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This article is taken from PN Review 39, Volume 11 Number 1, July - August 1984.

Rights and Duties Brian Morton

In my home town in the West of Scotland, there was a building we knew as the 'English Church', a tiny congregation mostly of retired emigrés from the South. The name was an inaccurate simplification - Scottish Episcopalism is a separate phenomenon - but it helped reinforce the impression that the Anglican Church was English in a way that 'our' Church of Scotland was not Scottish.

The century-apart dismantlements of 1603 and 1707 left Scotland without indigenous political power and without cultural impetus. Scots law and the Church of Scotland were left relatively intact and became a kind of surrogate state. Yet, for all the rhetoric of 'Establishment in Scotland', the Church has been an alien presence there, providing neither a language - like that of King James (ironically!) and Cranmer - instinct with the people, nor a structure of belief which unites sacred and secular concerns under the church-roof of specific devotions.

Robbed of that centre, the Church of Scotland has fallen broken-backed between a kind of Sabbatarianism that guarantees its peripheral position and the obsessive meddling of the Moral Welfare Committees. A divorce began the English Church. The Union divorced Scotland from history.

In Luther's quincentenary and in the 150th anniversary of Keble's 'National Apostasy' sermon which began the Oxford Movement, it's valuable and salutary to turn to the work of a man whose thinking has been much concerned with the interrelation of Church and state, or to adapt Bagehot, between ...


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