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flame of zeal and spirit for spreading the holy Scriptures among the nations has pervaded all ranks and orders of Christians; and I rejoice in contemplating this mark of the Divine goodness, that God bath put it into our in inds to be the instruments of spreading the knowledge of the kingdom of his Son. Therefore, while others exeite needless alarms and indulge unwarrantable suspicions, let us continue our endeavours to put Bibles into the hands of those who have them not, resting assured that every calculation, which concludes against the expediency of our doing so, is, in some part of it, undoubtedly erroneous. “My Lord and Gentlemen, it is with pain and regret that I ain compelled to allow that there are certainly persons of great learning, rank, and respectability in general, who not only do not approve of our proceedings, but also persuade them
selves that they see great danger in
them. The author of a late address to our senate is one of those persons; and though his address is but short, it contains imputations which every member of our establishment, who subscribes to the Bible Society, is called upon to repel. “In this address it is plain that every member of the Established Church, who subscribes to the Bible Society, is treated as a person who may, in so doing, probably enough be contributing to the very dissolution of our ecclesiastical establishment. Now it must be allowed, that so heavy and tremendous a charge ought not to have been made on slight grounds; and posterity, I think, will scarcely believe, that the foundation of this charge, that is, that the dreadful fault which we have committed, is, that we do our utmost to distribute the authorised version of the Bible, unaccompanied with any other book, throughout the world, in the language which the inhabitants of the respective nations can understand. “This is the sole object of the *ociety to which we belong ; a so
ciety which candour will admit, and prejudice cannot demy, has done more in this view, during the short period of seven years, than all the societies in Christendom have done in a century. “The term ‘authorised version' is emphatical, because extremely important ; it is so important in my mind, that whenever the society shall begin to publish their Bibles with glosses, comments, and alterations of their own, that is, whenever they shall distribute unauthorised versions, I pledge myself that 1 will instantly withdraw my name from them. “But, my Lord, I will not dissemble that this is far from a complete statement of the grounds of the ob
jections of our adversaries. There
appears to be in their minds a corner in which resides the principle of a rooted aversion to any connection, in religious concerns, with Christians of any denomination, if they dissent from the Established Church. By permitting Dissenters to join with us in this excellent work, we are said to throw weight into their scale: we desert the establishment: we encourage and promote defection from it. This, this is that solid nucleus of dislike and hostility; a nucleus which, after enveloping itself, like the comet, in much nebulous obscurity, terminates in a fiery tail of portentous magnitude.
“My Lord, I bring forward distinctly the objection that is made to us on account of our connection with dissenters, because, on all occasions of contrariety of sentiment, I feel almost an instinctive aversion to vain and fruitless contentions concerning the outsides of questions. On all occasions, I wish to meet fairly the real points in dispute, and lo grapple with them; and so in the present instance. I am convinced that if several of our most respectable adversaries were now present, and amongst them I may well reckon the learned author of this address, they would say, that they heartily joined in many of the
handsome things that had been said this morning respecting the extraordinary exertions of the Bible Society; and that, in translating the Bible and dispersing it into foreign parts, we had done well;-but that we marred every thing by having formed an amicable junction with the dissenters from the ecclesiastical establishment of this country. “This principle seems to pervade almost every part of the learned professor's address now in my hands. The principle of the learned author seems to be, to have nothing to do with dissenters in any concern which is connected with religion. Now my principle is toto carlo different. Lamenting their dissent as much as any member of our establishment can do, and wishing prosperity to the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge as sincerely and as earnestly as any member of that society can wish it, still I would go hand in hand with the dissenters as far as I can. It is only when I cannot help it that I leave them. I do not dread the dissenters, as if they were infected with a contagion; but I eordially rejoice to shake hands with them on all points where we do agree: nor do I see any inconsistency in maintaining a friendly intercourse with them on such points, and at the same time in exercising a jealous attention over them in the points where we separate from each other. And this I take to be the true line of distinction for churchmen.” Further, I am deeply convinced that the dangers of dissent, and even dissent itself, are best encountered by conciliation; whereas both dissent and its dangers are strengthened by irritation, opposition, and exclusion. “Your Lordship knows very well that I am one of those who think that the Roman Catholic question of Emancipation leads to considerations and inquiries of immense magniolde; yet whatever circumspection I may think requisite on that head, I should nover have any scruple to give a Bible to a Roman Catholic;
