Distinguished Churchmen and Phases of Church Work/William Francis Taylor

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The Ven. William Francis Taylor, D.D., LL.D.


“A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.”—Pope.


Distinguished Career at Dublin University—Some Dublin Notables—Dr Taylor's Unique Position—Parochial Work in Chester and Liverpool—A Preacher of Promise—Succeeds Dr M‘Neile as Champion of the Evangelical Cause—Archdeacon of Warrington—Archdeacon of Liverpool—Controversialist and Lecturer—Great on Research—Result: a Full Mind—Bradlaugh v. Archdeacon Taylor: a Dramatic Incident worthy of a Historic Picture—Spokesman for Church Association—Author of a Hundred Works—Liverpool an Evangelical Stronghold—Conditions which called the Church Association into Existence—Aims and Objects of the Association—Notable Ritual Cases—The Royal Declaration and Coronation Oath—Action of the Romanists—Strong Case against Alteration.

In Church circles the Venerable Archdeacon of Liverpool stands, by common consent, a most consistent and one of the sturdiest of the leaders of Protestant thought. He would, if asked, perhaps prefer to be described as an Evangelical 352 DISTINGUISHED CHURCHMEN

Protestant Churchman of the type of Cranmer, Ridley and Jewel, with whose works his teaching, both from the pulpit and through the medium of the press, has proved him thoroughly familiar. In combination with this knowledge he brings the profounder and more spiritual Evangelicalism of the great Puritans of the seventeenth century such, for instance, as Owen, Howe and Goodwin, whose massive volumes on the deep things of God he has obviously also perused with relish and great advantage.

The Archdeacon is a Churchman born and bred, baptised and confirmed in the United Church of England and Ireland the latter by the learned Archbishop Whateley, at whose feet he sat. By birth he is an Irishman, and through out his long and remarkably useful career he has retained the ready wit and, to some extent, the distinguishing characteristics in speech of his countrymen. It is now over fifty years ago since he graduated at Trinity College, Dublin, where his enthusiasm and application to hard study were rewarded with the Catechetical prizes and the Downe s Divinity prize for Extempore speaking and Theology. The records of his old University indicate that in 1847 he managed to win for himself a place in the "first class" for the B.A. degree (Respondent). Since then many years have elapsed years which have witnessed the Arch deacon grow ever a more ardent scholar, ever a


more unflinching exponent of that view of the Protestant faith dear to his heart. In a sentence, Dr Taylor occupies a really unique position. Not withstanding the unpopularity of his ideas with the majority of the present generation of Churchmen, he is still loved and respected as one of the fathers of the Church, from whom the author ventures to observe the withholding of promotion to the episcopacy (a position many thought him long ago eminently fitted for) has, happily, served to retain him in a sphere of greater and wider usefulness, and an unfettered critic and controversalist. Opportunities for rising to higher things have certainly come in his way. It is a fact not widely known that the late Bishop Ryle, in one of his early illnesses, proposed to make Dr Taylor his suffragan Bishop, but this Dr Taylor declined, recommending the Bishop to appoint an assistant Bishop, which course was adopted. In its time Dublin University has contributed to the world many distinguished men men like the two Arch bishops Magee (the first of Dublin, the other, his grandson, of York), Archbishop Usher, and the great metaphysician Bishop Berkeley (Bishop of Cloyne), Professor Salmon, Dr M Neile, Dr MacNeece, Bishop Russell (North China), Bishop Bowen of Sierra Leone, Dr Butcher (Bishop of Meath), Dean Forrest (of Worcester), Dean Lefroy (of Norwich), Viscount Wolseley, Professor Lecky, M.P. (for the University), and others ; but it is


not too much to say that the Archdeacon of Liverpool takes rank with the best of them.

