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PROGRESS OF THE NATIONAL CHURCH . High officers of the Church arc now dismissing tlie question of clmi'ch-rates in a manner which constitutes a new stage of that vexed question . A compromise is offered . An Archdeacon , Avho has -written to the Times a letter intended to soften all the pay ties , puts forth tlic doctrine that "it would be best to remain just as we are in tlicse changeable times "allowing parishioners to refuse , grant , or suffer church-rates , as the case may bo : thus
fabric and the maintenance of Divine worship . He insists , indeed , that the Church is properly of a national character , —that the Dissenter has no more right to repudiate his share of the contribution , nationally , than he has to refuse his quota to a tax for a war to which he may object ; and , therefore , the Rural Dean proposes that the Nation should buy of the Church the right to rate . Although the details of his calculation aie liable to
considerable qualification , it is really a striking proposal . The annual sum raised by means of a church-rate is somewhere about £ 300 , 000 , " which represents , " he says , " an aggregate of , £ 30 , 000 , 000 . " It i 3 rather a high capital to be taken as represented by the annual proceeds ; but let that pass . He does not demand the whole of that sum—no more than a nominal part—one-tenth . Three millions , then , out of the consolidated fund , -would be paid to
the Church as compensation for depriving her of her church-rate . " With this tithe , she may bring to her aid directly , not ' by a side wind , ' the voluntary system . " We have no doubt tliat this surn , invested on the part of the Church , would realise a fund out of which the fabric might be maintained ; but the grand point is , that an officer of the Church—a Rural Dean— -desires to offer the right of church-rates for sale .
The time is propitious for the consideration of such a question . We see that a society , called the Metropolitan Church Building Society , is about to form what we may call a supplemental church . The society proposes to raise < £ 506 , O 0 O by ten yearly Instalments , especially by an appeal to the landowners of the metropolis , in order to f orm a hundred new districts in . places where spiritual aid is most needed 5 and spiritual aid is needed in most parishes of the metropolis , if simple access to the Church be taken as the test of
spiritual need . Middlesex is that county in the country which is the worst provided with accommodation for attendance at religious worship : the total provision in comparison with any other English county i 3 as seventeen to thirty ; and as about 40 , 000 soxils are added to the metropolitan population every year , the multitude is practically kept away from public worship by the simple want of room , to say nothing of charges on admission .
. This Metropolitan Church Extension is a grand sclieme , and in its main features a good . Its benefits , indeed , will be measured in a great degree by the spirit in which it is initiated and ' administered . At the present day the spirit of negative scepticism has given place to a spirit of religious freedom much more accordant with the principles that now generally prevail in politics , and are beginning to make themselves felt in social matters . In
other -words , men are beginning to think that one generation ought not to dictate to tlie next , but ought to leave to the next resources unimpaired , opportunities unclosed . That religious worship essentially belongs to > human nature appears from the constant recognition of the necessity in all countries and times , with a " . few very intelligible exceptions- That ai direct appeal to the Supreme Power which rules us , and of which we are conscious , with the full belief that the consciousness must be
more than reciprocal , is desired and desirable f or mankind , also appears from practice . Hence , according to the best of our ability , it is incumbent on us to maintain those edifices for publiu worship which have descended to us from our forefathers , and to prepare for coming generations those edifices which their increased ai umbers will require . Wo should fulfil these duties according to the best of our ability , in material construction , in endowment , and in arrangement . If we had a true ecclesiastical
"letting in by a side wind to the very voluntary princip le itself for which our dissenting brethren pleaded . " On this a Rural Dean declares , lljat " to allow the law of church-rates to remain in its present unsettled state , is a groat disgrace to this country , and a serious inconvenience to all parties concerned . " Ho believes that the Churoh would be a great g-ainer by parting with the power of imposing a rate on her adversaries for tho i-epairs of the
thising , to some extent , with the policy of the only state that has been almost invariably its champion . ' . It may be conceded , then , that there is , in Greece , a Russian party , strongly represented in the Cabinet , in the Chambers , and in the press , —not a party tliat . would deliver Greece to Russia , bu $ that , preferring the Russians to the Turks , trusts them , while it suspects the English and hates the Trench . But the influence of this section has been exaggerated . Opposed
to it there is the large patriotic or national party , which , during the revolutionary storms of 1848 and 1849 , declared a public schism , hung garlands at their doors when the Austrians were beaten kwHungary , and protested against the immorality and cowardice which permitted Hungary to be stifled by Riissia . While Austrian and Russian diplomatists
