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(ANSI and SO mr CHART No. a) 





iV^w Qommon'v^ealtb 



THe so/tAie s€Ries 






Tie foUowrngvobmeswiU be mufy to 


By G. D. H. COLE, M.A. 




Priot 21. each volume. 

Hwatr tuHt. fMUkmn, K«m»f Houw. W.C 










THE events of the present time have started much 
serious enquiry inn the vaRdity of our accepted 
ituHtutiMS and our traditional habits of thought. 
Our conceptions of the State ^of the Church, of the organi- 
sation of Industry, of the Status of fVcman in the com- 
monwealth, and of many . 'her things tie bent direetfy 
Mlenged ; and it is emmouly ackr ledged that a 
frank and thorough-going eximinatlmofour current pos- 
tulates,politicaI, reliFious,econc<rfr and social,is urgently 
called for. This set. :. 's intend. J to be a tentative cott- 
t. . utioH to the Sseusiton of the problems thus rmsid. 

Vu writers of these volumes do not profess to have 
a complete philosophy of reconstruction ; nor hd)fe they 
endeavoured to co-ordinate their thoughts into a coherent 
polity. They treat of matters upon which they are n»t 
all agreed; but they agree that Society should be organised 
•»ithayiew to the free de'))elopment of all the finer interests 
and activities of men, and that such organisation must take 
account of local and spiritual diferences. /ipartfrom this 
general agreement, Ouy hofoc worked out their several 
theses independently and are severally alone responsible 
for the opinions expressed in the volumes published under 

their names. . 

The volumes in the series will coyer the matn subjects 
relative to the function of the State. Those already 
planned svill treat of the State in its relation to other 
states, to religion, to industry, to society, to woman, to 
the individual, to art, eduecihn and crime. 







LIBERTY ------ 65 






IT is reported that a leading layman of the 
Methodist Church, in a discussion upon the 
proposals for a "United Free Church of 
England," urged the view that such a Church 
would become a danger to the^ State. This is 
symptomatic of the confusion which surrounds the 
whole question of the relations of Church and 
State. Lord Acton somewhere speaks of " the 
undiscovered country where Church and State are 
parted and it is probable that neither this gener- 
ation nor the next, nor the next after will reach a 
satisfactory solution of the problem. In any case 
it is quite certain that the solution will not come 
by way of a readjustment of frontiers or a process 
of mutual accommodation. It will be achieved 
only as the result of a profound change of thought 
and temper throughout Society, which will mate- 
rially modify the accepted doctrines both of the 
Church and of the State. 

That such a change is coming is dear. Withm 
the last fifteen years, several circumstances have 
combined to stimulate thought upon the question. 
The disestablishment of the Roman Church in 
France (with the emphatic declarations of French 
statesmen in favour of State absolutism), the Scot- 
tish Churches' case, the passing of the Deceased 
Wife's Sister Act, the Welsh disestablishment con- 
troversy, and other incidents have led to a re- 
examinfttion of the position of the Church within 
the community, and already some results are appa- 
rent. The Scottish National Church hrs, without 


relinquishing some sort of official connection with 
the State, successfully asserted its independence, 
thus fitdlitating the movement towards further 
Church Union m Scotland. In England, the Arch - 
bishops' Committee on Church and State has issiied 
an imp<»tant report embodying a scheme for attain- 
ing spiritual independence without ncrtficing the 
principle of Establishment. 

Nor is it Established Churches only that are 
aifected by the unrest. The case of the United 
Free Church of Scotland showed the insecurity 
of all Free Churches under the existing arrange- 
ments whereby they hold their property. *he 
Presbyterian Church of England for instance, in 
1908, found it necessary to affirm its spiritual 
independence, claiming for itself " the sole and 
exclusive right from time to time to interpret, 
alter, add to, or modify its constitution, law, 
subordinate standards, and formulas, as duty may 
require; to determine and declare what these are; 
and for the better furtherance of the Kingdom of 
God to unite with other branches of the Church of 
Christ; always in conformity with those safeguards 
against hasty action or legislation which are pro- 
vided by the Church itself,— of which conformity 
the Church acting through its legitimate courts 
shall be the sole judge, and under a sense of 
direct responsibility to the everliving Head of the 
Chufch, and of duty towards all the Church's 
members." This declaration was a counterblast 
to the scandal of the Halsbury judgment, but what 



legal validity it possesses it is impossible to say. 
Its interest lies in the evidence it affords of the 
Church's jealousy of its autonomy and liberty and 
its implicit repudiation of the right of the State to 
interfere in its domestic life. 


But the question is wider than one of the ex- 
ternal relations of States and Churches. It involves 
the standing of other voluntary associations within 
the community, such as, for instance, Trade Unions. 
Here we enter into a region fiiU of prickly 
legal problems— the fictitious or " legal " person, 
the theory of concession, the law of corporations 
and the like. The TaflF Vale judgment raised the 
question in its broader aspects, and in view of the 
enormous multiplication of associations of all kinds 
during the last half-centurv, the discussion of the 
points involved is gradually working a change in 
the doctrine of the State itself. The tendency of 
political philosophers has been to reduce political 
obligation to simple terms of the State and the 
individual; but this view docs not and cannot 
square with the facts of life. Between the State and 
the individual there are countless associations pos- 
sessing an independent life of their own, claiming 
from their constituents loyalties which may not be 
always compatible with the demands of the State. 
"A doctrine," says F. W. Maitland, "which makes 
some way in England ascribes to the State or more 
vagicly the community not only a real will but 


even the real will; and it must occur to us to ask 
whether what is thus affirmed in the case of the 
State can be denkd in the case of other organised 
groups : for example, that considerable group, the 
Roman Catholic Church."* Obviously the theory 
which ascribes a genuine organic life to one 
association~the State— cannot deny it to others; 
and there can be no question that the progress 
of thought in England in recent years has been 
away from the unreal doctrine by which an in- 
dependent and autonomous existence was to be 
regarded as a grant or a concession of the State 
to a particular group of men. So great a lawyer 
as Professor Dicey has said that " when a body 
of twenty, or two thousand, or two hundred 
thousand, bind themselves together to act in a 
particular way for some common purpose, they 
create a body which by no fiction of law, but by 
the very nature of things differs from the in- 
dividuals of whom it is constituted." f The 
logical issue of this position is surely that " the 
State, even if it includes everybody, is still only 
an association among others, because it cannot 
include the whole of everybody.";!: 

This contrasts sharply with what Maitland calls 
" the motto of the absolute State," the French 
Declaration of August i8, 179 2, which held that 

• Introduction to O. Gierke, «' Political Theories of the Middle Age»," 
p. xi. 

f Quoted in « The Collected Papers of F. W. Maitland," p. 306. 
to. D. H. Cole. •* Cimflicti^Sedd(M|ation.**~Pra«et4iiv^dic 
Ariitotriim Society, iyi4tg. IS4» 



the truly free State cannot suffer in its bosom any 
corporation, not even those which have deservca 
well of the country by reason of their devotion to 
public instruction. The modern tendency — as the 
result of actual happenings in the normal course of 
social development — ^is ever further away from the 
doctrine of the absolute State. 

We may take a broader sweep than the ecognised 
and formal associations which arc contemplated in 
the previous paragraph. The appearance of the 
"conscientious objector" raises the issue within 
another sphere. A good deal of learned contempt 
has been directed towards the " lone conscience," 
and even doctors of the Church have told us that 
the caprice of individual consciences has no stand- 
ing against the common judgment of the mass. It 
is not within our immediate purpose to discuss the 
case of the individual conscience, but rather to 
point out that the conscientious objector does not 
five alone. He is simply a constituent and sign 
of a social group which, though unorganised, is 
nevertheless quite real. To take the actual facts of 
the present case, there are probably twenty thousand 
men in England who decline, on grounds of 
conscientious scruple, to take part in war. Thev 
range from the uncompromising person who will 
not at this particular moment undertake any 
service on compulsion to the man who is willing 
to take service in the "non-combatant corps." 


But beyond these is the vast number of men who 
joined the Medical Service long before the Military 
Service Act whose objection to active warfare is 
deep and invincible; there are multitudes besides 
who have become engaged in lenitive and humani- 
tarian tasks connected with the war. And for 
every man of military age thus afibcted, we may 
count at least five other persons who share their 
v?*w; and, again, beyond this limit, there is a 
large, undefinable body of people who are sorely 
troubled in mind about the whole business. It 
is true that this group is amorphous and un- 
organised; it is nevertheless quite real. Behind 
the " conscientious objector " is a social mass as 
definite and authentic, if not as extensive, as the 
State. The case of the conscientious objector 
need not fiarther detain us at this point. It gives 
us an instance to hand of a permanent phenomenon 
in a wholesome social life, the existence of unor- 
ganised and unincorporated movements of thought 
and monl aspiration, the genuineness of which 
Rousseau quite frankly recognised, and for which 
a stable doctrine of the State must make room. 
Movements of this kind have historically been 
for the most part within the religious sphere, and 
the normal method of dealing with them has been 
the futile attempt at suppression. They have 
naturally been as disturbing to the Church as to 
the State; and one of the commonest "boome- 
rang " errors of the Church has been its readiness 
to avail itself of the civil arm for purposes of 


persecution and extermination. But this was due 

but it is nevir dangerous to leave the door open 
to the religious and moral pioneer, /f 
charlatan, he will come to nothm^; but if have 
the Word of God for his generation, soon or late 
Le will force the door open, whether he -^^^^ or not^ 
The one thing wot to do with him is to try to 
supfffess him. 

In the haze incidentalto a state of war we seem 
in every land to be sliding back to the r^ctionary 
absolutist view of the State. , 0«« 4^^^^^^ 
a profound or coherent poliUcal tAilosophy in the 
Bntish House of Commons-let anyone peruse 
Hansard for a period of six months, and he will 
understand why Engird must ^^^^ys muddle 
through. Muddled affiurs come fi-om muddled 
minds^ It is not, therefore, surprising that in recent 
months claims as extravagant have been made tor 
the State in England as any political doctrinaire m 
Prussia has ever made-for there is no opportunity 
just now (even if there were the inclination) for 
kstorical retrospect and political reflection One 
wonders what the shade of Burke is thmking m 
these days. But the real danger is not m tl^Ho«« 
of Commons, but in the country. Mr. Cole ha* 


observed that " men have fallen into the idea of 
State-sovereignty because it has seemed the 

easiest, if not the only, way out of the sloueh 
of individualism."* And when men see the 
conscientious objector standing stiffly by what 
appears to them to be only his personal caprice, 
tn^ tend to react to a conception of the will of 
the community as absolutely authoritative for all 
its members since it seems to be the only alternative 
to thi? misconceived and impossible individualism. 
The demftiul arises for a political uniformity which, 
in this case, is also a religious uniformity; and we 
have theologians and preachers urging on us a 
view of the divinity of the State which gives 
its demands a sacrosanct characto:, in the presence 
of which the vagaries of the individual conscience 
must disappear. But this is surely to misconceive 
both the structure of society and the psychology of 
rdigion. The former is not to be understood as a 
single undifferentiated mass demanding a single 
line of conduct that its individual constituents 
must toe. Maitland, in an interesting passagef 
reviewing" the structure of the groups in wmch 
men of English race have stood from the days 
when the revengeful kindred was pursuing the 
bloodfeud to the days when the one-man company 
is issuing debentures, when Parliamentary assem- 
blies stand three deep upon Canadian and Aus- 

* G. D. H. Cole. Op. Git, p. 153. 

t IntroducUoa to O. <UtAut, oPoUtical TtMoria of tin liG441e Afs^" 
ff, ssir. f. 


tralian soil," speaks of «« Churches and even the 
McdMCval Church, one and catholic, religious 
houses and mendicant orders, nonconforming 
bodies, a presbyterian system, universities, old 
and new, the village community, which Germanists 
have revealed to us, the manor in its growth and 
decay, the township, the new England town, the 
counties and hundreds, the chartered boroughs, 
the guild in all its manifold varieties, the Inns ot 
Court, the merchant adventurers, the militant 
« Companies » of English condottieri who, return- 
ing home, help to make the word 'Company* 
popular among us, the trading companies, the 
companies that become colonies, the companies 
that make war, the friendly societies, the Trade 
Unions, the clubs, the group that meets at Lloyd s 
Coffee House, the group that becomes the Stock 
Exchange, and so on, even to the one-man com- 
pany, the Standard OU Trust, and the South 
Australian statutes for communistic villages." Ot 
such complex and many-coloured stuff is our soci^ 
life woven, and it must be '«ry unsophisticated 
doctrinaire indeed who ca erate this wonder- 
ful exuberance of social fo. ., and shape the terms 
of political obligation to the non-existent situation 
of an abstract individual in an abstract State. It 
may do very well for a cloister; but it dotb not 
answer in the actual business of living. The 
problems of political and social obligation are not 
to be solved in this airy way. The task of poli- 
tical philosophy is to discover the ways and means. 


not merely of riehtly relating the individual and 
the commimity, but also of relating rightlv to one 
another these various form of Uviag loctal Ofj^i- 
Mtion in which the life of the community resides. 

Further, the supposition that the demands of 
the State, both general and particiilar, (since the 
State itself is held to be a divine institute), define 
the moral obligation of the individual involves at 
last a denial of the freedom of jhe Spirit. " The 
wind bloweth where it listeth," and the Spirit ma^ 
express Himself through the State. But it is 
mrdy a very wbitrary assumption that He al^ys 
does so. It is very hard to reconcile this view 
with many passages in history. On this showing 
the State can never do wrong. When Church and 
State have been in conflict, are we to assume that 
the Spirit is speaking with two contradictory 
voices .? The truth is simply that, like every other 
natural institution, the State is intrinsically neutral 
from the moral point of view. It has just as much 
mon\ authcHrity as its own practical and active 
righteousness entitles it to have. In a democratic 
State, moreover, it is questionable whether the 
State ever embodies anything higher than the 
average moral levd of the commumty; and if the 
frontiers of State requirement are to represent the 
precise boundaries of the moral practice of in- 
dividuals, then there is an end for good and all 
to the independent mind and to origiiud and 
creative goodness. We are condemned in per- 
petuity to a dull moral mediocrity. Adventurous 


virtue becomes a nutAmmiow wd 
tionality the hrfl-imurk of holinefc. Ifitbeui|;«i 
thtt tl4 State rcquirrmcnt represents the mini- 
mum rather than the m«imum mo^^^^demand 
upon the individual, and that he w free to cxpr<»« 
his moral aspiratioM beyond that fhmtier, tbMi the 
only answer we can ^Ve is that the practice of 
States which make claSns of this natu: is to sho^ 
or hang the moral explorer. Historically, morri 
progre^ has been chiefly made, not through, but 
m spite oi States. 

It is the more surprising that this view of the 
State as a divine ordinance demanding the 
obedience of the individwa should "^J^^c theo- 
logical endorsement at a time when the Church 
was rightly moving towards a real spiritual in- 
depenlencc. For alivincr Church must be a g;row- 
inrChurch; and while it must safeguard itself 
aglinst hasty innovation, it must nevertheless have 
Sow-room for expansion. Life within the Church, 
as everywnere 

Church which never changes is a Churdi whicn 
has ceased to live. It must, moreover claim not 
only this liberty for itself as a whole, but the 
liberty of its individual members to express in 
their own personal life the feith and the spint of 
which the Church is the trustee and organ in the 
world. The call of the Gospel surely presupposes 
liberty to accept the Cross of Jesus Christ m al 
its consequences, in its gifts as in its moral 



demands. If the Christian ethic is henceforth to 
be regarded as normally coincident with State 
requirement (and that is what Dr. Forsyth's and 
Canon Rashdall's criticism of the conscientious 
objector comes to), then we have been mistaken in 
supposing the Christian ethic to be the adven 
turous and creative thing that we said it was. 
Does this new doctrine mean that the Christian 
obedience (which is no slavish legalism, but a 
living, creative thing) is really a permissive affair 
which may be whittled down to sxiit an emergency 
of State? Are we in future to preach a Gospel 
clipped and crippled, so that it may be accom- 
modated to State necessities? Is the preacher 
henceforth never to tell men that they must, if 
they would follow Christ, go forth not knowing 
whither they go? Must we say that the call of 
the Gospel and the call of the State are one and the 
same call ? And will that be true whether Radicals 
or Tories are in power? This is surely a quite 
impossible situation. The Church which preaches 
at the same time the Gospel of Jesus Christ and 
a doctrine of accommodation is no longer the Body 
of Christ, but an accessory of the State. 

It is true that this view of the State as a divine 
institute may find Scriptural warrant. St. Paul is 
quoted : "Every subject must obey the govern - 
ment authorities, for no authority exists apart from 
God; the existing authorities have been constituted 
by God. Hence, anyone who resists authority is 
opposing the divine order, and the opposition will 


bring iudgment upon themselves. Magistrates 
are no terror to an honest man, though they are 
to a bad man. If you want to avoid being alarmed 
at the government authorities, lead an honest lite, 
and you will be commended for it : the magistrate 
is God's servant for your benefit."* This seems 
categorical enough until we remember Paul's own 
conduct. The charge laid against Paul and Silas 
in the colony of Philippi was that of militant non- 
conformity and dangerous innovation. "These 
men" ran the charge sheet, "do exceedingly 
trouble our city and teach customs which are not 
lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being 
Romans." The modern theory (both of politicians 
and theologians) is that Paul and Silas had no right 
to publish their personal convictions, still less to 
act upon them, it the authorities considered them 
to be dangerous to the State. That, too, was the 
way the Romans of Philippi looked at it> so they 
clapped Paul and Silas into prison. In Phihppi 
you must obey the code; toe the line, and no 
nonsense. It is unethical to be a Christian in 
Philippi ; it is a crime to be a nonconformist. One 
wonders whether Paul regarded the magistrate 
who committed him as God's servant for his 
benefit. It is at least perfectly clear that the divine 
quality of the " government authorities " was m 
St. Paul»s mind inferior to that of the authority 
of his own Spirit-led judgment; and it is not with- 
out signific ance that the State which receives so 

• fum. Xm, 1-4 (MoAtt). 



generous an interpretation fi-om St. Paul in the 
|»re-per8ecution days is described in much less com- 
plimentary language by the writer of the Apoca- 
lypse, who had seen the Flavian Persecution. 
" The dragon of Rev. xii. i, the supreme power 
of Evil, acts through the (cxot of the Empire 
when he waited to devour the child of the woman 
and persecuted the woman and proceeded to make 
war on the rest of her seed; and his heads and 
his horns are the imperial instruments by whom he 
carries on war ana persecution. The Beast of 
xiii. I, with his ten-diademed horns and the 
blasphemous names on its seven heads, is the Im- 
perial Government with its diademed Emperors 
and its temples dedicated to human beings blas- 
phemously styled by divine names."* " The 
State," says Dr. Forsyth, " is an ethical institute 
of God as much as the family is; and it is, in its 
way, equally, though perhaps less dbvioudy, 
poworfui for our moral growth." It is the logical 
mference, then, that the Roman Empire of the 
Flavian period was an ethical institute of God and 
powerful for the moral growth of its Christian 
citizens. It was so, as a matter of fact; but not in 
the way that Dr. Forsyth's statement suggests. 

It is high time to throw overboard this false 
and befogging mystical view of the State. It is in 
its largest aspect simply the community organised 
for particular purposes; in its narrowest, the 
machinery of govonment; it possesses simply the 

* sir W. M. tiMtouf. "Tin Lctttn to tlw Scren ChurchM," f. 94. 


divinity which derives from the divine will that 
nude man a social animal. The precise degree of 
its moral authority will depend upon its power to 
commend itself to the moral judgment, not merely 
of its individual constituents, but also of all the 
groups and associations in which those constituents 
are freely gathered. Unless it is going to make 
claims for itself similar to those of the Roman 
Emperors, and to constitute itself an object for 
worship so that the religious aspirations of its con- 
stituents shall be directed to itself, then it must 
so shape itself that there shall be room in it for 
the free growth and development of religious 
associations. The claim we make is that zo far 
from the Church accommodating itself to the State, 
the State shall accommodate itself to the Church, 
even though it turns itself upside down in the 

And not only to the Church, but also to every 
other living body within the commonwealth, 
whether religious or cultural, educational or 
economic, in which the varied interests and aspira- 
tions of the people express and embody themselves. 



When Coleridge set himself to examine the 
relations of Church and State, he found it neces- 
sary to draw a distinction between a national 
Church and a Christian Church. " It is the func- 
tion of the National Church to diffuse through the 
people legality, that is, the obligation of a well- 
c Iculated self-interest under the conditions of a 
common interest, determined by common laws."* 
The State requires an accessory body which shall 
provide and teach religious sanctions for loyalty 
and law-abidingness. It does not, of course, 
follow tliat such a body must be Christian. Indeed, 
"the phrase Church and State has a sense and 
propriety in reference to the National Church 
alone. The Church of Christ cannot be put in this 
conjunction and antithesis without forfeiting the 
very name of Christian."! Yet in his own country 
Coleridge found a Church which professed to be 
both national and Christian. Like the true con- 
servative that he was, he accepted the fact, and then 
essayed to explain it. His explanation is singu- 
lar and noteworthy. This coincidence, he says, 
is " a blessed accident, a providential boon, a grace 
of God.":j: Coleridge is not very successful in 
showing how the admitted incongruity of the two 
elements in a national Christian Church is over- 
come; but his analysis at least makes it q uite clear 

• 1. T. Coleridge. • Ott the Coiutitution of Church and Sute." 
t tMt p. 144^ 



that the necessities of a State religion are not in- 
trinsi^ly md inevitably compatible with the 
witness of the Christian Church. They may indeed 
be wholly opposed to one another; and where the 
Christian Church has consistently conformed to the 
public necessities of the State, it has hist<^cally 
been at the cost of grave compromise, and not 
seldom of a deadly evisceration of its own 
appointed message. That a State might exist 
alliance with which would still enable the Church 
to remain wholly Christian may not be quite in- 
conceivable. But hitherto sudi a State has not 

That the original attitude of the Christian 
Church to the State was one of aloofness and 
isolation is a common-place. ** The Early Chris- 
tians," says Lord Acton, " avoided contact with 
the State, abstained from the responsibilities of 
office, and were even reluctant to serve in the 
Army. Cherishing their citizenship of a kingdom 
"»f this wcnrld, they despaired of an Empire 
1 seemed ^oo powerful to be resisted and too 
Cwiiupt to be converted . . . which plunged its 
hands from age to age in the blood of the mwtyrs, 
and was beyond the hope of regeneration aiid 
foredoomed to perish."* Nor did the Empire make 
any endeavour to conciliate its Christian popula- 
tion. The Christian Society was born at a time 


when the Empire was iuspidous of any new social 
organisation and its officers were constantly alert 
to suppress any unauthorised religious movements. 
All religious associations, with the exception of the 
Jewish Synagogue, were under strict Imperial con- 
trol, and while Christianity was still supposed to be 
a phase of Judaism, it possessed a certain immunity official interference. But this state of things 
could not last. When the Jews began to denounce 
the Christians, the difference between the two 
bodies became apparent. The only cover which 
the Christian societies retained was a somewhat 
slender external similarity of observance with the 
pagan confraternities of the time. This, however, 
afforded but a precarious and short-lived protec- 
tion, and Sir William Ramsay has shown that in 
the persecutions of Flavius, Diocletian, and 
Decius, it was an accepted principle that "a 
Christian was necessarily disloyal and outlawed by 
virtue of the tuune and wnfcssion."* 

Notwithstanding persecution, the Christian 
community thrived. In number it was at the 
beginning of the fourth century, hardly more than 
one-twentieth of the population of the Empure, but 
"what the Christians lacked in numbers they 
more than made up by their organisation, unity, 
wealth, and driving power." f Historians appear 
to be agreed that it was the impression which the 
power and unity of the Christian Church made 

• SirW. M. R«m«qr,«Th«I.*ttmtoth«S€TenChntdia,"p. IJ». . 


upon Constantine that first led that Emperor to 
consider whether it was not necessary to the pre- 
servation of the Empire. « He found the Empire 
distracted," says Newman, "with civil and 
religious dissension which tended to the dissolu- 
tion of society; at a time, too, when the barbarians 
without were pressing upon it with a vigour for- 
midable in itself, but far more menacing in con- 
sequence of the decay of the ancient spirit of 
Rome. He perceived the power of its own poly- 
theism, from whatever cause, exhausted; and the 
newly-risen philosophy vainly endeavouring to 
resuscitate a mythology which had done its work, 
and now, like all things of earth, was fast return- 
ing to the dust from which it was taken. He 
heard the same philosophy inculcating the prin- 
ciples of that more exacting and refined rdiffion 
which a civilised age will always require; and he 
witnessed the same substantial teaching, as he 
would consider it, embodied in the precepts and 
enforced by the energetic discipline, the union and 
example of the Christian Church. Here his 
thoughts would rest as in a natural solution of the 
investigation to which the state of his Empire 
gave rise, and without knowing enough of the 
internal characters of Christianity to care to in- 
struct himself in them, he would discern on th'^ 
fkce of it a doctrine more real than that of philo- 
sophy, and a rule of life more severe and energetic 
than that of the old republic.*** The first prac- 

• l.H. Newm»n,«TheAri«iu©fthe4th Century," (Ed. i883),pp.a4a-»43' 
' b8 


tical consequence of these reflections was the Edict 
of Milan (a.d. 313), by which Constantine and 
Licinius agreed to grant absolute toleration to the 
Christian and all otner persuasions to follow their 
own adopted form of worship. This was followed 
by the "conversion" of Consttntine and the 
adoption of Christianity as the public religion of 
the Empire, which latter circumstance was authen- 
ticated by certain modifications of the existing laws 
in directions agreeable to the new faith. It is no 
part of our business to raise the question of the 
genuinen^ of Constantine's conversion; but 
genuine or not, it was no part of his programme 
to modify in any way his conception of his own 
authority. " Diocletian's attempt to tran^rm the 
Empire into a despotism of the Eastern type had 
brought on the last and the most serious persecu- 
tion of the Christians; and Constantine, in adopt- 
ing their faith, intended neither to abandon his 
predecessors' scheme of policy nor to renounce the 
fascination of arbitrary authority, but to strengthen 
his throne with the support of a religion which had 
astonished the world by its powers of resistance, 
and to obtain that support absolutely and without 
a drawback, he fixed tne seat of Government in the 
East with a patriarch of his own creation."* The 
Church was to be ancillary, not so much to the 
State as to the Emptor. In its new rdlc, it 
occupied precisely the position of the paganism 
which it dis placed. It was a department of the 

• AciM, "Tlu ifiitorjr of Fkc^oib," p. je. 



civil service. The Church Councils had f uU liberty 
of discussion, but their decisions had to be ratified 
by the Emperor, who even declared his own will 
equivalent to a canon of the Church. The Edict 
o? Milan was obsolete before it was a year old, for 
the new situation made dissent and heresy political 
offences; and the Emperor proved his xeal for 
pure Christianity by setting out to suppress the 
Doiiadsts. That was a bad day for Christianity. 


