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decisions were already on the books showing the untenableness of the objection taken by the ratepayer, and which, therefore, it may be thought, the magistrates might reasonably regard as not bona fide.

It will be seen that the above cases in no way affect the efficiency of the course advised; they only necessitate increased caution in carrying it out. And they do this the more urgently, because, from a new practice which has sprung up at Westminster, magistrates are now able, unless care be taken by our friends, to get authority to make an order for payment without incurring the danger of an action for disregarding a formal disputation of the rate. Under an Act of the present reign,* if a magistrate for any reason refuses to make an order, the party desiring it may call upon him to show cause in the Queen's Bench why he so refuses. Cause may be shown both by the magistrates and by the party resisting the order; and if it appears that he did really make it evident to the magistrates that he intended to place himself under the statute, and had reasonable grounds entitling him to do so, the churchwardens will be dismissed with costs. But if this does not appear, though the only failure lay in not making out the good case which really existed, or not making it sufficiently apparent what his intention was, the Court will protect the magistrates in ordering him

to pay,

To defeat this, however, we conceive nothing more to be necessary than that we should henceforward, as a matter of course, provide ourselves with professional assistance in attending a churchrate summons. To a considerable extent we observe that this has already become usual, but cases are not unfrequent in which a valid defence has been thrown away for want of it. We think that the bext edition of this portion of the Society's “ Practical Directions," should be headed with : "In attending magistrates be always accompanied by a solicitor or counsel.” Considering that professional advice as to whether there really is a defence, can always be had gratis from the Liberation Society, and that the expense of a retainer, will in most cases be divided among several rate-payers, who are all equally interested in defending the summons against any one of their number, we cannot imagine that this can be any insuperable difficulty.

The threats which have been heard lately of reviving the longforgotten remedy of an indictment against those who disobey a magistrates' order to pay a church-rate, if they are in earnest, are only an additional proof of the value of tactics for making such an order impossible. How far, indeed, it will be found possible really to sustain such proceedings, is a point on which we do not feel quite

* One of the Acts commonly called “Jervis's Acts."

clear. There is no doubt that disobedience to a magistrate's order is an indictable offence; and that fifteen years ago Bidwell and Simmonds were actually imprisoned in Cambridge and Aylesbury gaols for “refusing or neglecting” to pay church rates. But we believe it did not appear in either of these cases that there were any dis. trainable goods, and it is a doubt, fortified by an observation of Mr. Justice Coleridge, whether a party who freely submits his goods to be distrained, ever can be said legally to refuse the payment which a distraint will ensure. If the necessity should arise we should certainly counsel such a reply to the demand of the collector as will leave this defence available.

There is a secondary line of our defences, if we may so speak, which is hardly less strong than that which depends on the development of the important principles established by the Branten case, on which mainly the tactics we have been considering may be said to rest. This consists of DOUBTS. So long as the validity of a rate depends upon any element in it, the law upon which is not clear, and can only be made clear by a suit in the Ecclesiastical Courts, followed up by a prohibitory suit in the Queen's Bench, with a possible appeal to the House of Lords,—that is to say, for a period varying from five to fifteen years—a doubt is, for our purposes, just as good as a certainty. But it is the nature of doubts to get settled in time, and it is their nature also to get replaced by fresh ones. We have some instances of this already. For instance we are told on the authority of Lord Campbell that one illegal item vitiates a rate

, The item for visitation fees has long been considered doubtful

, and its presence in a rate has as certainly put church wardens into a : cold perspiration. Well, a late decision of the Common Pleas in Sheppard v. Payne has somewhat, though not, we believe, altogether relieved them. But another doubt has arisen as to the legality of the not less invariable item for insurance of church, which is at this moment under question in a suit not likely to be decided, we should say, for a year or two.

So again it has been a doubt, ever since Lord Blandford's Act, what was the legal position as to church rates of the parishes cut and carved thereunder. This doubt is in process of solution in the case of Gough v. Jones, Dr. Lushington's preliminary ruling in which has been reported with great prominence both in the Church and Dissenting papers, If the learned judge's primary opinion, delivered with avowed hesitation, should be adhered to by himself in the further stages of the suit, and confirmed by the Courts of Westminster, this doubt, so far as affects the curtailed portion of the parish, will be set at rest. It may be, however, that the suit may go off

upon point, in which case the doubt will be so much less of a doubt, as the

another

* Arches Court, Nov. 13, 1862.

We are

partially conquered doubt of a judge can make it. obliged to speak with reserve of a matter in which the interests of actual litigants are still pending : but we apprehend we may speak of the point involved as by no means practically settled, and as being incumbered, whenever it comes to be settled, with considerable difficulty in the necessary proofs.

To the full effect of these tactics there is still one thing wanting -a means of diffusing the knowledge, among all opponents of church rates, what questions are being litigated. Until

, for instance, the case of Gough v. Jones, is finally decided, no church rate ought to be paid anywhere, which involves the question what is the effect of Lord Blandford's Act. These is another suit pending in the Consistory Court of York—the suit of Burley v. Walker—which we have reason to believe furnishes ground for bona fide disputing almost any rate that can be made in opposition to the tactics of the Practical Directions. In the late case of White v. Stock again the most important confirmation was given that has yet been afforded, of the right of a vestryman to demand a poll on any relevant question, and the fatal effect of its refusal, on the validity of a rate. If these facts could be made known, resistance to rates would rapidly become general, and its value would undoubtedly increase also in a geometrical ratio to its generality.

