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claim of the church's Apostolical authority (a 'far higher character than that of an establishment') could be a route to a pragmatic defence of its established status, in which the civil magistrate supported the establishment only 'to keep alive a sense of religion, with a view to the well-being of society'. The magistrate's choice of which church to support was not, however, exactly unconstrained, since in this account only one church could claim Apostolical authority: 'Every other association, assuming the name of a Church, must. . . be a mere human institution'. Only a difference on an essential matter of faith could justify separation: 'when an Established Church is, in its constitution, an Apostolical Church, such a difference alone can justify separation from that Church'.32 It was this rationale, at once utilitarian and Catholic, that underpinned the last flowering of the state church ideal in the years 180828. Disestablishment as an ideal waited for the formation of the 'Liberation Society' in 1844.

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