That the Christian Church could accept this 
position indicates a certain transformation in its 
temper and its thought of itself. It is plain that 
the Empire had not materially changed. In policy 
and spirit it was still pagan. The change must 
therefore be sought within the Church itself, and 
it is necessary and impcnrtant to inquire into this 

How did the Apostolic Church conceive of it- 
self? The word iKKkryrla seems to be used by 
St. Paul in two different but related senses. He 
applies it first of all to separate companies of 
believers; the second use is wider. It would be 
wrong to say that in this wider sense the word 
denotes the aggregate of the local communities, 
or that it represents an ideal society not yet realised 
on earth. It is neither so concrete as the one nor so 
abstract as the other. What the word in this large 
sense is intended to cover it is difficult to define 
precisely. It was something more than an abstrac- 
tion by its apfHfOximation to which the local eccUsia 



justified its title. Rather it was something which 
existed in and subsumed each separate comnriunity, 
the underlying continuum of which the individual 
society wm toe local manifestation and embodi- 
ment. The Church in the whole truth of its being 
was present in each ecclesia. It was many and yet 
essentially one-— one by virtue of an ever present 
and expanding life which took on a living form 
wheresoever it foaad foothold. 

The constituents of the Church were variously 
described : " brethren," " saints," " sanctified in 
Christ Jesus." These terms described the same 
fundamental standing. The Church is the society 
of the redeemed, of those who are in Christ. "All 
who have been brought into this relation of trust 
and freedom with the God and Father of our 
Lord Jesus Christ are saints. They may not be 
persons morally perfect or morally advan^d* but 
they are spiritual, related to God and open to the 
influence of His Spirit. Paul's doctrine, and with 
it the whole apostolic doctrine, is that the Church 
consists of saints so understood. The Church is 
not a visible corporation, kept together by outward 
bonds of office and ecclesiastical order. It is a unity 
of spirit through the one Spirit of God working in 
individual members, who having been individiuiUy 
reconciled to God are the tqpiritual who can judge 
all things yet themselves are subject to no human 

i'udgment (I Cor., ii, 15). Because in this way 
*ai3 can say that Christ is the head of every man 
(I Cot., ii, 3), he can say that we who are many 

are one body in Christ and scvcraUv mcmbert of 
one tnother.*** At this stage the Church was still 
what its Lord and Founder designed, « a society 
organised on the sole basis of love and equality and 
mutual service." It had not become a corporation 
with its recogniscQ seat of authority, its rules and 
conventions; it was simply a conjnfiunity estab- 
lished and organised upon a basis of love, within- 
definite frontiers, without a formal bond. Outward 
community was estoblished in the fece of the world 
by the acceptance of a common type of conduct, 
and by the common practice of the ministry of the 
word, of baptism and of the eucharist. But, as Ur. 
Oman says, « all this unity was of the tpint and 
not of official regulation." 

Yet even within the New Testament we find 
evidence of another tendency. It may indeed be 
argued, with some plausibility, that it is present 
in the later phases of St. Paul's thought. In 
Ephesians, for instance, the conception of the 
Church as the " Body of Christ » presumes a 
more definite institutional form. It is, however, 
dangerous to press a figure of speech too tar. 
Evidence of a more direct kind is forthcoming in 
t:^^ Pastoral Epistles, where we find a greater 
emphasis upon the external and formal elements 
of the life o f the Church.t For the moment we 

• John Oman, "The Church and the Divine Order," p. 59- 
+ « In the Pa.toral Epi.tle. ... the ChuKli it the piUar and jtajr of the 
truth. Tfuth i. not a'renewing tn..t in God ^^^^'SS,^^ 
acceptance of right Church doctrine (T.m. i., lo). P«d hfaMdf 


are not concerned with tlie que^on whether tfait 

tendency was healthy or not. We now obterve 
it as a happening — as the beginning of the process 
by which the Church passes away from its first 
•tsge of free fellowship to a more formal and 
regulated institutional life. We may trace this 
process farther afield. 

The autonomy of the local group in the early 
Church is beyond question. St. Paul everywhere 
appointed elders in every Church and then left 
the new community to develop its own life, only 
exercising a fatherly pastoral oversight as oppor- 
tur.Itjr offered. When with the passage of time, 
the Churches grew out of apostolic tutelage, they 
chose their own officers. The Didtehe enjoins the 
early Christian committees to elect their own 
bishops and deacons.* The apostolical Consti- 
tutions reflect a later and more elaborate process of 
appointment, but the evidence is decisive. In 
Book VIII., iv., of the Coptic version we have, 
" In the first place I, Peter, say, that a Bishop to be 
ordained is to be a person chosen by the whole 
people, whom, being named and approved, let the 
people assemble with the Presbytery and the 
bishops that are present on the Lofd*s Day and let 

Mthoritjr from having the knowledge of the truth which appnn to be sooad 
doctnne. (Titu. i, 1-4). The Chriitian ethic is bated on how mn oucht 
to behave themielvet in the House of God. (Tim.i- i-tV* Onaa. "The 
Church and the Divine Order," pp. 6a f. Obterre ^% i«o«3,ea 
the Pastoral Epistlet to the quettion of choo^ bidiopi ud tmma. 
••Didaehe," Chapter 15. 



them eive their consent." This is explicit evidence 
enough of tl»e tutiMMMiif and freedmn d the local 
congregation, but the changing character of the 

sanctions and bonds of the Christian society may 
very well be seen in this particular matter of the 
appointment of its ministers. Quite apart from 
the ^t that the ministry had come to be a matter 
of appointment rather than of gift, we see the 
gradual concentration of the authority of appoint- 
ment outside the local Church. The earlier steps 
in the process are difficidt to trace; but it had gone 
so far that in 350 a.d., or thereabout, the Synod of 
Laodicea laid it down in its twelfth canon that 
bishops must be appointed by the decision of 
metrc^Utans and comprovincials; and in the 
thirteenth that the choice of those to be appointed 
to the priesthood shall not rest with the mmtitude. 
The change did not take place with uniform 
rapidity throughout the Chwch. Hefele quotes 
van Espen in a statement that after the Synod of 
Laodicea the people still took part in the selection 
of their clergy; and vestiges of the early usages 
continue in conciliar decisions to a much later time. 
In the Synod of Aries (a.d. 443 or 452) it was 
decreed (Canon 54) that if a Bishop was to be 
elected, three candidates should be named by the 
comprovincial bishops, and of these three the 
clergy and the citizens of the city may cho(»e one. 
The usage was not uniform for a long time, and in 
the West the change was not finally registered in 
Canon law until the eleventh century. But the 


general tendency is obvious. It was the gradual 
passage of the prerogative of ministerial appoint- 
ment from the congregation by way of the 
presbyterate into the nands of the bishops. 

This is symptomatic of a profound change in the 
character of the life of the Church. The inner 
spiritual bond of the first Christian societies is 
gradually supplanted by external authority, more 
and more centralised. That the exigencies of the 
Church's growth should seem to demand some 
means of regulating and unifying the local societies 
was natural; and it is not improbable that the 
centralising tendencies of the surrounding im- 
perialism invaded the Church. But the change is 
most of all due to the common human inability to 
believe in the adequacy of spiritual sanctions and 
the insistent craving for the apparently greater 
security of external rule and constraint. It is 
easier to trust to authority and compulsion because 
these seem more obvious and immediate; and their 
ascendency in the Church largely suppressed its 
own original genius and made it rank with the 
worldly corporations that lived by these means. 
*• When authority and compulsion seemed a true 
and quick road to truth and unity, it was difficult 
to regard the Chiirch as other than a worldly 
corporation and to remember that she stood for 
God's rule in however few and by God's way of the 
patient endurance of love, however long."* 

• Omaii, **Tbt Chnrdi aa4 tht Divia* (Mtr/* ^ 17. 



George Tyrrell speaking of the Catholic Church 
says that "it requires two principles for its 
development; one a principle of wild luanmance, 
of spontaneous expansion and variation in every 
direction, the other a principle of order, restraint, 
unification, in conflict with the former, often 
overwhelmed by its task, always more or less in 
arrears.* This is indeed not peculiar to the 
Church. It is characteristic of all living human 
societies. But a point comes in their history when 
the principle of order gains in men's minds signi- 
ficance and worth superior to the principle of 
freedom; and while there is a temporary strengthen- 
ing of the society by the sense of increased 
solidarity and unity, it is gained at the expense of 
the very life itself of the society. That there must 
be wineskins is dear; but when the wineskins 
assume a greater importance than the wine, not 
only have we reached a point of peril but we have 
already very materially modified our concepticm 
of our vocation as a society. We have becoiae 
curators of wineskins rather than vendors of wine. 
And the change has taken place from the highest 
possible motive. We only intended to secure the 
wine; but that has shifted the emphasis to the 
wineskins. Our business was to pass the wine 
round; we have come to occupying ourselves with 
keeping it safe, arguing that it is too precious a 
commodity to be spoilt or wasted, forgetting that 

• ••Tyrrell," "Through ScylU and Ch«ryb<ii»," p. 15. 


this particular wine is only kept wholesome by 
being circulated and distributed. 

It was with the simple purpose of securing and 
conserving the life of the Church that the new 
bonds of authority and obedience were developed 
m the early Church. The bishop is vested with a 
sort of local sovereignty in order that the local com- 
munity might be kept solidary; and so the process 
went on until the Church developed into a 
corporation so compact that Constantine could as 
It were grasp it in his hand and transfer it bodily 
into the place from which heathenism had been 
removed. But all this involved a real change in 
the Church's conception of its own function and 
character. The free brotherly fellowship of the 
first communities has become the closely integrated 
institution with highly centralised authority, its 
hierarchy, its formuk and regulations. The 
principle of order, the proper place of which, as 
Tyrrell says, is « in arrears," assumed precedence 
over the principle of free life- and men became 
increasingly preoccupied with the creation and 
definition of external sanctions. The institution 
must be safeguarded for its own sake; and the 
purpose of its foundation feU into a more or less 
subordinate position. 

The fellowship of the first Christians was not a 
fellowship for its own sake. It was a fellowship of 
service, not only mutual, but to the world; and this 
service to the world consisted mainly in the 
preaching of the Gospel. The Apostolic Church 



was essentially missionary; and its missionary 
impulse arose from " the glad sense of possessing 
in a special degree a salvation which made it a joy 
to bring men into the fellowship of the Christian 
society."* The first Christians looked out upon a 
world involved in an alienation from God, which 
in their case by the grace of God had been over- 
come; h was the passionate desire that the 
whole V should partake in the peace and love 
of God \ : . ^aused the small Antiochene Churcb 
to send out Paul and Barnabas to preach the gospel 
to it. It is still only with reference to the 
actual moral condition of the world that the 
meaning of the Church can be understood. " To 
consider the world in its length and breadth (says 
Newman), its various history, the many races of 
man, their starts, their fortunes, their mutual 
alienation, their conflicts; and then their ways of 
government, fcstms of worship, their enterprises, 
their aimless courses, their random achievements, 
and acquirements, the impotent conclusion of long- 
standing facts, the tokens so faint and broken of 
a supermtending design, the blind evolution of 
what turn out to be gresLt powers or truths, the 
progress of things as from unreasoning elements, 
not towards final causes, the greatness and littleness 
of man, his far-reaching aims, his short duration, 
the curtain hung ovar his futurity, the disappoint- 
ments of life, the defeat of good, the success of 
evil, physical pain, mental ang uish, the prevalence 

• Omm, « Th» Church aatf dw DiTtm Orto," fTyt. 


and intensity of sin, the pervading idolatries, the 
corruption, the dreary hopeless irreligion, that 
condition of the whole race ... so exactly 
described in the Apostle's words, * having no hope 
and without God in the world,' all this is a 
vision to dizzy and appal."* And Newman finds 
himself unable to explain "this heart-piercin?, 
reason-bcwildering fact » save by assuming that 
the human race is implicated in some terrible 
aboriginal calamity. This was also the Apostolic 
view. Whether one accepts it or not, one cannot 
deny the moral confusion and disorder of the 
world; but the early Christians believed that they 
were entrusted with the word and the power which 
could redeem the world from this chaos, and trans- 
form the welter into a real universe. With joy and 
eagerness, they went out to offer their gospel to 
the world. ^ ^ 

, But gradually the principle of order asserted 
itself and the process of formal definition of the 
message began. Creed-making was set afoot. 
Ihere is no harm in creeds so long as they are 
regarded not as authoritative statements of truth 
tor all time, but as definitions of so much of the 
truth as men had at the time apprehended. The 
confessional formula is not a terminus ad quern 
but z terminus a quo. And even then it must be 
regarded as an instrument fashioned and shaped in 
the fires of controversy and therefore inevitably 
partial and biassed. But here again me n have 

• J. H. Ntwman, « ApoI<^a fn Vht p. 14a. — 


tended to care more for the wineskin than for the 
wine, and have been more jealous of the formula 
than of the living experience which it endeavoured 
to capture and define. The faith became of more 
moment than the gospel; and admission into the 
Church was henceforth conditional upon the 
acceptance of a body of truth rather than upon the 
possession of the new life. Indeed it was even les-; 
exacting than that; and it is a very curious and 
luminous commentary upon the change which had 
taken place in the life of the Church that while the 
apostles conceived of the Church as a community 
of souls in a " relationship of trust and freedom 
with the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ " 
and consequently gathered in their converts one 
by one, in 324 a.d. twelve thousand men, with 
women and children in proportion, were baptised 
in Rome, and the Emperor promised to every 
convert a white garment and twenty pieces of 

It is, however, an interesting circumstance that, 
notwithstanding the effort to reach final definitions 
of Christian truth, the formulae proved successively 
inadequate to contain the growing riches of 
spiritual experience which the preaching and 
practice of spiritual Christianity created and 
revealed. The creeds were continually being 
patched up and extended; and it is worth noting 
that before it reached its present form in 740 a.d., 
between 150 a.d. and that year, the Apostles* 

* p. Schair. ** Niccnc and Poit-Nicene Chriitianity," pp. )i f. 


Creed had passed through at least twenty phases.* 
Tyrrell's "principle of wUd luxuriance" as a 
matter of fact, is never wholly suppressed; and, 
despite all the endeavour to crystallise faith in 
formal statements, there is always a strain of life 
which IS continually outstripping the definitions. 
It has been the salvation of the Christian Church 
that It has in it a core of life which declines to 
submit to the restraints of definition and tradition 
and IS, therefore, for ever breaking out in new 
directions and in fi-esh places. It has a seemingly 
mexhaustible capacity for self-renewal, and one 
never knows at what point it will next overflow 
«ie neat and trim banks which schoolmen and 
doctrinaires have so sedulously built up for it The 
living Church will always be a Church with ragged 
edges. It IS at last wholly unamenable to %sc 

This, then, was the tendency which was crow- 
ingly operative in the life of the Church, the 
tendency to centralisation and incorporation. It 
developed at the expense of the original prophetic 
and apocalyptic elements— the elements which 
require the environment of freedom— in the 

f 1' 'I '""^^^^^ ''^ organisation and 
Its faith. It had by the time of Constantine become 
very much of a close corporation. It had, in feet, 
become ready for Constantine's great experiment. 
Christianity, which possessed no geniurfe r the 

u u-^'* '"^'l »howiiig the eyolution of the Apotdct' Cmd 7n Cr,:.' 
« HwtoTT of Crwd. ConfcMion. of F«tJ>." W^Jto ft 



part (if we are to accept the New Testament as 
regulative), was proclaimed the public religion of 
the Empire. What actually happened was that two 
corporations entowd into a concordat by which the 
one party attained a certain recognised prestige and 
power as the price of subordinating itself to the 
ultimate piuposes of the other. The Empire did 
not become Christian in any real sense; and hence- 
forth the Church became less than Christian. Con- 
stantine, it has been said, rendered lip-service to 
the Church; and the Church promised life-service 
to the Emperor. It was henceforth delivered 
from persecution; but it had surrendered its in- 
dependence. For men to whom this tendency 
towards centralisation and incorporation had 
seemed important, in whose minds the idea of 
authority had gained an ascendency which is 
never contemplated in the New Testament, it 
seemed a great opportunity for the Church that it 
should become the authorised religious cultus of 
the Empire. It meant political and social pres- 
tige, effective discipline, immediate safeguards for 
orthodoxy, and much more; and it is not strange 
that they accepted the new situation. 

"Constantine is our benefactor," is the judg- 
ment of Newman upon this trannction, "inso- 
much as we, who now live, may be considered fo 

Church.*** It depends, however, upon what 

* **Tiw AriaM of ^ Vsitfth Ceatatf," p. 94*. 



one means by Christianity. If Christianity is 
to be conceived in the light of its origins in 
the New Testament, it is difficult to appreciate 
in what way it was assisted by Constantine. It 
is, indeed, not to be denied that the adoption 
of Christianity as the religion of the Empire did 
to some extent work out for the moral advant- 
age of the world; but it is highly que^ionable 
whether the retention of its independence by 
the Church would not, in the long run, have 
proved more effectual for the moral regeneration 
of the race. « The Roman State, with its laws, 
institutions, and usages, was still deeply rooted in 
heathenism, and could not be transformed by a 
magical stroke. The Christianising of the State 
amounted, thereifore, in a great measure to a 
paganising and secularising <rf the Church. The 
world overcame the Church as much as the Church 
overcame the world, and the temporal gain of 
Christianity was in many respects cancelled by 
spiritual loss.* . . . " By taking in the whole 
population of the Roman Empire, the Church 
became indeed a Church of the masses, a Church 
of the people, but at the same time more or less a 
Church of the world. Christianity became a 
matter of fashion. The number of hypocrites 
and formal professors rapidly increased; strict dis- 
cipline, zeal, self-sacrifice, and brotherly love 
proportionately ebbed away, and many heathen 
customs and usages, under altered names, crept 

• SdiaC «• Hkese asd Pott-Kkeac Cfarittleiitn'* I, p. ^j. 



into the worship of God and the life of the 
Christian people."* That the Church of Constan- 
tine was historically in the succession of the 
Church of the New Testament cannot be denied; 
but, like many another pedigree, this told a story of 
degeneracy and even of radical departure fiwn the 
Church's original thought of itself. 

The acceptance of the compact with Constantine 
is perhaps the outstanding nistorical instance of 
the bad bargain of " drawing the circle premature, 
heedless of f r gain." Yet it is true that the bad 
bargain was forced upon those who made it. 
Rather perhaps we should say that it was madb 
long before by those who elected to trust to cen- 
tralised authority and external organisation rather 
than to the original spiritual and ethical nisus of 
the Church. The growth and ascendency of the 
institutional spirit in the Church had paved the 
way so effectually that it was bound at last to meet 
with a Constantine. And it did — to its own and 
the world*s abiding detriment. Having become a 
close corporation, the only safeguard of its purity 
and health was persecution; and when die possi- 
bility of persecution passed away, it was set defi- 
nitely on a path of inevitable degeneracy. Tha*. it 
survived this disaster is dear demonstration of 
its intrinsic and imperishable vitality. But we are 
to look for the line of its continuous life not in 
its external history, but along obscure side-roads, 
largely unwritten and unrecorded, the succes sion 

•Schaff. **Nic«DC ud Pott-Niccm Chrittianity,*' 1., p. 93. c 2 


of unknown faithful souls, men and women who 
have tended the flame upon the altar of their own 
spirits and have passed it on from generation to 
r ' eration in lowly piety and saintfincss of life. 
A lie true Church has always been the faithful rem- 
nant which has never perished from the land. Dr. 
Lindsay has shown us how widely diffused 
throughout Germany before the Refcnrmation 
was a very genuine and simple evangelical piety, 
both individual and domestic, owing compara- 
tively little to prevailing ecclesiastical mfluences,* 
and it is in such bye-ways of humble social reli- 
gious life that we are to discover the secret of the 
Church's survival. It has lived chiefly not through 
but in spite of its organisation and authority and 
hierarchical machinery. The living Church of 
history approximates throughout to tlui Ktaple 
elementary social form whicn we discovor in the 
New Testament. 

* "All these things combine to show us how there was a simple evan- 
gelical faith among pious mediaeval Christians ; and that their lives were 
M upon the same divine truths which lie at the basis of Reformation 
tlieology. The truths were all there, as poetic thoughts, as earnest suppli- 
cation and confession, in fervent preaching, or in fireside teaching . . . 
Quotations might be multiplied, alt proving the existence of a simple evan- 
gelical piety, and showing that the home experience of Friedrich Mecum 
(Myconius) was shared in by thousands, and that there was a simple evan- 
gelical family religion in numberless German homes in the end of the 
fifteenth ceatuij." — T. M. Lindaay, " Histoiy of the Reformation," L pp. 



