Page images
PDF
EPUB

consequences. It is, in fact, only by occasional heresies of some part the application of old established of that multifarious body, and and long-tried principles to the to stigmatize them generally, as ever-varying succession of events sonre modern churchmen have seen as they arise, that we learn to con- fit to do, as Socinians, Quakers, duct ourselves properly under them: &c.; or to assume, as the ground whereas too many invert the order of his argument, that all were guilty of reasoning; and, by hastily ap- of the crime of schism whose conplying past occurrences, and in- sciences, bowever misinformed, sulated events to modern, crude separated them from the pale of and undigested theories, mislead our Establishment, and some able their followers into a total miscon- men amongst them at the espense ception of the first elements and of its honours and emoluments. essential priociples of our common But the most material, and I faith.

should apprehend to Mr. Wix and I am here led to observe, that his adherents (if he have any), the the sentiments above quoted from most edifying part of the ArcliArchbishop Wake, and the prin. bishop's example, is the display he ciples on which they rest, are makes of just the very same readiness exactly such as go to the subver- to join with the Protestart, as far as sion of all the plans contem- practicable, which Mr. Wix displated by Mr. Wix, and to the plays to join with his fellow-Chrisentire sanction and support of tians the Papists. Substitute Pathose measures which he is anxious pist for Protestant, and every word to overthrow. The Archbishop, the Archbishop utters, every senin omitting to consider with Mr. timent he breathes is in exact conWix the apostolical succession asformity with the words and sentifundamental and essential to our ments of Mr. Wix. I shall make common Christianity, does not fail no further use of this observation to appreciate its excellence wher- than to suggest, that the premises ever possessed by any church. But being thus completely reversed, it he was too wise not to see the is no more than fair to reverse the advantage he should give to the conclusion to be obtained from tliem. Papists by an admission of its in- The conclusion which, to all apdispensable necessity to the exist- pearance, Mr. Wix mainly drives at ence of a true church; and was far too throughout the whole of his prowell acquainted with the nature and ject, is the possibility and the hope genius of true Christianity, not to of bringing in the Papists to an see ibat the carnal mind and blinded alliance with the Church of Engconscience of papal Rome were a land against the Dissenters and the thousand times more opposed to British and Foreign Bible Society. the doctrine of Christ, than any The conclusion then to be derived external circumstances attending on the contrary side, from the the appointment of those who mises laid down by Archbishop were to preach it. Nor, again, in Wake, is the possibility and the assuming the general orthodoxy, bope of bringing in the Dissenters, 1hough mised with errors not fun- and in general the Reformed Prodamental, of his dissenting brethren, testant Churches at home and did the Archbishop at all decline abroad, to an alliance with the the mention of heresy and schism Church of England against the too, as amongst the weeds to be principles of Popery, and in suprooled out at the general and ex- port of the invaluable and, I trust, pected "restitution of all things :" interminable operations of the BriThough he was also far too candid tish aud Foreign Bible Society. to cast in the teeth of the great

I remain, sir, &c. body of Dissenters in his day, the

VIGIL,

pre

the daring advance of blasphemy To the Editor of the ChristianObserver. has been commensurate with the

accelerated progress of scriptural Whoever has had his attention knowledge; and never did infidelity drawn to the controversies which appear abroad with such bold and bave been unhappily raised on the disgusting effrontery as we now subject of the British and Foreign behold it, since the Bible has been Bible Society, must have observed indiscriminately put into the hands the eagerness with whicl the real of the people without note or comor supposed errors of individuals ment. We mean not to cast any or Auxiliary Societies have been reflection on the well intended zeal laid to the charge of the Parent of other religious Associations : all Institution. Such conduct has ever we design is, to recommend our appeared to me extremely unfair Society as having a claim of and illiberal; but my opinion has preference on the members of the lately been strengthened by reading Establishment; inasmuch as the the First Report of a District abuse of the sacred volume is Committee of the Society for pro- guarded against by explanatory moting Christian Knowledge for publications, to which, being in the Deanery of Henley in Oxford- unison with the doctrines of our shire, containing remarks, of which I church, they cannot object; so am well convinced that the general that, if in the holy Scriptures Board in Bartleli's Buildings would “ there are some things hard to entirely disapprove. These remarks be understood,” the most anxious are, however, so exceptionable, that caution is employed, that “ the I trust you will favour me by the unlearned and unstable may not insertion of this letter in the Chris- wrest them to their own destructian Observer, in order chiefly that tion.” the members of similar committees The proposition, that it is not may be cautioned against a prac- altogether safe to commit the intice so ivjurious to the society spired writings into the hands of which they wish to support, as that the illiterate without interpretaof making their reports the organs tion," &c. bas been so often and of direct or sinister attacks upon so ably refuted in many of the other institutions.

tracts on the catalogue of the The passages in the Henley Report Society for promoting Christian to which I particularly allude, are Knowledge, that it would be an contained in the following extract. unnecessary intrusion to offer upon

