Project Canterbury







A Sermon











Magdalen Street, Oxford; Trinity Court, Cambridge



[This Sermon was first preached eight or nine years ago. Recent painful events led to its being preached again in my own Cathedral. At the request of some who heard it, and who thought that it might prove generally useful, it is now published, with a few necessary additions.-R. E. Bp.]

And Jezebel his wife said unto him, Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? Arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry: I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite. I KINGS xxi. 7.

HOW little does happiness depend upon high position, or contentment upon the abundance of the things which a man possesses! Yet, in spite of the innumerable daily evidences of this, the prevailing notion that riches and power must make men happy, leads them to a constant hankering after things which are withheld from them; and, in too many instances, to the adoption of means for obtaining them which entail only misery and a curse when acquired. Could anything be more utterly contemptible and unworthy of a victorious and prosperous king, than that Ahab should feel and show such anguish and vexation, as it is related of him in this chapter, when Naboth the Jezreelite refused to part with the inheritance of his fathers, and to sell him his vineyard. Yet in spite of the vexation which it seems to have caused him, it is possible, and even probable, that a man of Ahab's disposition would have shrunk from attempting any violence against Naboth, had not "Jezebel his wife stirred [3/4] him up." This unscrupulous woman did not hesitate to taunt her husband with incapacity for governing a kingdom, and for the due assertion of his royal supremacy, if he shrank from acquiring whatever he desired, and should hesitate to seize upon Naboth's property. So, with his sanction, she took the matter into her own hands. By her orders false charges were brought against Naboth. A mock trial was instituted; false witnesses, "men of Belial," as they are called, were suborned; and in contempt of all religion, law, and justice, sentence was pronounced against the unhappy man; and he and his sons, as appears from a passage in the Second Book of Kings, were stoned to death. On learning that her orders had been obeyed to the letter, and that Naboth was stoned and was dead, this infamous woman handed over, so to speak, the forfeited estate to her husband, and bid him go at once and take possession of it. Of what befell him, or rather his posterity, for this cruel exercise of uncontrolled power the sacred historian informs us,. as an awful warning to all those who through covetousness, and by unjust means, shall possess themselves of that which does not belong to them.

Happy is it for us, my brethren, that, for the present at least, we are protected by just laws, and by the pervading influence of Christian principles, from similar acts of oppression. The power of our monarchs is so controlled that we have no [4/5] cause to fear their depriving us of our property, our liberty, our reputation, or our lives. Nor so long as these two commandments, "Fear God, and honour the King," are recognised and obeyed, will there be any danger of our becoming the victims of uncontrolled power. If, however, we foolishly close our eyes to what is going on around us, will not observe the signs of the times, or heed the murmurings of an approaching storm ere it is too late, we shall have but ourselves to blame when it bursts upon us and overwhelms us. It is the duty of those who are set as watchmen to give warnings of approaching danger, and to point to the quarter from whence it is coming. It is in the exercise of the office of a Watchman that I now propose to set before you indications of the danger to which all that we hold dear is being exposed; and by a simple statement of facts to point to the quarter from whence this danger is coming. We have so long felt safe from the exercise of uncontrolled power on the part of our Monarchs, or from any other quarter, and so happy in the belief that the influence of the principles of our holy Religion, on the great mass of our people, would preserve us from experiencing the horrors and miseries which have visited and harassed some other countries, that we shrink from contemplating the possibility of any such catastrophe befalling ourselves, and are disposed to regard as unnecessary alarmists those who venture to suggest the possibility that [5/6] we may even now be standing on a social volcano. Whether we have any just ground for anxiety, whether indeed there be not real danger threatening the very foundation of our social system, and striking at the very root of that Christianity on which our whole social system rests, I will leave you to judge for yourselves, my brethren, if you will carefully weigh the following simple statement of facts.

On the 28th of September, in the year 1864, there was established in London a society, since called "The International Society of Workmen," which was to be composed exclusively of those who live by Wages, as distinguished from those who live by Capital. It was to embrace the working classes of all nations, and to absorb into itself the workmen's societies and trades'-unions of every country. Although composed of individuals of all nations, distinct nationality was to be ignored; and this society, compact and homogeneous, with the individuals composing it bound together in the closest affinity of interests, was practically to form a distinct and hostile nation in the world, aiming at nothing less than to subdue the governing classes of the world, under the pretext of reducing all to a common level of perfect equality. The rapidity of growth of a society having such objects is a feature not to be overlooked. Workmen's societies and trades'-unions have connected themselves with it in large numbers in Germany, France, England, [6/7] Russia, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, and I believe in every kingdom in Europe; in the United States of America; and extending now, as would appear from a recent disclosure in France, even to Persia. And already there has been concluded a fraternal alliance between the workmen of the New and of the Old World for the total extirpation of the tradesman class.

