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the way of the Lord's work among the nations; though, blessed be his name, that work shall prosper, whether impeded by angry foes or erring friends. We do not concede to Mr. Thelwall's society the name of “ Trinitarian,” any more than to Papists the title of “ Catholics,” or to Socinians that of “ Unitarians ;" because the assumption is a slur upon other Bible societies, all of which are as really Trinitarian, as the “No. 11 Exeter Hall" institution. The Naval and Military Bible Society is actually constructed upon their own model ; the Christian Knowledge Society, which is a Bible Society upon a scale of magnitude to which it would be romantic to suppose the Exeter Hall institution will ever attain, is guaranteed by the Trinitarianism of the Anglican church; and the British and Foreign Bible Society, (though it has not, like the No. 11 Exeter Hall vacillating Society, adopted first one test and then another, but stopped short in its career as soon as a test was proposed to expel the Irving heresies which so deeply infected it; thus virtually guaranteeing as scriptural and orthodox all that it does not specifically exclude) is in reality, though without the idle parade of an uninforced and utterly useless test, as really Trinitarian as the No. 11 Exeter Hall Society. Its sole object is to circulate a book, Trinitarian in itself, and in every version which the Society has made or uses; the copies in the English being exclusively those of the authorised version, which is Trinitarian in its headings and summaries as well as in the text, so that no Socinian can honestly aid in its circulation; and it is as Trinitarian in its management as in its object, for no Socinian or Arian has ever been on its committee; and the Society would repel with horror the idea of circulating an anti-Trinitarian version-or rather perversion of the sacred oracles. The No. 11 Exeter Hall Society is not better fortified than the Bible Society; for though it calls itself “ Trinitarian,” it makes no objection to receiving Socinian guineas; and if a Socinian chose to be a member, there is nothing to prevent his becoming so; as the Society does not, like the Christian Knowledge Society, and every other Society which honestly enforces a test, require a testimonial, or a pledge, or a ballot; it prudently asks no questions, but pockets its guineas (when it can get any), and allows any person who chooses, to join it and be a member, upon his personal unchallenged honour that he is what he ought to be. It were absurd to call a Society thus conducted, orthodox, even if there were no other form of heterodoxy but Arianism or Socinianism ; but many of the sects one reads of — whether those in the ancient church; or the obsolete Dunkers, Muggletonians, and so forth; or Shakers, Southcottians, Swedenborgians, and Irvingites—are heterodox also : yet these the Society does not pretend to exclude; it freely and cheerfully admits them to membership : Irvingites in particular are its cherished friends ; for when it was proposed to make a regulation which would have excluded those who malign our Divine Redeemer's spotless nature, the majority of the members refused to do so; whereupon the anti-Irvingite portion of its founders quitted it; and strongly as the Christian Observer spoke of the exceptionable proceedings of the Institution, our statements fell far short of those of its seceding friends in the Record newspaper and elsewhere ; and for this good reason, that they better knew than we did, the secrets of its proceedings.

* As Mr. Thelwall and his friends identify itself in scriptural and brotherly have chosen to provoke a new contro- union" with Irvingism. Thus wrote the versy on behalf of their Society, it may

Record :be well to exhibit the character of the “ It cannot be concealed, and surely Society as described by the conductors of we have no wish to conceal, that the first the “ Record” newspaper, who had been attempt which has been made, by using its zealous panegyrists till it chose to separation as an instrument, to induce CARIST. Observ. No. 20.