THE establishment of Christianity as the 
public religion of the Empire, while it 
involved a radical departure from the 
original view of its relation to the world around 
it, was in line with the whole tradition of pagan 
antiquity. In the ancient world, religion was sub- 
servient to the purposes of the State and existed 
under State supervision. It was just that " Na- 
ti(Hial Church *' of Coleridge's distinction, which 
the State requires in order to provide religious 
sanctions for its demands upon the people and for 
their obedience. For such a role as this, Chris- 
tianity was not cast. It declared an authority 
highor than the State, in obedience to which there 
were occasions when the State had to be resisted. 
And while there had never been a formal abandon- 
ment of that position, and frequent assertions of 
it had been made in the face of the State, in 
general practice it inevitably came to pass that 
State requirement came to be regarded as defining 
the extent of Christian obligation. To this we 
shall have to attend at a later point; meantime we 
observe that as a consequence of the new position 
certain alien elements entered into the life of the 

The one outstanding fact is, of course, that the 
Church had surrendered its freedom. Constantine 
declared himself to be a divinely appointed bishop, 
with jiuisdiction over the external affairs of the 


Church, while the bishops proper had oversight 
of its intemtl affairs. But internal and external 

are here so closely related that this distinction was 
not of much value in practice. In point of fact, 
the Emperors after Constantine summoned the 
Church Councils, the supreme domestic authority 
of the Church, bore the expenses, ami presided at 
the meetings through commissioners, gave to the 
conciliar decisions tne force of law for the whole 
Empire, and maintained them by their authority. 
But the Emperors acted in ecclesiastical affairs 
even without reference to the Councils. Basilicus, 
Zeno, Justinian I., Heraclius, Constans II., and 
other Emperors issued edicts on Church matters 
without consulting the Councils, and in some cases 
virtually compelled the Councils to accept and to 
pass them. There were, it is true, never lacking 
fearless defenders of the rights of the Church 
against the civil power; but the liberty and inde- 
pendence of the Church with all that this implies 
of the power of self-determination and self-devel- 
opment was to all intents and purposes lost. Its 
life was definitely circumscribed by its connection 
with the State. 

Moreover, the life of the Church was poisoned 
by the introduction of intrigue into its councils. 
It is probable that there was some intrigue always 
present even before the time of Constantine; but 
when the Church became a political factor, the 
traditional methods of politicians invaded it. The 
history of the Councils is on this account often not 

very agree.i « reading, and there is much m the 
recorder the Church that is cntttdy disajditablc. 
A depressing chapter might be written of the in- 
terference of the Empresses in the life of the 
Church, and of much evil beside to which the 
Church kid itself open when it permitted the State 
to embrace it. The wonder is that the Church 
survived the tnmsaction at all. 


But as a matter of fact, the .einp .ral power had 
embraced more than it could i • assimilate. It 
was not in the nature of things that the Church 
should remain the pliant handmaid of the Empire, 
and from the position of subordination it so far 
succeeded in disentangling itself that we presently 
come upon a current conception of a great unity 
in which the civil and ecclesiastical powers were 
separate yet co-ordinate departments, neither 
having priority over the other. This was largely 
due to the growing power of the Bishop of Rome, 
who had, by reason of his distance from Byzan- 
tium, been enabled to establish himself in a 
position of great authority in the West; and the 
division of the Empire in 395 provided that co- 
ordination of the area of civil and ecclesiastical 
jurisdiction which led at last to the conception of 
the Holy Roman Empire. « The dream was a 
noble one, of a perfect State, with two elected 
heads, one temporal and one spiritual, working in 
harmony for the maintenance of peace and for the 
ordered conduct of life among Chrirtians in a 


polity that should continue all that was of lasting 

value in the system of the Roman Empire and all 
that was essential to the Kingdom of God."* 

But this was to put too heavy a strain on human 
nature, and Pope and Emperor entered upon a 
long continued stru^le fcwr supremacy. During 
this phase the honours were, on the whole, with 
the spirituality. The Bishop of Rome not only 
achieved the ecclesiastical primacy of the West but 
claimed temporal dominion over large tracts of 
Central Italy. In fact, the Papal ascendency at 
times became so general that it was the Pope 
who bestowed the crown of the Empire upon 
Charles the Great in 800 A.D. and upon Otto 
the Great in 962 A.D. Though it was not con- 
sistently acknowledged, the Pope claimed a pleni- 
tudo potestatis over Emperors and Princes, and 
the doctrine of Papal Supremacy was argued on 
Scriptural grounds. " It is only by the mediation 
of the Church that the temporal authority pos- 
sesses a divine sanction and mandate. The State 
in its concrete form is of earthly, and not like the 
Church of heavenly, origin. In so far as the State 
existed before the Church and exists outside the 
Church, it is the outcome of a human nature that 
was impaired by the fall of man. It was formed 
by some act of violence or was extracted from God 
for some sinful purpose. Of itself it has no power 
to raise itself above the insufficiency of a piece of 
human handiwork. In order, therefore, to purge 

• J. Neville Figgit, "The Divine Right ofKingt," p. ji. 


away the stain of its origin and to acquire the 
divine sanction as a legitimate part of that human 
society which God has willed, the State needs to 
be hallowed by the authority of the Church * 

The theory was complete, and Boniface VIII. t 
embodied it in his bull Unam Sanctum. This in- 
strument, after premising the unity of the Church 
and of all authority, asserts, under the figure of 
the unrent coat ot Christ, that "a body politic 
with two heads was a monstrosity." It adduces 
the " two swords " passage from the Gospels in 
order to prove that the material sword is to be 
used for the Church, though not bv it. The 
tempOTal power is a(x»untable to the spiritual, 
while the supreme spiritual power answers only to 
God. The millennium since Constantine had 
turned the tables strangely. 

This view did not, however, pass without chal- 
lenge. Dante, who was contemporary with Boni- 
face, wrote his treatise De Monarchia in order 
to rebut the papal claims, and, indeed, to make a 
direct counterclaim on behalf of the Empire. He 
showed that " a universal monarchy is ordained 
of God, that the Roman Empire won its position 
through God's grant, and that the Emperor derives 
his authority not from the Church, but im- 
mediately from God. Since all power is of God, 
if t he Emperor*s power is lawful at all, the only 

* O. Gierke,** Political Theorict of the MiMt A^" p. i j. Cf. Augut- 
tine De Civ. Dei. XV. J. Primta fiit ttrms Mmih tudim fratri- 
eidia. The Tint founder of M eattldf St«te WM a frstrici^e. 

f A.D. 1294 — I J03. 


auestion is whether it comes from God directly or 
tnrough the medium of the Church. Dante 
occupies himself with a carefial demolition of the 
papalist argument which was to remain for cen- 
turies t; 3 one effectual answer to all claims of the 
right of papal at dorical intorfcrence with the 
freedom of secular government."* To Dante 
this was no academic controversy. The papal 
Metensions seemed to him to be deadly to all 
human improvement, as well as disastrous to both 
Church and State. 

"Rome that made the good world wa* wont to have two auns, 

Which made plain to out road and the other i diat ot the 

World and God ; 

One haa quenched the other ; and the aword i« joined to the crook ; 
And the one together with the other must perforce go ill."t 

The papal ascendency was, however, only locally 
and intermittently succenful; and Church and 
State, Pope and Emperor were continually at grips. 
But it was not before the political strength of the 
Emperors that the papal claims collapsed. Other 
influences were at work. William of Ockham and 
Marsilius of Padua (both in the fourteenth cen- 
tury) were laying down new political principles 
which were destined to have large historical con- 
sequences. They were both on Dante's side in 
the controversy; but they did not accent Dante's 
version of the Empire. They were advocates of 
a theory of representative government. Marsilius 
held that " laws derive their authority from the 
n ation and are invalid without its assent. . . . 

• J. N. nggit, *'The Divine Right of Kings," pp. 1$, 90. 
t " Pttifrtoriot" XVI, 106, 1 1 1. 


and the monarch is responsible to the nation and 
subject to the law; and the nation which appoints 
him and assigns him his duties has t». see that he 
obeys the constitution and has to dismiss him if 
he breaks it."* But Marsilius and Ockham were 
signs of the times rather Aan initiators. They 
were giving expression to ideas which were already 
astir; and the movement of 'Sought and sentiment 
of which they are the exponents was destined in 
time to change the whole complexion of the 
problem of Church and State. « The idea of a 
Church universal in its organisation," says Bishop 
Creighton, " has been tried and, as a matter of fact, 
has failed because it could not make room for tmo 
forces which have been most powcrfid in shaping 
the modern world, the forces of nationality and 
liberty."! ^^^^e forces before thev proved 

fetal to ecclesiastical unity were first of rfl to brc^ 
up that political fiibric which had continued a moBe 
or less shadowy existence as the Holy Roman 
Empire. The growth of coherent and mighty 
nations in France, Spain, and England reduced the 
Empire to a fiction outside Germany and Italy. 
When once the political framework began to break 
up, it was in the nature of things that the spiritual 
authority which was (as it were) stretched over it 

♦Acton. MHUtory of Freedom," p. 57. How much Marsilius Mi 
William of Ockham owed to Thomai Aquinu it is difficult to say ; but 
according to Lord Acton (op. cit., p. 36) he held that the whole naUmt 
should have a share in governing itself, and that all politicri author!^ to 
derived from popular sufTrage. 

t M. Creijhton. «• The Church and the Nation," p. 21*. 


should be rent. It only required the appearance of 
some disintegrating element within the Church to 
bring about this disruption. That came with the 
Reformation; and the mediasval dream of external 
unity passed away for ever. 

3- . , 

The spectacle which this period presents us with 
is the varying tortunes of the struggle of two great 
corporations for supremacy. In the weapons they 
used, there is no perceptible difference between 
them; in the spirit which they showed, they display 
an almost complete identity. The controversies 
and conflicts betray an entire absence on the part of 
the Church of clear sense of its own differentia. 
Its life was largely external; the conception of 
its well-being was determined by the ordinary 
standards of the world. It is not strange therefore 
that it should be invaded and disfigured by cor- 
ruption, and that serious men seeking a spiritual 
salvation should turn from it rather than to it. 
Donatism and Montanism were to a great extent 
protests against its corruption; and the great 
development of monasticism is not unconnected 
with the wordliness of the Church. Schaff, speak- 
ing of the post-Nicene age, says that monasticism 
was "a reaction against the secularising State- 
Church and the decay of discipline, and an earnest, 
well-meant, though mistaken effort to save the 
virginul purity of the Christian Church by trans- 
planting it to the wilderness. The moral corruption 
of the Roman Empire, which had the appearance 

of Christianity but was essentially heathen in the 
framework of society, the oppressiveness of taxes, 
the extremes of despotism and slavery, of extravag- 
ant luxury and of hopeless poverty, the repletion 
of all classes, the decay of all productive energy in 
science and art, and the threatening incursions of 
barbarians on the frontiers, all favoured the incli- 
nation toward solitude in just the most earnest 
minds."* But whatever contributory causes there 
may have been, the central impxilse was the im- 
possibility of sustaining a spiritual life within 
the Church as it had come to be; and a very 
considerable movement assuming the forms of 
anchoretism, eremitism, and cenobitism was set 
up. It is only necessary to recall some of the 
names associated with the monastic movement to 
realise how much the survival of the Church wes 
to it. In the desert, in caves of the rocn^s, in 
remote cloisters, the flame was kept alive bv the 
devotion and austerity of men like Anthony, 
Athanasius, Ambrc^';, Augustine, Martin of 
Tours, Jerome, and Bti.edict of Nursa, the founder 
of the Benedictine Order. That the monastic 
movement was full of danger hardly needs point- 
ing out; and it did in many instances succumb to 
the intrinsic perils of its position. Nevertheless it 
remains as a sincere, if oae-sided and partial, 
endeavour to preserve the spiritual note of the 
Church in an age when the leaders of the Church 
itself had lost or forsaken i t. The Church, with 

•Schi^ ••Niceaeand^PMt-Nicene Christianity." I, iSS- 

the astuteness which has characterised its statesmen 
throughout its history, succeeded in diverting he 
monaftic movement to its own purposes at the 
time Like the Franciscan revival at a later stage, 
it contained possibilities of disruption; but that 
danger was averted by the insight which recogmsed 
in ft a power which might be advantageously 
harnessed ^o the official cliariots of the Church 
Here once more we sec one of the main streams ot 
the Church's real life away from the centre. In the 
form it took, monasticism ignored the realities or 
life and foiled in the understandmg of the Christian 
obUeation; but in its impulse, and therefore for a 
considerable period of its actual life, it stood out 
as an attempt to realise a measure and quality ot 
personal Christianity which a too close contact 
with the official Church made impossible. 


In the medieval Church, as we see it in historic^ 
records, hardly ' note of the Apostohc Church 
remains. The universal outlook of primitive 
Christianity is replaced by the " catholic » dreani 
of a single visible external unity. The bond ot 
love is supplanted by the bond of authority. The 
Gospel is buried beneath the Faith; and the Sacra- 
ment is elevated at the expense of the Word. All 
this was the natural and logical result of the process 
o; incorporation and centralisation which exalted 
the Christian institution above the Christian 
fellowship which created it. The outward gained 
a deadening priority over the inward; and, what- 


ever external causes may have contributed to the 
ultimate disrupticm of the mediaeval Church, the 
chief of all was its own inner disintegration by 
reason of its secularisation. It had become a 
worldly corpora^ijn. Instead of being a unity of 
faith and love over against a corrupt world, created 
in order to save it, the Church had made terms 
with the world and copied its methods. Nothing 
could save it from the consequences of this selr- 
perversion; and when the new wine began to stir 
m Germany, the wineskin went to pieces. 

Nor is it possible to discern any countervailing 
moral advantage to the State or to mankind which 
can be set off against the calamitous secularisation 
of the Church. Constantine's compact had not long 
run before the Church had largely sunk to the 
level of the surrounding world, and had little to 
say or to give to it. Here and there we may trace 
the introduction of elements of Christian morality 
into civilisation; but once more it must be affinned 
that the main contribution which Christianity 
made to the world during this period was only in 
a very minor degree through the official channels; 
for the rest, it came along those hidden and un- 
recorded streams of humble godliness which, as 
we have already seen, had prepared the soil of 
Germany for the Reformation, and had over a 
much wider area made for the purification and the 
elevation of the common life or man. The Church 
as a hierarchy and a corporation has given com- 
paratively little to mankind; but where it lived on 


as a real fellowship of love and service, often in 
regions unmarked in historical records, it has 

enriched the life of man beyond any reckoning. 
Its historical continuity is not a thin and precarious 
trickle through a line of popes and bishops, but the 
broad stream of lowly piety and faithfulness among 
common folk, who have come to God through 
Christ and who through ages of darkness and cor- 
ruption have kept the faith. Here, as elsewhere, 
« Not by might or by power, but by my spirit, 
saith the Lord." 



WILLIAM JAMES qseaks somewhere of 
" our emotional response to the idea 
of one-ness "; and Gierke has shown 
how the instinctive human feeling after unity 
affected the mediaeval polity. The cravine {or 
unity did not, however, disappear either with the 
dissolution of the Empire or the dism 'mberment 
of the Church at the Reformation. vVhat hap- 
pened was that instead of a single great unity with 
Its centre at Rome, there appeared a number of 
new foci for lesser unities. The epoch of im- 
perialism was followed by an epoch of nationalism, 
and the problem of Church and State changed its 
setdne, but not its substance. Despite Aquinas, 
MarsOius, and Ockham, the time for popular 
government had not yet come; and the influence of 
Roman Law in the West caused, at the dissolution 
of the Empire, the ascription to territorial rulers 
of those prerogatives which had hitherto belonged 
to the Emperor alone. The Reformation led to 
the claim by princes to spiritual supremacy within 
their own borders; and of the power which the 
medisval Church had claimed and had sometimes 
exercised over the civil authority, hardly a vestige 
was left in the Reformed countries. National 
Churches came into bemg of which the titular head 
was the secular ruler of the nation. 

Luther, in emancipating himself from mediaeval 
Christianity, did not succeed in freeing himself 
from the political ideas of the Middle Ages. It is 


true that he insisted upon spiritual liberty; and, 
in his Babylonish Captivity, went so far as to say 
that no Christian man should be ruled except by 
his own consent. So far as the Reformation 
principle had a political implication, it was in the 
direction of the assertion of democratic rights. 
But so true is it that we never succeed in disentang- 
ling ourselves wholly from the traditions of the 
past, however radically we may profev to break 
with them, that along with this gcrmi* ;i' notion of 
liberty Luther held the view that th- territorial 
prince, now assuming sovereign authority, was 
vested with all the prerogatives of the Emperor 
within his own frontiers. This carried with it the 
conviction that it was the business of the sovereign 
to carry through the reform of the Church and that 
the religion of the sovereign was to be the public 
religi vt of his country. The German reformers 
as a whole preferred a Church in which the 
sovereign, and not the congregation or the 
hierarchy, was summus episcopus. This was, how- 
ever, not the universal view, Fran9ois Lambert 
had carried the synod with him at Hamburg 
in 1526 in a scheme fa* a democratic form of 
Church government; but this idea had to look 
elsewhere than Germany for a suitable soil. It 
was more suited to a Calvinistic than a Lutheran 
setting. Calvin's view of the relation of Church 
and State differed from Luther's and approximated 
curiously to that of Boniface VIIL The end and 
business of the State, in Calvin's mind, was the 


support and defence of religious truth; it was in 
consequence txxind to obejr the Church and 

possessed no control over it. This led to the idea 
of a pure theocracy; and both in Geneva and 
Scotland the experiment was made. In the Second 
Book of Discipline^ Knox claimed for the spiritual 
power some kind of direct temporal ascendency. 
The Kirk is the nation in its spiritual aspect; but 
not only is the civil power to have no authority 
over it, it is there simply to execute the will of the 
office bearers of the Chu th. The prince is to be 
deposed if he refuses to obey the Kirk's officers ot 
declines to carry out their findings. But this asser- 
tion of ecclesiastical primacy was from the nature 
of the case bound to collapse. 

It is difficult to resist the feeling that the 
Reformers, both Lutheran and Swiss, were 
dominated in their religious thinking by the 
political conceptions of the Middle Ages. It was 
Francis Thompson who said that we modems have 
made the Almighty "a constitutional deity with 
certain state grants of worship, but no influence 
over public affairs," and it is beyond question 
that mediaeval notions of sovereignty governed 
Calvin's theological thought. The conception of 
divine sovereignty is central to Calvinism, and 
ideas of sovereignty and authority coloured his 
speculation and practice respecting the Church. 
This is true, however, not ox Calvin only, but of 
the whole period. Whether the authority was 
vested in the prince on behalf of the Church or 



in the Church itself, a Church without authority 
and the power to enf rce its mind was inconceiv- 
able to most of the Reformers. The Reformation 
brought no relief from the " corporation " idea; 
it simply multiplied the corporations. The 
national Church was obsessed by the thought 
of power as the medieval Church had been; wid 
the liberty which the Reformation seemed at first 
to promise had yet to be striven for over a loi^ 


Porhaps we can best examine the i^ a 
"national" Church in England. The struugle 
between the Empire and the Papacy u der 
Hildebrand, Innocent III., and Innocent IV , and 
the conflict of claims between Chiirch Mid Strte 
which accompanied them, do not appear to have 
greatly affected England. The English cl'-r£ry 
had on the whole played an honourable aaa 
fruitful part in the common life; and the Chxirth 
was ahre«!y national in a ree in which it was 
(ffobably national nowhere !se. There were, of 
course, many struggles berw the sovert j^i. id 
the reprcbCiitatives of paj al auchority; b t t e 
were also frequent occa^m wh^ united ^ ^ 
sovereign and clergy ir a common resistai, 
the Papacy The power f th*^ e over 
nation and the Church haa een 1 itet by a sei 
of statutes (e.g., the Statutes P «nunire, 
1 3 53- 1 393) and by enactir ents rdkiv i papal 
exactions and the like. " Tte ^iiame of 1399 



lit'clarc th Crov and r'-alm to be . free that 
t Pope coaJd not .iterft, e with it."* The time 
was ripe for chai^; and it was unfortunate that 
Uiien at ist che change came to be made, it had to 
be effected unaer circumstances wholly incon- 
aistent with its importance, and discredit ble to 
all the parties to it, save one, the unfonuna 
Queen Katharine. 

It is quite clear from the instruments by jvhkh 
the separat m from ' ome was brought aboi <-hat 
the repudiation of atside interference iu 
domestic affairs of tht realm played an impor ^»t 
part in the transaction, and this is to be ; bed 
'ess I' the Kef )rmation than to the now ■■ ature 
Dc-nse of con pact national existen ui "he 

King's ' -each with Rome was suppe by vhe 
Conv ar-on ^hich in 1534 declarer iiiat the 
Pope hu more jurisdiction in England than 
any foreii , ishop. As far as specific declarations 
could make it so, the severance was "omplete. 
"This reahn of England" was said be "an 
Empire governed by one sufveme K tg to whom 
a body politic divided by the names of spirituality 
and temporality ought to bear, next to God, a 
humble obedience; he being furnished with power 
and jurisdiction to render justice to all subjects 
within his realm in all causes oc irring therein 
without restraint or provocatio from any foreign 
prince." The spirituality now bein j usually called 
" the English Chmch " was ^Jared to have power 

• The ArchUdiop*' CoaoBintt on Charch uul State Report, p. it. 


when any cause of the law divine or of spiritual 
learning happened to come in question, "to 
deckrc, interpret, and show it," for which task the 
spirituality was said to have been always reputed 
sufficient without the intermeddling of any exterior 

Henry VIII. had called himself « protector and 
only supreme head of the Church and Clergy of 
England," and exercised an authority over the 
Church hitherto unpossessed by anv English 
monarch. The position was (after the Marian 
reaction) reaffirmed under Elizabeth. She dis- 
avowed the title of supreme heady choosing rather 
to be called supreme governor; nevertheless, the 
effect of the Act of Supremacy of 1559 was to 
establish her in the position of her rather in 
rektion to the Church. In the same year was 
passed the first of a series of Acts of Uniformity, 
« the effect of which," as Dr. Selbie says, " has 
been to produce strife and division in English 
Christendom from those days until now." It also 
marks the end of the hope of a really national 
Church. This Act made the Prayer Book of 1552 
(with slight alterations) compulsory for use in 
churches in order to secure some uniformity in 
worship and in the administration of the Sacra- 
ments. Any other form of worship was declared 
to be a penal offence; and every man was required 
to be present every Sunday at the legal services 
instituted under t he Act. As a matter of fitct, the 

• The ArcUifhi^C^iBittet on Oniid) mi Sttt^ p. 19. 



Church and its representatives were no parties to 
this enactment. It was strongly resisted by a 
considerable body of churchmen; and some of the 
Bishops anO two hundred of the clergy were 
deprived of their offices and livings tor their 
refusal to take the oath. The Acts ol Supremacy 
and Uniformity were not generally enforced at the 
time; and in consequence, the disintegrating effects 
of the latter were not then fully felt. 

Hitherto the influence of the religious aspect 
of the Continental Reformation had not greatly 
affected England; and the resistance to the Acts 
of Supremacy and Uniformity came in the first 
instance from clergy whose sympathies were with 
the Catholic Church. Protestant doctrine and 

tion. They were, however, destined to enter the 
situation and to introduce great and insoluble 
complications. Indeed, it was the influence of 
Protestant ideas which stimulated the struggles 
for religious liberty in the years immediately 
following and which eventually destroyed the 
idea and fact of a " national Church." Meantime, 
the supremacy of the civil authority over the 
Church was reinforced by a theoretic justification 
of it wrongly associated with the name of Erastus, 
the Dutch Court physician (i 524-1 583). In vulgar 
use Erastianism connotes a view of the relation 
of the secular power to the Church which Erastus 


therefore immediately in ques 


himself did not hold. He seems to have sou^t 
for some method by which the Church's disciplme 
could be secured without the use of coercion by 
the Church itself. " The real object of Erastus 
was to give clear expression to the denial of any 
right or coercive authOTity in the religious society 
apart from the State, . . . He was opposed not 
to the free profession of truth but to the political 
conception of the Church."* He appears to have 
been concerned for the purity of the Church and 
would have deprived it of power which he con- 
sidered alien to it and which had been undoubtedly 
the cause of much injury to it. His view was that 
in a Christian State the ma^ rate is the right 
po^n to punish offences, and since excommuni- 
cation is of the nature of punishment, it should not 
be imposed without the magistrate's sanction. But 
this was the thin end of the wedge, and the name 
of Erastus is now connected with a theory of the 
complete subordination of the Church to the 
secular authority. That he made the church " the 
plaything of Kings " is a judgment unfeir to him, 
but it is not an unfair verdict upon some who took 
up the discussion after him. 

