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of such a principle, Mr. Walpole said that the Government were willing to concede it as a favour to Dissenters, but not as a right."
Candidate.—And so am I.
Elector.---Thank you, but I want no favour from you; and no Dissenter worth the name would accept exemption as such. But allow me to go on. In the debate on this very Bill I find Lord John Russell objecting to it because it would “deprive the Church of the character of a National Church.” Archdeacon Sandford, in his evidence before the Lord's Committee, took a still stronger objection, for he considered that it would “ operate as a premium on Dissent, and work very injuriously to the interest of the Church.”
Candidate.—I am surprised, Mr. Elector, that under such circumstances you do not favour such a scheme.
Elector.-I am surprised, Sir, that under such circumstances you should favour it. My objections to it are different from these. In the first place, I objecting to being "ticketed.” If you are in favour of ticketing, ticket yourselves. I am not ashamed of my principles ; every person in the borough knows that I am a Dissenter; but I will never put my name to a paper asking relief from taxation because I am a Dissenter. What right have you to demand it, or to put me to that trouble? But I also object because I do not approve of any coercion in matters of religion. I do not think that the State has any business to say to any man that he shall pay exactly so much to the support of religious worship, and I think my fellow ratepayers have still less right to say it. What I give, I give of my own conscience or inclination. No other gift is acceptable to God.
Candidate.-But we are not asking you to give, Mr. Elector. You actually seem to object to Churchmen taxing themselves.
Elector.—That is a new phrase, and it is a plausible one, Sir, but only plausible. In the sense in which you use it I certainly do object to Churchmen taxing themselves. I object, as a religious man, as I have already said, to any taxation for religious purposes, but as a citizen I object quite as strongly to arming your sect, or any sect, with such a power. Why should it be granted to Episcopalians? Did you ever hear of such a thing, in all constitutional history, as a portion-not more than half-of a nation having exclusive compulsory powers conferred upon them? What would you say if the Wesleyan Conference or the Congregational Union were to apply to the State for the power compulsorily to tax their members for the support of their form of worship, and to distrain upon their goods if they would not or could not pay? I think you would stand aghast at the impudence and arrogance of the demand, and rightly so. I
am not amazed that such a demand should be made by the Church. Dissenters are accustomed to such pretensions, but willingly to put up with and sanction them is what you can no more expect us to do than I could expect you to concede compulsory powers to the deacons of the Church which I attend. As for taxing yourselves in the only lawful way, all I can say is, the more you do it the better all right-minded Nonconformists will be pleased. I tax myself every quarter, and sometimes oftener, and you can do the same.
Candidate.—Well, Mr. Elector, I see we are not likely to agree, and I had better wish you good morning. If I cannot quite follow Lord Palmerston, I can, at any rate, follow Mr. Gladstone.
Elector,—Are you willing then to make a speech in favour of the admission of Dissenters to churchyards on equal terms with Churchmen-in short, to support Sir Morton Peto's Burials Bill?
Candidate.-Certainly not. I am surprised that you should ask me such a question.
Elector.—But don't you remember that Mr. Gladstone has done that?
Candidate.---Ahem! I quite forgot.
Elector.- Why, Sir, so far from being as liberal as Lord Palmerston or even Mr. Gladstone, you are not as liberal as the late Conservative Home Secretary, Mr. Sotheron Estcourt. In his examination before the Lord's Committee Mr. Estcourt said that he would have “liberty granted to any person not to pay who had no mind to pay."
Candidate. But that would be no rate at all.
Candidate.Then I don't see the reason of making such a law. It's nonsense.
Elector.–So it is, and I don't see the reason.
Candidate.—Well, Mr. Elector, will you think the matter over, and see whether you can't vote?
Elector. The only thing, Sir, that I shall think over is whether I shall not work against you. I feel strongly on this question. You talk about being a Churchman. Let me quote to you what the highest officer of State in the land—the present Lord Chancellor-a Churchman and Liberal—said of Churchrates, in opposition to Mr. Walpole's Bill and your scheme, in 1859 :-" They are," he said, “the legitimate offspring, the direct progeny of that old wicked principle of intolerance which compelled men in ancient times to adopt one mode of faith and one form of worship, and condemned them, if they resisted, to burning and torture. The Dissenter would not thank them for
toleration, nor would he think the principle of religious equality completely established until relieved from every rag and vestige of the old system. He trusted that no Dissenter would accept such a miserable compromise as exemption, and that every man who took part in this contest would inscribe upon his flag the words, “No compromise—absolute abolition !” Now, I hope, you see why I cannot support you. You are forsaking both your leaders and your party; you are in favour of intolerance ; you are demanding privileges for your own Church which, if another sect were to seek, you would reject with contempt; and you are supporting a principle which I feel to be as tyrannical as it is sinful. Apart from this you are dividing the Liberal party in this borough. You may suit some constituencies, but you will not suit us. You cannot be elected without the help of the Nonconformists. This help I hope and think you will not get. If we allow you to be defeated now, we shall not have another “Liberal” candidate of your stamp come before us again, for he will know beforehand that he has no prospect of success. I sincerely hope you will be defeated. I am not afraid of the “Liberal interest” in that event, for it will be afterwards undivided. No candidate will be introduced to the constituents who is not known to be favourable to the principles of religious equality.