We are not then inclined to look for any marked exhibition of wisdom or charity in this Institution ; nevertheless, if it pursued its plans peaceably, without catering for support by disparaging its neighbours, we could be well 'content to continue to leave it unreproved; as we have done for several years, notwithstanding almost all its proceedings, and the speeches of its members, have been provocative of just rebuke. We find no fault with Mr. Thelwall for pointing out any faults in versions of the Scripture issued by the Bible Society, or other Societies ; this, if done with a view to their correction, would be a brotherly, as well as useful, act; but the whole tenour of his remarks, as well as the Report of his Society, and the speeches of his colleagues, are shaped with a view to disparage his Christian brethren, and to urge all godly persons to come over to his own Society, which professes to be “conducted upon scriptural principles," "setting forth the true, the scriptural, grounds of real Christian union,” (vide Mr. Thelwall's speech), “ asking for no broader union than the church of Christ" (Mr. Galton's speech); so that the Society includes in this sacred scriptural union of Christ's church, Swedenborgians, Southcottians, and all other so-called Protestants who do not profess to be anti-Trinitarians,– a wondrously scriptural and godly amalgamation! Mr. Thelwall has let out the fact, that his committee expressly inserted the name of the British and Foreign Bible Society in connexion with his animadversions, because otherwise his critical paper “ would not be understood to be a matter of any interest or concern to British Christians.” They have acted with equal prudence in declining to mention the name of the Christian Knowledge Society in connexion with the Apocrypha; because they are trying to recommend themselves, and to disparage the Bible Society, by the unfair assumption of the title “ Trinitarian;" whereas they know that a really Trinitarian Society-a Society which includes all the prelates, and a large portion of the clergy of England ---circulates (conscientiously, but in our view not rightly,) the Apocrypha ; whereas a Society without any test has rejected it. If Mr. Thelwall could have discovered a copy of the Apocrypha in Earl-street, how would he and his associates have made the direful fact re-echo throughout the land, as an argument for breaking up the Bible Society, and uniting with the No. Exeter Hall “ Scriptural Union" Society. But they have discreetly refrained from storming No. 67 Lincoln'sInn-Fields; and should they now do so, by our having thus challenged them in common honesty to speak out, they will have to confess that even a much stricter test than their own—which is indeed no test at all—will not of necessity prevent the printing of apocryphal books, or secure an immaculate text.

the British and Foreign Bible Society to now identified itself with fundamental yield the points at present in dispute, error, so that it is impossible for any has signally failed.

sound-hearted Christian to have further By an advertisement in another connection with an institution which column, our readers will perceive what has unhappily placed itself in an incompassed at the special meeting of the parably worse situation than that of the Trinitarian Bible Society, which was body from which, on account of its convened for Thursday last. Those pro- alleged impurity, it separated. ceedings have, in our judgment sealed " Should the friends of the British the doom of that institution.

and Foreign Bible Society think it worth “How completely public confidence while to waste a single word further on was shaken in the Society, by the well. the subject, (which we hardly think it grounded reports that the Committee had is, so complete is the overthrow) they not had the wisdom, judgment, or ability may say-We told you this from the to keep themselves free from the pestilent first—that, according to the principle heresy of Mr. Irving, was clearly mani. upon which you sought to build, no fested by the insignificant number which edifice could be erected, or if erected appeared to take part in the business of hold together.' We have however already the day. It appears, from the adver- shewn the inaccuracy of this view of the tisement in another column, that the subject. All that was wanting was a greatest number present at any part of small measure of that common sense in the day, gentlemen and ladies together, the committee of the new society, which was 105 : of these, fifteen were supposed is to be found in that of the old. Is to have retired without voting, three there any Irvingite_has there been any declined to vote, the minority consisted Socinian--on the Committee in Earl. of thirty-nine, and the majority, a very street ? No. Are they excluded by law ? large proportion of which may be pre- No; simply by common sense and com. sumed to have been Irvingites, was forty- mon wisdom. Is there any openly imeight !

moral person in either committee No. “ So that, even as it regards numbers, How is he excluded ? Simply by a comto what has the magnificent meeting mon feeling of propriety. And had there dwindled which assembled for the for- been upon the minds of the committee of mation of this Society! It is not the the Trinitarian Bible Society any thing paucity of its numbers, however, of which approaching to a just sense of the inwe complain. We grieve that it has finite evil bound up in this new heresy