On leaving Dublin young Taylor (as he then was) resided as private tutor for more than a year in the family of the first Lord Anally, with whom and his pupils he travelled on the Continent for some five months, visiting the principal cities of France, Switzerland and Italy, especially the latter. He always felt that he owed much through his long life to the influence of that tour in such company. This was in 1847. Next year he proceeded to Chester, and was ordained both deacon and priest in the same year (1848) the former by Archbishop Sumner at his last ordination at Chester, the latter by Bishop Graham. He was licensed to the curacy of Tranmere, and within twelve months was appointed to the incumbency of Christ Church, Claughton, in the vicinity of Birkenhead. This was in January 1849. From the commencement of his clerical career he seems to have displayed quite unusual powers as a preacher, and this fact led to his frequent appear ance in the pulpits of some of the best churches in Liverpool. Dr Hugh M Neile, another famous Evangelical, was especially convinced of the young preacher s capabilities, and let no oppor tunity pass for encouraging him. Indeed, it was owing to his influence that the Archdeacon of the future was invited to succeed the famous Canon W. Marcus Falloou, M.A., in the living of St


John s, Liverpool, where he laboured from 1851 to 1 86 1 with increasing acceptability, in spite of the fact that he had to contend with a large Roman Catholic population. The crowded congregations he drew are mentioned in Picton s Annals of Liverpool. From there Dr Taylor proceeded to the incumbency of St Silas , Liverpool, to settle down to another nine years of meritorious work. The following twenty years witnessed his en deavours at St Chrysostom s, Everton ; but several years before he had terminated his mission there he had been installed an Honorary Canon of Liverpool by Bishop Ryle, and had been made the recipient of a testimonial from his fellow- Protestants in the city, in recognition of the manner in which he had continued to champion their cause after the removal of Dr M Neile. This testimonial took the form of a portrait of himself, a silver card tray and a purse pretty heavily weighted. From 1886 to 1895 ne was Rural Dean of Walton, and from 1889 to 1895 Archdeacon of Warrington. Meanwhile, he had crowned his brilliant University career at Dublin with the M.A. degree, LL.D. of Dublin, the D.C.L. of Oxford and D.D. of Dublin. As long ago as 1887 he had acted as chaplain to the Bishop of Liverpool, and his subsequent appoint ment, in 1895, as Archdeacon of Liverpool was considered to be a most suitable choice, bringing him, as it did, into the very heart of the Diocese.


In later years, in addition to discharging the duties incumbent upon him as Archdeacon, Dr Taylor has been actively engaged in parochial work at St Andrew s, Aigburth Road, Liverpool. It is a fact worthy of note that throughout his clerical life the Archdeacon has remained in prac tically the same Diocese. It will be remembered that Chester and Liverpool became detached for Diocesan purposes in 1870.

Looking back upon the eventful life of the Arch deacon of Liverpool, and the many useful purposes to which he has devoted his ability and energies, one is bound to confess that he has built up for him self chiefly a reputation as one of the prominent controversalists of the latter part of the nineteenth and the early part of the twentieth centuries. With him the getting at the root of things is a matter of course, to which time and labour in research and inquiry are given ungrudingly. The result is that he enters into the discussion of a topic with a full mind, ready to quote in support of his assertions chapter and verse of books altogether unfamiliar even to many reputable readers. This much may be said with confidence, Dr Taylor has always had the discretion to abstain from controversy and matters which do not strictly come within the scope of his wide range of thought ; but once he enters upon a subject it is with the avowed purpose of mastering its every detail, so that he may be equipped for the approach of the keenest disputant.


Many instances of his prowess in this direction might be adduced.

There are people in Liverpool to-day who carry in their recollection an interesting battle of convic tions between Archdeacon Taylor and Mr Bradlaugh, called " Iconoclast." There had been a controversy between Bradlaugh and Dr Bailey, the founder of St Aiden s College, who had discussed together for several nights a subject which, from its method, the working men could not exactly follow. It was what would be called a categorical debate. At the close of the last meeting, Dr Taylor, who was present, was asked by a representative of the working men to deliver a lecture on the whole subject of Infidelity. The Doctor was moved to comply, and gave a lecture in the Teutonic Hall, Lime Street, on the subject of: " Man ; His Nature, Origin, Responsibility and Destiny v. Infidelity." Mr Bradlaugh at once rose, and said, " I challenge Dr Taylor to discuss that subject with me." There was some confusion in the assembly; but the Archdeacon promptly accepted the challenge. The lecture was delivered July 6, 1860.