For what purpose, it may be asked, have the innumerable groups which constitute in every country the working or wages class, conspired and become thus firmly welded together? And by what means do they propose to accomplish that purpose? They neither conceal their purpose nor the means by which they hope to accomplish it. They are so confident in the strength of their united power as to conceal neither the one nor the other. The only thing which is really held back is the names of those who are the principal movers in this world-wide conspiracy against all capital, whether great or small. Open war is declared against all Rulers and Governors as now constituted; against all possessors of land or money, whether in the funds, banks, savings banks, trade, or securities of any kind, and all is to be diverted for the common advantage of all. Such is the declared purpose.

The means by which they hope to accomplish this are as openly declared as the purpose itself, amid they reveal the conviction of those who have organised this conspiracy that their purpose can [7/8] only be accomplished by the destruction not only of Christianity, but of all religion, and by the over throw of all the social ties which bind men together, or which at least have hitherto bound them. Judge for yourselves, my brethren, if this be not so from a few extracts from the official programme which was published in July, 1869.

I. The Alliance declares itself Atheist. It desires the abolition of Religion, the substitution of Science for Faith, and of human for Divine justice; the abolition of Marriage, in as far as it is a political, religious, judicial, and civil institution.

II. The Alliance desires above all the definitive and entire abolition of Classes, and the political and social equalisation of individuals of both sexes.

III. Land, the instruments of labour, and all other capital to become the o1lective property of society at large, to be turned to account by the labourers.

IV. The Education of all children of both sexes is henceforth to be equal in all degrees of science, industry, and art.

V. The Alliance declares that all political and governing States now existing ought to disappear in the universal action of free association. It recognises no other form of government than the Republican, and repels all political action which shall not have for its direct and immediate design the triumph of the cause of the labourers against capital.

[9] The following is the reply which the Association gives to the very natural question, whether the privileged classes and possessors of capital will quietly allow themselves to be thus dispossessed and despoiled, while the acts of the Commune in Paris, and the more recent diabolical acts in Russia, Germany, Spain, and Italy, serve to show that the men who thus conspire are in earnest-this is the reply which is made to this question: "What the people wish they will put in force. What they want accorded to them they will accord to themselves. Should the few who reign now-a-days attempt a resort to arms they will incur the responsibility of their own ruin; for all will be done by the majority. It shall be no more the dictation of a few, since the people will act in a body. We reject not the employment of force, but it must be the collective force, the irresistible pressure, of the masses."

Such, then, is the Programme of one of the most remarkable combinations which the world has ever known;-not an imaginary but a real one; not far off from us, but in our very midst; not ideal, but savagely active. It is a combination against all existing Society and Governments, and it is founded upon open and declared Infidelity. A large number of the existing Trades'-Unions of our own country have, after considerable hesitation-if I am rightly informed-affiliated themselves to this association. And these Unions, let it be borne in mind, represent not only the common and the uneducated [9/10] classes, but in an especial manner the educated and skilled artisan class. It is calculated that more than two millions are at present [1871] members of this Association; and considering the many countries through which it is spread, I should gather that this calculation is far below the mark. It would be easy to expose the folly of the objects which this Association aims to accomplish, but of what avail to argue with men who have been led to believe that the whole recognised order of society is their enemy? that no one man has a right to more than another, and that if he is not willing to surrender what he has it shall be taken from him by force? It is not now the demand of a powerful and covetous Autocrat, saying, "Give me thy vine yard," but the demand of those British and foreign workmen and artisans who have been seduced to join this unhallowed Association. It is no tyrannical Crowned head which threatens to take by force the inheritance of our fathers, but it is the voice of a tyrant as cruel as Jezebel, of one who "neither fears God nor regards man," the voice of the "International Society of Workmen," which says, "Arise and eat, and let thine heart be merry: I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite."

Here, then, my brethren, are a few plain facts which deserve the earnest and thoughtful attention not only of those who are in authority, but of all who have anything to lose, of all who shudder [10/11] at the thought of modern Civilisation retrograding into the most cruel barbarism. But there are one or two other facts which cannot be kept back in the face of those to which I have adverted, and which, I think, are equally well deserving the thoughtful consideration of every Christian man and woman in this country. I will place these before you in juxtaposition with those which I have already mentioned.