The inferences which were drawn from Erastus 
were in complete accord with the mind of those 
who desired to establish a national Church by 
coercion; and had there b^n no other reason mr 
the breakdown of that idea, the attempt to realise 
it by force would have itsel f sufficoi to pmve 

« M Cambridfc Modern HUtory," III, p. 743. 



deadly to it. Experience skmM h$(¥e shovw tint 
in the religious sphefe the attempt to compd Ml 

generally to toe a common line — in doctrine or in 
worship — had soon or late met with effectual 
resistance. But there were, moreover, inkerrair 
weaknesses in the idea of a national Church which 
were bound in the end to defeat it. The mediaeval 
Church had largely ignored the factor of nationality 
and aimed at a general uniformity irrespective of 
the peculiar traditions and outlook of national and 
racial groups. This led to disaster. But the new 
phase was an extreme reaction from this position; 
it made too much of nationality and introduced 
territorial divisions into the Christian society 
which were inimical to its intrinsic catholicity. It 
does not meet the case to claim a catholic character 
for a Church on the ground of historical con- 
tinuity. The Church must possess catholicity as 
well ?s Catholicism; and its historical continuity 
n t )e supplemented by an international con- 
tii uir/, if it is to be catholic in a full sense. 

The word " national " has a very elusive con- 
notation. We speak of " British " nationality, a 
term which covers English and Scots folk, yet 
there is a " national '* Chiirch in England and 
another — of a vary different character — in Scot- 
land; there is no "national" Church at all in 
Ireland. " The English Church," said the late 
Archbishop Benson, " must be the religious organ 


of the English people." What then is the religious 

org^n of the people who claim British nationality ? 
What, indeed, is a nation to begin with ? A nation 
is a very fluid and indeterminate thing; and while 
the fact of nationality is of first-class importance 
to the historian and the politician, it is neverthe- 
less of so unstable a character that it can never 
be anything more than a provisional and temporary 
setting for a religious society which claims to be 
abiding and supNer-histcMric. When Dr. Fwsjrth 
speaks of a nation as "a collective personality, 
a historical conscience, a continuity of glory, 
which fills it with hope and dignity, and of 
responsibility which connects crime and conse- 
quence, error and expiation across centuries,"* 
his eloquence is not sustained by the facts. 
Nations are in the first instance the products of 
geographical and historical accidents. Their 
nt>ntiers are continually shifting, expanding, and 
contracting; their characteristics ever in a state of 
flux. The factors of race, language, even of 
location, are onl^ secondary in the national con- 
sciousness. Nationality is primarily a political 
fact, and national characters are in no sense fixed 
and immutable. To speak of nations as having 
historically continuous identity is fallacious; and 
** all the most important agents producing the 
divergent modification of the nations are human 
products and can be altered. f There is nothing 

• p. T. Forsyth. "Theolog)- in Church and Statf," p, 190. 
t P. Chalmen Mitchell, ** Evolution and the War," p. 91. 



in what Dr. Forsyth says of a nation which is not 
in its measure true of any other association of men 

living and working together and possessing any 
history. The nation must be regarded as a natural 
community and not as a sacrosanct and mystical 
society, rooted eternally in the divine decrees. 
The elevation of nationality into a fact of religious 
significance has been the. spring of untold trouble 
through the ages. 

This is not to say that the principle of nationality 
is evil or purposeless. On the contrary, it has 
been of enormous value in the discipline of the 
race. C. H. Pearson held that the nation is the 
largest conception of mankind that the ordinary 
man can handle with any intelligence; but it may 
be observed that the extent covered by a particular 
national name is continually expanding in the 
processes of modern history (without, it should be 
observed, very materially anecting differences of 
racial origin) and consequently men are learning to 
embrace ever lareer conceptions of humanity. 
The process of history which has developed the 
collective consciousness of a Welsh tribe or a 
Highland clan into the collective consciousness of 
what we call the British Empire may without 
extravagance be regarded as part of a providential 
discipline by which men are to become at last 
authentic citizens of the world. The nation is no 
fixed hct for histiuy; it is simply a stage in the 
training of the race. 

On the other hand, it has to be recognised that 


the idea of nationality has operated chiefly in the 
world as a principle of excWveness and strife. It 

has been said with much good sense that nationality 
IS a good thing so Jong as it is an end to be 
struggled for, but once the end is reached it 
becomes a dangerous thing. The struggle for 
national independence is essentially self-regarding, 
and when the goal is attained the seff-regard 
persists and is apt to lead to greedy adventure, as 
for instance, it led Italy into its Tripolitan brigand - 
age. The first business of a nation, it is held, is to 
amass power and wealth, to make itself stronger and 
larger than other nations, at any rate as strong and 
as large as it possibly can. It will occupy itself 
primarily in safeguarding its material interests, 
defending its frontiers, increasing its prestige and 
enlarging its territory. That has been in the main 
the history of nations. On this basis a nation can 
only pursue its own interests at the expense of 
other nations. It comes to regard its neighbours 
as commercial and political rivals, and ultimately 
as possible predatory enemies. Here is the ultimate 
source of international conflicts and the prolific 
source of war. It sets up a scries of wrong values. 
Identifying national honour with national amour 
propre, exalting a narrow patriotism above 
hui.ianity and relegating other national names 
(when tiiey are not allies m war time) to a category 
of moie or less co^mptiye inferiority. 

It is not surprising that Coleridge found him- 



self constrained to ti'stinguish between a national 
Church, and a Christian Church, even though he 
had to acknowledge their conjunction in the 
English Church. There is nothing in the principle 
of nationality that makes it intrinsically and 
permanently divisive and exclusive. There is no 
reason why it should not even become a {^nciple 
of co-operation and catholicity. But as a matter 
of historical fact, it has hitherto made almost 
entirely for separation and division; and the 
identification the Church with the nation has 
obscured the note of catholicity. If indeed " the 
root idea of the national Church in England is 
simply that England can manage its ecclesiastical 
affairs without interference from without, because 
experimce had shown that their interference was a 
hindrance and not a help,"* and if that root idea 
had continued to be the controlling principle of 
the life of the English Church, then the conception 
of a national Church would have been less opoi to 
objection. But the national Church, both in 
England and elsewhere, has come in the course of 
time to identify itself with the political interests 
of the nation so completely that it has ceased to be 
in any real sense catholic in spirit and outlook. 
Domiciled within a nation, it should nevertheless 
be supranational; and it should judge the party- 
interests of the nation in the light of that universal 
ethic of which it is the trustee and mouthpiece in 
the wwld. But in times of crisis, it almost always 

* MtaMI Oet^tM, ^'l^e Ckardi and the Nation,** p. Sts. 


suspends its function of moral criticism; and almost 
without exception in times of war, the national 
Church has foIJowed the national drum. It 
invariably finds means of justifyinc the wars in 
which the nation engages, and helps'^ to perpetuate 
the unspeakable tragedy of human antagonism. If 
the testimony of the Church is to be regulated 
the palpable sense of the New Testament, it ought 
even in the midst of war to bear witness to those 
principles of goodwill and human solidarity which 
are central to its practical Gospel and to stimulate 
the influences which go to the healing of the 
nations. It is always easy to find plausible vindi- 
cations of the course which national Churches take 
in international quarrels. There is always the same 
ponderous argument about justice and righteous- 
ness; and though the idiom may vary, the substance 
of the argument never changes. The nat - al 
Church does not escape the psychological stampc !e 
which f : lows a declaration of war."" There is an 
immediate loss of historical perspective and an 
eclipse of the faculty of radical moral criticism; and 
the Church has nothing to say which is in essence 
different from the most bellicose politician or 
journalist. It always happens so; and it is the 
consequence of the Church's alliance with an 
interest which because it is national is also sec- 
tional and partisan, and a practical negation of the 
Church's ratholicity. 

" The idea of a national Church is in no way 
repugnant," says Bishop Creighton, " to the con 


ception of one Holy Catholic and Apostolic 
Church. The local name signifies that it consists 
of members of that Church living in a particular 
country. All members of the Church are one 
through faith in God as revealed in the Scriptures, 
and that faith is expressed in the creeds of Christen- 
dom. These local bodies have no power to change 
the creeds of the universal Church or its early 
organisation. But they have the right to determine 
the best method of setting forth to the people the 
contents of the Christian raith. They may regulate 
rites, ceremonies, images, observances, and disci- 
ph'ne for that purpose according to their wisdom 
and experience and need of the people."* If we 
are to conceive of catholicity as an amiir of history 
and ancestry, then Bishop Creighton may be right. 
We must seek the ground of catholicity in the past; 
and we shall find it there, no matter how present 
circumstances give the lie to the assertion of unity 
which is involved in the claim to catholicity. But 
if the conception of catholicity possesses any moral 
reality at all, we must ask that it should be, if not 
realised, at least realisable in the mutual relations 
of Christian men. Now, histtM-ically, national 
Churches, whatever their claim to be catholic, have 
failed to give the idea of catholicity a real moral 
content. They have accepted the implications of 
political nationality as fixed principles, and have 
even stimulated national tempers and ideals which 
are destructive of catholicity. The national Church 

• M«ttteU Crei^ston. "The Church ^nd the Nation," p. at2. 


has cared comparatively little for the moral fact of 
catholicity; and not the clearest cadioltc an^str)- 

can countervail that failure. How fkt a national 
Church which had remained separate from the civil 
power might have succeeded where actual national 
Churches have failed, it is difficult to determine. 
But it is not inconceivable that such a Church 
might have discovered and taught a conception of 
nationality which did not conflict with its own 
catholicity. Meantime, the failure to be really 
catholic is a failure to be fiilly Christian; and that 
is the pit into which the national Church, especially 
a national Church buttressed by the civil authority, 
was predestined to ^11. The present condition of 
Europe is the terrible evidence of this failure. 

But the living element of Christianity are too 
powerful and expansive to be long contained 
within the limitations of a national Church; and 
the very influences which were inimical to 
catholicity struck so directly at the roots of the 
vital content of Christianity that the national 
Church was doomed to disruption. The failure in 
catholicity is a symptom of a radical failure to make 
room for dK dcr(reK>pment of tne distinctive fotcts 
of Christianity; and the wine once more made 
havoc of the wineskins. The truth is that the 
national Church as it emerged in England had all 
the disabilities of the mediaeval Church as an organ 
of the Kingdom of God, with one more added 
to them. It was a national corporation; and it 
broke up under the pressure of the free expanding 
religious life of the people. 



THE Reformation shattered the mediaeval 
dream of a universal ecclesiastical unity. 
The Separatist movement in England no 
less shattered the idea of a national Church. The 
nominal character of the English Church (as 
national) became more and more apparent with the 
increase of dissent; and it became the State- 
Church, that is to say, the Church which possesses 
the official recognition of the S^e as the express- 
ion of public religion and as its organ for such 
religious offices as it may require of it. No 
sophistry can do away with the fact that a Church 
cannot claim to be national which does not 
command the adhesion of the nation. State 
recognition cannot make it in any real and effective 
sense national; nor does its ability to command the 
majority of the people of a nation entitie it to be 
so described. So long as there are coherent 
religious bodies within the nation other than the 
national Church the term " national " is fictitious. 

A passage topical of the hijghly generalised 
language in which this question is commonly dis- 
cussed is to be found in Bishop Creighton's essay 
on the subject in the Oxford House Papers : • 
" Church and State are abstractions; but in actual 
fact they consist largely of the same persons and 
only exfnxss diffiarent sides of their activity. 
When men act ti^ t her as citizens, they are the 

* Serin III, f . 4a. ■ 


State; when they act as Christians, they are the 
CkiBch. Behind both Church and State ttaadt 

the nation; and Church and State are dike the 
organs of the nation, the one for the arrangement 
or common life, the other for maintaining the 
prindpies on which that life is founded." This has 
a sound of logical completeness until it is put to 
the test. In point of feet, it has hardly any mean - 
ing at all, unless Bishop Creighton included in the 
Church all the extensive and highly diversified 
bodies of professing Christians which exist ta 
England, and, indeed, religious bodws which do 
not call themselves Christians but yet profess to 
teach " the fundamental truths upon which man's 
life is bated.*** All these persons acting together 
are, ex hypothest, the Church; but when do tb^ 
ever act together? When, indeed, do even the 
persons constituting the Anglican Church act 
together? It is quite hopeless to expect ^uitfiil 
discussion of this question until Anglican writers 
get rid of the blind spot which disables them from 
seeing that what they call the Church, so far from 
being inclusive of the nation, is exclusive of many 
large and active religious communities iHiich have 
contributed, and still do contribute, ma^ially to 
the life of the nation, and whose membership 
represents a not inconsiderable part of the nation. 
What exists in England is a State Church (in the 
sense indicated above); and in any community 
which permits freedom of opinion it is inconcetv- 

* Oxford HouK Papery S«ri« III., p. }i. 


able, men being what they arc, that there should be 
a national Church in any real sense. " The English 
Cliurch," again to quote Archbishop Benson, 
"must be the religious organ ai Che English 
people."* But what if only a section of the 
English people are prenar-d to accept it as their 
organ? Wtat Archb' hop Benson says "mutt 
be " is not and, from the nnurc of the case, caimet 
be. The Anglican Chun . s h ii.e present time 
the oldest and largest div; - r> I nglish Christen- 
dom, and nothing can alter that tact, it may urge 
that it may ckum to be national because it is vm&v 
obligation to provide religious services in every 
parish and district in the land; but unless it is 
sensible of that constraint independently of its 
« national »» character, then it may be «* national," 
but it is not a Church, for the missionary spirit is 
one of the authentic and indispensable notes of the 
Church. It is, moreover, from the very nature of 
its constitution required to impose terms of com- 
munion on Englishmen which have nothing to do 
directly with the obligations involved in English 

The existence of a single national Church is only 
possible when by Acts of Uniformity and the like 
all men can be constrained to acknowledge a con- 
nection with it. It was Thirlwall (I think) who 
said that the difference between compulsory 
rel%ion and no religic^ at all was too subtle for his 
^^hension. Coercion may provide uni formity, 

•Qi»i«4l»H.Itail«f |^«M«^«Th«N•^ioMlClw«h,"^lIf. 



hut it is deadly to vitality; and the problem which 
began to confront the national Church early in its 
history was whether it would cease to be national 
or to be a Church. It did not present the dilemma 
to itself in this form — was not, indeed, aware of 
the dilemma— -and struggled hard to preserve both 
characters. But, fortunately for it, events proved 
stronger than it and delivered it from a position 
which must have ended disastrously for it. It 
remained a Church, but it ceased to be national. 


It was not to be expected that the Protestant 
Reformation would leave England untouched, and 
in the English Church it emerged in the form of 
Puritanism. The Puritan spirit appears first in the 
attempt, in 1552, to secure some mitigation of the 
Act of Uniformity, especially with reference to 
vestments. No relaxation of the Act was, how- 
ever, secured. The Act was, indeed, more 
rigorously enforced, the process reaching a climax 
in 1556, when a number of London clergy, 
declining to subscribe to the requirements of the 
Act, were suspended. The immediate point of the 
dispute had nothing to do directly with the rela- 
tions of Church and State; it was formally a conflict 
respecting forms and ceremonies, though in 
substance it touched the core of the religious con- 
troversy of the Reformation. But the sequel 
raised the question of Church and State in a 
definite way. 


The deprived ministers and other Puritans held 
a conference in London to discuss the question of 
separation from the national Church. Their find- 
ing was that " since they could not have the Word 
ofGod preached and the Sacraments administered 
without idolatrous gear, and since there had been 
a separate congregation in London and another in 
Geneva in Mary's time using a book and order of 
service approved bv Calvin, which was free from 
the superstitions or the English service; therefore 
it was their duty to break off from the public 
churches and to assemble as they had opportunity 
in private houses or elsewhere to worship God in 
a manner that might not offend against the light 
of their consciences." This was a momentous 
declaration, and may be regarded as the opening 
phase of the struggle for religious liborty in 

But there were those within the Church who 
were not prepared to accept the drastic remedy of 
separation. Thomas Cartwright, the leader of the 
Puritans (153 5- 1603), was no separatist in prin- 
ciple. He hoped for a reformation of the English 
Church which would bring it into line with th^ 
Reformed Churches on the Continent. He 
pddressed two " admonitions " to Parliament, in 
which he set out his plea for a truly reformed 
Church, purged of P<^ish survivals, and more 
closely conformed to what he conceived the New 
Testament model to be. In discipline, he claimed 
that the Church was self-sufficient and should 



therefore be autonomous. *« The discipline of 

Christ's Church that is necessary for all times is 
delivered by Christ and set down in the Holy 
Scriptures. Therefore the true and lawful disci- 
pline is to be fetched from thence. And that which 
resteth on any other foundation ought to be 
esteemed unlawful and counterfeit." He outlines 
in some detail the machinery of ecclesiastical disci- 
pline ts he conceived it should be, and claims that 
m the hat resort the civil magistrate should 
" provide some sharp punishment for those that 
contemn this censure and discipline of the 
Oiurch." In his view the Sovereign, if not head 
c» the Chwch, was in p^lkm of scmiic authority 
over it. « We hearti^ pkialy, and fkithf^y 
profess that the chief governors in civil matters 
have chief autliority over all persons in their 
<»nanioii8 and countries and are the foster-fathers 
and nurses of Christ's Church. Aai«8 Jdioiophat 
having chief authority did by his authority defend 
notonly the civil government but also the true 
wfenwrioa of the Oiurch at that time, in his 
dominion, aad Cfrus ia im, so we refer the same 
aiithonty to our Sovereign, beseeching H«- 
Majesty and the whole State to proceed in it/' 
Cartwright, though he reflects a sharper differentia- 
tion of Chwch tmd Sme thm was current in his 
time (as appears from Whiteift's answer to him), 
was not primarily concerned with this problem. 
His chief interest lav in the reform of the Church, 
iwiich to hm duefly naeant the substitution of 


presbytery for episcopacy. But Cartwri^t was 
leading a forlorn hope. The civil magistrate 
showea no haste to reform the Church; and the 
logic of the Puritan position under the circum- 
stances led to Robert Browne's Treatise of Re- 
formation without tarying for anie, which 
appeared in 1582. This marks a new stage in the 
discussion of the problem of Church and State. 
Browne's vehement tract is chiefly directed against 
those who, desiring a reformation of tl» Church, 
were waiting for the civil authority to do it. 
Browne asserted the independence of Church and 
State in round terms : " Thev put the magistrate 
first, which in a commonwealth arc indeed rarst; yet 
iKive they no ecclesiastical authority at all but on^r 
as other Christians, if so be they are Christians. 
Because the Church is in a commonwealth, it is 
their charge, that is, coacammg the outward pio- 
visicm and outward justice they are to look to it; 
but to compel religion, to plant churches by power, 
to force a submission to ecclesiastical governmcftt 
by laws and penalties belonged not unto Aem, 
neither yet unto the Church. The outwari fmem 
and civil forcings let us leave to the magistrates, to 
rule the commonwealth in all outward justice 
beiongcth unto them; but let the Church rule in 
spirmHil wise and not in a worldly manner, by a 
lively law preached and not by a civil law written, 
by holiness in inward and outward obedience, and 
oi&t m straightness of the outward only." Thi* 
litt #e J^^oriion S^?an^«^or 1 556 ani 


the charter of the Separatist movemcae W^n— 

a day Brownc^s notion of Church povemment 

and t^S^— independency ; 

"tmia wpHHMfr lilt «Biphasis be 

lajrsupon the dtamcsaric chuncter of \\ \mmii\ 
opder. His rreatwc was the most Christian utter- 
W^ing^ the gowrnm ent of the Church 
iteai^« lite {wmiiiivL Qnirch. Nor did 

fefteach to unready hoows. flMai' fkam ymu 

^ rtK publication of Browne's treatise Sir Wahw^ 
Kalei gh told the Hfluse of Commons that there 

result In particular. -ne exeoBatffl of cSStS 
T^"^ ^" 1593- and of Jxxim Penn- a littit 
i^BV •■gelfaer with taie ConveaBEaic .4^- of i r az, 
wWe ttev seeaeed a tgrnprnrnf tmmmm £br S 

nntioriaj Ciiircf!, c^.^^-^j^|-^^r-IZ~ +|| 

the cause ot ^paration in such numbers and in 
ggl^ ^^^jtiatjio a itHequent measuns of 

ijBBd -iilJ-.*8 jii^jiiuji upon this period is 
worth recording:. " Many years before the names 
ofMiiton and Taylor, of Baxter and Locke were 
rnaOe Illustrious by their partial condemnation of 
intolerance, there were men among the indepen- 
dent congregations who grasped with vigour and 
sincenty the principle that it is only by abridginc 
the authority of the State that the liberty of 
churches can be assured. That great political idea, 
«anctitymg freedom ami consecrating it to God 



teaching men to treasure the liberties of others as 
their own and to defend them for the love of 

justice and charity more than as a claim of right, 
has been the soul of what has been great and good 
in the progress of the last two hundred years. The 
cause of religion, even under the unregenerate 
influence of worldly passion, had as much to do as 
any clear notions of policy in making this country 
tl.c foremost of the free.*** 

The next stage in the story is occupied with the 
stru^^[te of the Separatist bodies to secure their 
'nght to exist within the commonwealth. The 

riv»by of independe^ and Piesby terian, show that 
there is no virtue in mere forms of Church govern- 
ment to secure or to establish religious liberty. On 
the ^ce of it, we should expect that democratic 
forms of Church government weuld natundly 
make for the freedom of religious practice, espe- 
cnily when those forms had had themselve<^ to 
struggle for the right to live. But a democracy, 
mhsthet m Qmrch cm- Sme, csm quite cMily pass 
ovor into a tyrmmf.f MWliiiii how t wi - , his 

• Lord Acton. "The Hiftory of Freedom," p. ^i. 

f There is :i very relevant pafaffraph in I.ori Acton's " Hi^tot v I.ibern ," 
which is worth q t'iting in this connection . ' Democr.jcv, n . Ic-i^ tn io 
monarchy or, ii,tificei of i v thin? to mainf iin it?'-l!, ind stri\es 
with an energy and a plausibility th it kings and nobles cannot attain t • to 
override represent ition, t < innul all the forces of resistance .md deviat '>n, 
and to secure by plebiscite, referendum, or census free play to- the wi! of 
the majorit) . Th'! true demo ratic principle that none shaliuave pnve' 
Pier the people is taken to mc.ui that none shill be able to restrain oi to 
e»»de the power oi tlie people. The true democratic principle that the- 



vivid insight into the conditions of liberty, saw the 
moral of the proceedings and controversies of the 
comiMwealth and stated it in his letter to Crom- 
well : « If you leave the Churdi to the Church and 
discreetly rid yourself and the magistracy of ^hat 
burden, actually half of the whole, and at the . me 
time the most incompatible with the rest, not 
allowing two powers of utterly diverse natures, the 
civil and the ecclesiastical, to commit fornication 
together, and by their promiscuous and delusive 
helps apparently to strengthen, but in reality to 
weaken and finally subvert each other; if also you 
take away all persecuting power from the Church, 
tor persecuting power will never be absent so long 
as money, the poisoner of the Church, the strangler 
of the truth, shall be extorted by force from the 
unwilling as a pay for preaching the Gospel, then 
you will have -ast out of the Church those money- 
changers that truckle not with doves, but with the 
Dove kself, tliiejioly Ghost." The times, how- 

fhril'nol't" wfcfitdocnot like i5 taken ,o mean that it 

.hall not be r^puni t« tolerate what it doe. not like. The true democra, ie 
pnnc.ple th« wen^mw,'. free will .hall be a, unfettered a, po«ibleT. t"kcn 
E'J^dt:! S *^"»«"- P-P'' -hall be fett'er:d in ;oth'" 
^st,^nS^^"^ 'niepwdence, dre.d ot centralisation, jealousy 

Um^rS-^imT! t ? '''y °f the people. 