“ We do not affect to make men it any observations of my own. I Christians, and nothing more ; we shall, therefore, merely leave it to are anxious to unite them in firm its authors to shew in what way attachment to the venerable insti- it can be made to harmonize with tutions of their country. For this the following extracts from a tract purpose, we consider the Liturgy entitled, A brief Coufutation of and formularies of our Church only ibe Errors of the Church of Rome; second in importance to the Bible extracted from Archbishop Secker's itself; nor do we think it altoge. Five Sermons against Popery; by ther safe to commit the inspired Bishop Porteus," and placed on the writings into the hands of the illi- catalogue of the Society for proterate, without such interpretations moting Christian Knowledge. as may

assist them in their humble “But they tellus there is great dan. studies, and the help of such ex- ger that the Scripture may be misun. planations as have received, from derstood and perverted: . unlearned the guides of our church, the and unstable men,' St. Peter hath destamp of their authority. It is clared,' may wrest it to their own indeed a singular coincidence, that destruction. Now this is possible

indeed: and so it is possible every into the hands of the people without thing may be applied to an ill note or comment."--Now, sir, I

appurpose; health, strength, food, prehend that no one will deny that liberty, common day-light; but is the evident intention of this senthis a reason for taking away any tence was to insinuate, that the late of them ? It is possible that persons dreadful progress of blasphemy and may do themselves harm by having infidelity was, at least in some meathe Scriptures; but is it not some- sure, to be ascribed to the domestic thing more than possible, that they operations of the Bible Society. For, may suffer harm from the wapt of notwithstanding the disavowal by them, and be destroyed, as the which it is followed, I humbly conProphet tells us, for lack of know- ceive, that if this were not its inledge ?"

tention, no possible meaning can And again: “We permit, we be- be assigned to it. seech, we require you all to read The charge here insinuated is of the Scriptures diligently, and judge such a nature, as scarcely to need of their meaning impartially; to refutatiou ; and can be considered, compare with them every thing we by myself at least, io no other light teach you, and believe nothing but than as a libel upon the word of what you find agreeable to them. God. For most extraordinary inWe have no fear of your being poi- deed would it be, if the reading soned by the food of life, or led of that Sacred Volume which God into error by the word of Truth. bas given in mercy to man to direct On the contrary, we know not any him to happiness and to heaven, surer way of preserving men from should tend to make him a blaserrors, than ihat which St. Paul phemer or an infidel. Sooner than prescribes Timothy in the third I could bring myself to believe it, chapter of his Second Epistle :- I would be persuaded that sweet • This know, that in the last days is bitter, and light is darkness. perilous times shall come. Evil would willingly in charity suppose, men and seducers shall wax worse that the gentlemen who drew up and worse, deceiving and being de. this Report had been misled into ceived. But continue thou in those the opinion they have published things which thou hast learned, and by false representations, were it hast been assured of: knowing of not that it was in their power to whom thou hast learned them; and prove its truth or falsehood, in the that from a child thou hast known most decisive manner, by the evi. the holy Scriptures, which are dence of facts. For, if it were able to make thee wise unto sal- true, then, of course, we should vation, through faith, which is in see, in the first place, ibat intidels Christ Jesus. All Scripture is would be among the most strenuous given by inspiration of God, and is supporters of the Bible Society; profitable for doctrine, for reproof, and, in the next, that infidel prinfor correction, for instruction in ciples would prevail to the greatrighteousness, that the man of God est extent in those districts in may be perfect, thoroughly fur. which its greatest exertions had nished uuto all good works.'” been made. Now, with regard to (Brief Confutation, 5th edit. p. 66.) the former of these facts, it is no

But the part of the Report which torious that the efforts of the agents I consider as the most objectionable of infidelity are chiefly employed is that in which it is declared to in vilifying the Bible; and ihat be a singular coincidence that where they have met with the blasphemy and infidelity never ap- greatest success,

the unhappy peared with such bold and dis- victims of their artful publications gusting offrontery as since the act in systematic opposition to the Bible has been indiscriminately put Bible Society and its advocates. CHRIST. OBSERV, No. 220.

3 D

Whether the latter fact were true, sition so revolting to the Christian the framers of the Report possessed mind, as, that the tendency of peculiar advantages for ascertain- reading the pure unadulterated ing; since they resided in one of word of God was to lead the simthe most favourable districts in the ple uneducated man to blaspheme kingdom for that purpose, as you His name, to deny the authority may learn from their own statement of His revelation, and almost to in the following passage.

doubt His existence? Surely that " That the public call upon us prejudice must be powerful indeed, for the supply of Bibles and Testa- which could have the effect of so ments should be comparatively blinding their intellectual organs, small in the town and neighbour- that they were unable 10 discover hood of Henley, at a time when the palpable contradiction given in such a general distribution of the their own Report to their insinuaholy Scriptures bas taken place, tions. Is it not strange, that they can create no surprise ; the wants

were not rather led, with all humiof the poor have been more than lity and thankfulness, to advert to anticipated, and the supply may the providential coincidence, that, almost be said to have exceeded the when the flood gates of infidelity demand.Here then was a district

were opened on the land, an addi. where, if the opinion of these gen- tional society, which has distributtlemen were correct, the advance ed, according to the last Report, of blasphemy must have been most two million five hundred and fifty daring and rapid : here we might thousand Bibles and Testaments, have expected that infidelity would should have been raised to check have shewn its boldest front; here the progress of its devastations ?" we might have imagined that the

