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11. The Incorporation of Companies with Provincial Objects. 12. The Solemnization of Marriage in the Province. 13. Property and Civil Rights in the Province. 14. The Administration of Justice in the Province, including the Constitu
tion, Maintenance, and Organization of Provincial Courts, both of Civil and of Criminal Jurisdiction, and including Procedure in Civil
Matters in those Courts. 15. The Imposition of Punishment by Fine, Penalty, or Imprisonment for
enforcing any Law of the Province made in relation to any Matter coming within any of the Classes of Subjects enumerated in this
Section. 16. Generally all Matters of a merely local or private nature in the Province.
What relief would the removal of such an incubus of legislation be to the central government: what scope would it afford to local improvements! The 94th section provides for legislation by the central legislature, for uniformity of the laws of property and civil rights, but only with the assent of the local assemblies. But the discussion and adoption by the central legislature of a scheme of uniformity would exercise considerable influence upon public opinion in each of the provinces, and pave the way to their concurrence. Lastly, the 93rd section guards the educational liberties of every class and sect.
Nothing need be added to prove that the Federal principle is capable of embodiment in a form at once promoting unity, protecting personal liberty, and fostering local independence, while in enlarging the
scope of Imperial splendour it gives strength to the play of Imperial loyalty.
I have sought simply to preach the doctrine of Federalism, not to indicate the method of Federation. Without pretence of exhaustive treatment, enough has I hope been said to prove the desirability of inquiring throughout our Empire whether Federation be feasible or impossible. It is likely that I shall be met with the familiar sneer that I have dreamed a magnificent dream. Had Bismarck ten years ago dreamed aloud the actual happenings of these wondrous and terrible days, would he not have been consigned to some careful asylum ?
THE AUTHOR OF “Ginx's BABY." "
HE destructive action of secular movements on theology is a
favourite topic of eminent and popular writers. They have no difficulty in showing that theology has been profoundly affected by the advances in knowledge and the social changes which belong to the modern period. A multitude of theological beliefs have been either by direct assault or by the equally effective process of undermining made untenable. There is an appearance of destruction in the work thus going on. But theology is not necessarily destroyed, or even impaired, by undergoing change. It is evidently possible for alterations in men's beliefs to be as beneficial to theology, as the alarming ravages of the pruning-knife are to the tree. Changes that correct and deepen and enlarge the prevailing conceptions about the things of God are of obvious advantage to theological science; and a very slight review of the services thus rendered to theology by secular movements would show that they are more important than has been commonly understood.
It can never be an altogether agreeable experience to religious persons to be disturbed in their inherited belief. It is natural and right that they should be apprehensive and hesitating, and should even put themselves in a posture of defence, when they find that
conceptions with which earnest faith has been closely blended are likely to be taken away from them. But if we have many instances to prove that the alterations forced on theological belief by the progress of civilization have had the effect of making that belief intrinsically better than it was before, we are warranted in looking to such action with hope and thankfulness rather than with dread. Though anxious, we ought not to be despondent; and so far from shutting ourselves up in wilful ignorance, we ought, for our religion's sake, to welcome new knowledge from every quarter.
The subject as a whole is a very large one, and can only be treated here under certain limitations. I propose to speak briefly of the movements which we perceive to be specially affecting theology in our own time. It will not fall within this plan to discuss one of the most important of all the secular movements of the Christian period -the claiming of national life and independence. Its bearing indeed on theology has been momentous, and it is still of much significance. But its chief work in this respect was done at the time of the Reformation, when the national impulse, called by hostile theologians the heresy of nationalism, enabled a large part of Christendom to throw off the belief in a visible head of the Universal Church. Since that time, and mainly in consequence of the awakening which then stirred the nations of Europe, various movements have been gradually changing the complexion of men's thoughts. Let us take those which are associated with the following names :-Toleration or Religious Liberty, Democracy, Political Economy, Ethics, Physical Science. All these are still doing their work, or are only now beginning to do it; and each of them makes a definite contribution to the improvement of Theology.