We have deemed these observations called for by an impression, which we hope we have shown to be erroneous, that our means of legal opposition to church rates are not as sound and as important as was originally represented. If our readers have been satisfied by what we have said, it is for them to act upon the result.

TOPICS OF THE MONTH.

THE UNION OF THE TWO CONGREGATIONAL DENOMINATIONS begins to be discussed in earnest, both in public and private. Every one seems to be persuaded that if the union of these bodies cannot be attainerl, it is useless to look further afield for projects of consolidation. There are not wanting writers and speakers on both sides to throw the coldest water on the genial little fire which has been kindled, of course under the impulse of a wisdom which, if it has learned little faith or hope, is abundantly supplied with maxims of caution, and vaticinations of unconquerable sectarianism. There is,

• Common Pleas, June 11th, 1862.

indeed, little to be hoped for from the spirit of a large number church members on either side, or from some "denominational organ An artificial conscientiousness on the subject in dispute has be nurtured by the controversies of centuries, until almost everybo piously pretends to be a little more sure than they really are the absolute truth of their opinions. So long as the disputed matt is made the oriflamme of a party each partizan is expected to fe or to feign, an unwavering confidence in the denominational doctrine For ourselves, without insinuating the slightest intentional i sincerity on either side, but considering only the usual tactics human nature under similar conditions, we have long felt p suaded that neither the Independents nor the Baptists, taken whole bodies, feel quite as deeply convinced of the truth of tb respective doctrines as might appear from the strength of the antipathies, the vigour of their rivality, and the tartness of the polemical discourse. On either side there are doubtless la numbers of intelligent persons whose faith is the result of i partial investigation, and whose conclusions are maintained w due regard to the apparent evidence. But one circumstance always suggested to us the suspicion that a tolerably active cou of examination would reveal on both sides considerable bigotry that is to say, much determination to hold an opinion apart fri a full study of the evidence. No man believes with a grip martyr-like tenacity like him who “ believes as the church believe The spirit of a party acts on weak and ill-informed minds with t spasmodic energy of tetanus or epilepsy. Qui ad parva et pau respiciunt, facile enunicant. Many make up for lack of a viction by brazen confidence. A look all round the horizon bast effect of introducing a little doubt into the soul.

Now, consider the fact that between the Independents and t Baptists there are two questions in dispute, wholly different, v connected in argument, depending for solution on two separa lines of evidence, the subject and the mode in baptism-so coi pletely distinct that it is as easy as possible to conceive that t four opinions might be held in any combination of pairs, result of examination. A man might believe in infant bapti

: by affusion or immersion only—and in the baptism of believe by affusion or immersion only, or in the lawfulness of both mod in each case.

How is it, then, that the advocates of infant baptis always believe in the administration by affusion, and decry w every manifestation of dislike the mode of immersion; and on t other hand, that the advocates of adult baptism always believe immersion only, and cannot be brought to admit the lawfulness affusion? There may be some who will reply that it is becau the pædo-baptists never think seriously on either subject or mod -but practise an unscriptural superstition received by traditio

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from their fathers; while the Baptists always think carefully and wisely on both topics, and are, therefore, always right.” It is to be hoped that the number of 'anti-podo-baptist' enthusiasts who would offer this solution of the phenomenon is exceedingly small. A Fery limited acquaintance with the history of the controversy, and with the best books and men on both sides, will soon persuade the judicious reader of that which only an obstinate fanatic will rety, to wit, that there is a strong appearance of evidence on either land, quite enough to account for the bonest belief of persons of ach denomination, and that it is impossible to account for the uniformity of the coupling together of the doctrines on subject ind mode, except by resorting to the hypothesis of ignorance, or of estarianism, or of desperate one-sidedness in the generality. The eason of the uniformity must be that multitudes in each denomintaon, probably the large majority, do not study the evidence, but follow the traditions of the party, and the hectoring guidance of party-writers. If they did study the evidence it would inevitably follow according to the doctrine of chances that many would come o believe in infant baptism by immersion, or in adult baptism by ffusion, or at least in the lawfulness of either mode. We attribute uis evil state of things to party organization, which acts as a device r hindering impartial investigation, and for causing men to adopt inions in bundles; and we presume to think that this is a reflection zich ought to shame both denominations out of a prolongation of eir feuds. Whatever is true on this matter, can now, after so iny ages, be known only in different degrees of probability ; and ichever opinion is the more probably true will most readily be fused by the destruction of organized parties. The worst method of lieving the diffusion of a minor opinion in religion is to make it the sis of a " denomination.” To do that is regarded as a declaration war against all opponents; and since men are governed by their tapathies more than by their sympathies they are seldom perided to adopt a belief which will involve a change of name, a inge of feeling, and perhaps a change of social relationships. What remains, then, if union is to be accomplished? There is no nedy except a common determination to relegate the difficult and putable subject to its due place in theology and in the church, as a estion on which each Christian must follow his best lights or twihts, and leave his brother at liberty to pursue a similar course. ere can be no union between Baptists and Independents except by 5

party ceasing to pretend a deeper conviction than really exists, i by all alike consenting to dismiss the article of baptism from the irt creed which is the foundation of unity in faith, in worship, dia work. We believe that on all s des, the best men and most isted leaders are somewhat disposed to look at the matter from à point of view. There is no hope of effecting a union with

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