The scene that ensued ought to be perpetuated in one of the historical pictures of Liverpool. Mr Bradlaugh, burly and confident, argued with much force that man must act according to the nature and development of his organisation, and was to that extent destitute of moral responsibility. In proof of his contention, he quoted the nineteenth and


twentieth verses of the third chapter of the book of Ecclesiastes, as follows :

" For that which befalleth the sons of men be- falleth beasts ; even one thing befalleth them ; as the one dieth so dieth the other ; yea, they have all one breath ; so that a man hath no pre-eminence above a beast : for all is vanity.

" All go unto one place ; all are of the dust and all turn to dust again."

Archdeacon Taylor listened with patience, but finding that the quotation finished thus abruptly, rose and pointed out to Mr Bradlaugh that he had unfairly dealt with the portion of Scripture he had chosen, inasmuch as he had omitted to quote the succeeding verse. This he read, amid the breath less attention of the audience, as follows : " Who knoweth the spirit of man that goetk upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth ? " and the distinctions were duly empha sised. " Now, sir, "said Archdeacon Taylor, look ing Bradlaugh squarely in the face, "either you knew that verse was there, or you did not. If you did not know it was there what was that ? Ignor ance ! If you did know it was there, and suppressed it what was that ? Dishonesty ! On which horn of the dilemma are you to be impaled ? " And the alternative charge of " ignorance " or "dishonesty " was driven home by Dr Taylor bringing his hand down with a bang upon the table.

Mr Bradlaugh, be it said, did truly find himself


upon the horns of a dilemma, and looked fearfully disconcerted, as well he might. The audience ob serving this, cheered again and again, and vied with one another in the cry, " Give it to him, Doctor ! " This occurred in 1860, and the incident is still fresh in the minds of the older inhabitants of Liverpool. It should be explained that Mr Bradlaugh had a rather large following in the city, where there existed a Secularist s Society. The Archdeacon therefore has frequently lectured in Hope Hall on "Atheism," "The Evidences of Christianity, or Reasons for Faith," or " Why should We Believe the Bible " ; and, recently, seven lectures in his own church, on Sunday evenings, on " Higher Criti cism," of which he is a sturdy opponent, taking the traditional orthodox view.

Notwithstanding all the numerous engagements which devolve upon him in the Archdeaconry and as parish priest, Dr Taylor is still keenly interested in controversial subjects, and he makes time to sustain his long-standing reputation as one of the principal pamphleteers and thoroughgoing members of the Church Association, whose views he is understood to express with invariable preciseness and accuracy. Every Evangelical movement, great or small, finds in him a very hearty supporter. Per haps one of his greatest joys to-day is that his five sons, one of whom is the President of the Liverpool Laymen s League, largely inherit his love for civil and religious liberty and the principles of the


Protestant Reformation. Through the press he manages to reach a much larger audience than from his pulpit, and there stand to his credit up wards of a hundred helpful works books and tracts dealing with subjects of the widest variety. One of his earliest works was Churck and State, being an apology for Christian legislation. An other which won a good many encomiums was The Divine Philosophy of History, while The Irish Church, The Thirty - Nine Articles, Anglican Orders, The Popes Bull on ditto (Leo xiii. 1896), and The Churck of the People, have all been dealt with with that thoroughness and lucidity which are characteristic of the man. Another book which has attracted a great deal of attention is that deal ing with "the English Reformation," the chapters each representing a lecture delivered by the Arch deacon on the subject at an earlier period. The book, however, which has brought the Archdeacon most credit as a scholar is, probably, The Book of Bertram, " de corpore et sanguine Domini" the presbyter and monk of Corbie, of France, written in the middle of the ninth century. In reality it is a connecting link between the early Fathers and the Reformation. Its perusal led first Ridley and then Cranmer to the rejection, not only of trans- substantiation, but also of consubstantiation. The Archdeacon translated the entire work from the original Latin, and enriched it with an Historical Preface and Notes. As to pamphlets, they have


also embraced such subjects as The Confessional in the Church of England, Queen Elizabeth and the Bishops of 1559, and many of the tracts of the Church Association, notably the first three, Must we Confess ? etc., etc.

