishop Creighton, 'was as old as Anselm and was almost realised by Wolsey.' 6 But it is only within the last fifty years that such a conception has promised to become a reality. For the daughter churches of the Church of England in all parts of the British Empire and beyond it, while asserting their prerogatives of independent organisation and legislation, have tended more and more to look for sympathy and support to the Church and to the episcopate at home--above all, to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Lambeth Palace, as a centre of world-wide spiritual influence, has become, or is becoming, a second Vatican. The Archbishop, whose home it is, holds in his hands the threads of spiritual activities reaching outwards to the limits of the known world. It is in virtue of his ecumenical office, which is not the less real because as yet it is not formally realised, that he summons or invites the Bishops and other representatives of the Churches in communion with the Church of England, as if for a visit ad limina, to enter into counsel with him upon the duties, responsibilities and opportunities, the failures and successes, the possible developments and amplifications of the Church all the world over. This is the motive of the Lambeth Conference, which will meet for the fifth time, and of the Pan-Anglican Congress, which will meet for the first time, this year.

It is true that the Church of England, after assuming an independent national status at the Reformation, was slow in rising to the conception of her imperial responsibility. Bishop Creighton indeed claims that

Elizabeth, in a time of great distress and difficulty, stood alone among her ministers and directed England's course, against their judgment of temporary expediency, steadily in this direction. For some time she alone understood the difference between an English Church and an Anglican Church. Owing to her resoluteness there was time for the lesson to be learnt, and Laud was the first who fully apprehended its full significance. To him the Church of England wus not, as it had been to his predecessors, an arrangement for expressing the religious consciousness of the English people. It was a system instinct with life, full of mighty possibilities, with a world-wide mission peculiarly its own.?

But so high a vision could scarcely dawn upon the mind of the Church of England as a whole in a single generation. There were two inevitable dangers to be overcome before the Church could assume a universal character. The Elizabethan and Caroline divines were mainly occupied in justifying the Anglican ecclesiastical position against the Church of Rome on the one side and against Continental Protestantism on the other. It was at their hands that the Church of England acquired and asserted her well-defined Catholic, reformed, central character. But no sooner had she vindicated her orthodoxy, her historical continuity, and her sacramental system, than there

6 Historical Lectures and Addresses, p. 166.

? Ibid. p. 178.

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