It is then a fact that the first article in the Programme of the "International" is, "The Alliance declares itself Atheist; it desires the abolition of Religion; the substitution of Science for faith; of human for Divine justice." Its programme of Education for all children of both sexes limits education to instruction in "all degrees of science, industry, and art." But it is also a fact, and a very ominous fact, that since the period of the institution of this International Association the Legislature of this Christian country ha decreed (I enter not into the reasons which led to this decree), but the Legislature of this Christian country has decreed that the Government shall not henceforth afford any pecuniary encouragement towards teaching the Christian religion in any of the schools of primary education in the kingdom. While it is a no less remarkable fact that the Legislature has at the same time decreed, that pecuniary encouragement shall be given to children of both sexes for instruction in science, industry, and art.

[12] Again, with the professed object of promoting and improving education in the kingdom, and I believe with the sincere desire of doing so, the Legislature has decreed, permissively in England, but compulsorily in Scotland, that the future control and management of all our Schools of primary Education shall be vested in School Boards; and that the members of those School Boards shall be chosen by the rate-payers; a very large proportion of whom are men who live by wages. Now, my brethren, should we close our eyes to the fact that a very large proportion of the persons, to whom is thus entrusted the selection of those who are henceforth to have the establishment and regulation of the schools for the working classes, belongs to the very class of working men, of which so many have become members of an Association which has, with unblushing effrontery, declared itself to be "Atheist," that it "desires the abolition of all Religion and of Marriage," and that it regards the present state of Society as "the historical product of a social organisation as false as it is iniquitous," which must therefore be destroyed and, if necessary, by force. Is it right, is it politic, is it safe to place such a power in such hands?

The history of the conduct of Ahab and Jezebel towards Naboth the Jezreelite, exhibits in the most painful light what may be expected from the possession of irresponsible power uncontrolled by religion. So far as the happiness of the [12/13] community is concerned it matters not whether such power be lodged in a King or in the People. What it could perpetrate when in the hands of an individual we see from the conduct of Ahab, "whom Jezebel his wife stirred up." What it could perpetrate when in the hands of the people we can see from what occurred in Paris a few years ago when the International Association obtained for a time the supreme power. Nothing, I am sure, could be more diametrically opposed to the natural character of the working classes of this country, nothing more repugnant to their religious sentiments than the infidel principles on which this new Association is ostentatiously based. And yet we see that even the best educated and most highly skilled of this very class have submitted themselves to the fascination of this unscrupulous combination. That the natural character of the working classes of England is opposed to the wild and revolutionary schemes of the Alliance was strongly felt by themselves, as is shown by a private communication made on the 1st of January, in the year 1870, to the Federal Council of Switzerland by the General Council of London, in consequence of a proposal which had been made to move the seat of the General Council from London to New York; while it intimated at the same time the means by which they proposed to revolutionise the character of the British workman. "England alone," they said, "can serve as a lever for a [13/14] revolution seriously economic. It is the only Country where there are no longer peasant Proprietors, and where landed property is concentrated in few hands. It is the only Country where capital has engrossed all production. It is the only Country where the great proportion of the population belong to the wages class. It is the only Country where the struggle of classes and the organisation of the working class by means of trades'-unions have acquired a certain degree of maturity and universality. From its preponderance in the market of the world it is the only Country where every change in economic facts must immediately react on all other countries. If Landlordism and Capitalism have their seat in this country, on the other hand the material conditions for their destruction are ripe there. The General Council being placed in the fortunate position of having its hand on the great lever of the "prolétaire" Revolution, what folly, we might almost say what a crime it would be, to let that lever fall from hands purely English. The English have all the materials necessary for a Social Revolution. What they want is a generalising mind and revolutionary passions. It is the General Council alone which can supply these, and so accelerate the movement purely revolutionary in this country, and conse quently everywhere else." And the means adopted for this purpose by the General Council is the wide circulation of infidel and revolutionary [14/15] literature amongst the working classes. And this detestable literature is now being sown broad-cast, not only in all the great cities and towns of the kingdom, but in the country districts also.

Here then, my brethren, are Infidelity and Christianity brought face to face. On the triumph of the one or the other will depend the future fate of Christian Britain. How States and Legislatures may see best to deal with so fierce and revolutionary a Combination it is difficult to say. But it is a melancholy reflection that our own Legislature should have unwittingly played into the hands of this atrocious Association, by weakening the only moral power which can successfully grapple with it. In the year 1830, when Government took in hand the subject of National Education, and obtained a grant of public money for promoting it, the Principle was distinctly asserted by the Liberal party which introduced the measure, and was as distinctly accepted by Parliament, that Religion was the indispensable basis of education. And recognising it as such the Committee of Council on Education laid the strictest charge on H.M. Inspectors to "inquire, with special care," how far the doctrines and principles of Religion were inculcated in the schools which they visited. [See Note at the end.]