?• ! ' •"P"'"' *i<hout authority ,W but 

!£'"'V"'*'P'"''"^,' below, to be its own rna.ter and no, i 

^»t^.Xlt T"^ " " ■''"P'>^«ibl«^ to corrupt or to 

mirt, and to whom mu„ be rendered the thing, that arc Cie«ar'i. jad rii. 
Ju thm,,U,«rare Gody' This w., written Ion, before thTj^^ftj 


ever, were not ripe for so drastic a solution. The 
Presbyterians and Indepmdents, despite their own 
experience of persecution, both alike joined in 
persecuting the Quakers. But the religious 
troubles of the Commonwealth taught some 
wisdom. In 1653 the Council of State declared 
that " such as professed faith in God by Jesus 
Christ, though differing in judgment from the 
doctrine, worship, or discipline publicly held forth 
shall not be restrained from but shall be {»rotected 
in the profession of their &ith and exercise of their 
religion, so as they abuse not this liberty to the civil 
injury of others or to the actual disturbance of the 
peace on their part " ; and it was provided that 
" none be compelled to conform to the public 
religion by penalties or otherwise." To this con- 
cession there were certain exceptions; it did not 
cover " Popery or Prelacy or such as under a pro- 
fession of Chrittianity hold forth and {xuctiae 
licentiousness." This toleration probably went a 
good deal farther than the public opinion of the 
time warranted; but it remains as one of the out- 
i^ding landwMrirs in the progre« of religious 

ttl', . Ill I M 



The Restoration brought a reaction, broken only 
by a few flickering moments of toleration, mainly 
eagtfieered by C^oitt tt. in the intere^ of 
Roman Catholics, but providing Nonconform'!r?>5 
also with a little breathing space. The chief episode 
of this pcnod was the Act of Uniformity of 1662, 


followed by the ejection of those ministers who 
ciecl.ned to subscribe to the formula of assent to the 
t^^\u ^^'r"^^" P'-^yer. It is said that some 
two thousand clergy, mainly Independents and 
Presbyterians, who had been appointed to parochfal 
UMugs dunng the CommonwSth, went out bto 

sil t" r- '^'^ A" ^^'^h. « Dr. 

^elb e has said, set up the cleavaccs that exist in 
English socety to this day. FoX ne!!t Tw^ty" 
IrLlT' ^r^''\\'' iWcgaUty, Nonconformist 
oTt f T'^'P '"'^'■"^^^d ^^P^dly through! 
out. the land; and neither the Con^ntkde Act of 
1664, nor the l ive Mile Act of r66c, nor the T<S 

by the short-hved Declaration of indulgences 
provided any material arrest to the growth of 

ir \' Wverfrrei^n 
Of Charles II marked a distinct advance in th^ 
achievement of liberty. The later years t gave us the libeas Corpus Act and he 
doctrine of personal monarchy and the (K^'ne right 
of Kin^s received a severe shaking a^the hafds 
of Parliament. Even though the King's Dedara 
tion of Indu gence brough? some relief to Non-" 
conform.r.ts ,t was all in the right dk*c^„ th« 
Parliament shou d renudiate if .u. "1 
" oennl cfaf„f«e • ^P"°^^^^ on the ground tl»f 
•uSii L f ecclesiastical cannot be 

tuspcnded but by Act of Parliament." This must 
not be taken to mean more than that they could no 


be suspended by the caprice of the monarch; tor it 
Joes contain an assertion of the supremac) of the 
Tarliament over the Church. The repudiation of 
the King's action reflects the tendency which was 
presently to lead to the Revolution, when with the 
coming of William of Orange and Mary, personal 
monarchy disappeared from these islands and con- 
stitutional monarchy took its place. So long had 
it taken the doctrines of William of Ockham and 
Marsilius of Padua to be translated into terms of 
political fact. 

The passing of power from the Sovereign to 
Parliament involved changes in the conception of 
the State " hich were not then fully realised. The 
scat of afitthority was transferred from the King to 
the p«>pk; and the gradual development of this 
conception and practice has been the main and is 
still the uncompleted task of statesmanship. In 
the religious sphere the most significant sequel of 
the Revolution was the Toleration Act of 1689, 
a; inadequate measure which, however, secured 
liberty of worship to Nonconformists, but only on 
condition that they subscribed to the Thirty-nine 
Articles. They were still compelled to pay Tithes 
nnd Church Rates; but once more these disabilities 
proved no iterial hindrance. The main battle 
ifor religio.... liberty was won, and subsequent 
controvarsies have been in the main skirmishes for 
the outposts. One by one, Nonconformist dis 
abilities have disappeared, and few now remain. 
The Test and Corporation Acts were repealed in 


1826 and the Church Rate was abolished in 1868. 

nrSt^ K "iu^ Protestant dissenter who has 

wJtJ KL'^"'"^'??^?^^*^^- The place of the 
Jew had been one of difficulty and hardship, but he 

received the suffrage in i8,2^and the right to St b 

WM removed in 1 829. But the reign of toleration 

But even if the problem has not been whoUv 

However, been a purely domestic alSir The 
had cleared the field for a strusele uongta^Z 

Chm^ h 5 P°»»«»"0». «»d the relations of 

thurch and State were mixed up with aue»rio». 

thmch. The problem which had been summarily 

rrance for many generations and involved that 
country m many unhappy episodes. 
TTie authority of the Pope in France w» 
by what were called the'^dlicifSr™ 
--•Mbody of unwritten laws which seem to have 
gwmii into .uthority in the course of evented ]£t 


they are indicative of the general tendency of the 
French attitude to the Papacy. Papal bulla, for 
instance, did not run in France without the consent 
of the King; decisions of the Roman Congregation 
had no leeal weight in France; French subjects 
could not De cited before a Ronum tribunal; and 
French civil courts had power to act in ecclesiastical 
affairs where the law or the land was in question. 
The conflict of Chm-ch and State in France has 
been between the French assertion and expansion 
of these " liberties " and the ultramontane claims 
for the authority of the Pope. Bellarmin and the 
Roman ultramontanes, restmg upon the claim of 
Papal infallibilitv, asserted what they conceived to 
be the political implications of the doctrine. 
Ecclesiastical affairs were declared to have priority 
over all others, and of these the Pope was the only 
judge. He had a right to impose his WiU upon 
temporal sovereigns and to mobilise Catholic 
powers in order to depose recalcitrant kii^. It is 
not to be supposed that this set the clergy on the 
one side of the conflict and the laity on the other. 
The clergy were divided; and on the whole it 
would appear that the Gallician clergy were tht 
more influential. In the reign of Louis XIV. the 
outstanding figure among them was Bossuet, who 
held the doctrine of the divine right of Kings, 
though not in the English Jacobean sense. 
Bossuet's position may perhaps be described more 
accurately as a belief in the divine right of 
constituted authority, whether monarchical or 





republican, and what he meant by this was that the 
right was intrinsic and not mediated through the 
Pope. The State, however, hardly needed clerical 
reinforcement of its claims; and Louis, in spite of 
his religious professions and observances, was not 
the person to permit any interference with his pre- 
rogatives. On the contrary, in 1673, he determined 
that all the exceptions to his own rights, for 
instance, to the appointment of bishops and other 
ecclesiastics, and to the regale, the custom by 
which the stipends of vacant benefices reverted to 
the King, should be cancelled, and a perfectly 
uniform practice established. A dispute concerning 
a Royal nomination which a bishop repudiated, but 
which his metropolitan confirmed, led to the inter- 
vention of the Pope on behalf of the bishop. This 
papal interference was much resented by French- 
men, and naturally it strengthened the hands of the 
Kmg. A protracted dispute followed, which led to 
a special assembly of the clergy in 1 68 1 at which a 
compromise was effected by Bossuet. The Pope' 
was declared to have no jurisdiction over temporal 
affairs and his authority to be inferior to that of 
a General Council. The sanctity of the Gallician 
liberties was reaffirmed, and the right of judging 
m doctrinal matters was asserted to belong to the 
Pope and the bishops jointly. The concession 
which was made to the Pope was the admission 
that the chief share in judgments upon doctrine 
belonged to him, and that the Papacy, while it couW 
err on particular occasions, could not be per- 


manently wrong. This was, however, not enough 
for the Pope, and nine years of unhappy con- 
troversy followed. The end of this episode came 
along a channel not immediately connected with 
the points at issue. As Louis XIV. grew older, he 
became more superstitious; and desiring to set 
himself right with the Church he determined iipon 
the extirpation of Jansenism. In 1713 the oull 
Unigenitus had a>ndemned Jansenism root and 
branch; seventeen years later it was made the law 
of the land, and all the clergy were ordered to 
accept it on pain of deprivation. It was a triumph 
peculiarly tor the Jesuists, though Jansenism 
survived in more or less furtive ways for a con- 
siderable period. Meantime the Church had scored 
a point in securing the exercise of the civil arm for 
the stamping out of heresy. 

The struggle in this particular case was to secure 
the authority of the State from any encroachments 
on the part of the Church. The claims of the 
Papacy made it necessary for the civil power 
to assert itself and to set limits to the jurisdiction 
and power of the Church within the Common- 
wealth. It was really a defence of the State against 
the Church; and though the Assembly of 1661 had 
defined the limits ot the Papal autnority with a 
good deal of severity, the subsequent proceedings 
against Jansenism, carrying with them the employ- 
ment of the civil magistrate in the interests of the 
Church, constituted a very substantial m. ligation 
of the conditions. But the Church was yet to suffer 


for its unfortunate traditional readiness to accept 
tne help of the civil arm to enforce conformity. 

It 18 a cunous circumstance that the Church has 
genially on the morrow of a triumph declined into 
indifference and arrogance. Secure in its position. 
It becomes somnolent. This happened ^^hen the 

l^T^i^^'T^J'^'^^^y in Scotland; 

and the French Church of the eighteenth centur^ 
became similarly torpid. Its oosftion was secure; 
t was the State Church; it enjoyed a measure of 
self-government. A National Assembly met every 
five years, though it could publish none of its 

in.n°"f T'^u'^'u ^^"g'^ knowledge and 
approval. But by the end of the eighteenth intu^ 
new forces were astir in the air ofFrance. There 
was a pohtical ferment, set afoot by the writings 
of Rousseau and this carried in it dims on behalf 

standiL nf K ru J^'^ the 
siding of the Church very materially. The back- 

t^t.^^ t beginning. Hitherto, 

the State was m a position of self-defence agains 

^T^T^'^'^'^^Y'^- NowthcStat^™ 
earning the war into the other camp and the 

F^t°dnh°/ 5ir^^^^ assail d 

confiscation of Church lands, and the suppression 
bLn jtSr '^''Sy had hitherto 

I'^^^o f « .°V^' '""^"^i '^'y^''^ sub- 
jected to a "civil constitution" which virtuallv 

reduced them to a civil service. The promoS 
these change, maintained that they id Tot to!,^ 


W(M«hip and doctrine, that they only affected disci- 
pline and order; in point of fact they completely 
altered the status of the Church. All ecclesiastical 
offices were made elective; and French citizens 
were forbidden to recognise the authority of any 
bishop whose diocese lay without the realm, though 
it was later conceded to a newly-appointed bishop 
that he might write a letter to Rome declaring unity 
of faith and communion with tltt Head of the 


These episodes are characteristic of the entire 
course of the struggle between Church and State, 
where the claims of the one are supposed to come 
in conflict with those of the other. There is 
a curious family likeness between these struggles 
in whatever land the struggle is pitched. When 
the £li3nbethan Act of Sumemacy was passed, 
certain bishops and clergy dedined to take the oath 
and were in consequence removed from their 
offices. In the same way, when the French 
Assembly in 1791 decided to demand from all 
beneficed ecclesiastics that they should swear in all 
events to maintain the constitution decreed by the 
Assembly and accepted by the King, the clerical 
members declined to take the oath; and eventually 
twenty-eight prelates and a large number of parish 
priests were deprived of their benefices kt their 
refusal. And not only in such incidents as this 
but in all the main lines of the struggle there is a 
seemingly perpetual identity. In dermar.y, the 



greatly extended claims of the State after 1 871 led 
Bismarck into the ill-starred Kulturkampf. It is 
not necessary to follow the course of that struggle. 
As usual the assaulted party carried the honours. 
Bismarck was determined to destroy all Roman 
influence in Germany. The religious orders were 
expelled in 1872, the "Old Catholics" were 
constituted (and unfortunately agreed so to be 
regarded) as the Catholic Church of the country; 
m 1878 the property of the Catholic Church was 
sequestrated. The clergy refused to accept the 
position imposed upon them by the restrictive Falk 
laws, and were fined and imprisoned in large 
numbers. Their goods were distrained, but no 
penalty moved them. But Bismarck, astute 
statemian as he was, came to recognise that he had 
started upon a longer road than he had reckoned 
upon, and in 1880 he began to reverse his policy. 
The property of the Roman Catholic Church was 
returned to It; and the Pope secured the control of 
ecclesiastical discipline, and of ecdedastical educa- 
tion, his control over his clergy, the restoration of 
public worship which had been suspended for some 
yws, and some conditional understanding that the 
religious orders might return.' The spoils of the 
Kulturkampf were considerably less than the 
losses; and probably the position of the Roman 
Catholic Church in Germany was ultimately very 
"^s^ronger than it was before the struggle. 

What we have in this story, u in the French 
episodes, is the continued struggles of the corpon* 


tions. It is a reduced version of the great conflicts 
of the Middle Ages — the old fight fought on a 
national scale. And which side so-ever triumphs, 
the struggle is always disastrous to religion. For 
the Chwch, whpther on the defenuve or die 00^- 
sive, when it meets the State, uses weapons proper 
only to the State and alien to its own mission 
and genius; and the consequences are invariably 
calamitous to both. One corporation may gain an 
advantage as a corporation over the other, but in 
the last analysis the advantage is a catastrophe to 
the real cause which the victor exists to serve. 


The story of the conflicts of Church and State, 
and of the struggle for religious liberty is not 
edifying; and in many of its passages it is credit- 
able to neither. It is illumined here and there 
hy the great sacrifices and the personal courage of 
individuals; and these are almost invariably those 
who have, like the English Separatists, struggled 
a^inst the evils of a religious monopoly— or, like 
the Covenanters, against a dvil attempt to diange 
by force the character of a popular Church; or 
like the Catholic clergy in England, France, and 
Germany, who at various times resisted the 
encroachments of the State upon their allegiance to 
the Head of their Communion; or like the various 
companies in the Church of Scotland down to the 
Disruption of 1843, who chose to suffer the loss 
of their livings rather than surrender the freedom 
of the Churdi in things spiritml to the will of 


the State. The heroic figures of the struggle— 
in whatever Church or land— are those who uphold 
rehgious liberty. The struggle has not, more- 
over, ^onc with equal momentum in all lands, and 
there is in Eurcme to-day a great variety of 
practice. In England, there it a State Church, 
with tolerated » religious communions outside 
It. The same conditions exist in Austria, where 
the Roman Church is established, but with the 
exception that the clergy of aU legaUy recognised 
religious bodies are paid by the State. 
have virtually the same status as civil servants, 
and for their support a religious tax is levied, 
exemption from which is, however, granted to 
pwsons who dedare themselves to be of no 
religion. This is much the situation in modem 
Germany, but exemption from the religious tax 
mvolves an exceedingly cumbersome process. In 
Jrancc, the connection of State and Church has 
been completely severed by the legislation of 
1904 and 1905. It has been said that the plight 
into which the Law of Associations and its sequel, 
the Law of Separation, plunged the Catholic 
Church in France was the recoil on its own head 
ot Its persecutions of the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries. But however this may be. 
It is hardly to be doubted that the main motive 

ru u ''^^ power of 

the Church in order to assert and exercise an 
extreme doctrine of State authority. M. Combes 
the state»nan most responsible for this legislation,' 



Stated his view that " there are, th»e can be, no 
rights except the right of the State, and there is, 
and there can be, no other authority than the 
authority of the State "*; and in accordance with 
this doctrine the right of existence was denied to 
any corporation save only as it received reayii- 
tion from the State. Before the Associations Law 
was pa -^ there were 910 recognised religious 
bodi 33 not recognised. Of these latter. 

448 V- cr recognition, and it was denied to 
then . /one seemed to expect, for it was 

well knov.xi that the law was directed against the 
religious orders. By the Separation Act, the 
Communes ceased to pay the salaries of the 
clergy. Catholics, like other religious bodies, 
were, however, allowed to form associations cul- 
tuelleSy associations for public worship, but 
there was no guarantee that these associations 
either o>uld {reserve the Episcopal c^ovemment 
alone recognised by CathoFics or could retain the 
necessary property of the Church with any 
security. It was an inexcusably harsh piece of 
legislation and is not improperly regarded as a 
persecution of the Church by men who wanted, 
as they said, to "de-christianise" France. But 
proceedings of this kind recoil upon the heads of 
those responsible for them; and so far from 
movi^ in Uie direction of a secularised Frmott 
subsequent events have stimulated a deep and 
widespread revi\ J of French Cath olicism. The 

* Quoted ia J. N. FiggU. "Churche* in the Modern Statc^" p. 56. 


events of the war may, moreover, go far to rc 
establish the Church in the affecSons of the 
i'rcnch people; and if it be wise enough to be 
satisfied with securing a real liberty, without pro- 
ceeding according to its unfortunate custom, to 
utilise the arm of the State for the promotion of 
Its own purposes, there seems no reason why it 
should not become, under the influence of modern 
liberal ideas, a great regenerative force. To seek 
a monopoly will be deadly to it. Roman Catholi- 
cism IS at Its best and commends itself most 
successfully to reasonable men where it is set over 
against other popular religious communions. It 
presents a very different spectacle in England and 
America from that which it presents in Spain; but 

r„^l '1 P^""*^« 'he Roman 

Cuna of the truth -f this fact. The example of 
Belgium IS, howr -r, to hand for demonstration. 
In that now unhappy little country, « the fieedom 
ot religions, and their public exercise, as well as 
the right of expression on all subjects, are guaran- 

J^LiTa- u ^*<«P'»°« of misdemeanours 
committed in the exercise of the right.** There 
IS, perhaps, no European country in which the 

noimced; yet it owes none of it to the possession 
tj^l T^ -''"'^^ been the 

of ?hf '•^'•f ^^S^^"'" devotion 
of the clergy Kas been equalled by their strong 

reattionary tendencies; and pre-war Belgium ™ 

distinguish^ neither by a high ethical t?ne noTa 


rm wnoooiM ton, mlrhoos uurty 

genuine national culture. It may be that tne fires 
of war will {wesent the wcnrld with the spectacle 
of a new Bdgian nattcm ia the days to come. 


Religious liberty, providing as it does the 
opportunity for the expression of all the ceaseless 
variations in which a living reli^on is bound to 
express itself, is a necessary condition of health in 
Church and nation. Where the Church, whether 
with or without the will of the State, secures a 
monopoly in any territory so that it is impossible 
for independent religious bodies to establish 
themselves successfully, it has always degenerated. 
Religious uniformity, however achieved, is a 
siffn of death. And the ideal condition is that in 
which religious communities have a free and un- 
fettered existence so lonf as their practices are not 
notoriously and palpably offensive to the public 
conscience and injurious to the public good. Alone 
of modem States, the United States of America 
presents these conditions. " The Federal Constitu- 
tion contains the following provisions: — 

"Art. VI. No religious test shall ever be 

required as a qualification to any office or public 

trust under the United States. 

"Amendment i. Congress shall make no 

law resi)ectine an establishment of religion or 

prohibiting the free exercise thereof." 

« No attempt," says Lord Bryce, « has ever been 
made to alter or infringe upon these provi- 
sions, . . . 


«* Every State constitudon contitiit provisioiit 

generally similar to the above. Most declare that 
every man may worship God according to his own 
conscience; or that the free enjoyment of all 
rehffious sentiments and forms of worship shall 
be held sacred; most also provide that no man 
shall be compelled to support or to attend any 
Church, some forbid the creation of an established 
Church, and many the showing of a preference to 
any particular sect; while many provide that no 
money shall ever be drawn from the State treasury 
or from the funds of any municipal body to be 
applied for the benefit of any church or sectarian 
mstitution or denominational school.** • 
„,®f:^^"^ '""ch history. Roger 

WiJJiams, who seen.s to have been the first affec- 
tive apostle of the principle of the complete 
detachment of Christian communities from the 
«cuiar power, the Puritan theocracies in New 
England, the Connecticut Law of 1818, which put 
all religions on an equal footing— this and ver>r 
much would have to be entered in any 

record of the sequence of events which led to 
the present position. It is not, however, to be 
supposed that the religious freedom of the Ameri- 
«n Commonwealth implies an actual neutrality. 
On the contrary, the general attitude of the State 
to religion is one of friendliness and encourage- 
ment; and nothing could be ferther from the truth 
than the suggestion that because there is no forma l 

•Bijrce. "The" • Commonwealth," II, p. 764. 



national recognition of religion, the nation is a 
godless nation. This is, perhaps, more untrue of 
the American nation than it is of the great majority 
cf nations which make a public recognition of 
religion. In point of fact, the public recognition 
of religion in the form of a State Church or of the 
Sttte maiateniiioe of dergj nmkes ou *'he whole 
for the depression of religious life. 


THE coming of toleration in England 
finally dissolved the shadowy tradition of 
a national Church. It became the State 
Church — that is, the particular religious com- 
munion which is recognised by the State as the 
official organ of public religion. Alongside of it, 
within the commonwealth, is a number of religious 
bodies to which the State has conceded their ri^ht 
to exist as independent communities and to give 
free public expression to their peculiar witness and 
ideals of worship. The situation is satisfactory to 


The State Church is placed in a position which 
compromises its liberty and forbids the free 
development of its genius as a Christian society. 
In return for State recognition it has to submit to 
a measure of State control; and situations have 
arisen in which the decisions of the State are in 
conflict with the Church's principles. A recent 
case in point is the position which has arisen in 
England consequent upon the legalisation of 
marriage with a deceased wife's sister. Now, the 
Church is within its rights in requiring certain 
conditions of communion, and it may continue to 
include among these conditions an archaism such 
as ^M^idding marriage with a deceased wife's 
sister. But if it be a State Church it can onlf 
continue to demand this condition, when the 
State has legalised such marriages, at the cost of 


repudiating that State control which is the price of 
State recognition. Either the State Church must 
fulfil its contract or dissolve its connection with the 
State.* It cannot have it both ways. Whether the 
advantages of State-recognition are worth this 
saaifice of liberty it is for the Church itself to 


But the trouble cuts even deeper than this. It 
is a comparatively small thing, after all, whether a 
particular piece of State enactment is in conflict 
with an ancient canon of the Church; but it is a 
matter of the greatest consequence whether the 
Church's obligation to the State does not per- 
manently depress its perception of the moral 
requirements entailed by a Christian profession. 
When Constantine added the Cross to his stock of 
military emblems he was symbolising in an extreme 
form the real implications of a union of Church 

* The Bishop of Manche»ter recognises that the price of freedom is 
Disestablishment : " By Church reform he meant what was sometimes 
etUrf democratising the Church. At present their powers of self-reform 
were esceedin^jr limited. For Prayer Book revision, for parish councils 
with statutory authority, for wholesale readjuitmcnti of incomes, for new 
ccclniaatical courts, for reform of patronage, for prosecution of heresy, for 
power* of enomniHiiieatioa, etpecially since many Churchmen refused to 
obey existiflg conrtt» recount mutt be had to Parliament. They also knew 
perfectly wdl that th«r had ao intentiM of tr)'ing to pass a number of 
ecdetiattical by-lawt diroufh PafUaamt, and that they could not if thnr 
would. They ought to make up their minds whether thejr wou ld appr oadl 
Parliament for aelf-govemment, and whether thejr dctired telf-|OTemineat 
so eagerly that they were prepared to accept it in the form of DitcttaUiah- 
ment and Disendowment. For that was the coat which, in hi< opinion, 
they would certainly be called upon to pay." -eSfiwrkwlrrCsiefrfiin, October 
ao^ 1916. 


and State; and there is no case on record of a State 
Church which has refused to follow the drum. 
Wherever there is a State Church, the State am 
count on a blessing of its arms in any li ilitary 
adventure. In the last resort, the ethic of a State 
Church will be the ethic of the State. 