��" Liverpool, it seems, has long been the strong hold of Evangelical Protestantism ? " was the sug gestion put to Archdeacon Taylor at the interview accorded at Liverpool.

"Yes. Much more so in the past than in the present day. A great change has overcome Liver pool. However, as regards the working men, it is still a stronghold both of Conservatism and Protestantism. Evangelicalism may be said to have enjoyed its strongest position from about 1842 up to 1870 in fact, up to the time the English Church Union was founded. When I first came to Liverpool, over half a century ago, not more than two clergymen, if two, preached in the surplice, and the black gown was as familiar then in the pulpit as the surplice is to-day. The original leaders of the High Church movement were John Keble, Newman, Pusey (in 1833), the Revs. Hurrel Froude, Hugh Rose, Ward, Glad stone, then, for a time, Dr Hook of Leeds, Manning, and Archdeacon Denison. The effect soon spread to this city, and to-day, in several churches, some of the most extreme practices are carried on."


" What do you think is the balance of parties among Churchmen in Liverpool ? "

" I should say that probably the High Church party is in the majority ; but, besides the avowedly Evangelical men, there are many clergy, particularly in the outskirts of the city, who are neither High, Low or Broad Churchmen, Moderate or no party. Hence you see something of the change which has come over Liverpool during the last forty years."

"You have throughout been a consistent Protestant and a leading supporter of the Church Association. Will you say something as to the conditions which called that party of the Church into existence ? "

" The Church Association was established in 1865 or thereabouts, the originating cause being the work of the English Church Union and the growth of the Ritualistic movement. The founders were Dr Richard Blakeney, whose brother was afterwards Archdeacon of Sheffield, Dr Wilson, the Vicar of Islington, Dean Close, Edward Auriol and Dr Miller of Birmingham. Dr M Neile was another of those who took a leading part in the promotion of the new movement, also the Rev. Ed. Sasbett, Mr J. Colquhoun and many others. I was not present at the inaugural meeting, but I believe that it was held under the presidency of Mr Colquhoun, as well as I can recollect, at Exeter Hall, in May 1867. At this meeting resolutions were passed condemning the introduc-


tion of Romish vestments and ceremonies and doctrines, especially the sacrifice of the mass and the adoration of the Host. A motion was also carried expressing gratitude to Almighty God for the blessings of the Reformation, and earnestly appealing to the heads of the Church to take such steps as, in their wisdom, they might see fit for putting a stop to practices which interfered with the integrity of the liturgy and the purity of the faith. The simple object was really to maintain the Church of England faithful to its old lines, and to prevent, or resist, all attempts to assimilate the Church to the doctrines and practices of the Church of Rome."

" And now, please, something as to the early work of the Association ? "

" Well, the Evangelicals called upon the Bishops to enforce the law against the Ritualists, but, generally speaking, the Bishops pleaded that they were uncertain on the points at issue. Arch bishop Tait said if the law were made plain the Archbishops and Bishops would not be backward in the discharge of their duty. In due time the law was made plain, as many people thought, and then the cry was that there were great difficulties in enforcing it."

