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lization; and the ecclesiastical system therefore no longer rules in the name of learning and order. Thus the old foundations of the authority of the Church have disappeared ; and at the same time all authority over the belief of men has, at least among enlightened Protestants, passed quite away from all constituted bodies, and is held only by wisdom and knowledge. By these, wherever they appear, that authority is exercised in proportion to the degree in which they manifest themselves; and men bow to these only or to what they take for these. The majority of a Church synod is not likely to possess these endowments in such a degree as to command the assent of the nation; and indeed such assemblies are less fitted than they used to be to form the general belief. In former times the ecclesiastics were the leaders of knowledge, and this caused an affinity between theological and general thought, which facilitated the adjustment of the former to the latter, and enabled the Church to define the faith without resisting the influences of new truth. But in latter times ecclesiastical thought has tended to acquire a narrower and more special character, from that subdivision of intellectual labour which necessarily attends the development of knowledge. Church synods are consequently even less fitted now than of old to form the faith of a nation which is ever pressing on to higher and fuller knowledge. The national clergy must lead the nation in a way more in accordance with present ideas. The organ of authority now consists of those who by their wisdom and knowledge can shew themselves fit to guide the thoughts of men; and these scattered here and there throughout the clergy, appearing in all the various schools of religious thought, gathering about them their respective bands of disciples, and at length terminating their
free discussion by the prevalence of those opinions which best commend themselves to the general judgment, are the true leaders of the religious thought of the nation. The clergy who are thus to guide the nation must be guarded from the tyranny of synods. For however useful or necessary these may be for regulating the external policy of the Church, if they are permitted to interfere with freedom of thought, wisdom and knowledge will cease to flourish among the clergy, and the clergy will lose their in. fluence with the people. If they are obliged to regulate their belief in accordance with multiplied definitions of doctrine, their opinions will cease to have any weight with thinking men. There are, indeed, certain tests which are unavoidably required by the State to regulate its dealings with the religious bodies, if it is to have any such dealings at all; for if the State adopts particular measures towards the ministers of particular religious bodies, it must have tests whereby to identify the bodies to which they respectively belong. But if the State recognise the duty of providing for the nation the ministrations of a clergy fit to be the leaders of its religious thought and religious life, it must guard from all unnecessary restrictions their independence in thought and action. The footing on which they shall be maintained must be higher and firmer than the congregational system. Their maintenance must be secure, and their thought and life must be left to develope themselves freely, unchecked by congregational or ecclesiastical tyranny.
25. But who are the clergy and what conditions must they satisfy that are to guide the nation's faith throughout its progress, and guard the principles of Christianity in its growing civilization ? Those conditions may be briefly summed up in one; they must
be the ministers of the Church to which the intellectual and social leaders of the nation belong. For as in the natural body the various functions of life tend to be concentrated in special organs in proportion as its structure is more highly organized, so in the social body the various functions of society tend to a similar concentration. The thought and sentiment of the nation, like all the other expressions of its activity, have their special organs by whom they are ultimately governed ; and these organs consist of the classes which lead its education and social habit. It was an obvious remark of Coleridge's that “what influences the men of education will finally influence all ;' and with equal truth it may be added, that whatever affects that social code of the upper classes which expresses their sense of what a man ought to be in his various relations to God and man, will ultimately affect the whole moral and religious character of the nation. The Church which is to Christianize the spirit of the nation must have special union with these centres and governors of its spirit; for only through these can the influences of Christianity combine thoroughly and harmoniously with the principles of the nation's life. These leading classes may indeed differ from the mass of the people in their belief on the great questions of rcligious controversy, yet still their intellectual and social influence goes through the whole thought and life of the nation. If that influence be not Christian the whole nation will gradually be unchristianized. If it be Christian, all the great truths held in common by the whole nation will be maintained by it, and the deep sources of national virtue renewed by the preservation of the great principles of Christianity. These leading classes are the intellectual and social educators of the nation; and these therefore are they, to whatever Church they belong, whose religious thought and life must, in the interest of the nation, be preserved on the system most favourable to their free and pure development. If their Church be maintained on a system less favourable to religious culture, there is great danger of a loss of sympathy between them and their clergy, which would unchristianize their influence on the nation; and that Church should be guarded as the fountain of the nation's Christian civilization. If, indeed, the anomalous case occurred in which the Church of these superior classes had inherent political tendencies which were antagonistic to the State, it might be contrary to the interests of the nation's civilization to increase the influence of that Church by establishment, without requiring guarantees for its loyalty. But where this anomaly does not exist, the Church of the nation's natural leaders has the first claim to be maintained on the footing which is best adapted to keep up its healthy and influential action.
The thought and civilization of the country take their character inevitably from its most educated and civilized classes; and no Church which breathes a spirit different from theirs is fit to guide the thought of the nation and nourish its life. The nation must follow these its natural leaders in its intellectual and social progress; and the establishment of a Church to guide that progress, which would be opposed to the direction it must inevitably take, would be absurd in the idea, and a source of deep-seated social disorder in the effect.
26. What, then, is the duty of the civil power, and on what system should our religious legislation be framed ? I have already endeavoured to deduce from a simple axiom, that the State should endow generally the religious bodies in the country; and I have now endeavoured to shew that in order to realize the highest and largest national influences of religion, the Church to which the leading classes in the country belong, should be adopted by the State as the religious leader of the nation; and should be qualified to perform that national function by being maintained on a scale of clerical income sufficient to secure a fairly able and learned ministry, based on a territorial not a congregational system, and guarded by the State from congregational and ecclesiastical tyranny. It only remains to develope this conclusion by a remark suggested by the axiom referred to. If the State is bound to provide for the universality and permanence of the beneficial influences of religion, it should, as far as it can, universalize and perpetuate the ministrations of this leading Church. Having adopted it as the organ for the religious guidance of the nation, it should place its ministrations within the reach of all, and maintain it on a permanent basis, that, present everywhere, it may minister to those who would not provide themselves with religious ministrations, and, established always, it may keep up the vital warmth of Christianity in every cold. and faithless age. A nation is hardly Christian in which the Gospel is not preached to the poor; and certainly it cannot be penetrated with Christian influences, unless those are supplied with religious ministrations who are too poor or too irreligious to supply themselves. Now, it is well that the Church whose ministrations are provided for these, should be the one which ministers to the leading classes of the nation; for thus the highest and the lowest are brought together in Christian unity, and commended to each other's sympathy and support. The framework of society is knit into firmer cohesion;