HC Deb 10 October 1916 vol 86 cc74-5

Order for Second Reading read.

Captain Sir O. PHILIPPS

I think it is very desirable that the House should have a little further information on these subjects. If I am to understand the hon. Gentleman rightly, he is proposing by these Bills to alter the doctrines that are being preached in these chapels. Am I correct? I only want to ask if it is quite clear that that is so, and that these chapels are coming to Parliament to smooth out difficulties which they could not settle without coming to Parliament.


So as to be on perfectly safe ground I will read the note with which I have been supplied by the Charity Commissioners: This chapel was settled in trust for Particular or Calvinistic Baptists holding specified doctrines of a Calvinistic nature, including eternal and personal election, original sin, particular redemption, and everlasting misery of such as die impenitent. It is proposed by the scheme that the Baptist Union Corporation, Limited, should be the trustees, and that the trusts shall be those generally in use under management of the Union. The doctrines to be maintained are the same as those mentioned in the preceding case of Bradninch Baptist Chapel, and the observation made in that case applies in this case and other cases. I hope my hon. Friend will not ask me to go into details of all these cases, and that the House will take the broad statement.


I would point out that the scope of this Bill is in effect exactly the same as that which occupied the attention of Parliament for a long time, namely, what is called the "Wee Free Kirk." It is precisely the same point involved by a Dissenting body that comes to Parliament to be endowed with endowments that were established originally to inculcate doctrines which are now apparently abandoned as out of fashion. That is exactly what occurred in the very important legislation which, as I say, occupied the House for a very long time. I am quite ready, if these changes are conscientiously felt to be necessary, to agree to them, but I trust that when the Church of Wales or the Church of England or the Established Church of Scotland desires a similar change that they will then show a little of that charity which they desire to have shown to themselves at this time. It would be perfectly in our power to stop this, and we should only be following the example occasionally shown by certain Dissenting bodies who consider themselves bound to resist any change of this sort in any established church. In allowing these Bills to be passed, we are giving to them a very great facility for adapting themselves to new doctrines which apparently have now commended themselves to those bodies. Let them remember that when the Established Church comes forward and asks for legislative powers to make similar changes, and show the same charity and the same liberality which is now extended to them in allowing these Bills to pass.