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“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”
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The year eighteen hundred and sixty-nine will be memorable as the first of a new era in British Church history. It is the consummation of a fifty years' protest, earnest though intermittent, against a great national wrong. And it is the commencement of a peaceable revoluti which will be completed when all the Churches in these realms shall be free alike from State patronage and from State control. This issue is contemplated as near at hand by many who mourn, but are not alarmed by, the prospect. Dr. C. J. Vaughan, late of Doncaster, now Master of the Temple, preaching in the Chapel of his old school at Harrow, as lately as the 14th of October, said—“ I look forward to a day when an immense change may have passed over this our Church of England. I foresee a time when the Church of England may have become a sect. God forgive the misnomer; the Church of England shall never become a sect, in the sense of narrowness, of bigotry, of exclusiveness. Nevertheless, the Church of England may cease—many wise men think it will cease—to be (in the present sense of the word) an Establishment. I think that will be an evil day, when it comes, for the laity, an evil day for the villager, an evil day for the poor. Yet I myself expect, and half foresee it.” The good man whose words we quote addresses himself, and summons his fellow Churchmen, to preparation for the evil day. We, Congregationalists, are summoned by the events of God's providence to preparation for what we deem the “ good day” that is coming. With a clear conscience we can disclaim being a “ sect” according to Dr. Vaughan's definition, " in the sense of narrowness, of bigotry, of exclusiveness.” If we hope for disestablishment, it is not for sectarian advantage or for sectarian ends, but in the interest of catholicity and truth. And how we may best prepare for the great change, which those who dread it and those who desire it alike believe to be inevitable, is a question of the deepest moment to the community which it is our honour to serve. If we can render any help towards its solution-and it will be our endeavour to do so—we shall feel that we are not labouring in vain.