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of the political ascendency of a religion, as a temporal power, with the modification necessarily introduced into the administration of secular affairs by the nature and principles of that religion; and, lastly, is founded on a misconception of the legitimate province of Christianity. Its province is man, -human nature itself. “ The kingdom of God is in you," said our Lord. Its aim is to influence and determine all man's principles by placing him in a new relation to God. It is plain therefore, that if man himself, the being of whom society is composed, is altered, the society itself, as an organic whole, must become altered also. The compound result can no longer be the same when the ingredients become different; and therefore, by the nature of the case, our Lord must have willed, not only the regeneration of man, but the regeneration of society also. He did not design the subversion of the Roman empire as a form of government; but he did design its conversion to Christianity, and all the consequences inevitably resulting from this fact. Every spiritual teacher-Confucius, Socrates, Plato-must have the same aim; and so far was it from being fraudulent in our Lord, when he made the declaration, or the apostles, when they disclaimed political designs, to have contemplated this result, that unless they did do so, they must have been guilty of palpable absurdity. In truth, they thought not of the Roman government; they founded no society bound together by temporal ties, and seeking its establishment by the sword or any other political instrument; they did not, like Moses, frame any outward institution, which was to be imperatively forced upon all nations. Their field of action was the mind of every man; the renewal of his nature, its illumination by divine truth, were their aims; and they must have intended that, when it shall have been thus changed, men should determine for themselves the application of their principles to every question of public and private life.
But, says the Archbishop, “ Christianity is not to be advocated by legal coercion or exclusion from civil rights." Assuredly not; not because it is forbidden under all possible circumstances by the text, “ My kingdom is not of this world,” but because such methods are radically opposed to the essential character of a spiritual religion. A religion that rests, not on the observance of a positive ritual, but whose seat is in the heart, cannot be given or taken away by force. Such a religion recognizes and protects the freedom of conscience; whilst the very general terms in which its main doctrines are stated, must allow of very wide differences of interpretation, without injury to the title of Christian. The appeals therefore to the secular arm, the dungeons of the Inquisition, auto-da-fès, and civil disabilities, are fundamentally inconsistent with the spirit of such a creed as instruments of teaching, or punishments for nonconformity. But to lay down the universal rule, that infidels are in no case to be excluded from the full rights of citizenship, and to stigmatize such exclusion as a monopoly of civil rights, is surely to confound two very different classes of restrictions. When the Popes tried to exterminate the Albigenses and Waldenses by the sword, they were setting up a kingdom of this world and monopolizing civil rights, because their avowed object was to put down belief by coercion. In the same spirit would the British nation be acting, if their government in India were to exclude from office every Hindoo, because he was a follower of a false religion ; for then they would be guilty of the precise error, of using political force for the propagation of religion. Else, if they believed that to admit Hindoos to state offices would be a recognition of paganism on their own part, then the only conclusion ought to be, that they have no moral right to be governors in India at all; for the right of government cannot be founded on bayonets and conquest, but solely on the fulfilment of those moral duties which a nation can justly claim of its rulers. But restrictions that proceed from no wish to interfere with the freedom of each man's belief, and do not aim at spreading the ruler's creed by favour or compulsion, but are founded solely on the irresistible impulse which a people must feel to realize in their public institutions those principles that govern their whole being,—which are conceived in no narrow spirit of sectarianism, but emanate from a broad view of the wants of a Christian society, when it is virtually co-extensive with the nation, such restrictions, we say, are of a totally different nature, and must in no wise be confounded with the former. The Archbishop speaks of the rights of citizens as if they
were certain inherent indefeasible attributes belonging to a man, and excluded from the jurisdiction of the sovereign power. We know of none such, and cannot tell in what charter to seek for them. Every man is, by his moral constitution, entitled to the enjoyment of as much freedom from restraint as is compatible with the objects of his living in society ; but what these objects are, must be determined by the sole supreme tribunal among men, the sovereign power of society,—the general will of the nation. Against this tribunal individual rights cannot lawfully be pleaded. Society has the power and the right even to destroy life; but it is not an irresponsible power; it is subject to the moral law, and every man feels in himself the right of requiring it to be obedient to that law. Hence it is limited by the energy with which the human conscience resists oppression, and it can never violate with impunity the moral feeling of the age. Still it is supreme; and if the government of a Christian people resolved to confine its choice of officers to the Christian community, to plead the rights of citizens against this can only mean that some divine law is thereby violated, or that the ends to be answered by such a restriction do not compensate for its inconvenience. On neither of these grounds does the Archbishop fairly justify the plea. As to the first, his argument is directed against the employment of coercion for the propagation of religion, or else he speaks of the monopoly of civil rights under the implied hypothesis of such a monopoly being based on a regard for the interests of the Christian alone, and a total indifference to the rightful claims of the rest of the community. With respect to the second, he does indeed dwell on the dangers and inconveniences incident to the existence of a class of discontented citizens. This is an argument of much force and truth; still it is one of general polity and expediency, and it belongs to society to determine in each case the precise amount of weight to be attached to it; and the instance brought forward of the vassalage of a large body cannot, we allow, be justified in respect either of policy or justice.