" Maybe you can recall some of the cases in which the Church Association has manifested an interest ? "

" From time to time the Church Association has promoted legal proceedings in order to test whether the law really was sufficient to put an end to the


violations of Church laws, as Protestants conceive them. The first great Ritual case was that of Liddell v. Westerton, which had reference to pro ceedings at St Barnabas and St Paul s in London. The next case, in 1868, was that of Martin v. Mackonochie, in which the complaints were of the elevation of the sacred elements, of the use of altar lights, and of the introduction of the mixed chalice. That case was tried by Lord Cairns, and all the proceedings complained of were condemned. Then there was the case tried by Lord Hatherley in 1871, viz., that of Hebbert v. Purchas. In that the use of the mixed chalice was condemned, like wise the introduction of vestments and wafer bread, but the use of holy water was not proved. In the same year there occurred the action against Voysey, and six years later the case of Ridsdale was dealt with by Lord Cairns, with the result that vestments were again condemned, and also the use of wafer bread, but the charge with regard to the hiding of the manual acts was declared not proven. Coming to more modern times, there was the de cision of Archbishop Benson in the case of Dr King, by which he practically made everything lawful of which the Bishop had been accused, his contention with regard to lights being, that if they were lighted previous to the service, and not specially as ceremonial ornaments, there was nothing illegal. The Times described the Lincoln judgment as distinctly moving the centre of gravity


of the Church of England nearer to Rome. You perhaps recall the circumstances of the case which elicited that decision. It was that of the Bishop of Lincoln, who, it transpired, preached in a certain church where Ritualistic proceedings were indulged in. As a result action was taken against him. The question arose whether the Archbishop should try the case or not. Dr Benson, how ever, did investigate the charges, including the Eastward position, the introduction of the Agnus Dei, the Sign of the Cross, etc. The Archbishop somehow arrived at the decision that all these things were, more or less, lawful on certain con ditions. Lights, if not lighted during the service ; mixed chalice, if done in the vestry ; ablutions, if after the service concluded, etc. Much dissatisfac tion was aroused thereby, and the case was taken to the Privy Council, which, by a small majority, practically endorsed all Archbishop Benson s decisions save that on lights. On these they pronounced no judgment, because the Bishop was not responsible, but the vicar of the church. You may make this plain, that the Church Associa tion has, during its existence, at considerable cost, obtained the condemnation, by the highest eccle siastical courts, of more than sixty ceremonies and practices symbolical of Romish doctrines, illegally introduced by the Ritualists into the ser vices of our Reformed Church. There has never been any desire for the imprisonment of clergy-


men who have posed as martyrs in fact, the Association introduced into Parliament a Bill which, if it had had the good fortune to pass, would have substituted deprivation for imprison ment. All along the Association has displayed an unflinching attitude towards what are considered to be improper proceedings in connection with the Church. Its career of the last ten years has been one of increasing importance, and the income, I believe, has doubled, in spite of the fact that it is practically deserted by the dignitaries of the Church. I am not aware that there is a single man who has a handle to his name belonging to it. The members are mostly rectors, vicars and lay men. You know, of course, that Lord Salisbury has been showing a marked preference for High Churchmen in appointing to vacant Bishoprics, and the obvious result is that the Church Associ ation is not the way to preferment. Its clerical and lay members, however, are determined and competent men in what they believe to be a righteous cause. In the present day, I believe, the Church Association is the most powerful organisation in the Church of England for dealing with the Romeward movement. It has vindicated the Protestant character of the Church, and it has a literature on the subject such as few societies could produce."

Dr Taylor proceeded to refer to the action taken by the Church Association with reference to the


appointment by Lord Salisbury of Canon Gore to the Bishopric of Worcester, and more particularly to its action in relation to the Royal Declaration, with a view to preventing alteration in its text and provisions. He took occasion to point out that it was proposed in certain quarters to get rid of the Declaration which the King has to make against the doctrine of transubstantiation, and the invocation, adoration and worship of the Virgin. The Declara tion, he remarked, was drawn up in the reign of Charles II., and every member of the Houses of Parliament, Lords and Commons, had to take the oath before entering Parliament at all. It occa sioned great disturbances in the time of Charles II., but when the Revolution came, the Declaration was embodied in the statement which the King has to make before he is crowned. The authorities also altered the Coronation Oath, and embodied in that for the first time a proviso that the King would maintain " the Protestant Reformed religion estab lished by law." That was introduced in 1689, before William was crowned, so that the King is now pledged to maintain the laws and the pure doctrine of the Church of England and the Protestant Reformed religion as established by law, and he has also to make the solemn declaration of the renuncia tion of the doctrine of transubstantiation. This has been considered by some leading Romanists as blasphemous, so there has been an attempt made to get it altered in such a way as to satisfy the Roman


Catholic authorities, to whose mind, no doubt, it would be better still if the Declaration could be abolished.