Now, the ethic of the State, in a democratic 
community, can nevo' rise above the moral average 
of the community. The morality of the State at 
the best reflects the normal moral level of the 
people as a whole. It is indeed questionable 
whether it always reaches even that moderate 
height; and, however plainly in ordinary times the 
Church may proclaim the Christian moral ideal, 
its ethical counsel in a time of crisis will always 
exjMress the immediate requirements of the State. 
Naturally, it will agree (as it always does) on these 
occasions that the recognition of the Church by the 
State invests the State with sonie kind of religious 
character; and the acts of the State are accepted as 
regulative of the moral counsels of the Church. 
This was what Coleridge saw when he spoke of 
the function of a " national " Church as that of 
diffusing "legjality" through the people. It is 
not without significance diat Bishop Creighton, 
when he distinguishes between Church and State, 
should speak of the latter as the nation's organ for 
the arrangement of common life, and the former 
its or^ for maintaining the principles on which 
riiat life is based.* If fetish civili»tion is a re al 

* "Oaui Hvm Vtiftn," Striw f,jt', — — — - 


embodiment of Christianity, no quarrel with 
Bishop Creighton's statement is possible. It is, of 
course, to beg the question to establish the 
Christian character of a Church or nation on its 
relation to the creeds of Christendom. " By their 
fruits shall ye know them " — and there is no 
modem State or nation which would be recognised 
as Christian by its ethical practice. In this im- 
perfect world, ethic will always lag behind creed; 
but the claim to be Christian does at least imply 
an e^rt to co-ordinate conduct to creed. But 
modon States do not ground — and, indeed, do 
not profess to ground — their conduct on Christian 
principles, and a study of the proceedings of any 
State in Christendom would speedily disabuse any 
fond belief in their acknowledgment of a Christian 
obligation. Lowell speaks contemptuously of 
" the patched-up broils of congress, venal, full of 
meat and wine,'' and of " laws of cotton texture 
wove by vulgar men for vulvar ends and parlia- 
ments still generally behave m much the same way 
and achieve much the same results. Whatever the 
voice of the State may be, its speech is not re- 
cognisably Christian. It was not mere irony that 
induced Carlyle to take Emerson to the British 
House of Commons to convince him of the 
existence of the devil; and any other legislature 
would have served as well. That a Church which 
is to any extent bound to the State as we know it 
should escape a blunting of its faculty of moral 
insight is inconceivable; and in the long run it has 


to equate its own moral teaching to the require- 
ments of the State. 

This is the reason why revivals of religion in a 
State Church have almost always led to separation 
and schism. Spirituality bears a close relation to 
moral sensitiveness and vitality; and a Hying 
Christian ethic reveals itself as a creative thing, 
ever reaching out to "the things which are 
before," and in all genuine spiritual revivals there 
is a strong ethical emphasis. This accounts for the 
ahnost consistently^ Puritan character of revivals of 
this kind. Donatism and Montanism, and to some 
extent the monastic movement, the Franciscan 
movement, and English Separatism were all in 
their measure Puritanical; and one has only to 
read Wesley's sermons in order to realise how fully 
his Gospel was charged with ethic It may be that 
the Puritanism of such movements as these had a 
legal basis and was too much concerned with 
externals; but it was nevertheless a very real 
witness to the intimacy of the spiritual and moral 
in the life of men. But, speaking generally, State 
Churches have found no room for these outbursts 
of spirituality, and they have been compelled to 
express themselves ** without the gate and it is 
further significant, as to the Christian status of the 
State Church, that these extruded movements have 
all stood for a conscious endeavour to return to 
primitive Christian standards and ways of life. 


If we carry the analysis a stage further we shall 



find that the limitations of ethical insight and 
power in a State Church arise from ihe necessity 
(entailed by its status) of harmonising incompati- 
bilities. It has been said with truth that the 
progress of civilisation is registered by the measure 
in which force dirappears nrom amone tlw »iic- 
tions of common life. While it may oe granted 
that in a modern democracy, government by 
consent is gradually supplanting government by 
force, force still remains the last resource of the 
State. In external afiairs, the reign of force is not 
yet modified to any material extent; it is still the 
ultimate logic of diplomacy. The normal relations 
of ordinary folk within the commonwealth are 
govmied, it is true, not by physical force but by 
irorce in other forms — public opinion, convention, 
and the like. But the only form of social sanction 
which the Church, if it be true to itself, can re- 
cognise and teach is love. The State opposes force 
to crime; it is the business of the Church to teach 
men to overcome social evil with good. The one 
works by coercion; the other works by conversion. 
It is impossible to bless or to sanction coercion and 
at the same time preach love. If the Church 
chooses to speak half in the speech of Ashdod die 
must not complain if men fail to recognise her as 
the true Israel. Here, again, it is impossible to 
have it both ways. Coercion is the denial of con- 
version; and no complacent references to die hi^y 
English genius for compromise are going to recon- 
cile the contradiction. 


The case of the Christian ethic against the 
practice of the State is peculiar^ strong in relation 
to external affairs. That the State has been 
influenced in Christian ways, and that much 
modern legislation reflects an increasing apprecia- 
tion of the worth of personality (which is the 
pniauy Christian contnbution to the science and 
practice of politics), may be conceded. But in 
external zfhirs this influence is far less perceptible. 
It has expressed itself chiefly in international a^ee- 
ments to prevent war or to mitigate its sevoitics 
(though recent events have shown that this han 
lagged far behind the modern elaboration of 
instruments v hich have multiplied the horrors of 
war a hundredfold), and in occasfonal altruistic 
enterfHises in relirf of oppressed peoples. But all 
these taken together make a very inconsiderable 
off^set to the persistent and assertive self-regard of 
States. The State is in practice self -regarding; it 
is the doctrine in some countries that it shoiddand 
must be so. The Christian ethic is the negation of 
self-regard and the affirmation of the sovereignty 
of love and service. The normal condition of 
international afl&irs is competition, and States have 
yet hardly learnt to co-operate in anything but in 
war. The Gospel of the Church is a Gospel of co- 
operation, of mutual service, of the overcoming of 
mutual alienation; but the Church actually preaches 
a Gospel in which these things are overshadowed 
by the exigencies of a State which is in practice the 
<M^anisation of national self-interest. 



This contradiction is sometimes reconciled by 
asserting that the Christian ethic is an affiur for 
individuals but not for the State — ^in which case the 

Christian echic has poor prospects in some modern 
States. For many voices bid us believe that the 
conduct of the individual must be wholly governed 
by the requirements of the State. The English 
Military Service Acts have brought theologians 
and preachers into the field to uphold the doctrine 
that the demand of the State is identical with the 
Christian obligation. But those who tell us that 
the Christian ethic is not binding on States hardly 
realise the impasse of thought into which they lead 
themselves. To say that what is right for the 
State may be wrong for the individual is to predi- 
cate an impossible monl dualism. It presupposes 
two ultimate moral standards opposed to each 
other — which is to conceive a God divided against 
Himself, who would be no God at all. There is 
only one mcH^al order in a m<md univme; and both 
individuals and States must stand or fall by it. Our 
moral criticism of the State and of individuals 
must rest on identical ethical grounds. Historic- 
ally, the State has represented the organised native 
selfishness of human nature; and it is the business 
of the Church to convert it. The alliance of the 
Church with the State has failed to effect that con- 
version; and the failure is due to the compromise 
of the monl auth<Mity of the Chunrh by its 
recognition of State control. Probably the Church 
has mfluenced the Stiite less than ^ State has 




influenced the Church; and the prevailing religion 
of State Churches is a polite paganism touched Mre 
and there by a Christian grace.* 

The present position is no more satisfactory 
from the standpoint of the tolerated or "free" 
Churches. For one thing, their legal position has 
been raised in an acute form for the present genera- 
tion by the judgment oi the House oi Lords in 
the Scottish Churches' case. It is unnecessary to 
recall the facts of the case beyond saying that it 
arose out of the question whether a Church had by 
a majority decision the right to modify its original 
stanciards. In this case the Free Church by its 
union with the United Presbyterians had, so the 
minority claimed, departed from its original basis. 
This view the House of Lords sustained, with the 
result that the entire property of the Free Church 
was legally handed over to a small and insignificant 
remnant of dissidents. The result of the judg- 
ment in this case was, to quote Dr. Figgis's 
summary, on the one hand to " deny to a Free 
Church the power of defining and developing its 
own doctrines," and, on the other hand, while dis- 
claiming interference in theological matters, the 
juc^ment docs interfere in Acm '* under the plea 
(rf conridering the question whether or not the 

* Of conn^ thm are jieaty of noble personal excepttMii, lai aa 
•eotriead greop ^iridda a tett Ouirch of which thU U ant trat. 



trust had been viokted.»»* This virtually ties a 
Free Chiirch up almost as effectually as the State 
Church; and it is possible for a small dissentient 
minority to hold up, by recourse to litigation, the 
proceedings of the majority in any Church if it 
can be legally demonstrated that such proceedings 
entail any kind or extent of departure from its 
trust deeds. Its right to develop its own inherent 
life is subject to the law of the State, which ouries 
with it that its very right to exist is a concession oi 
the State. This is a position not statedly defined 
in English law or observed in practice; but it is un- 
doubtedly implied in the Lords' judgment in the 
Scottish Churches' case. The conception of the 
Church as a body possessing an inherent life and 
mind of its own, capable of growth and change, is 
not recognised in English law; the law regards it 
as a corporation based upon certain articles of 
association, from the letter of which it may not 
depart without losing iti identity and therefore its 
right to retain the property necessary for the 
conduct of its work. In other words, the Free 
Churches are anything but free; thev are free only 
within the narrow circle of a palpably inadequate 
legal interpretation. That the State could ever 
abolish a Church is inconceivable, because it is 
impossible; but it might deprive it of its material 
resources. That would be a hardship; but the 
deprivation of the property of the Free Church of 
Scotland only served to bind closer the union out 

* "Otnrcktt in tkc Modem SUtc," p. sx. 


of which the trouble grew. The life of t religious 
community was not created by the State, and the 
State cannot destroy what it did not create. But it 
does retain the claim to define the conditions of 
the community's life even in the matter of its most 
intimate inner existence. 

It is, of course, obvious that the holding of 
material property brings the Church to that extent 
withal the jurisdiction of the State; and it is the 
business <^ the State to see that no Church acts in 
the matter ai its fvopaty in a way injurious to 
other communities or to the general good. But 
it is intolerable that the State should have power 
to make the retention of its property by the Church 
conditional upon its own sanction of the Church's 
proceedings. Some of the Free Churches have 
taken steps to safeguard themselves and their 
property from the possibility of alienation or 
confiscation by the State, but it is highly question- 
able how far these saf<^:uards are ^ectual. For 
the conception of the sovereign authority of the 
State is deeply embedded in the law of the land; 
and the claim of the State to interfere in the life 
of Churches is simply a logical development of 
the Austinian doctrine of sovereignty. Nothing 
will ever effectually free the Churches from the 
authority of the State but a changed doctrine of 
the State itself. Perhaps that change will come 
with the recognition of the inherent right of 
independent religious societies to live and grow 
within the commonwealth; for tliis will actually 


involve an accqitance of diminished and qxialificd 
authority. It will be the end of the Sovereign 
State, and that event is not far off. 

But the precarious standing of the « tolerated " 
Church is not the only unfavourable elenient in 
the existing position. In the past, not in this 
country alone, the State Church has more or few 
consistently sought advantages for itself which 
were denied to other religious communities. It 
has sought to establish a monopoly or to secure 
preferential treatment— with varying immediate 
success, but generally with ultimate injury to itself. 
That at the present time the State Church in 
England is beginning to take a more charitable 
view of its religious neighbours must be freelv 
acknowledged; but we are stiU burdened with 
the inheritance of past struggles against the claims 
and encroachments of the State Church. The 
attitude of resistance to Mr. Balfour's Education 
Acts which was evoked in the Free Churdies 
has made for the perpetuation of .under- 
standing and the postponement of ..utual 
knowledge which would have createa a very 
different kind of atmosphere. And, in addition 
to this, it forced the Free Churches into the arena 
of political conflict, to their own great injury. 
To-day it remains the fact that the State Church 
stands, on the whole, with one political party, 
while the Free Churches generally support the 


rival part^. The game of politkt at it isplayed in 
Rnghjnd it at alien to the geaiut d die Qmrch at 

war is; and it has been an unfortunate and 
disastrous circumstance that over and over again 
the pulpit has become the platform of a political 
party, and the Gospel hat had to imke way a 

party catchword. And all this has again led to 
an ascription of an authority to the State to which 
ever Churches must needs bow. The war of the 
Churdiet has been (of the support of that superior 
power which can act as «* judge and divider " over 
them. It has tended to an unwholesome exaltation 
of the State, which has virtually made flie Free 
Churches into State Churches as well. That this 
is no exag^;eration is sufficiently proved by 
ahnost unanimous voice of the Free Churches in 
favour of the State in the present war. To them, 
as to the State Church, the security of the State is 
a necessity to which the preaching ^ the Gospel 
must be postponed. 

This tends to depress in the Free Churches the 
perception of what is involved in the Christian 
ethic as gravely as in the State Church, though it 
must be conceded that there are other causes. The 
Free Churches have also come to regard themselves 
as corporations with rights to be maintained; and 
institutionalism has had its own dulling effect 
upon the keenness of mind and life. TTie position 
of affiiirs which " establishes " one religious com- 
munity and " tolerates " others is one which will 
continue to hinder the progress of the Kingdom of 



God, unless the anomtly is overcome, not by 
legislative change but rather as a consequence of 
the growth of mutual knowledge and goodwill 
between the communities concerned. And of this 
consummation there is to-day some ground for 



THE history of the Church shows that it 
failed to escape the eStcts of the twofold 
craving of human nature for security and 
power. That this craving is natural and legiti- 
mate is beyond doubt, but the Question remains 
whether the secdar state or the Christian society 
have conceived security and power rightly, and 
have in consequence sought them by right and 
effectual methods. It seems fairlv clear that in 
the case of the secular state the traaitional method 
of armament has been historically a failure; and in 
so far as we have data for the judgment, it is a 
reasonable presumption that those societies which 
have sought security by the method of trusting 
and dealing fairly with their neighbours have 
found a better and more effectual way. The his- 
tory of Pennsylvania seems to be a case in point. 
Bergson maintains that in the evolution of nature 
those types which have retained their protective 
armament — the Crustacea — have been Ictt behind, 
and that those have had the greater successes who 
have taken the greatest risks. A similar case might 
be made with a good deal of weight for human 
societies. The greatest successes oi^British politics 
have been those cases in which apparently enor- 
■)us risks were taken, such as, for instance, the 
grant of self-government to the conquered Boer 
territories of douth Africa. It is true that the 
analogy between Nature and human societies must 
not be pressed too far. In Nature, security was 


sacrificed to mobility, and armaments were dis- 
carded in the interests of a larger security. But in 
human society mobility has not been substituted 
for but added to armament, and the organ of 
security has become the organ of aggression. But, 
further, in human societies greater security has not 
achieved its end. The establishment of security 
has generally been followed by a relaxation of 
moral fibre — the notorious cause of the undoing of 
great States. It would appear that the full security 
of human societies is connected with the taking of 
what seemingly is the infinitely greater risk of 
trusting to the armament of goodwill. It has yet 
to be shown that moral sanctions unreinforced by 
physical armament arc inadequate to the business 
of self-preservation, whether for individuals or for 
groups. It is no longer in need of demonstration 
that material and outward defences, however 
strong and well organised, do not secure the life of 
human societies, but rather put them in jeopardy 
every hour. Their real security and true strength 
lies not in the barricades with which they surround 
themselves, but in the integrity and goodwill of 
their inner life. 

But so strong is our human confidence in exter- 
nal sanctions that the Church has continuously 
devised measures to safeguard its life and in- 
tegrity. It has resorted to organisation, consoli- 
dation, definition, centralisation — the orthodox 
machinery of secular societies which have quite 
other interests to safeguard. By the beginning of 


the second century the unity of the Church was 
held to be secured by the appointment of bishops, 
and it was the view of Ignatius that the bi^op was 
the symbol and centre of the Church's unity. In 
the same spirit, we have seen the effort to safe- 
guard the message by defining it and casting it into 
formal statements. These measures did indeed 
make for the security of the Church, but at the 
cost of substituting for its early fellowship a rigid 
institutional form. From the worst effects of Sis 
process the Church was saved by the opposition of 
the outer world and the persecution to which it was 
consequently exposed. But when the temptation 
of power confronted the Church, its increasing 
institutionaliun enfeebled its resistance to it; and 
the Church walked into Constantine*8 parlour. It 
henceforth possessed security and power of the 
" worldly " kind — but at the cost of the security 
and power proper to its own nature. 

It is true that the measures which the Church 
took in the interests of its security and in the 
acceptance of power and prestige were sincerely 
intended for the furtherance of the Kingdom of 
God. These seemed to constitute the obvious and 
swift route to its goal. But the Church's leaders 
were unable to discern that these measures were 
wholly contrary to the method imposed on the 
Church bjr the natiire of its purpose. The security 
of the Church's message lay not in defining it 
but in preaching it. To define it was to confine 
it. The Church's integrity was to be preserved 


by the cohesive energy of a love which made 
fomud sanctions superfluous. If it had been on 
the Christian programme to bring the Kingdom of 
God by the method of power, why should Jesus 
have eschewed it for Himself, as He deliberately 
did in the Temptation ? Had the Church remained 
true to that precedent, it would have remained in 
the world "the suffering servant" by whose 
stripes the world might have been healed. Both 
security and power of the external order arc alien 
to the essential Church. Its task is the high 
adventure of saving the world by serving it, and 
suffering by and for it. 


Historically the Church has never been quite 
able to free itself from this evil inheritance. In 
many ways it has led to an assimilation of a 
« worldly " scale of values, and its effect has been 
to divert the Church from its first intention and to 
entangle it in controversies in which it has been 
continually (and often effectually) tempted to 
abandon its own appointed weapons of offence and 
to bdie the spirit of its Lord. It has been drawn 
into dances and struggles which have distorted 
its vision and crippled its ministries. Now it is 
as-^c dng its authority against the State; at another 
ume it MS sought to reinforce it by alliance with 
tht State; in both cases it has had recourse to fleshly 
weapons and has discarded its own spiritual and 
immaterial armament. Nothing has been more 


disastrous to the Church than its use of the civil 
arm to enforce conformity with itself and to 
persecute the dissenter. A conversion by coercion 
lacks moral reality; and moral reality is of the very 
essence of authentic religious life. 

This subjection to methods incongruous with 
the nature of its purpose shows itself in many ways. 
There is, for instance, a pathetic and inveterate 
faith in the efi" acy of mass action. The story of the 
English Free Church Council is full of it. It has 
passed numberless resolutions on this topic and 
that, presuming that what is called " the united 
voice of the Free Churches " carries authority and 
materially affects public opinion and governmental 
action. It is not perceived that the resolution habit 
is a method of indirect coercion. It is an attempt 
to influence public policy by the pressure of a mass- 
opinion. The method has been a conspicuous 
foilure, aca>mplishing little or nothing because it 
is not organic to, or congruous with, the essential 
functions of the Church. The notion of Churches 
organised into a more or less compact unity, 
exercising pressure upon Governments, is a denial 
of the Christian method of transforming the 
world. Where this pressure is exercised in the 
maintenance of " rights," that is, in defence of the 
interests of a particular communion or group of 
communions, it is not merely futile but self- 
defeating. The Christian method, and therefore 
the Church's only way, of overcoming the evil that 
may be purposed against it is the imperturbable 



endurance <rf ill in the spirit of love. The Church 
of Christ was never meant to " stand up for its 
rights." This may seem a strange doctrine for this 
generation; it is nevertheless a true one, and a little 
thought in the light of the New Testament ?hould 
prove it so. 

We have observed how the mstmctive feeling 
for security led to the development of institution- 
alism; and in course of time the Church was over- 
taken by the peril latent in this movement. One 
— and perhaps the most obvious — consequence of 
institutionalism is a dread of innovation. The 
frontiers have been delimited and they must not 
be disturbed. Where the intrinsic life of a religious 
society is strong enough, it will soon or late dis- 
regard the frontiers and break through them; but 
where there is no such strength of the inner life, 
the society is under sentence of dcat^. The Church 
has lived because its inner life has been, and is, 
mightier than all the institutions in which it has 
from time to time embodied itself. All religions 
show within ** -nselves two tendencies, which may 
be roughly ibed as the priestly and the pro- 
phetic. Th oriper is a ^ rinciple of authority, 
order, definition. Its instinct is for the institution. 
The latter is the principle of freedom, and it works 
with an unexpectainess and a waywardness which 
to the shallow looks like caprice. The former is 
prone to suspect the new; the latter is for ever 
expressing itself in new ways. It is a principle of 


growth, the kinetic energy of religion, and the 
difficulty of harmonising the growing perception 
of the will of God, of which the prophet is the 
organ, with the authority and the order of which 
the priest is the custodian, lies at the root of all the 
really matmal controversies in religious history. 
The problem of the modern Chiirch is the dis- 
covery of the way by which these two tendencies 
may be harmonised. The institution has its place; 
its danger is to monopolise all the room and crush 
out the necessary freedom and spontaneity of 
religious life. 

Not only does Christianity possess this pro- 
phetic element, but there is also the restless creative 
quality of the Christian ethic. Christian morality 
is not a thing of law and codes. It is the reverse 
of all legalism. It defines no " terminus ad 
queniy" which being reached a man may say, " I 
have attained." On the contrary, a living Christian 
ethic is essentially creative, for ever seeing new 
heights to climb, for ever seeking to transcend its 
own best. Christianity is essentially the religion 
of the moral pioneer — neither in its spiritual nor 
ethiod aspects does it take kindly to dranition and 
formulation. The formula is well enough as zn 
account of ground already covered, but when it is 
regarded as an authoritative statement, a precise 
conformity to which alone justifies a man's title to 
the Christian name, it becomes a prison and a drag 
upon the human spirit. But the life of Christianity 
has not endured any bond in perpetuity. The 



Church needs to be as free from itself as it should 
be free from the State if it is to be an effective 
organ of the ^irit of God. 

It is curious that the Church has never re- 
cognised how vulnerable its formal safeguards in 
time make it. For one thing, authority has a 
tendency to accumulation and centralisation. The 
end of the journey on which the Church started 
when it ascribed authority to a statement or an 
individual was the doctrine of Papal infallibility. 
Here authority is claimed over the whole extent 
of religious life, yet concentrated in one individual. 
This is a bondags to which the spirit of man cannot 
long submit; soon or late, at some point or other, 
it is bound to challenge authority, whether it is 
ascribed to a document or to a person. The prin- 
ciple of authority has therefore evoked the spirit of 
revolt, and the Church has been riven and torn in 
sunder in consequence. Further, the definitions 
and formulae which the Church has devised and 
worked out in the interests of its security have too 
frequently become the targets of the enemy. It 
has been reduced again ancTagain to a condition of 
panic by the assaults which have been made upon 
its " standards." Because it was tied to a particular 
dogma of creation it was shaken to its foundation 
by the theory of evolution; because it was wedded 
to a particular doctrine of inspiration it has 
shivered in the face of the higher criticism. It has 
taken up arms against its assailants with a vehe- 
mence which has made religious controversy 


proverbial for its uncharitablcncss. In an age of 
growing knowledge it has been compelled to take 
up an apologetic attitude, and apologetic is nnther 
attractive nor redemptive. If die Church's life be 
not apologia enough, then no other will avail any- 
thing. In a polemic one argument merely evokes 
another; it is a region of contradictions and 
controversies. The confusion of logic is only 
overcome by life. That the Church has survived 
is not due to the learning or subtlety of its doctors. 
On the whole, it has lived its real life in SPJ^ of 
them; and the assaults on it have in the end ftuled 
because they did not touch its essential life. They 
only shook outposts that were already obsolete and 
doomed to be abandoned. 


One result of the institutionalising of the 
Church has been an excessive preoccupation with 
itself and its "rights." After the Scottish 
Churches case many churches spent long in 
devising means of safeguarding tteir property. 
Some " property," in the shape of conveniences 
for worship, the Church should no doubt possess, 
but to spend five minutes in devising legal safe- 
guards for it is a waste of time. There is no 
modern State which would hesitate to over-nde 
such safeguards if it suited its purpose, and the 
Church is not called upon to take such steps as 
these to preserve itself or to secure its property. 
It should simply go on with its business and take 
the consequences. Some of the most in^iring 



passages in Christian history are those in which, 
deprived of its property, the Church found a place 
of worship which had the bare earth for floor and 
the vault ci lieaven for ceiling. The Church has 
a task to accomplish in the world; it is only safe 
when it is busy with this task and with nothing 
else. It is never in greater peril than when it 
begins to be anxious for its security. Indeed, this 
principle goes a great deal deeper. The Church 
has built up, under this illusion of needing safe- 
guards, a system of discipline. It is right that it 
should take thought of its purity; but when it 
seeks to presove its purity by a discipline which is 
a mode of legalism, it is binding itself and com* 
mitting itself to tepidity and mediocrity. " When 
Friends began to care more for the purity of 
Quakerism than for the conversion of the world 
their chance oi universal service was thrown away, 
and they degenerated into a mere sect."* The 
only safeguard of the purity of the Church is the 
intensity of its own missionary passion, which will 
of itself extrude the alien elements which make for 
corruption and indifierence. 