One of the “ Trinitarian” Society's lawsma law still unrepealed and unrepealable, unless by newly constituting the Society—justly caused much displeasure and suspicion at the very outset, we mean that which excludes clerical members from voting at, or even being present at, the proceedings of the committee. The Society has always shrouded its proceedings in secresy. It had indeed what was called a public meeting at its formation ; but the rules-and among them that which excludes clergymen, as such, from attending the committee-were pre-arranged in secrecy by a self-elected provisional committee; and Mr. Perceval, when he read them from the chair at the meeting, twice read

which has appeared in the church, any ciety. They are in truth preparing a individual even supposed to be infected cradle for this most malignant heresy, in with it, would have been excluded without which it may be rocked and cherished an approach to a difference of opinion, into size and strength-into vigour and with exactly the same readiness, and ex- maturity. They are fitting up a marketactly by the same power, as an openly place in which it may meet with many immoral person would have been ex- unsuspecting souls, whom it would not cluded had such a one been proposed. otherwise reach, and inoculate them with That the reverse of all this has been the the deadly virus. case, coupled with the Resolution which “ At the formation of the British and. we have just quoted, proves incontes. Foreign Bible Society, though one and tibly that in the minds of that Committee another were only gradually admitted there exists a leaning to, or tolerance of, into the councils of the originators of the evil in question, which is in no small the Society, being carefully selected on degree dangerous to themselves indivi. account of their Christian character, and dually, and which must of necessity de- superior wisdom and sagacity, considerprive them of the confidence and support able risk of discomfiture was experienced of the sound part of the church of Christ, in the arrangement of the Committee. which otherwise might be disposed to This danger, however, was happily overgive them its support.

come. The Provisional Committee from “We accordingly humbly but earnestly which the Trinitarian Society derived its exhort all Auxiliary Societies and Asso- existence, was a body of men held tociations of the Trinitarian Bible Society, gether by no other tie than their disapto dissolve their connection with it at probation of certain practices current in once. This Society separated from the the British and Foreign Bible Society. British and Foreign Bible Society, be. They were not a body formed of matecause of its admitting Socinians as mem- rials, chosen as peculiarly suitable to bers, though not one of that body had work harmoniously together, - not of ere been admitted on the Committee, or men who were selected for their estaassumed any prominence in the proceed blished Christian character, and sound ings of the parent Society. But here is spiritual judgment, as fitted to command the Trinitarian Society deliberately ap- the confidence of the Christian commuproving of those who hold doctrine worse nity,—but they were rather brought to. than those of Socinians, becoming not gether by a mere fortuity.” members only, but managers of the So

the committee's resolution, that no person should be permitted “to speak or vote against them;" so that, very properly, he did not act the farce of pretending to "put them ” for the approbation of the meeting; and when some person arose to make some remark, or propose some modification, he was silenced by the authority of the chairman, under the vigilant eye of the police; so that the meeting was made responsible for the secreta monita of the provisional conclave, without the possibility of discussing or opposing them. We have never known such a step taken upon any other occasion, except where party-spirit prevailed over honesty. It is true that at many meetings for forming societies—such, for instance, as the recent Church Education Societies—the originators of the measure have very properly pre-arranged the business ; but the proposed rules are in such cases open to remark or amendment; and are almost always modified or improved at the general meeting ; whereas Mr. Thelwall's colleagues, at their private provisional meeting, secretly resolved upon a regulation which should exclude the clergy from the liberty of attending the deliberations of the committee; and also passed another resolution, that no person at the public meeting should speak or vote against it. Vote they could not, for Mr. Perceval did not put the resolutions; speak they durst not, for fear of the chairman and the police; but disapprove they did, and do still; and all Mr. Thelwall's apologies, whatever they may be, for this and other of the Society's arbitrary un-English style of proceeding, will not reconcile them to it.

This ejection of the clergy was very ominous, and shewed the “ Naval and Military” views of the Society. Why should not all clergymen who are members of the Society, (or bishops, if there should ever be one on the catalogue,) be allowed to be present, as they are, or may be, in the Christian Knowledge Society and the Bible Society ? Even if they were not allowed to vote or speak, they might at least be permitted to hear; but this would not answer the purposes of secrecy; nay, some clergyman might understand so little of the spirit of the institution, as to ask whether all that the committee say and act is right; or might recommend that they should“ do their own business," instead of spending time, and money, and agency, in picking holes in other Societies ; or might reprobate the juggle by which, to affect consistency, the leaders of the institution maintained that Romanists, though they adhere to the three creeds,—the Athanasian as much as the others,—are not Trinitarians; or might doubt whether Captain Vernon Harcourt, who presided at the late meeting, did not stretch a point, when he spoke of “the Socinian learning of these versions,”– namely, as he explained it, “ the versions which the Society has adopted to circulate in Roman Catholic countries," and which “the Roman Catholics find it their interest to circulate.” Captain Vernon Harcourt and his friends may well not wish clergymen to be present at the free conversation meetings of his committee, when even in set speeches at the annual meeting such unfounded statements are put forth. One of the strongest accusations of the church of Rome against Protestantism is, that it has been the abetter of Socinianism and other anti-Trinitarian heresies; and though the charge is groundless, yet the Oxford Tracts re-echo it; but with all our abhorrence of the church of Rome, we never have surmised that she has found it her interest to circulate Socinian Bibles—and moreover in Roman Catholic countries - and aided the Bible Society in doing so.