Archdeacon Taylor read the Statutory Declara tion against transubstantiation as made and signed by Queen Victoria as follows :

" I, Victoria, do solemnly and sincerely, in the presence of God, profess, testify and declare that I do believe that in the Sacrament of the Lord s Supper there is not any transubstantia tion of the elements of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ at or after the consecration thereof by any person what soever, and that the invocation or adoration of the Virgin Mary or any other Saint, and the sacrifice of the Mass as they are now used in the Church of Rome are superstitious and idolatrous. And I do solemnly, in the presence of God, profess, testify and declare that I do make this Declaration and every part thereof in the plain and ordinary sense of the words read unto me, as they are commonly understood by English Protestants, without any evasion, equivocation or mental reservation whatsoever, and with out any dispensation already granted me for this purpose by the Pope, or any other authority or person whatsoever, or without any hope of any such dispensation from any person or authority what soever, or without thinking that I am or can be acquitted before God or man, or absolved of this declaration, or any part thereof, although the Pope or any other person or persons or power what soever should dispense with or annul the same, or declare that it was null and void from the beginning.

" That," said the Archdeacon, " was part of the Act of Settlement of W. & M., 1689, and afterwards in 12 & 13 William III., c. 2." Turning to the Statutory Coronation Oath as sworn to by Queen Victoria, he said the question put by the Archbishop was, " Will you to the utmost of your power main tain the laws of God, the true profession of the


Gospel and the Protestant Reformed religion established by law, and will you preserve unto the Bishops and Clergy of this realm, and to the Churches committed to their charge all such rights and privileges as by law do or shall appertain unto them or any of them ? " The Queen s answer was, " All this I promise to do," and then, with her hand on the Bible, she took the oath to perform and keep all that she had before promised. This, he pointed out, was part of the Act for establishing the Corona tion Oath, 1688-89, i W. & M., c. 6, which Act required that the same oath should be administered to every King or Queen who should succeed to the Imperial Crown.

" You see, therefore," the Archdeacon continued, " that the King s Declaration is a repudiation on his part of the doctrine of transubstantiation, the sacrifice of the mass, and the invocation and adora tion of the Virgin Mary and the Saints, as super stitious and idolatrous. It also disclaims all mental reservation or any power of dispensation by the Pope. The first part was enacted in 1673 as a test Act, in addition to the oath of supremacy imposed on all who held office under the Crown, but the whole form as we now have it was drawn up and enacted in 1679, and was imposed on all Members of Parliament. This was avowedly in order to prevent Roman Catholics entering Parlia ment. There had been many plots and efforts for many years to restore the Roman Catholic religion

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in England, and this the nation as a whole was determined to prevent. The Roman Catholics with great plausibility want to know why this declaration should be imposed on the Crown, and why the most solemn doctrines of their Church alone of all others should be singled out for condemnation by the Sovereign, and why it should be imposed on the King by the Constitution ? Others denounce it as blasphemous, and violent and indecent in fact, a stain on the Statute Book. Well, the answer is very simple, the reason is fully and plainly set forth in the famous Bill of Rights. We have only to read sections nine and ten, and we shall find the answer to the question so innocently and indignantly asked. Section nine reads :

" Whereas it hath been found by experience that it is in consistent with the safety and welfare of this Protestant kingdom to be governed by a Popish Prince or by any King or Queen marrying a Papist, the Lords, spiritual and temporal, and Commons do further pray that it may be enacted that all and every person or persons that is or shall be reconciled to, or shall hold communion with the C. or Church of Rome, or shall profess the Popish religion, or shall marry a Papist, shall be excluded, and be for ever incapable to inherit, possess or enjoy the Crown and Government of this Realm and Ireland and the dominions thereunto belonging, and in all and every such case the said Crown and Government shall from time to time descend to, and be enjoyed by such person or persons being Protestants as should have inherited the same in case the said person so reconciled, etc., etc., as aforesaid, were naturally dead, and the subjects are in that case ipso facto released from their allegiance to him.