How then is the Church to redeem its failwe in 
the modern world } The issue of our ai^fument is 

fairly plain. The path of recovery lies in an 
endeavour to reproduce the primitive type of 

* H. T. Ho^^n, *<The MitMonarjr Spirit and the Present Opporta- 



Christian fellowship under the conditions of the 
twentieth century. Reunion is being preached 
to-day as a panacea for the ills of the Church, 
but this is to begin at the wrong end. The 
creation of an ecclesiastical leviathan is really the 
logical issue of the tendency to centralisation which 
has been so detrimental to the Church throughout 
its history. To tie up into a bunch the officitl 
nuchinary of so many religious communions is 
not to produce Christian unity. The unity of 
Christendom is not to be secured by the co-ordina- 
tion of machinery or by a creda! uniformity. These 
luive had their day. If there is to be a real unity 
it must be the unity of Christian folk in love and 
service. The modern Church has not realised 
itself effectually as a Christian society, and yet the 
strength and the effectualness of the Church in the 
world is directly contingent upon the maintenance 
and culture of its common life. It is the peculiar 
privilege and duty of its members to add to the 
volume and power of this life, each in his own 
measure. In some ways the most astonishing cir- 
cumstance in modern Church life has been the casual 
nature of its members' relation to it, and the nriea^e- 
ness, even the grudgingness, of their contribution 
to its life. The result has been a singular absence of 
a real social character in the Church. For the most 
part it has not been a society but a mob, not a 
congregation but a crowd. Such social elements as 
have survived within the Church have been 
sectional and partial. Class divisions have rent it 



and the one thing for which one might look fruit- 
lessly for years in the modem Church is a genuine 
Christian fellowship — not the worked-up sociable - 
ness of an occasional evening, for of this there has 
been enough and to spare, b"* that deeper com- 
munion of spirits in wnich men consdoiisly make 
common cause in the pursuit of holiness, and throw 
their personal experience of the quest into the 
common stock for the heartening and enlightening 
of their fellows. It is the appointed means by 
whidh conduct and experience achieve sanity and 
balance; it is no less the appointed means by which 
the redemptive purpose or God is made effectual 
in the world. 


For this is no fellowship for its own sake. It 
is called to a specific ministry, and its work in 
the world is not fruitful without the collective 
momentum of a living Christian community. 
It is entrusted with a Gospel by which a word 
and a race of redemption are mediated to the 
world. " Its aim is the willing and lowly return of 
the soul to God, the reconciliation of God and 
man. Vhe C istian society is essentially mis- 
sionary, and its missionary passion is first and last 
its one real safeguard. It has been said that the 
Church which ceases to be evangelistic soon ceases 
to be evangelical; and this is a true saj^ing. The 
faith wUl be safe so long as the Gospel is preached 
by wcid and by life. There is an old evangelical 
phrase which the Church needs t<. recover, though 


with a new connotation — " the passion for souls.** 
The word has been in the put too much tstodtted 

with negative ideas of salvation, the plucking of 
brands from the burning and the like, as though 
the end of the Gospel were to provide men with 
•ecurity against perdition. But there is a larger 
and more positive sense for the phrase. Frederic 
Myers makes St. Paul say : 

" Oaljr M MuU I Mc the folk thereunder, 
Munuti «riMtlMaUeeafuer,sl«vw«4ioilMd4b*kiagi'*l 

and this is a true definition of the Christian view 
of mm. The final office of the Church is the 
emancir ition and the enthronement of man by the 
creation in him of the ims^e of the Son of God; 
and things will not be welf with the Chinxh until 
it recovers a Pauline ** passion fof souls." 

**TIkii with ■ thrill dw iatdtnMe erwriaf 
Siiven throii|h me like n truaqpet cdl— 
Oh to tave thete, to perith for their taviag, 
Die for their life, t>e offered for them •Ul" 

And this italised and understood not as the narrow, 

yet in its way not unworthy, solicitude that men 
should escape from the wrath to come, but as deep 
persuasive love that longs and strives and gives 
it.«elf freely that man may enter upon his 
inheritance of kingship and joy and peace, will 
(and nothing else will) rehabilitate the Church in 
this generation. But neither the word nor the 
sacrament by which the gift of God is mediated to 
men will be effectual save only as they are con- 
sciously realised as social trusts. Hiey are vested 
in a society, and they call for a social presentation. 

The preacher and the priest must be really and not 
formally the organs of the collective prophethood 
and priesthood of a Christian community; and it 
U only as the Church is a living fellowship tl»t 
its ministry is endowed with tn authentic soari 

impulse. 7* . . • 

It would take us too far afield to inquire into 
the causes of the comparative obscuration of the 
Church's missionary function in our time. It is 
partly due to the supposed need already referred 
to of maintaining an apologetic attitude in the 
face of the challenge of the new knowledge. But 
it is probably to some extent due to the effect upon 
the propagandist character of the Gospel of the 
endwvour to harmonise it with the theory ot 
evolution. That evolution is involved in the order 
of the world no sane person at this time of <^ 
would deny; but that the principle has been applied 
in regions where it is only very partially or doubt- 
fUUy applicable should be no less obvious. It has in 
particular led to a view of human progress which 
wiii bear neither historical nor ethical criticism. We 
have come to suppose that we live in a world m 
which there is an essential bias to improvement. 
There is a vis a tergo which is sending it up a gently 
inclined slope to the City of God. Some time we 
shall arrive : there is a golden age awaiting us on 
the crest of the hiU. On this theory Christianitjr 
becomes a push by the way to this laborious cosmic 
climb— a gentle accessory to the evolutionary 
process,— and the business of the Church is to 


propel this obstinate old world up its predestined 
slope, car^Uy adjusting its driving force at each 
stage to what it thinks the world will stand with- 
out jibbing. The Church has to accommodate its 
moral witness and its gospel to the world as it is, 
not driving it too hard or asking too much from it. 

But this is not a world which takes kindly to 
improvement. On the contrary, it exhibits an 
inveterate and persistent aversion from the prophet 
and the reformer. It is only to be improved as it 
is converted. In nature the charactenstic process 
is creative evolution; in human societies the 
primary process in all progress is creative revolu- 
tion. The present war will no doubt introduce 
great modifications into the evolutionary interpret- 
ation of history. For, as a revelation of modern 
State morality, it tells a tale not of advance but of 
degeneration. The mitigation of the severities of 
war, which we hailed as a sign of moral advance, 
is dwarfed to vanishing point by the newly devised 
horrors of war. The gift of the Church to the 
world is not a stimulus to its bias to improvement, 
but a reniedy for its tendency to degeneracy. The 
Church is an organ not of reformation but of 
redemption. It was created not to make a better 
world but a new world. And in these days when 
we are told on every hand that the only thing that 
can change the world is a changed temper and a 
changed way of life, the Church would again find 
its opportunity, if it could remember that the first 
word of its Gospel is Repent. 


The edge of the Church's message has itmwc- 
ovcr been duUcd by the emergence of the idea of 
moral mass-movement, and this is again a bye- 
product of the evolution hypothesis. And the 
philosophers have helped us to identify the mass 
with the State— with so much success, indeed, that 
the theologians have begun to preach that the State 
and the Church are the divinely appointed twin 
organs of the Kingdom of God. The result of this 
process has been a very perceptible depression m 
the view of the Christian moral obligation. On 
this view good churchmanship and good citizenship 
are co-extensive terms. That the good churchman 
should be a good citizen is only to say that the 
greater should include the less. Yet it is not the 
business of the Church to produce citizens, but 
saints; it is to /-reate a certain type of moral per- 
sonality, which is not to be defined by reference to 
the requirements of the State, but by reference to 
the personality of Jesus Christ. Its characteristic 
product is not law-abidingness, but holiness; and 
there have been times when Christian holiness 
and conventional good citizenship have been at 
extreme antipodes. According to the modem 
theory, the martyr was not merely a fool, but a 
criminal who deserved all he got. He had no right 
to allow his own sense of moral obligation to differ 
from that which the State prescribed. 


The recovery of the Church is connected with 
a frank return to first principles, to a reappropna- 


tion of the New Testament outlook. This does 
not mean that revelation is to be regarded as 
having ceased at the close of the New Testament 
canon. On the contrary, we must believe, as Brad- 
ford did, that " God has ever more light and truth 
to break from His holy Word." Nevertheless, all 
revelation must cohere with the New Testament 
and be able to {m>ve its ancestry. The modern 
doctrines of accommodation are not developments 
from the New Testament position, but look very 
much like apostacies from it. The thought that 
justifies the Church in taking "a sub-C3iristian 
platform " is a perversion due to misplaced 
emphasis upon the doctrine of evolution and an 
exaggerated devotion to the State. The real cry 
for tnc Church to-day is Back to the New Testa- 
ment. It may be urged against this view that it 
is what Dr. Forsyth calls lay religion (which 
apparently means religion unauthorised by theo- 
logians), that it takes no account of all that has 
happened since the first century. It is may be 
asserted) an attempt to .''ep back over the history 
of nineteen hundred years, and to reproduce the 
conditions of primitive Christianity, without allow- 
ing for the development of thought in the interval. 
It entails writing off that vast mass of painful 
theological construction which indicates the 
advance of speculation into, and experience of, the 
deep things of God. The answer to the charge is 
that it is based upon a reading of the wrong 
history. The true history of Chnstianity as a life 


and a reality of experience is not identical with the 
external history of Christian institutions. The 
apostolical succession is an affair of saints and not 
of hierarchs; and it is only to minds of the legal 
and doctrinaire type that it is not obvious that the 
living elements of Christianity have been historic- 
ally preserved as « lay religion." It is not to be 
denied that there e been periods in which 
institutional Chris. " has served a certain pur- 
pose of conservatio; , out the institutions have at 
last become reactionary in effect. And it is only 
as lay religion has succeeded fi-om time to time in 
disentangling itself from the strangulating meshes 
of officialism and tradition that Christianity has 
sustained its continuity through the ages. 

We can afford th»efore to accept the charge of 
« lay religion " without misgiving; and to plead 
guilty gladly to the imputation that we desire to 
reproduce the conditions of first-century Chris- 
tianity in the twentieth. Not that we suppose for 
a moment that we can repeat the external circum- 
stances of that far-off time. What is of more 
consequence is that the inner experience of 
Christianity may and can be reproduced, and th^t 
if it possesses the peculiar intensity of the primi- 
tive experience it will constrain the twentieth 
century to make room for it. This is very far, 
however, from a desire to skip the intervening 
history. On the contrary, this present plea triscs 
directly from the actual historical circumstances of 
this time, read in the light of the history of the 


past. We are looking upon the bankruptcy of the 
traditional syntheses in Church and State; they are 
lying in ruins at our feet, and not for the first time 
recovery is bound up with revolt. The need of the 
moment is the repudiation of the conventional and 
orthodox habits of thought which have issued in 
this present tragedy; and for the Church it means 
breaking away from the perversions wrought by 
temporary phases of thought and the pressure of 
a false politics, to " the faith once delivered to the 
saints,'* which is, in substance if not in statement, 
unchanged, to a gospel which is true to the abiding 
facts of life and rests upon " a moral order that 
cannot be repealed." 

When St. Paul wrote to the Philippian Church, 
" We are a colony of heaven," it was with the 
historical origins of Philippi in mind. The word 
contained an allusion which every Philippian at 
once understood. When the Roman statesmen set 
out to consolidate their conquests into the Empire 
they settled a community of veterans in the new 
territory, and they trusted to these colonies to 
romanise the surrounding country. Every colony 
was designedly a miniature of the imperial city. 
It is this circumstance that St. Paul lays hold of in 
order to illustrate his thought of the Church. Just 
as Phihppi had been, and, indeed, then was, a com- 
munity planted in a strange land to assimilate it to 
the Empire, so was the Church, a community of 
people belonging elsewhere, settled in this place 
and that to permeate the surrounding world and to 



annex it to the Kingdom of God. The peril of the 
Roman colony was its invasion by the barbarian 
standsirds of its neighbours; no less was it the 
pcrU of the Church to be poisoned by the entrance 
of pagan influences from the unregenerate world 
without. It was a peril which, as we know, 
frequently overtook the Church. Sir William 
Ramsay gives us a vivid glimpse of the process in 
his account of the Nicolaitans : 

Especially it is highly probable that the Nicolaitans either already had or 
soon would have reached the conclusion that they might justifiably comply 
with the current test of loyalty, and burn a little incense in nonour of the 
Emperor. The Church was not disloyal ; even its most fanatical defenders 
claimed to be loyal ; then why should its members make any difficulty about 
proving their loyalty by burning a few grains of incense ? A little mcense 
WM nothing. An excellent and convincing argument can be readily worked 
out I «nd then— the whole ritual of the State religion would have followed 
•s a matter of course j Christ and Augustus would have been enthroned 
side by side as they were in the compromise attempted by the Eniperor 
Alexander Severus more than a century later ; and everything which was 
Tital to Christianity would ha»e been lost* 

It is no longer a question of a little incense; the 
form of the issue has indeed often changed. But 
this is its substance. Is the Church to retain its 
« colonial " character or is it to lower its standard 
the more easily to win the surrounding world Is 
it to make a concordat with the State? Does it 
not by that very compromise lose its propagandist 
force and sink undistinguished into the general 
welter of secular life ? If the Church is to remain 
a "colony of heaven," then it must assuredly 
retain without compromise and preach without 
reserve its own distinctive gospel and ethic, nor 

•Sir W. M. Ramsay I "The Lettert to the Seven Churches" pp. 


pause to co-ordinate them to new knowledge or 
political exigencies. These may be left to adjust 
themselves rightly in the process of time. And it 
may be maintained that the Church has survived 
its secularisation only because in every age a few 
obscure people have kept the old flag flying— often 
through bonds and imprisonments — ^and refused 
to surrender either to sophistry or to persecution. 

Perhaps the greatest miracle of the life of the 
Church is its seemingly inexhaustible quality of 
renewal. Not even the most sterile periods of 
Christianity have been without their hidden centres 
of life and light. The altar fires have never 
utterly gone out. Again and again, the Church has 
^emed to rise out of its ashes, like the phoenix. 
Whether another such resurrection is imminent, 
we will not dare predict. It may be, indeed, that 
the Church has to endure still greater agony 
of failure and humiliation before the great and 
notable day of its renewal come. But when it does 
come. It will be the result of the recovery by some 
prophetic remnant of the reality of Christian 
fellowship, and of the primitive missionary pas- 

T j", ^° of its renewal we 

gladly affirm. Wc believe that its existing institu- 
tions wi not stand the fires of resurrection, that 
there will be new and unexpected alignments and 
affiliations, at the same time a widening and a 
narrowing of its gates. « Long," sang Francis 
Thompson, "hath been the hour of thy un- 
quecning » but the Bride of Christ may yet be, « a 


glorious bride without spot or blemish or any such 
thing," fit mate and mirror of her Lord, " whose 
feet arc coming to her on the waters," and may 
show to mankind " the face of Jesus Christ," so 
that all men may see Him, and seeing, stoop down 
to kiss the hem of His garment. 



IT is as true of the State as it is of the Church 
that its ml history is written not in the record 
of external events, but in the hidden and 
largely unrecorded life of the people. This does 
not mean that the common life of nations has not 
frequently emerged into the light of histonr. It 
luis done so again and again, and the great and truly 
epoch-making passages of recorded history are 
those which have to do with popular risings. For 
the rest, the thing that commonly passes for history 
is largely an irrdevanqr so far as the progress of 
popuHir culture is concerned; and this in the end 
is what really matters. That historical accidents 
and events have again and again entailed changes 
in national duuracter and outlodc must indeed 
be frankly admitted; but speaking generally, 
these are minor factors in the real development 
of humanity. And there have been times when 
men have deliberately turned away from the State 
in despair that it would ever do anything for the 
welfare of the people. Robert Owen preached 
the doctrine of political indifferentism, and urged 
the people to work out their own salvation 
independently of the machinery of State. And 
this, in point of fact, the people have always done. 
The history of States is not the history of peoples. 

The modern veneration of the State and our 
faith in its omnicompetence is largely due to the 
collectivist reaction from the indi^dualism which 
reigned in the early nineteenth ttntury. In the 


form of State socialism this tendency was greatlj 
reinforced; and the logical issue of this develop- 
ment is to be seen to-day in the considerable 
limitations imposed by the State upon personal 
initiative and freedom, and in the ludicrous 
theological apotheosis of the State which bellicose 
professors in England and Germany have been 
preaching. But from this extravagance, it is 
certain that the near futiire will see a considerable 
reaction. What we have to secure is the via media 
between the anarchistic negation of the State and 
the preposterous modern worship of it. There are 
some grounds for believing that we are on the way 
to a new political synthesis. 


Augustine spoke disrespectfully of the State; 
the first State, he said, had a fratricide for its 
founder. But it does not follow that we accept 
Augustine's summary verdict if we point out that 
the origin of the State is questionable from the 
point of view of the Christian ethic. The first 
impulse to statecraft came from the instinct of self- 
preservation, the desire to secure the political in- 
stitutions and property of a group of people. The 
motive of statecraft is the same as that of creed - 
making. It is the passion for security. The State 
is the product of a process of consolidation in the 
interests of safety; and consequently it has been 
chiefly concerned with the external relations of 
the community. It has re{»«sented histcmcally 


a principle of group-individualism; and it has 
naturally taken up an attitude of excluMvenesa and 

fuspicion towards other States. When its security 
has been cs " lished, the instinct which sought 
security grovv» by a natural development into the 
instinct for power. Nationalism passes over into 
imperialism, with all that this implies of the 
aggravation of suspicion, jealousy, and othei 
divisive and war-breeding tempers. Historically 
the State, while it has m«ic for the consolidation 
of geographical groups had also made for the 
disintegration of the human family. 

The desire to safeguard political institutions and 
national territory is itself not unworthy or evil; 
but a lone enough historical perspective will show 
the futility of the attempt to preserve these 
things permanently by the traditional methods of 
States. The atavistic confidence in physical force 
only survives on the short view. Empires have 
had no permanence and their stability has been 
illusory. And the armament of force has had the 
consistent effect of accentuating the divisive 
tendencies of State-organisation. The relations 
of States have been deto-mined by considerations 
not of right or wrong but of relative strength; and 
the State has sought as near an approach to omni- 
potence as possible. This, primarily intended for 
Its external relations, has, however, reacted in- 
ternally; and the State has generally endeavoured 
to achieve over its constituent people the same kind 
of sovereign authority as it has sought over other 



nations. The concq>tiofi of power has dominated 
it; and it is of the very nature of power that its 
possession breeds the craving for more. It is the 
most powerful and demoralising of intoxicants; 
and it is high time that the Christian consciousness 
among Western peoples should be awakened to 
realise the hopeless illusion which the conception 
of the State as power involves. It is at last not 
preservative but destructive of the very things it 
was intended to safeguard. The first contribution 
which the Christian Church should make to 
modern nations is to deliver them from the 
" monstrous regiment " of this barbarism. Bui 
if it is to render this ministry, it must itself be 
delivered from its own illusions about power. 


It has been already pointed out that the doctrmc 
of State-absolutism is breaking down before the 
facts of life. The reaction of the war will stimulate 
a process which was well under weigh before the 
war. The TafF Vale and tht Scottish Churches 
judgments, the exploits of M. Combes in France, 
the apotheosis of the State in Germany (the tragedy 
of which is before our eyes to-day), all these and 
other circumstances had led gradually to the 
assertion of the independent and original life of 
permanent groups within the commonwealth, and 
the denial that they owe their right to a corporate 
existence to the permission of the State. The 
ferment of thought set up by the European war is 
most certainly bound to reinforce this conviction 






Besides this, the increasing effect of the discovery, 
which modern historians arc helping us to make, 
that the life of a community is only partially 
embraced by the State, that indeed the State only 
exprenes one aspect of it, is going to add greatly 
to the strength of the movement for the destruc- 
tion of the notion of the sovereign State. It is 
becomire ever plainer that the structure of society 
cannot be fruitfully discussed in terms of an 
abstract individual over against an abstract State; 
our social life is a complex and many-coloured 
fabric; it is a luxuriant mass of social forms and 
shapes, each possessing a spontaneous and indepen- 
dent life of its own, each responding to some 
specific need of our nature. The task of political 
philosophy in the days to come is to discover the 
wavs and means not merely of relating the 
individual to the whole, but of relating rightly both 
to the individual and the whole, and to one another, 
the various forms of social organisation in which 
the life of the community resides. And in such a 
political philosophy the State will necessarily cease 
to be unitary and will become federal; and its office 
will be the co-ordination and adjustment of the 
outward and material relationships and affairs of 

whole. Mr. Ernest Barker, in a review of actual 
tendencies in modern political thought, tells us thut 
" the new doctrine of the right of groups " ..." in 
the sphere of legal thecay, assumes the form of 
insistence on the real personality, the spontaneous 

associations which make up the 


origin (and with sonie of its exponents) the 
* inherent rights ' of permanent organisations. 
In thif fomt, the doctrine has been urged on the 
one hand by advocates of the rights of Trades 
Unions, and on the other hand, by the champions 
of the rights of Churches and ecclesiastical 
bodies. In both forms it has tended to produce 
a federalistic throry of the '^tatc, whether the State 
is regarded as a union of guilds or ' a cr inn -lity 
of communities ' which embraces groups. only 
economic but also ecclesiastical and national. . . . 
We may need and we may be moving towards a 
new conception of the State, and more especially a 
new conception of sovereignty which shall be broad 
enough to embrace these new ideas. We may have 
to regard every State, not only the federal State 
proper, but also the State which professes to be 
unitary, as in its nature federal; we may have to 
recognise that sovereignty is not single and 
indivisible, but multiple and multicellular."* 


Whatever the form of the political machinery 
requisite for the working of the federal State may 
be, it is obvious that the conception makes larger 
room for private opinion and freedom of con- 
science, on the one hand, and gives, on the other, 
ample safeguards for an order which will be no 
mere uniformity. The strength of the idea of the 
sovereign State is that it provides the community 

• ••Poiitic«l Thought, fr»m Spencer to To-day," pp. 249f. (1915). 



with security against individualism; but it does 
so at the cost of depressing individuality. It tends 
to uniformity, and does not (as a wholesome social 
order should^ stimulate the variety which accom- 
panies growing life. The federal State would 
save us, on the one hand, from the confusion of 
unchecked individualism, and, on the other, from 
deadening uniformity. It preserves the only con- 
ditions on which liberty and order are adequately 
and harmoniously maintained, and these are also 
the only conditions under which moral personality 
can find room to grow. 

In the sovereign State the limitations upon per- 
sonal freedom and initiative must be to a large 
extent uniform and mechanical. It draws a line 
which the individual must necessarilv toe. The 
problem is to discover the means by wnich personal 
relations can be adjusted within the commonwealth 
conformably with the free development of person- 
ality. Coercive methods obviously do not satisfy 
this condition; and it is difficult to see how this 
mnblem is to be solved except by recognising the 
function of the smaller group of freely associated 
persons within the political order. As things are, 
where the individual conscience refuses to assent 
to the requirement of the State the tendency is to 
anarchy. But it is perfectly clear, human nature 
being what it is, that conscience must submit itself 
to a social test. Yet it is of the very nature of the 
case that the test must be one which the individual 
conscience itself freely accepts. Our m(xnl in- 


tuitions must be put to the proof of the common 
sense of a group; but the group must be one the 
common sense of which we are prepared to trust. 
That is, indeed, one of the reasons why the Church 
came into being. Our religious instmcts need the 
balance of a social environment. Holmcss is essen- 
tiaUy a social product. Religious mdividualism 
leads to eccentricity and faddiness. The Christian 
experience can only preserve balance and normality 
in a social setting. And within the commonwealth 
the freely associated group will naturally provide 
those checks and arrests upon individual action 
which will save it from lawlessness; and it will do 
so the more effectively as it is done freely and with 
the consent of the person concerned. It may 
perhaps be argued that this is true of the State also, 
since the State represents such a group. But the 
sufficient answer to this is that the State tails to 
satisfy these conditions— firstly, because the in- 
dividual does not stand in a freely chosen relation 
to it (usually he belongs to it by accident of birth, 
and is unable to dissociate himself from it;; and, 
secondly, because the State stands in the common 
mind for the way of coercion, which precludes the 
possibility of an attitude of affection to it, ami 
therefore of that trust in it which will evoke ready 
and willing submission to its authority. No one 
ever loved the State as men have loved their 
university or their church. 