Theology is an account of the nature and dealings of God. Christian theology is that account of God's nature and dealings which was given in its main features by Jesus Christ, and by those who accepted him as the interpreter of the Divine will. Everything is an advance in theology which enables men to know God better, and to think of Him more worthily, that is, more in accordance with reality. The history and words and institutions of Christ must always supply the substance of Christian theology. These original data can never be superseded. As they are things of life, they yield from time to time new growths. But men draw inferences, add notions of their own, confuse these with what has been transmitted to them, and so build up and alter theological systems. Theology has natural tendencies towards corruption. For example, religious enthusiasm gives birth to exaggerated and figurative language; it becomes a point of religious honour to hand down such language, which is gradually stiffened into propositions; and thus unreality is
introduced. Again, nothing is more natural than that men should attribute to God their own modes of thought and feeling, supposing all the while that these have been declared by revelation to be Divine; and it is not long before such conceptions receive the stamp of common acceptance and Church authority. Christian tradition, therefore, is no competent guardian of theology, nor have professional theologians any adequate interest in keeping it pure or promoting its genuine progress. The best theological ideas, indeed, may always be discovered in the theologians to whose devotion and tenderness the truest insight has been given. I believe there is no modern theological view which may not be found anticipated by Christian thinkers such as St. Paul, St. Augustine, and Luther. But their witness lies dormant till it wins a response in the common consciousness. And it appears to be the plan of Divine Providence to force upon men the revision of traditional theology by means of those advances in life and knowledge with which received traditions cannot reconcile themselves. Then the restrictions are broken through, the corruptions are purged away, and the nature of God is not only seen more truly as it is, but apprehended with a new freshness.
1. In this age and in this country we no longer speak of Toleration. The principle which fought its way to victory under that name is now described as the principle of religious liberty. In England previous political movements had substantially abolished religious persecution, and secured freedom for individuals in matters of faith and worship; the French Revolution carried this freedom in triumph through Europe and the world. Nothing now remains for the most enthusiastic partizans of religious liberty to claim but the absolute equality in the State of all creeds and communions. It is needless to discuss here the various influences which have aided in producing these results. In part those influences have been religious, especially if we give this title to that free growth of divergences of opinion which was a natural product of the Reformation. But on the whole the demand for toleration and religious liberty may rightly be described as a secular movement. It drew its chief support from political justice, and it was vehemently condemned in its beginnings by the exponents of the dominant creeds. Its work in the secular interest may be said to be almost finished, and it has already done great service to theology; but its peculiar lesson may still be studied by theologians with advantage.
It was very natural that when Christians attained political power they should suppose it to be their duty to use the power to propagate and secure the Christian faith. That faith is extremely peremptory and exacting. It affirms that a true knowledge of God is the one
thing needful for mankind; it claims the absolute devotion of all “talents” to the cause of the kingdom of heaven. Supreme power in a State, when it came into the hands of an earnest Christian, was a trust that might be used to lead men to their highest good or to preserve them from their worst danger. Christians argued that it was better for men to suffer in their bodies than that their souls should be exposed to risk. Therefore it was the duty of the civil power to suppress heresy, and with this view to threaten and punish heretics. The theory of persecution must be admitted to be a most plausible one, and there have been times when it has been assumed throughout Christendom almost without a solitary protest. To this day the Church of Rome does not repudiate it. Other Churches now disown it; but at the time of the Reformation the Protestant theologians were not at issue on this point with those of Rome. “ Persecution,” says Hallam, " is the deadly original sin of the Reformed Churches, that which cools every honest man's zeal for their cause in proportion as his reading becomes more extensive.” If the matter had been left to theologians, it is not likely that they would have discovered the theory of persecution to be unchristian.
But theology, nevertheless, was grievously injured by it. According to the Apostolic Gospel, it was the desire and purpose of God to win men to be his reconciled children. The Gospel appealed to the consciences and affections of men, asking for a surrender which could not be real unless it were free. The theory of an enforced orthodoxy tended inevitably to produce the impression that what God saw with pleasure was the spectacle of an orthodox world. But the whole world, it is conceivable, might be completely orthodox, every whisper of heretical opinion being silenced, and yet the souls of men might remain unquickened, unenlightened, unreconciled. A uniform correctness of creed not only cannot be in itself satisfactory to God, but it may become as distasteful and offensive to him as the offerings and appointed feasts of the Jewish ritual were when he said by the mouth of the prophet, " They are a trouble unto me, I am weary to bear them.” What, then, the principle of religious liberty does for theology is this: it breaks up a false and dangerous ideal of the desire of God. It thereby constrains us to reflect what it is that God really wants. We perceive that he can be satisfied with nothing except the willing spiritual allegiance of the human heart. But the winning of the conscience and the affections is a work, as each one may know in himself, requiring delicacy of treatment. We cannot imagine any one to be inwardly convinced and attracted towards God either by being forbidden himself to ask a question, or by seeing his neighbour punished for saying out what seemed to him to be true. A compulsory and stereotyped orthodoxy is a field in which the intel