But all this is changed now. The Christian Religion may or may not be taught in the School Board schools established by Parliament. No [15/16] encouragement is now given by Parliament for teaching it in any schools. Its being taught or not depends now entirely upon the will of the Ratepayers. H.M. Inspectors are to make no inquiry upon the subject. Thus, so far as State encouragement is concerned, the principle laid down in 1830, that religion was the indispensable basis of education, is practically surrendered by the representatives of Christian England. And what could have occurred more opportunely for those who in 1864 had formed a combination against all existing Society, and against all existing Governments, and had based their Association upon the principle, that "Science must be substituted for faith," and the abolition of all Religion? The "International" had indeed taken the just measure of the natural character of the British workman when it estimated it as opposed to its own wild, infidel, and revolutionary principles. The Act of 1870 had not passed when the International had declared that it alone could supply those principles which could accelerate a purely revolutionary movement in this country. What could be more encouraging then than to find the British Parliament unconsciously coming to its aid? to find that in England, the very Country in which it found the working classes so loyal and anti-revolutionary that it must needs strive to educate them up to "revolutionary principles," that in England, the State was now unconsciously furthering the International's own [16/17] proposed system of Education, and sowing the seed which should produce "International" fruit. That, while instruction in religion was no longer to constitute a necessary part of education in State-supported schools, every encouragement was to be given by the State to efficient instruction in "science, industry, and art." Would the "International" be wrong in asserting that the British Parliament had gone far towards endorsing its own system of education; and thus endorsing, as we think, some of the very worst features of the "International" Programme? If such are the principles on which the future national training of the youth of England is to be carried on, the whole moral and religious character of our people will be changed, and the "payment by results" will be anarchy and confusion-the very object desired and aimed at by the International Association.

We may well then thank God for the noble stand which the managers of Denominational schools in England have made against the compulsory imposition of School Boards, to be elected by the Rate-payers. If the Christian energies of the Legislature are paralyzed by the growing prevalence of infidel and revolutionary principles in the Constituencies, and if the Government acknowledges itself to be powerless to maintain the Principle declared by its predecessor in 1830 to be indispensable, viz, that religion must be the basis of all education, the Church of Christ must [17/18] come boldly to the front, and stand in the gap. By its clear, unhesitating, dogmatic teaching, and by its careful religious training of the young it must labour to neutralise the poison which is being disseminated throughout the land by the agency of the "International," and by the lectures of the infidel. Confident in the power of that weapon with which the blessed Apostle encountered "the Jew who required a sign, and the Greek who sought after wisdom," let her raise aloft THE CROSS which was to the "Jew a stumbling-block, and to the Greek foolishness," but which was then, and is now, and ever will be "the power of God, and the wisdom of God, because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." [A Jew was one of the original founders of the "International."]

Extract from Minutes of the Committee of Council on Education, 1840-41, p. 11.


IN the case of schools connected with the National Church, the Inspectors will inquire, with special care, how far the doctrines and principles of the Church are instilled into the minds of the children. The Inspectors will ascertain whether church accommodation of sufficient extent, and in a proper situation, is provided for them; whether their attendance is regular, and proper means taken to insure their suitable behaviour during the service; whether inquiry is made afterwards by their teachers how far they have profited by the public ordinances of religion which they have been attending. The Inspectors will report also upon the daily practice of the school with reference to divine worship: whether the duties of the day are begun and ended with prayer and psalmody; whether daily instruction is given in the Bible; whether the Catechism and the Liturgy are explained, with the terms most commonly in use throughout the authorised version of the Scriptures. They will inquire likewise whether the children are taught private prayers to repeat at home; and whether the teachers keep up any intercourse with the parents, so that the authority of the latter may be combined with that of the former in the moral training of the pupils. As an important part of moral discipline, the Inspectors will inform themselves as to the regularity of the children in attending school, in what way registered, and how enforced; as to manners and behaviour, whether orderly and decorous; as to obedience, whether prompt and cheerful, or reluctant, and limited to the time while [19/20] they are under the master's eye; and as to rewards and punishments, on what principles administered, and with what results. The Inspectors will satisfy themselves whether the progress of the children in religious knowledge is in proportion to the time they have been at school; whether their attainments are showy or substantial; and whether their replies are made intelligently, or mechanically and by rote. The Inspectors will be careful to estimate the advancement of the junior as well as of the senior class, and the progress in each class of the lower as well as of the higher pupils. And in every particular case the Inspector will draw up a report, and transmit a duplicate of it through the Committee of Council on Education to the Archbishop of the province.

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