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world only by co-operation. It is equally evident that there cannot be efficient co-operation, if nien proceed on the principle that they must not co-operate for one object unless they agree about other objects. Nothing seems to us more beautiful or admirable in our social system than the facility with which thousands of people, who perhaps agree only on a single point, can combine their energies for the purpose of carrying that single point. We see daily instances of this. Two men, one of them obstinately prejudiced against missions, the other president of a missionary society, sit together at the board of a hospital, and heartily concur in measures for the health and comfort of the patients. Two men, one of whom is a zealous supporter and the other a zealous opponent of the system pursued in Lancaster's schools, meet at the Mendicity Society, and act together with the utmost cordiality. The general rule we take to be undoubtedly this, that it is lawful and expedient for men to unite in an association for the promotion of a good object, though they may differ with respect to other objects of still higher importance.
It will hardly be denied that the security of the persons and property of men is a good object, and that the best way, indeed the only way of promoting that object, is to combine men together in certain great corporations which are called States, rations are very variously, and, for the most part, very imperfectly organized. Many of them abound with frightful abuses. But it seems reasonable to believe that the worst that ever existed was, on the whole, preferable to complete anarchy.
Now, reasoning from analogy, we should say that these great corporations would like all other ass
ciations, be likely to attain their end most perfectly if that end were kept singly in view; and that to refuse the services of those who are adınirably qualified to promote that end, because they are not also qualified to promote some other end, however excellent, seeme at first sight as unreasonable as it would be to provide that nobody who was not a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries should be a governor of the Eye Infirmary ; or that nobody who was not a member of the Society for promoting Christianity among the Jews should be a trustee of the Literary Fund.
It is impossible to name any collection of human beings to which Mr. Gladstone's reasonings would apply more strongly than to an army? Where shall we find more complete unity of action than in an army? Where else do so many human beings implicitly obey one ruling mind? What other mass is there which moves so much like one man? Where is such tremendous power intrusted to those who command ? Where is so awful a responsibility laid upon them? If Mr. Gladstone has made out, as he conceives, an imperative necessity for a State Religion, much more has he made it out to be imperatively necessary that every army should, in its collective capacity, protess a religion. Is he prepared to adopt this conse
On the morning of the thirteenth of August, in the year 1704, two great captains, equal in authority, united by close private and public ties, but of different creeds, prepared for a battle, on the event of “hich were staked the liberties of Europe. Marlborough had passed a part of the night in prayer, and before daybreak received the sacrament according to the rites of the Church of England. He ther. hastened to join Eugene, wlio had probably just confessed himself to a Popish priest. The generals consulted together, formed their plan in concert, and repaired each to his own post. Marlborough gave orders for public prayers.
The English chaplains read the service at the head of the English regiments. The Calvinistic chaplains of the Dutch army, with heads on which hand of Bishop had never been laid, poured forth their supplications in front of their countrymen. In the mean time, the Danes might listen to their Lutheran ministers ; and Capuchins might encourage the Austrian squadrons, and pray to the Virgin for a blessing on the arins of the Holy Roman Empire. The battle commences. These men of various religions all act like members of one body. The Catholic and the Protestant general exert themselves to assist and to surpass each other. Before sunset the Empire is saved : France has lost in a day the fruits of eighty years of intrigue and of victory; and the allies, after conquering together, return thanks to God separately, each after his own form of worship. Now is this practical atheism? Would any man in his senses say, that, because the allied army had unity of action and a common interest, and because a heavy responsibility lay on its Chiefs, it was therefore imperatively necessary that the Army should, as an Army, have one established religion, that Eugene should be deprived of his command for being a Catholic, that all the Dutch and Austrian colonels should be broken for not subscribing the Thirty-nine Articles ? Certainly not. The most ignorant grenadier on the field of bat
. tle would have seen the absurdity of such a proposition. "I know," be would have said, "that the Prince of Savoy goes to mass, and that our Corporal John canpot abide it; but what has the mass to do with the
taking of the village of Blenheim ? The Prince wants to beat the French, and so does Corporal John. If we stand by each other we shall most likely beat them. If we send all the Papists and Dutch away, Tallard will have every man of us." Mr. Gladstone himself, we imayine, would admit that our honest grenadier would have the best of the argument; and if so, what follows ? Evin this ; that all Mr. Gladstone's general principles about power, and responsibility, and personality, and conjoint artion, must be given up, and that, if his theory is to stand at all, it must stand on some other foundation.
We have now, we conceive, shown that it may be proper to form men into combinations for important purposes, which combinations shall have unity and common interests, and shall be under the direction of rulers intrusted with great power and lying under solemn responsibility, and yet that it may be highly improper that these combinations should, as such, profess any one system of religious belief, or perform any joint act of religions worship. How, then, is it proved that this may not be the case with some of those great combinations which we call States? We firmly believe that it is the case with some States. We firmly be lieve that there are communities in which it would be as absurd to mix up theology with government, as it would have been in the right wing of the allied army at Blenheim to commenre a controversy with the left wing, in the middle of the battle, about purgatory and the worship of images.
It is the duty, Mr. Gladstone tells us, of the persons, be they who they may, who hold supreme power in the state, t) employ that power in order to promote what. ever they may deem to be theological truth. Now sarely, befox he can call on us to admit this proposition, he is bound to prove that these persons are likely to do more good than harm by so employing their power. The first question is, whether a government, proposing to itself the propagation of religious truth as one of its principal ends, is more likely to lead the people right than to lead them wrong? Mr. Gladstone evailes this question ; and perhaps it was his wisest course to do so.
“ I,” says hc, “the government be good, let it have its natural duties and powers at its command; but, if not good, let it be made
We follow, therefore, the true course in looking first for the true idéa, or abstract conception of a government, of course with allowance for the evil and frailty that are in man, and then in examining whether there be comprised in that idéa a capacity and consequent duty on the part of a government to lay down any laws, or devote any means for the purposes of religion, - in short, to exercise a choice upon religion.”
Of course, Mr. Gladstone has a perfect right to argue any abstract question, provided that he will constantly bear in mind that it is only an abstract question that he is arguing. Whether a perfect government would or would not be a good machinery for the propagation of religious truth is certainly a harmless, and may, for aught we know, be an edifying subject of inquiry. But it is very important that we should remember that there is not, and never has been, any such government in the world. There is no harm at all in inquiring what course a stone thrown into the air would take, if the law of gravitation did not operate. But the consequences would be unpleasant, if the inquirer, as soon as he had finished his calculation, were to begin to throw stones about in all directions, without considering that his conclusion rests on a false hypothesis, and that his projectiles, instead of flying away through infi