In my observations upon this whole population would have been truly singular Report, it has been contaminated almost beyond hope of remedy; and that, so far from • I am here forcibly reminded of the possessing an attachment to the following statements of the Bishop of Established Church, they would Gloucester, at the recent anniversary of scarcely retain single religious

the British and Foreign Bible Society,

in allusiou to the late atrocious conspi. feeling. The very next sentence of the Henley Report shall inform racy. you of the dismal effects which lordship, “ to dwell, for a short time, on

May I be permitted,” remarked his have been produced in this district the subject of the enemies of this cause; by the labours of the Bible Society, and on an occurrence, which has excit« It is therefore with the sincerested the attention, not only of every satisfaction we report, that the un. statesman, but of every Christian and influenced and eager applications every subject in the realm, to the per. for the Book of Common Prayer, petration of a crime which I will not by the poor of every age and de- mention?

“ What has been the principle chiefly scription afford a ground for the consolatory assurance, that the apparent in the leaders of this design?

-Hatred of the Bible, of its restraints blessings and advantages of the and injunctions, wherever that hatred established religion are not under- could be avowed; or a most entire per. valued by the lower orders in this version of its precepts, when these men neighbourhood; nor their attach- could not venture to avow a hatred of ment to the communion in which the Bible itself. I happen to know, they were born impaired by that from undoubted anthority, that every presumptuous licence of opinion one of these individuals had, previouswhich now so unhappily prevails.ly to the commission of the crime,

Is it not, then, sir, most extra- avowedly renounced his faith in the ordinary, that any individuals could Scriptures. They found in those Scrip

tures a declared opposition to their pripreject the evidence of such facts as ciples and practices, and therefore they are here recorded against a propo- renonaced the Bible !

[ocr errors]

my wish to coosider the gentlemen of attack upon the British and Fowhose names are signed to it, as reign Bible Society, without at least alone responsible for its contents; entering their protest against such for, altbough it purports to pro- a practice; and that in

every

inceed from the District Committee, stance the members of District I cannot believe that several of its Committees will be well satisfied of members would ever bave agreed to the candour, liberality, and discresanction opinions so objectionable, tion of those gentlemen who may and so diametrically opposite to be requested to draw up their rethose whicb, as I am well convin. ports, before they place in them a ced, they bold.-In the list of the confidence so implicit as may be Vice-Presidents, I observe the injurious to their own reputation, names of at least five gentlemen, as well as to the venerable Society who are among the most strenuous in Bartlett's Buildings; in the proand steady advocates of the Bible sperity of which no one takes a Society; and among the Commit- more lively interest than tee are the excellent and respect

Your's, &c. able Rector and Curate of Henley

ACLERICAL MEMBER OF THE the former of whom is a Vice-Pre

SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING sident, and the latter one of the

OHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE, Secretaries, of the Henley Auxili- but not of the HENLEY ary in aid of that institution. But

DISTRICT COMMITTEE. although I desire explicitly to be understood not to charge these and to the Editor of the Christian Observer. other individuals, of whose senti. To the Editor of the Christian Obserder. ments I am not so well aware, with Your correspondent H. G. in your holding the opinions to which I have Number for April (page 242) was, objected, it is yet to be feared that I think, perfectly correct in his inmany who are unacquainted with terpretation of the Rubric, respectthe parties will be apt to identifying the service for the 30th of Jathem with the framers of the Re. nuary. There can be little doubt port. I trust, therefore, that they that the comma is incorrectly placed, will not allow future reports of the when it is made so to divide the committee to be made the organ sentence as to intimate that the

“ It has been seen, in a variety of service is to be on the Sunday and circumstances, during the past year,

the fast on the Monday.

the Monday. The Ruthat the enemies of religion bave, in bric was originally as follows : If their spirit and conduct, born unwilling this day should happen to be Suntestimony to the truth of the Scriptures; day, this form of service shall be while these Seriptures have been rever. used the next day following.” The ed and defended, by the resisters of words, " and the fast kept,were faction, and the decided friends of the introduced long after, and apparentlaws of their country. Well, then, my ly without any intention of alterlord, may we, amidst whatever trials we may meet with, call to mind this re- ing the sense of the original injunc.

tion. Your correspondent has flection and be comforted."

The Earl of Harrowby also, whose punctuated the sentence correctly: abode was to have been the scene of " If this day shall happen to be that direful catastrophe, and who there. Sunday, this form of prayer shall fore of all men would have least cause be used and the fast kept the next to patronize the Bible Society, if it had day following.” Many Prayer-books any tendency to lead to that infidel and incorrectly insert a comwa after biaspliemous spirit which is so intimate

used,” " which has added to the amly connected with the recent plans of revolation and murder, delivered his biguity. I have understood, how. sentiments at the same meeting in per- ever, that in a recent church editior fect coincidence with those of his ho. this typographical mistake is cors pourable and right reverend brother. rected.

F. Y.

« PreviousContinue »