endeavoured , to extort from Turkey the surrender of the refugees , this party in Greece , through its organs in the press , exclaimed as loudly as the impulsive but irresolute public in England , against the attack on international law . Its members were menaced , watched , solicited , in vain . This is a fact to remember , Avlien an in discriminating outcry denounces the Greeks as tools of Russia ,
the expense of the community , into several languages , and fifty thousand copies were circulated . Why then , did the Greeks complain that Turkey was defended against Russia ? Was it a time to revolutionise European Turkey , when an enemy was at the gate ? Had they foreseen the result—as it was foreseen by many , whose plain reasonings are antedated as prophecies by the noisy
Midland mob—that Turkey , as a Turkish state , must sink under the war—they would have pressed on the allied attack , convinced that the great industrious and commercial population of the Levant * would rise to the surface , and prove its superiority . Where are the Turks now ? Are not their counsels suppressed in the Western Cabinets ? Can they concentrate materials for the defence of one
city ? Can they tyrannise as of old ? They are disappearing , while the more lively and progressive" race is educating' itself for empire . At all events , those Greeks who supported Russia could not complain that the Allies did not support them . Those , on the other hand , who merely plotted their own independence could , not expect the Western
Powers , engaged in defending their own interests , to join with . Russia in suppressing Turkey . Their wisest course would have been , to disavow the Russian tendencies attributed to them , and to strengthen their moral position by calm statements , and by practical reasonings . Their best friends told them this , and it was through preferring violence to moderation , that they became unpopular .
It is not too late . They should watch the issue of the war ; they should regain the confidence of the Allies : it is useless to attempt this , while insurrection smoulders in Epirus andThessaly . When peace is concluded—when the frontiers of an' empire have been defined and guaranteed in Eastern Europe , the Christian race may come upon the scene ; arid it
is false to the moraL superiority it claims if it cannot eclipse the Turkish nation , without provoking it to a conflict . It has the means . It grows wlaile the Turks decrease ; it cultivates the soil ; it has a great marine ; the corn trade is almost its monopoly : by surpassing the Ottomans in the arts of government , it cannot fail , in time , to supersede them .
The wai * will have done tins service to the Christian race , by proving the incapacity of tho Turkish Government . Another question arises , indeed , that of the claims which the selfishness and rivalry of the occupying Powers may induce them to prefer . This , of course , would involve a policy exactly such as , on the part of Russia , has been treated as a public crime . New complications would then arise—perhaps a new war , differing in character from the present .
Some of the most active and influential of the Greeks have committed acts of dishonesty , as well as of impolicy . There are those who , while circulating anonymous publications of an anti-Russian character , correspond with Russian officials , exactly as there are those who , while holding appointments under the Ottoman government , conspire against the Porte . These are marked names amoner the few who
comprehend the drift of the Greek agitation . Among acts of impolicy , some must be ascribed to egotism . It was the purest egotism , and the purest folly , on the part of the Greeks , to announce themselves as the only population fit to govern in Turkey . We all know that the Ottoman , minority is incapable of administration—that the Porte cannot enforce its own edicts . But , among the mixed races in the European territories of the empire , the Greeks ,
though they are prominent , are not the only intelligent , ambitious , practical people . They fell into a mistake , therefore , when they talked of themselves as of the only natural governors of European Turkey . When the millions of Christians who inhabit that splendid hut half desolate territory , assume their due position , it must be on a basis of equality , leaving vanities , hatreds , and jealousies out of the question .
Neither can it be denied that the claims of the Christiana were j > ut forward , if not at the wrong time , at least in the wrong manner . War between Russia and the Western powers being inevitable , and , upon grounds of policy , justifiable , one of t-wo courses should have been pursued by the Greeks . They should have remained silent , or should have taken part with one of tho belligerents . If they thought that Russia , by breaking the strength of Turkey , would leave the field open for their social and political development , they had a clear right to think , so , however false and
illusory the idea . They had their own interests to calculate , and , in acting upon them , would have acted exactly as do the Allies . Interest is the spring of tin ; Avar ; perhaps it was French antercHt that gave Kar . s to the enemy . But the Greeks , if such were their convictions , should have had tlic courage to maintain them , or to abstain from discussion , lint they did not , <> v the majority did not , hold these viows . They subscribed largo ffunns of money- to propagate anli-Russjau ideas ;—a pamphlet , written by a retired politician of Greece , ¦ which contained the strongest warnings against Russian policy , was translated , at
January 5 , 1856 . ] THE LEADER 13
Leader (1850-1860), Jan. 5, 1856, page 13, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/l/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2122/page/13/