12 MARCH 1864, Page 24

Letters on Clerical Subscription to the Editor of the "

Kendal Mercury." By a London Congregational Minister. (Reprinted for private circula- tion.)—No praise can be too high for the spirit in which these letters are written. Their moderation and charity aro remarkable. But we con- fess that we have failed in perceiving what it is the writer proposes either to the Church of England or to himself. He sees, as every one must, that the great obstacle in the way of those who would relax the terms of subscription is the determination of the two extreme parties— the Tractarian and Evangelical—to have dogmatic teaching of some sort,—their own if possible, but if not, then that of the rival party rather than none. And then he says that the Church longs for a union in which opinions shall have less power, and the souls of men shall be drawn together in the deep feelings which bind them to God and Christ. Therefore we gather that he approves the aims of those who would relax subscription. But then immediately he asks whether the State can ever legislate for the Church so that her noblest life may de- velop itself with sufficient freedom ; and, as we understand him, hints that he thinks the State cannot. This would be an argument against the existence of a national Church, and a very fair argument ; but surely the conclusion should have been stated more definitely.