Candidate. — Well, Mr. Elector, you will never get abolition.
Elector.—We certainly shall not, Sir, if we support candidates like yourself—if that is what you mean; but we certainly shall get it if we return the right men to Parliament. Good morning, Sir.
THE BAPTIST DENOMINATION.
Sir,— Your able correspondent, “a Baptist," in last month's number, asks—"Is it not very supposable that a inan might reject Infant Baptism, and yet regard the mode as of no consequence, so as to be willing to sprinkle an adult on the profession of faith ” ? I think it is quite supposable, and while I hold Adult Baptism very decidedly, I should not be unwilling to sprinkle a believer. I don't know whether you would feel disposed to open your pages to a discussion of the question ; but knowing your catholicity I have more hope of a hearing with you than in any other periodical I know.
I will state very frankly the grounds on which I think we should not feel ourselves tied irrevocably to immersion as the mode of baptism. I have practised immersion for years, and therefore know something of its operation upon men and women. It is my experience of the baptism of women that leads me, very earnestly, to ask whether the mode of baptism is not an indifferent thing?
Allow me, in the first place, utterly to disclaim and repudiate the “indecency argument" sometimes urged against the immersion of women. I have seen in my time hundreds of women baptized by immersion, and have never seen any greater exposure of the person than modest women voluntarily allow themselves in their ordinary style of dress every day. As long as women practice sea-bathing upon an open beach and wear hoops, I do think that the most sensitive and fastidious should hold their peace on the indecency of immersing women.
But my difficulty has always been the nervous terror that most women feel in being submerged in cold water. Men of course are not so affected. But delicate women become hysterical, and often shew an inclination to faint on the occasion, which fills me with terrors of a “scene”; and I am always glad when the baptism of the female portion of the “candidates” is over. The question always occurs to me at these critical times, does Christ really demand this terrible ordeal from women, who wish to make a profession of their love to Him? The reasons should be very strong indeed that make us persist in demanding it from all who wish to enter the Church.
I know well the arguments alleged in favour of the practice. It is said, that this was the primitive mode of baptism, and we have no right to alter it. But there are two things to be considered in this connexion. The first is, that washing was the every-day custom of the East; and that which was to women there a necessity and a luxury in common use, becomes, with our different habits and different climate,a positive trial and hardship. What Christ and his Apostles enjoined upon converts then was no trial ; must we in transplanting the rite insist upon the literal observance of it when it becomes such a terrible ordeal ? Have we no liberty in the matter? Are we, in Christian ordinances, to be bound by the very letter of them as much as the Jews were in theirs ? To say yes, seems to me to be the essence of Judaism.
And the second thing to be said here is that we have used our liberty in other Christian ordinances ; and why not in this? The ordinance of the Lord's Supper is an example. It was instituted with the use of unleavened bread; we don't use unleavened bread. There is no doubt that it was observed by the primitive disciples daily; none of us now observe it daily, but at very various intervals. The Christian Lord's day, too, accepted in the place of the Jewish Sabbath, and that even against a specific command of the decalogue—how readily, and with how little scruple, do we accept this Lord's day, and let the ancient Sabbath go, when it is only by the faintest, most equivocal, or evanescent indications, we can make out a shadow of authority for the change? Then, why are we to be punctilious in such à matter as the mode of baptism, when we can reach the substance of the act by sprinkling, pouring, or immersion?
It will be said again, that we are to take up the cross and deny ourselves; that they who refuse the cross of immersion cannot be Christ's disciples. But is this the kind of self-crucifixion which Christ enjoins as the condition of discipleship? It is entirely a physical question, and not a moral one; a question of means, and not of convenience. We are to crucify the affections and lusts of the flesh, and all immoral dispositions and principles; but it is surely no sin to dread the sudden submersion in cold water. It has been suggested, to meet the difficulty, that, in the case of delicate people, warm or tepid water might be substituted for cold; but the advocates of literal, strict conformity to apostolic practice, would be scarcely consistent in making such a proposal. Besides, in many chapels, especially in country chapels, no conveniences exist for supplying warm water in sufficient quantities for adult immersion. Many chapels have no baptistries at all, but persons wishing to be baptised have to resort to the river or sea-shore.
It will be said, again, that we change the significance of the rite if we substitute sprinkling for immersion. Granted. But surely the thing signified is of infinitely more consequence than the symbol; and baptism as a teaching ordinance is not indispensable now. The place it holds as a means of teaching, the nature of the inward change required in Christian men, is 50 occasional and so limited when compared with the preaching of the Gospel as to be scarcely worth a mention. None but a very prejudiced person would say that Mr. Binney's congregation does not understand as well as Mr. Spurgeon's, the necessity of a death unto sin, and a life unto righteousness. And yet this is the truth which baptism by immersion is to teach.
I know this, and mourn over it deeply, that many Christian people are kept out of the Church because they have not the physical courage to encounter baptism. They keep putting off the duty of professing Christ, either because they cannot see the importance of immersion, or because they cannot conquer the dread of a public immersion. There is a “short and easy method” of solving these cases by saying that such persons