In proof that the objections to the “Trinitarian " Society's plan and constitution, and especially in the regulation above referred to, are not newly-invented, we will quote a portion of what we said on this head in our volume for 1832, p. 123.

“The Churchman bas no guarantee (for all checks are systematically removed)

that the machine may not fall into the hands of Dissenters ; and its versions, if ever it should attempt any, be made to speak any particular set of tenets which the conductors for the time being choose.' Can any conscientious clergyman join such a society ? a society in which, next year, there may not be a single clergyman, or even a single churchman, on the committee ? Our readers may be assured that we are not exaggerating in this or any other of our remarks ; for the Society's own code of rules is before them, stitched up with our last Number. There is not, we repeat, the slightest security for the Church of England; the word • Clergyman’ or member of the Church of England is nerer once mentioned in the rules; and a clergyman has no right, as we have seen, to attend the committee from his office in virtue of his being a member. He is to pay his guinea, and the secret committee are to do what they like with it; and if his flock ask him what pledge he can give them that their money will be properly bestowed, and that abuses will not find their way into the Society far greater than those alleged against the old institution, he can only answer that he takes for granted all will be right. He has no confidence in the great body of religious persons of all persuasions watching over each other's movements in an open committee that keeps no secrets; but he has perfect confidence in the little secret knot of untried gentlemen debating in a close chamber, and with inaccessible books, who, for any thing he can know to the contrary, may have other objects in view than the mere circulation of the Scriptures.

We see no reason to alter our opinion; on the contrary, the experience of seven years has confirmed it. The Rev. H. Melvill—who took a zealous, and we are sure conscientious, share in the formation of the institution, but was soon obliged to quit it-remarked in parting, that “the committee, instead of minding their business, and distributing the word of God, had been employed from their formation to that hour in quarrelling, and picking holes in private character." This might be well expected of a body of men, of whom their own early friend the Record, as we have seen, was obliged to pronounce that they“ were brought together by a mere fortuity ; " that (instead of the pure spiritual union which they so loudly profess) “ they were held together by no other tie than their disapprobation of certain practices current in the British and Foreign Bible Society,” (a most hallowed Scriptural bond truly !); that “they were not men selected for their established Christian character and sound spiritual judgment," or “fitted to command the confidence of the Christian community.” Under these unhappy circumstances, we must assure Mr. Thelwall that even if he could convince us (which we do not expect) that the Earl Street Bible Society is as nefarious as the advocates for the “ Trinitarian” Society have declared it to be, we still should not send our guinea to No. 11 Exeter Hall; but must double our subscription to the Christian Knowledge Society, which distributes orthodox Bibles, and does not waste its funds or its breath in vilifying other institutions.

We now give such portion of our correspondent's letter as our present Number allows.]

To the Editor of the Christian Observer. Since I forwarded to you a paper on the origin and early records of language, which you have obligingly printed in your Number for June, the yearly meetings of our religious societies have taken place; which, though of course attended with their share of human evil, are requisite to form in many minds, and to keep alive, that hallowed flame of pious zeal in the cause of Bibles and Missions, and of other objects, which has been kindled in our highly favoured and wealthy country, and which is the pre-eminent honour of the present century. From reading the speeches at the meeting of the British and Foreign Bible Society, as well as of that ill-fated Institute calling itself Trinitarian, together with extracts from their reports, I learn that the carbona

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