I should never scruple to join with a Roman Catholic in promoting the distribution of Bibles to others. In fact, I should look on the dispersion of the Bible, and the free use of it, to be the likeliest way in the world to bring about a more complete reformation from Popery. History teaches us, that it was by garbling the Bible, by keeping the Bible out of the hands of the people, by forbidding translations of the Bible into intelligible languages, that Popery was enabled so long to keep its ground among the nations. The great Saxon reformer, Martin Luther, was so well aware of this, that while in the retirement of a secret asylum, to escape the papal fires which at that time were on the very eve of being lighted for his destruction, he employed the hours of his privacy with indefatigable industry in translating the Bible into the German language. “My Lord, the learned author of this address is too well versed in ecclesiastical history to have forgotten, that for some time before the death of the eminent supporter of the blessed Reformation, the Elector of Saxony, Frederick the Wise, it was an afflictive consideration to the mind of that truly pious and conscientious prince, to reflect that the word of God had not its free course in Germany. “In short, it appears to me, that to maintain that churchmen cannot safely join with dissenters in distributing the authorised version of the Bible, amounts to this declaration, that we can safely join with them in nothing of a religious nature;— a position surely not of easy digestion in a country where Christianity has produced, in any considerable degree, its genuine effects of universal disinterested benevolence. “Ever since the first agitation of this business, I have from time to time, and with all the care of which I am capable, examined into the foundation of that apprehension of danger on which so much stress is laid; and I am compelled to avow that an intercourse and an agreement with the dissenters, of which both the basis and the superstructure, of which both the beginning and the end, and also all the intermediate parts, are the dissemination of the holy Scriptures, is in itself utterly void of all reasonable objection; and that so far from widening the breach between us and the dissenters, such an intercourse tends to kessen it, and to bring us nearer together; while, on the other hand, an excessive spirit of jealousy and distrust and suspicion has a tendency to irritate, to exasperate animosities, and increase disunion in the country. “There is not any one member of our church establishment, who entertains a more exalted idea of the excellence of our Liturgy, and of our Prayer-Book in general, than I do; and I heartily wish that Christians of all denominatious could be persuaded to adopt the use of it ; but as this is not to be expected, while dissenters of several denominations adhere to their present system of ceremonies and of church government, 1 would not represent the distribution of the Bible alone as a thing that cannot be dome with safety, unless accompanied with the corrective of a Prayer-Book of the Church of England. “My Lord, our Liturgy itself owes its establishment to the free use of the Bible among the people; and I greatly mistake, if, among the numerous errors of the Church of Rome, there exists a more dangerous tenet than that the holy Scriptures tiremselves must be tried at the bar of the traditions of fallible men. “The late printed address to the members of this university would justify me in making many other observations on the different parts of it; but I forbear. If that should appear, which at present does not aplocar, viz. that the author of it has gained, in any material degree, the public mind to believe, that we who *ubscribe to the Bible 'Society are
unfaithlui members of our church
establishment, it may then be me
cessary to defend ourselves by doing away the misrepresentation. Again, if the members of the society itself should discover a disposition to depart from their avowed principle of printing the Bible without note or comment, we may then unite to check that disposition, or even proceed to the length of quitting the society entirely. Lastly, if other objects inimical to the church should indeed, as is intimated, appear to be associated with its main object, is it to be supposed that the artful, politic Dissenters will be all awake, and the simple, honest, harmless, unsuspecting Church-of-Englandmen fast asleep? “On the whole, and in conclusion, I am compelled to observe, that in this short address to the University of Cambridge, there appears to be such an accumulation of unkind intimations, suspicions, and conjectures (all of which I am to suppose were intended to have their effect), as call for much greater confidence than I have yet learnt to have in the author's ability for judging of the probability of future events.