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of peace should correspond with the civil. If either party prevailed over the other, the interests of civilization demanded that the conquerors should establish a settled government over the conquered, regulated in accordance with the civil ideas of the time; and Christian civilization required that that government should be impregnated with religion, and that the influences of religion should be brought to bear on the nation in accordance with the ideas of the time as to the religious duties of Christian rulers. There is an unchanging necessity for the concord of civil and religious influences, but the mode whereby that concord is to be established changes with the civil and religious ideas of the age. Those ideas are the result of previous experience and present circumstance; and they alone furnish the rule of action which suits the time and the complex national life which the time brings with it. In England the Royal Supremacy triumphed over the Papal, and the monarch's authority over the national religion as chief governor of the Church of England became a settled principle in the constitution. In Ireland it was resisted with the whole force of the Irish race. Zeal for Popery combined with hatred of English rule to array the Irish clans in resistance to the dominion of England, and the Roman Catholic religion was the source of foreign aid and the centre of life and union to Irish rebellion from the Reformation to the Revolution. During the same period, the establishment in the country of the religion of the ruler belonged according to the ideas of the age to his office as ruler and to his duty as a Christian ; and to acknowledge a rebel Church as the national Church would have been equivalent to the formal abdication of his royal authority. Sud
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being the ideas and such the circumstances of the time, it was what may be called an historical necessity that the English Government should require the Irish Church to accept the Reformation, and should support it as the Established Church of the country only so far as it did so. The establishment of the Irish Protestant Church accompanied the establishment of English power in Ireland with such a necessity that it could not but have taken place, the sentiments of the age and the condition of the country being what they were. This, indeed, is admitted on all hands; but it is not generally perceived that what is thus connected necessarily with the complex social condition of its age must have been required by that condition of society, as what alone would harmonize with it. If the English Government had not established the reformed faith in Ireland as the national religion when the Irish bishops had accepted it, it would in the judgment of its subjects have exhibited both weakness and irreligion; and consequently, while it alienated the earnest Protestantism of England, it would have encouraged both in England and Ireland civil disorder and religious indifference. That measure was necessary in that age for the maintenance and Christianization of the civil system from which it sprang; and without it English government would neither have had the strength necessary for the civilization of Ireland, nor the religious character without which, in the chiefs of the social system, civilization cannot be impregnated with religion. The exclusive establishment of the Irish Reformed Church was the method of conciliating the civil and religious influences which the ideas of the time rendered necessary; just as now the continued establishment of the same Church as
the Church of the leaders of the nation's civilization, concurrently with the general endowment of the other religious bodies, seems to be the best mode of combining with our civilization the spirit of Christianity.
2. The utility of effecting that combination by strengthening the religious influences which have most connection with the predominant thought and habit of the nation is indeed now ignored. It seems now to be thought that the Irish Church was established solely for the purpose of converting the Roman Catholics, and that not having performed that appointed work its establishment should be abolished. No doubt the conversion of the Roman Catholics, though not by any means the whole end for which the Irish establishment has existed, was always a work which most properly belonged to it, and which probably it was expected to accomplish; but the failure of the Irish Church to perform that task is not sufficient to warrant its dis-establishment, unless it can be shewn that it has proved worthless for all the other purposes which are naturally contemplated in the establishment of a Church
I propose, therefore, to consider the way in which the establishment of the Irish Church has affected the country in the various respects in which a national Church should influence a nation; noticing in connection with each the probable utility of maintaining the Irish establishment.
That which first claims attention is the influence exerted by the Irish Church on the religion of the great body of the Irish people, and this brings with it the general consideration of the action of Protestantism in making its way amongst members of the Romish Church.
3. Since the termination of the great struggles which accompanied the Reformation, the reformed faith seems to have lost in a great degree its power of extension. The two parties to those struggles have for the most part held the ground which they possessed when the religious wars subsided ; and in Germany, in France, and in Switzerland, as well as in Ireland, neither religion has gained sensibly on the other. Both Protestants and Roman Catholics in the course of their contentions so fixed their faith and consolidated themselves into separate bodies, that there remained little power in either to attract converts from the other; and the religious sentiments and intellectual con. victions of both parties settled down into definite and stable forms which they did not possess when the great movement of the Reformation was first agitating Europe. At that time, both the religious feelings and the intellectual belief of Roman Catholics were much more susceptible of the impressions of Protestantism than they have been since. The Church at the time of the Reformation, though still the glori. ous memories of its august history gave it a dignity to which nothing on earth was comparable, had so far lost its faith and love, and its high places had become so blighted by ungodliness, that men could hardly recognise in it the temple of God, and its corruption naturally repelled the religious sentiments of Europe. The revolt from this degenerate condition embodied those whose aspirations were for a purer and more rational faith ; and these had natural attraction for all who everywhere longed for what was good and true The Reformation, though in its course it got mixed with much of impure motive, was in its essential nature a movement to the fountains of righteousness
and truth, to cleanse away the impurity which the Church had contracted during its work in the world; and the sense of this effort, and the consciousness of the corruption which occasioned it, tended to dispose the religious feelings of earnest men in its favour.
Men's faith, too, was at that time rudely shaken by the successful denial of what had been taught on the highest authority. That faith had been formed under the impression that the doctrines which it accepted were accepted by all; and when the great schism occurred, and half Europe seemed to be renouncing those doctrines, it was only natural that men should examine the grounds of their belief, and give an attentive hearing to those who denied it. Every great movement of thought propagates an impulse throughout the intellectual world and sets in motion the ideas of mankind; and while Europe was still agitated through all its kingdoms by the great convulsion which rent the Church, and all society was troubled with religious commotion, the new doctrines furnished the subjects of highest interest for men's thoughts, and the great controversy with Rome was listened to by all with the attention which is commanded only by what forms the question of the age. Men could not quiet their minds by appealing to the authority of those who held the Romish doctrines, for the numbers of these had been diminished to a most startling ex. tent; and when an authority is on the decline men are apt to undervalue it. While yet the struggle was
ving on it was hard to say whether the new doctrines might not so prerail as to acquire the authority of universal akart. They had achiered enormous St ; ani as mea ackawaige an authority in that which is l ter were disposed to give