On the other hand, we do hold it to be of infinite importance to hold fast the vital truth, that a nation is not an assemblage of fields but of men; that society has moral ends, em
bracing the entire well-being of man; that it cannot dispense with a fixed standard of morality for the guidance of its legislation ; that it must employ moral and religious agents for the performance of its duty to provide for the education and instruction of the people; and that whilst it must respect the freedom of each man's belief, it ought to carry out as much religious truth as is common to the people, considered as a whole, and to aim at an ever higher standard in every department of public life. All these great objects would be lost by secularizing the state. If a single Jew or Brahmin may claim admission to parliament, on the ground of indefeasible right, the principle of these truths is completely overthrown; they are truths no longer: to pursue any of these ends would be unjust; they must be renounced altogether. From so monstrous a conclusion the Archbishop himself shrinks. “Of “ course," says he," it was to be expected that, as Christia
nity succeeded in improving the tone of morals, many abo“ minations—such as gladiatorial shows and impure rites « which were tolerated or even enjoined among pagans, would
very justly be prohibited by Christian legislators; but it is “ as being immoral and pernicious actions that we are bound “ as legislators to the forcible suppression of these." But what right has the legislator to take for standard the "tone of morals" of one creed, and to interdict “rites" not only not thought “immoral,” but even enjoined by another? Where is the legislator, on this theory, to find a basis whereon to ground his judgement of immorality? Where is he to get a single fundamental principle for his state? On the Archbishop's theory, it is persecution and a monopoly of civil rights for a legislator to deprive a Jew of the right of marrying as many wives as he chooses, because some of his fellow-citizens think it wrong to have more than one. It would be persecution, and an invasion of the most sacred rights of man, to forbid a man to obey the commands of his God, and purchase the bliss of heaven, by sacrificing his life beneath the car of Juggernaut. It would be persecution, and a violation of most indefeasible rights, to interdict the mourning widow from executing the bidding of her religion in the streets of London, and seeking to regain her lost husband amidst the flames of the Suttee. It is persecution and a monopoly
of civil rights that the sovereign of the realm should be required to belong to a particular church, and that one to which more than half of the united nation is opposed. It is persecution and a monopoly of civil rights that the bishops of this favoured church should, in virtue solely of their being its chief officers, have seats in the House of Lords, and there perhaps be voting grants for the building of new churches out of monies contributed by citizens of every persuasion. It is persecution and a monopoly of civil rights that the ministers of one religious denomination should have the sole enjoyment of the tithes, a fund that belongs to the whole nation, and their title to which is derived entirely from the continued good-pleasure of that legislature in which they alone are officially represented. And still more grievous monopoly is it in the case where the great bulk of the people still belong to the religious community which was deprived of this very fund by the violence of conquest, and who not only derive no benefit from the stores which the piety and wisdom of their ancestors had laid up for their spiritual wants, but are further obliged to make heavy contributions for the support of their own pastors. Let it be but once granted, that to exclude a Jew or a Hindoo from parliament is persecution and a monopoly of civil rights, and where shall the long list of wrongs be closed ?
Are Christians then, it will be asked, to keep their fellowcitizens in subjection, be the terms of it more or less severe, on the ground that the interests of their faith must be paramount with them? By no means; this is no lawful motive : whatever restrictions are imposed upon citizenship must be framed on a comparative view of the interests of all. The treatment of infidels in a Christian country is a question of practical politics, to which no universal answer can be given. Fortunately in Europe this difficulty is confined to the case of the Jews; and here in England the fewness of the Jews would doubtless make the danger of hostile attacks from them in parliament trifling. But on the other hand, the smallness of the present mischief is no reason for a great sacrifice of principle. There is no moral claim in the Jews, no inherent fullness of qualification as citizens, that should lead us to destroy the unity of the nation as a Christian people,—to ex