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between the tendency on the one hand to contract the ritual in every direction but that of Rome, and on
the other to bring within its embrace every form of spiritual Christianity. "I wish," said the good bishop
Shirley, "to see the doors of the Church made as wide as the doors of Heaven." "I utterly abhor," cries
Doctor Biber, " all religious sentiments, except what I declare to be those of the Church of England." This
is the issue broadly put; and can any one believe the final determination of it doubtful, who believes in
the tolerant origin of the Church, and has taken part in her simple comprehensive services? Show me the
Christian who would fain get to heaven alone, exclaimed the pious Richard Baxter, and I will show you one
who will never get there.

Greatly is it therefore to be deplored, in a state of feeling so rapidly approaching to extremes, that the
Archbishop of Canterbury should have publicly deprecated any such revision of the prayer-book as would
have a tendency to shut out Romish agreement, and embrace more largely Protestant difference. He does
so on the ground that it is not a work to be undertaken in a time of excitement, when the settlement would
be in accordance with one of two extreme views, and thus tend to give a triumph to one over the other. But
men do not think of remedies when there is no complaint; and what in effect is such an opinion
propounded from the highest place in the Church, but an encouragement to the prime movers
of Tractarian disaffection to continue their agitation and disturbance. Nor truly do they seem
disinclined. "Dear Dr. Pusey " passes half his time in writing letters to prove that he is anything but
Puseyite; and hardly a day passes that does not exhibit some new move in a Jesuitical and quite desperate
struggle to keep Mr. Bennett at St. Barnabas. Correspondences between Mr. Bennett's churchwardens and
Mr. Bennett's bishop, showing a wondrous change of tone since his Holiness of Pimlico put the Premier to
the question, have been oozing out in the Times continually. The in terrorem is dropped, the ad misericordiam
takes its place; and the bishop is piteously reminded of the "deprivation of the means of subsistence,"
which perseverance in his resolve of accepting Mr. Bennett's resignation will entail on the unhappy minister.
To which, the bishop, having fortified himself by prayer, responds, that not finding in the churchwardens'
statement any suggestion calculated to change or modify his opinion of the principles which Mr. Bennett
maintains, and on which he has declared himself unalterably determined to conduct the services in his
churches, he, the Bishop, must persist in accepting his resignation. Whereupon the churchwardens, with a
kind of blunt humility ask the bishop what he means by "principles," and the bishop warily declines reply.
Then, after a few days' interval, steps forward Mr. Bennett himself, full of pious horror at the notion that he
should be thought capable of evading his own voluntary proffer to resign. His bishop had pronounced him
guilty of unfaithfulness to the Church of England, therefore he must resign. Is it conceived possible that
ho would take advantage of any point of law to make a bishop amenable to the state, to drag a bishop
within the civil jurisdiction! Far from him be the profane thought of such spiritual disobedience. To be
sure, the same objection would not apply to the dragging even of a bishop within Courts Ecclesiastical;
but it was not for Mr. Bennett to suggest such a thing. Morally, he is under pledge to his bishop; and if
it is sought to make a legal question of that moral obligation, it was not for Mr. Bennett to do it. Neither
was it for Mr. Bennett, however, to obstruct the zeal of his churchwardens; and that they, therefore, may
"pursue any further course in the matter which they may deem advisable," he will hold over his
resignation till the 25th of March.

Such is faithfully the substance of these curious letters, from which any one who would study the art of
at once keeping and evading a promise, and blarneying and bamboozling a bishop, may derive valuable hints.
It would, nevertheless, have been well that the instruction should not have come from such pre-eminently
holy men, who are not, as in their judgments other men almost universally are, insensible to the higher ethics
of religion and morality; irreverently regardless of episcopal authority, and impatient of that stringent
discipline which is the very life of the Church. For one must confess, that, applied to the ordinary affairs of
life, the policy of Mr. Bennett would have marvellously resembled the morality of a Tartuffe grafted on the
practice of an Old Bailey attorney.

It is a gratifying contrast to turn to another class of ministers of the Church, who have come spiritedly
forward in Manchester with a proposition for the establishment of schools on a large and liberal foundation.
It is very possible that this plan has originated in fears, caused by the success of the National Public
School Association, that the conduct of the bigoted party in the Church may end at last in some total
exclusion of the Church element from the public education of the people. The basis of the new scheme
is that of the National Association, its most characteristic feature is that of a general local rate, and it is no
doubt in the nature of a compromise between what is called "secular" and mixed education, churchmen
and non-churchmen. But the compromise is at least statesmanlike and bold. By adoption of a general rate
it rests upon a large popular basis; its admission of lay control is not less valuable; and its inclusion of
free schools in which a daily reading of the Scriptures is to be provided, but no special religious creed or
formulary taught, distinctly affirms the principle in educational efforts which churchmen have been most
reluctant to sanction, and towards the full acceptance of which their co-operation is at present most valuable.
But the scheme is in two partsthe one for rendering existing schools more efficient, the other for establishment
of new schools where voluntary efforts have been insufficient; and it is objected to on the ground that
employment of a general rate for existing schools would tax the dissenter for support of what he conscientiously
disapproves. There is, however, no devisable scheme into which some part of this objection does not creep;
and the present plan by no means proposes to dispense with those voluntary contributions by which existing
schools are maintained, but simply to strengthen and complete such efforts. The evil, incident to the
proposition, seems to us accidental and not great; the good, enormous and vital. It encourages individual effort; it
admits the just interference of the state; it invites the large and liberal control of laymen; it respects the
principles of every sect; it can offend only the prejudices of any. Above all we think it to be immediately
practicable, which is not to be said of any other similar project.

Let but the experiment be made. Once put to trial, we believe that all which is doubtful in it would
soon drop off, leaving only its advantages; and that the blessing of such a result would be quite inappreciable
in future arrangements and discussions. For this is the question of questions. It includes Socialism, and
Chartism, and all the other isms that are dangerous; and is the only conceivable method of finally
determining the doubt which is now so sadly disturbing Downing Street, of how finally to deal with the Pope
and his Cardinals.