" Section ten reads : " That every King and Queen of this Realm shall, on the first


day of the meeting of the first Parliament next after his accession, sitting in the Throne in the House of Peers in the presence of the Lords and Commons, or at his Coronation before such person or persons who shall administer the Coronation Oath to him or her, at the time of taking the oath (which shall first happen) subscribe and audibly repeat the Declaration mentioned in the Statute 30, Charles II., entitled " An Act for the more effectual preserving the King s person and Government by disabling Papists from sitting in either House of Parliament."

" The question now arises whether our fore fathers were justified in this statement. To my mind there can be little doubt that they were so."

" But it may be said in some quarters that the necessity for this declaration has long since passed away, and why should it be retained ? "

" My answer," replied Dr Taylor, " is, simply because it appears essential thus to safeguard the Protestant succession to the Monarchy. It is a declaration which no consistent Roman Catholic could possibly make, and therefore, as long as this nation is resolved to retain a Protestant King, so lonp- that declaration would seem to be



"Yes; but it may be said why should not the King be free, like all his subjects, to profess what religion he likes ? "

"There again the answer is simple; because he is the King and the Protestant Monarchy seems to us bound up with the safety and welfare of the kingdom, vide the history of the last 350 years.


Moreover, the Papacy has not abated any of its claims to absolute and infallible jurisdiction, authority and government over the whole Christian Church, not merely over the Roman Church properly so-called, but over all Christian Churches, and even over those communities which they would not acknowledge as churches at all, and over all baptised Christians, for all are in some sense claimed as belonging to the Church of Rome. Mr Gladstone stated in his Vatican Decrees that no one could now become a convert to the Roman Catholic Church without renouncing his mental and moral freedom, and putting his loyalty and civil duty at the mercy of another. Surely, then, this is hardly the time to weaken the safeguards of our Protestant Monarchy. It is said that the King has now no power that he must act through his Ministers and according to Parliament. That is quite true, but though his power may not be much, he has of necessity from his high position enormous influence, and so has his Consort, and their confessor would be behind them both. The back- stair intrigues of Charles II. and the open violation of law would probably follow. We have had enough of that sort of thing already. We do not want a repetition of it or even a suspicion of it. The fact is our constitution is utterly contrary to the avowed principles of the Papacy. Even Cardinal Vaughan says that, A Catholic King under present circumstances would be a cause of


weakness, of perpetual difficulty and of untold anxiety. We are far better off as we are. I am convinced that in the present condition of the English people, haunted as they are by fears and suspicions, that it is expedient the King should be of the religion of the overwhelming majority. The Cardinal is right : we are far better off as we are. Surely any one who will contrast the state of England from 1560 to 1688 (130 years of civil war, discord, plots, intrigues and unrest) with the last 210 years under the Declaration and the Coronation Oath and the Protestant Constitution, must frankly acknowledge that we have indeed abundant cause for thankfulness, and determine that we prefer the latter to the former. In taking this position we are acting for the interest of all creeds, not for the Protestant only, but for the Roman Catholics also. It is a simple fact that the Roman Catholics in this country have more liberty than in any other country in the world, more liberty than under the Roman Catholic Govern ment of France and Italy, and more than the Pope would give us in Rome. It is the glory of Great Britain that wherever her flag flies there is full and equal religious liberty for all creeds, and this liberty is expressly denied in the Papal syllabus of 1864."


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