And if groups of freely associated persons have 
the right to Uve their own distinctive life within 



the commonwealth, personal liberty is safeguarded 
also. Indeed, a great deal of what has been called 
the struggle for individual Ubertv lus historically 
been a struggle for the liberty of small voluntary 
groups. The straggle for religious liberty in 
England, for instance, has been coloured through- 
out by its first phase — the fight for life which the 
early Separatist ccmununities made. The principle 
which was at issue was the right of free association, 
and in England, so far as religion is concerned, 
little more needs to be secured beyond the full 
recognition of the autonomy of religious associa- 
tions, their entire independence <rf the State as 
regards their inner life, the State touching them 
only as their temporalities require adjustment in 
reference to those of other groups. But the 
principle requires to be carried a good deal further. 
The trade unions, the friendly societies, the univer- 
sities, and all permanent associations should receive 
the same recognition of their inner freedom, and 
should have their own place in the formuktion ci 
the national polity.* To the clumsy and inadequate 
geographical constitution of the legislature there 
should be added the representation of the great 
poTnanent human interests which are embodied in 
the manifold groups in which men are gathered 
together in the commonwealth. That the groups 
should satisfy certain broad general conditions 
before they are thus acknowledged is obvious; but 

* That li, ai a friend obierve*, a territorial Houte of Common* and a 
•^nuttaditt" Howe. 



it is only in some such way as this that the State 
can be organised 80 that k ifcill irprriient the fiihiesi 

of the common life. 

Moreover, the sovereign State has historically 
been exclusive and divisive in temper, for ever 
building and strengthening waBs ci partition 
between itself and other States. But a State which 
recognises itself as intrinsically federa' will find it 
easy to conceive the thought of external federation. 
The sovereign State which fights for its cmn hmnd 
in the outer world is char^ with the temper 
which sets interests and bodies within itself fight- 
ing ' ' their own hands. The struggles of capital 
? u' ' our, and such deplorable and unhappy 
t cs as the education controvert in En^Md, 
b' ■ J naturally to a sovereign State. Its con- 
stituents regard each other as the State regards 
other States — predatory enemies in posse if not in 
esse. But a federal State in which the intrin^ 
life of groups is respected, in which the office of 
the State is the harmonious adjustment of the 
external relations of the groups, in which a rivalry 
of service is superseding the fight for rights, will 
soon evolve a corresponding eth<a far its rclatioǤ 
to other States outsi<te itself. The coming of the 
federal State will be the greatest step conceiv^ 
m the direction of a world commonwealth. 

2^ariah's vision of Jerusalem as a city with- 
o ut Wis* is a parable for poUticMttis. The yom^ 

• Ztdiariali iU 1-5. 


man who was measuring Jerusalem, surveying it 
for the building of the walls, is symbolical of the 
tendency to ddine, to limit, to enclose, and to 
exclude. The angel bade him desist, on the 
ground that the Jerusalem to be would be in- 
habited as a city without walls, a city so charged 
with life within that no walls would be able to 
contain it, a city so charted with friendship that no 
walls would be required to protect it. Jerusalem 
was to be unenclosed and unconfined, open and 
unencumbered, accessible to all who would enter, 
open to every traffic and influence of good. The 
vision was virtually a protest against the old tradi- 
tional exclusiveness and isr 'ation. It was a fore- 
telling of a new State with a policy of inner free- 
dom and unencumbered intercourse with the rest 
of the world. The old barriers and barricades dis- 
appear; there is to be something even better than 
a polity of open doors — there will be no door, or, 
rather, it will be all door. The city would live by 
free intercourse, free interchange of ideas and 
things, free trade, giving as much as it receives. 

One wonders how long it will take men to see 
that free trade is not merely a kind of fiscal policy, 
but a principle of life. Protection as a remedy for 
a declining industry is so plausible, so obvious, 
that the natural mind leaps to it readily and with- 
out argument. Tlw case for free trade cannot 
be fully stated in this rough and ready way, for its 
strength lies, not in its efficacy as a remedy for 


economic distress or as a specific for economic 
prosperity, but in its character as a symbol ot a 
Lat and ultimate spiritual fact. The absence of a 
Stfiff barrier may bear hard upon this industry or 
that; but the presence of a tariff wall is a strangle- 
hold upon all industry. For it is symptomatic <rf 
a Dolicv of segregation and exclusiveness whicli 
mist zt last prove deadly to all life. Protection 
flourishes only on the short viev It may mean a 
great immediate increase of wealth; but it does m 
the long run make for a very real impovcnshmcnt 
of life. To build tariff walls is to acnficc life to 
things. For the free interchange of commodities 
means the free interchange of much more-ot 
knowledge and thought, of art and culture. 1 He 
door that is shut on foreign trade shuts at the same 
time on a score of other things. To no nation 
alone is given the full complement of life's good; 
and it is only as each nation pours out its own 
peculiar share of that good into the common stock 
that it receives its tuU mea^-ure of the many- 
coloured wisdom of God and achieves its own 
destiny. To this view of things the stupid com- 
placencies of war time blind us, and shortsighted 
politicians are busily planning a policy of partition - 
walls after the war and introducing an enfeebling 
and poisonous falsehood into the outlook. 
The city of God is a city without walls, and it :s 
the eternal type for all the cities of men. The 
Samaritans were once a considerable and powerful 
community; to-day they are a mere handful ot 



physically degenerate and intellectually contempt- 
ible people. They remain to all time the ckssk 
instance of the tragedy of isolation, of buikiing 
walls and keeping within them. 


From the federal State, therefore, we may look 
not only for the welfare of the world but for the 
real enrichment of the nation. It is no part of our 
present purpose to attempt to forecast the political 
machinery of such a State. Our interest in it is 
that it is the only kind of State in which religion 
can be truly free, and which can be regarded as 
Christian in its temper and its ethos. The 
sovereign State involves the denial of a Christian 
moral order, both within and without, and, 
whether in conflict or in alliance with it, the 
Church has suffered grave injury from it. But 
whatever the political machinery of such a State 
may turn out to be, the Church should have 
no formal relation to it sa t that of assent. 
For it is in the very nature of things that 
the State will be chiefly concerned for the exterior 
and temporal aspects of the affairs of the com- 
monwealth; and of the State the Church will 
require no more than elbow-room. It should hold 
so lightly to its temporalities that its concern with 
the temporal affairs of the commonwealth would 
be infinitesimal; and, so long as ft sedulously 
eschewed the old illusion of power, it would 
preserve a relation of so great a mutiud goodwill 


with the rest of the commonwealth, that »ts J"" 
poralities would ncvar be in danger or be meddled 
with. And even if the State encroached upon its 
liberty (which it could only do by seizing some of 
its temporal possessions o' by persecution), then 
it is its part to submit quietly, in the confidence 
that no external coercion can affect its inner life 
or destroy it, and that it will win by the patient 
ways of endurance rather than by imitating the 
aggressor. The salvation and the security of the 
Church is the remembrance of its Master's word, 
and its acceptance of it as regulative for itself : " I 
am among you as he that serveth." " The Son of 
Man came not to be ministered unto, but to 
minister"; and His bride must follow in His 
train. Its ideal is not that of the great and impres- 
sive corporation, but that of a lowly handmaiden, 
grateful for the opportunity to serve. When Dr. 
Forsyth says that the relation between Church and 
State is that of « the courtesy of moral peers," he 
was not only forgetting the history of the State but 
also the true quality of the Church. Between the 
modern State and the Church of the New Twta- 
ment is so great a gulf fixed that even a nodding 
acquaintance is inconaivablc. 


The passage from the sovereign State to the 
federal presupposes a moral revolution. For the 
sovereign State as we know it chiefly represents the 
organisation of the self-regarding instincts. It is 


the habit of the moment to hold Germany up as the 
"awful example" of the over-developed State 
idea; and that unhappy country is the object of 
much ocecntioii at the hands or the self-righteous 
among its enemies. But these people would do 
well to look nearer home; — a right understanding 
of the claims of the State in most European 
countries might lead io a fairor judgment. The 
German State has made no greater claim than M. 
Combes has made on behalf of the French State. 
The only difference between them is that Germany 
spoke of the State with a religious farvour which 
M. Combes's secularism nude impossible for him. 
And if it be fondly supposed that the British State 
is no such leviathan, its war time performances 
nevertheless do show that the German doctrine is 
latent in the British. In Great Britain, however, 
the claims of the State have always been kept in 
check by the existence of religious bodies, which 
in greater or less measure preserved the tradition 
of the historical struggle for religious liberty and 
were therefore understood to be ready to oppose 
any invasion of personal liberties by the State. It 
has been to the detriment of Germany undoubtedly 
that it has had no " free churches.** But the salt 
may lose its savour, and in England, when it was 
found that those bodies were prepared to endorse 
the restrictive measures whicn the official mind 
supposed to be necessary for the purposes of war, 
it todc no long time for the latent Prussianism <^ 
the British State to assert itself even to the invasion 



of those rights of conadencc which before the war 

the public opinion of the country had deemed to be 
inviolable. The tragedy of the situation was that 
these very bodies whose existence was due to the 
successful assertion of the rights of conscience had 
nothing to say in criticism of this monstrous 
performance. A few isolated voices broke the 
shameful silence; but the Free Churches, as a 
whole, wrote off their title to existence. M Out 
goes to point out how profound and racUcal ft 
revolution of moral perception is necessary to 
deliver us from our still pagan politics. The 
Church no less than the State needs an evangelical 


And this can only come by the Church's re- 
discovery of its own metier. Its business is 
the creation of moral personality, the type and 
exemplar of which is her histoncaJ Lord. For this 
task she is equipped with Word and Sacrament and 
this will be her supreme contribution to the State 
and to mankind. There can be no new State apart 
from the new nature. By the miracle of conversion 
only will the ethic of self-regard be superseded by 
the ethic of self-surrender, the policy of competi- 
tion by the policy of co-operation. It may be a far 
cry to a wholly Christian State; but it is not too 
wild a dream that the State should be progressively 
Christianised. Mr. Hogg, in Christ's Message of 
the Kingdomy draws a valid distinction between 
those who are " the salt of the earth " and those 


who are " salted," that is, between those who have 
entered upon the reality of a Christian experience 
and those whose lives have been inHuenced in t 
Christian way by the pressure of a Christian 
environment. The primary task of the Church is 
the manufacture of " salt," the creation of the 
characteristic moral personality which will by 
the process of personal contacts at last induce a 
Christian direction in the collective will. Ti-is 
involves the abandonment of all those futile h' js 
of christianising the State by " resolutions i ^n 
public questions," and all the political *' methods 
of mass action which the modem Church has 
adopted without reference to their appropriateness 
to its own genius. It may appear to be the longest 
way round; it is nevertheless the only way there. 

The contribution which the Church will make 
to the State \ ill from the nature of the case be 
indirect. It is no part of its business to evolve 
policies andjprogrammes for the commonwealth or 
to |»royide formal solutions ior its {»^blems, still 
less to impose its own will upon it. Its gift to the 
commonwealth is the creation and the multiplica- 
tion of a type of character which, by being true to 
itself in everything, will give an increasing 
Christian bias to the collective will. It has been 
ixt too commonly assumed that the " laws " which 
seem to operate in the realm of economics and 
politics are fixed, immutable conditions, to which 
we have to submit with the best po^ble grace, 
divine institutes from which ihtatt can be no 


appeal. But these " laws " are simply statements 
of the ways in which men habitually act; and if 
men»8 habits were changed, then we should soon 
have to formulate a new set of ** laws." It is to 
this business of changing men's habits that the 
Church should give itself. It looks upon a world 
/ hich, left to itself, has again and again plunged 
into fer-flung tragedy. It sees man's social destinv 
in time frustrated by the strength of his self- 
regarding instincts. Over against this welter it 
proclaims a Kingdom of God, seat of which is 
m the human spirit. It oppose^ the will to serve 
to the will to sucoeed, the will to love to the will 
to power. It has power to effect in men that moral 
revolution which dethrones what St. Paul called 
"the law in his members," and vests the 
sovereignty in " the law of the mind." It endowt 
men wfth a spiritual point of view and a spiritual 
scale of values. The New Testament antithesis of 
" flesh " and " spirit " summarises the eternal op- 
position of the self-regarding and the self-renounc- 
ing instincts, the temper and ethic of the superman 
and those of the Son of Man. It is the mission of 
the Church to carry men over this gulf and to open 
to them the Kingdom of God. Its contributionto 
die commonw«Jth is not a point of view or a creed 
or a doctrine, but a character which will bear its 
own appointed fruit of service and social good 
within the commonwealth and affect its policies 
conformably with the rigfateousiien of the King- 
6om oi Goo. 

But this has a corollary. This type of charactsr 
must express itself in a corresponding 7Pf« 
social existence within the Church. Just, iiKked, 

as the Church stands for an ideal of character, so it 
should be in itself an experiment in ideal social 
life. It was the sense of some such obligation that 
lea to the communistic experiment ci the Apostolic 
Church, and later to the bounty which the Apos- 
tolic Churches sent to their distressed brethren in 
Jud«a. Uhlhorn has shown the persistency of tins 
feeling through the early history at Christiadty. 
It was perhaps inevitable that there should be an 
attempt to give an economic embodiment to this 
new sense of solidarity; it was, however, fore- 
doomed to failure. Economic insulation is an 
unworkable programme at any time, and every 
to create economic oasM in the desert of 
our social confusion seems soon or late to come 
to grief. But what underlay the apostolic 
experiment, the new spirit of soct^ solidarity, 
was a priceless permanent possession and a new 
thing in the world. The possihil • "s of socia 
life were raised *o a new plane, and thert 
was a community of men and wmmn who had 
learnt how to give themselves to each other in a 
love and service ^Ahich had no reserve, > nich 
the withholding of anything wr a d- ly dit 
loyalty. It was the coming of a i w qua ty id 
intensity of social demai^ upon the uidivWuai 
the demand in itt spiritual aspects wss w^ -v 



greater and more exa ing than uic pa* icular 
cconoi ic oWigauon whu h sec \cd to be cb aikd 
by it. HttB cruelty in the worid," saki ue 
hm joi» FiriK, ' * »risfr:> out of stupid incapacity 
to "ut ourselves in the places of other people," and 
the habit of our generation has intensified our 
of oac aiiother and our imaginative in- 
M\W to wiM^ Ac need <^ fdlows We 
have done our durity by iwoxy ; our human servir 
it vicarious. V e 'ack th love and the couraec i -> 
oMnc down to trie pcrsvim usiness of brothcrhoo-. 
cwsclves. B«t tlie Churc ^lould show the world 
aootlwr order of mutual personal relationshi^^ 
fellowsht^ n wh. h the joy and the sorrow of 
arc liic coi smon property of all, in whlc^ the s 
a iecp spirit al cummBniam which can be tn? ted 
to work o«t JES own eccmomic consequences diae 
time. What " c world is needing is a ne con- 
ception and \ a tice of fellowship — a realisation 
that the solution of our public and social problenw 
is bound up with a revision ci persoad r< noo- 
ahips. We are shocked into a momer em- 
pathy with the collier when the fire damp xplodes 
in a mine and a multitude of homes are shattered; 
we raise public funds to alleviate the consequrat 
sufferings; and then our Qffw kindled sympathy 
falls asleep until it is reawakened by another 
catastrophe. In the interval the oier. whom we 
have hailed as heroes and martyr'^ make a ^emmad 
for a higher wage, and we say dark A stormy 
things about the rap*^ el ^ w«»ki>aaa. Thw 


will not do. What we need is that mutual know- 
ledge which will steady our judgments of each 
other, and that can only come through a franker 
and more catholic fellowship than we have ever yet 
learned. The Church should set the example and 
be the active focus of such a fellowship, the nucleus 
of that regenerate human society which is the 
Kingdom of God. 

But the ultimate seat of this Kingdom is within 
us; and when the Kingdom of God is established 
in the souls of men, they will shape for themselves 
a State which shall be an organ of the Kingdom 
as no State in this world has ever yet been. It will 
be a State in which the spirit of Christ shall express 
itself in moral action without let or hindrance; a 
State which will shape its own life in righteousness 
and look over its frontiers not in suspicion and fear, 
but with imperturbable goodwill, and will carry on 
its affairs in the unassailable security of that spirit 
which takes away the occasion of wars. But to 
reach this goal— and let us not imagine that it is 
not yet far away — ^we must, as it were, turn again 
to the beginning of things, reproduce wheresoever 
the opportunity offers something of the primitive 
Christian fellowship, and in such fellowship actmire 
an abundance and an energy of spiritual life which 
shall set up a contagion of renewal here and 

there ^until throughout the land the dead bones 

live and a new nation be born. We shall need 
patience and courage— all the way; and we must be 


prepared for disappointments and reverses. Bat 
in our hearts wc shaU cherish and be fortified by 
the knowledge that wc arc leading no forlorn hope. 
" For the greater part of the seeming prosperity ol 
the world » suys John Ruskin, « is, so far as our 
present knowledge extends, vam; wholly useless 
for any kind of good, but haying assi^cd to it a 
certain inevitable sequence of destruction and ot 
sorrow. Its stress is only the stress of wandering 
storm; its beauty, the hectic of plague; and what is 
caUed the history of mankind is too often the 
record of the whirlwind and the map of the 
spreading of the leprosy. But underneath sdl that, 
or in narrow places of dominion in the midst ot it, 
the work of every man, 'qui non acccpit tn 
vanitatem animam suam,» endures and prospers, 
a small remnant or green bud of it prevailing at 
last over evil. And though faint with sickness, 
and encumbered in ruin, the ' ue woricers redeem 
inch by inch the wUdemess into garden ground; 
by the help of their joined hands the order of all 
things is surely sustained and vitaUy expanded, and 
although with strange vacillation, in the eyes of tite 
watcher, the morning cometh, and also the mgh^ 
there is no hour of human existence that does not 
draw on towards the perfect day." 



Acton, Lord (ruoted) i7,»o,43,7jf 
America, U. S. of. Church and 

State in - - - - Sgflf 
Apoidtt' Crttd - - - ?• 
Apottolicat Comtitutiont - 24 
Aquinat - - 4} footnote, 49 
Archbithopt' Committee on 

Church and State - - 1 
Report (quoted) - -53>$4 
AitocUtiant, Law of (France) - 86f 
Auguttine - - - - 129 
Auttria, Church and State in- 86 
AatoaoBjr of laify Gkriftian 

Sodetiet- ... 24iF 

BabjflomtA Capttiitf - - $0 
Barker, Erneat (quoted) - ijzf 
Belgium, Church and State in 88 
Battwinin 79 
Bcatoa, Arckbithop (quoted) - $7,67 
P « M o a (quoted)- - - 106 
Biihapt, early Appoi n tm« at «t 14! 

Bow&cc VIII. - 4* 

BowMt - 79 

Bradford (quoted) - - its 

Browne, Robert 71 

Browniam, Growth of - - 72 

Bryce, Lord (quoted) - - t^i 

Built, Unam Sanetam - 41 

„ Unigmitut - - - 8l 

Calvin, John ... jof 

Cartwright, Thomat - - 69 
Church, The, in the New 

Testament - - - 2ifF 

Church Rates - - - 77 

Cole, G. D. H. (quoted) - 4, 8 

Coleridge, S. T. - - - 16 

Combes, Emile (quoted) - 86f 

Conntcticui Law {it 1%) - 90 

Conscientious Objectors - $ 

Constantia* the Creat - - i8f 

C»m*nmtki* Att (1M4) - 76 


Creighten, Bishop 
(quoted) - 43, 61, 62^ 6sf, 94 

Curtis, "Creeds and Con- 
fessions". • -32 footnote 

Dante .... 41 
Purgatorio (quoted) - 42 
Deceased ffife't Sister Act - i, 92 
Declaration of Indulgence - 76 
Dicey, A. V. (quoted) - - 4 
Didacke - - - - 24 

Disruption (Scottish, 1843) - 85 
Deoatisto - - - 21, 44, 96 

Education Acts, The Balfour- 1«3 

Elizabeth 54 

Emperon »n4 dM QMiKii • ]! 
Empire, A'^man, Barlf 

Christist!] fjid- . 17 

Empresses, iaiiMace tt - 39 

Erastus - - - • fS' 
Evolution hTpoAens *ui 

preaching ... tiyf 

Federalistic State, The - • IJjf 
Figgis, Dr. J. N. (quoted) 39, 41, 100 
Fiske, John (quoted) - - 14 ' 
Five Mile Act - - - 7S 
Fonyth, Dr. P. T. (quoted) - 14,58 
France, Church and State in 78fF,86flr 
Franciscan Movement, the - 96 
Free Churches - - a, 100 
Free Church Council • - 1 le 

Calliciau LH*rtk$t Tb* - - jtf 
German7,ChaRltaa4Sutcin 83f,86 
(Herka^ O. (yiotad) - 

Habeas Corpus Act - - 76 

Henry Vm. - - - 53 

Hodgkin, H. T. (quoted) - 115 

Hogi, A. G. (quoted) - - 143 

Hofy Roflua Bnvirt^ Titt -39^43 

Ignttiut - - " 

lame*, William ((luoted) 
Jumiilwn - 

Knox, John - - - 
KmlmrUmpf - - " 

Lambert, FranSoi* 
«*l«jMreligion" - 
luOmft Dr. T. M. (quoted) - 
Louis XIV<- - - 
LowdU Jatnet Runell (quoted) 
Luther, Martin - 







tmk - - " 


Maitland, F. W. (suotcd) - 8 
Manche»ter,Bi»hop of (quoted) 93 
Mariilius of Padua - -4».49 

Mant Movement 
Milan, Edict of - 
Milton, John 

Mitchell, P. Chalmer»(quoted) 

Montanitm • -A 

Myw^r.W.H. (quoted) . 

Rraiaa See, aKCMUncy of 
RottMew • 


7 if 



■ 16 

Samaritans - 

Schaff, P. (quoted) - Ji, 
Scottith Churches' Csse 
Scottith Reformation - 
Scriptural Teaching on the Sute 
Separation of 15^6 
SoTCfC^ty, Mediaeval ideas of 

^ Austinian - 
Sute, the, in the Apocalypse- 
^ ^ and moral progress 
_ - _ the Christian 
" Ethic 
SUte Socialism - 

NrtioBalitjr. -57^ 
NMimut Church in Scotland- 51 
^ » i" England. 5»ff 

New- John Henry 
(c • . .19^29^33 

• «4 

. 128 

34i 35 






■ 2 



1 1 


Old Ik n! l.ct 
Oman, j jhn (quoted) 
Owen, Robert 
Paul, St, and the State 
Pearson, C. H. (quoted) 

Philippi . . - - 
Praemunire, Statutes of 
Picfcrtf, Bcdctiaiticd. a, 

IUmM]r,8irW.M.(quoted) 14,1 8, 1 2 s 
RtfermatiM - 49^ 

^ iala^aad • S^K 

Taf Vale judgment - 3 
T*s» ^ff (1672) repealed - 76 
Thompson, Francis (quoted) Sl,ia6 
Toleration under Common- 
wealth - - - - 75 
ToUration Act {l6»g) - - 77 
Tolcrttion of Roman Catholics 78 
„ of Jews - - 78 
Trade Unions - - • 3 
Tyrrell, George (quoted) . 27 

Uhlhora (quoted). 
Vnam Smciimi 

Uniformity, Act «/(i 5 59) 
n n («662) 

Utt^num - 

. 146 

• 4« 

- 54 

- 74f 
. It 

Wales, Disestablishment in . i 
Wesley, John ... 96 
William of Ockham -4*149 
WiUiam IIL and Mary. . 77 
IfntliMM, Roger ... 90