—I must own I do sincerely wish that the spirit which but too evidently pervades almost every part of it, had been more conciliating, and had savoured in general more of that true Christian charity which hopeth all things.--That holy book, my Lord, the dissemination of which is the glorious object of this meeting, is itself the real cure of all dissent and all contention that are not innocent : and it is my firm belief that, if dissenters of all denominations, by no means excluding Roman Catholics, or the members of our own communion, did but read and study their Bibles more constantly, and with more devout care and application, and with more of a direct view to improve the heart and correct the practice, Christians of every denomination, without exception, would approach much nearer to one another than they now do; would actually coincide, or nearlv so, in most essentials; and in re
kindness and forbearance towards each other, as would almost annihilate the evil of any remainiug difierence of sentiment.” The Rev. Mr. DEALTRY, Fellow of Trinity College, then addressed the meeting in nearly the following terms:– “I rise, with a view of proposing a motion, to which I am couvinced no objection will be made. The purport of it is, to return thanks to the three Secretaries of the parent society in London, for their attendance and assistance upon the present occasion. That assistance, indeed, I coltsider as peculiarly valuable; it is in the power of these gentlemen fully to explain the nature, the constitution, and the object of their institution, and with an authority which it is impossible to doubt. Should any misconceptions have prevailed upon these points, I trust that they are now entirely reinoved from the minds of us all. We are all now convinced, if we doubted before, that the dispersion of the Scriptures, without note or comment, is the sole and simple object of the Bible Society. It has, I know, been more than insinuated, that this important regulation has not been observed. 'I his charge I have with my name publicly denied, and I bere repeat the denial; it is, in fact, utterly unfounded; and after the speeches which we have heard from the Secretaries this day, the man, who shall venture again to advance it, is possessed, to say the least of him—of a very hazardous spirit of perseverance. “The extension and ejects of this noble society have been displayed to us by the Secretaries in terms of glowing animation, which have kindled the best feelings of all who heard them. The affecting details, with which they have favoured us, cannot fail to have warmed your hearts, as they have warmed mine. Que spirit seems to have pervaded our whole assembly; and so long as
memory shall retain any trace of the events which belong to this interesting occasion, that spirit can hardly become dorinaut. “Who can reflect upon these things, without the strongest emotions of admiration and astonishment? And is it not a remarkable circumstance, that at the very moment, when we possess the will and the power to circulate the Scriptures through so many lands, there should
be on every side such an anxiety to
possess them 2 If the shower is descending to the earth, the earth also is prepared for the shower. lato particulars l cannot enter: but whoever will read the correspondence of the society, as annually given to the public, will be delighted at the expressions of joy and gratitude, which arise from every quarter on the prospect of receiving the word of God. The poor and destitute have every where hailed the heavenly treasure, with emotions which words can but feebly express ; but their prayers have ascended, and their tears have slowed, in behalf of those benefactors in longland to whom they acknowledge themselves indebted for the best of earthly gifts. Yes, even in countries with which we are engaged in war, we have a powerful party; all those are with us, who love the Scriptures and who fear their God; and looking to England as the sacred asylum of religion, and the last hope of a miserable world, thousands, of whom we know nothing, and whom we never cau know, till that day shall declare them, in their constant addresses to the Throne of Grace, solicit the best blessings of Heaven upon this favoured and happy land: nor will they solicit in vain.
“That any objections should be raised against an institution, thus abundant in good works, and thus liberal in acts of mercy, might have appeared incredible, had not recent experience established the fact. Still less could it have been imagined that men of talent, and piety, and learning, would have embarked in such a cause. For the truth of the fact, however, we need only advert to the occurrences of the last few days. And what is the amount of their objection Truly it is neither more nor less than this : that our measures have a tendency to ruin the Church of England. Does the dispersion of the Scriptures tend to ruin the church 2 We have abandoned no one point of doctrine; we have surrendered no one point of discipline ; we retain every syllable of our liturgy and articles and homilies: we have compromised nothing : we mean to compromise nothing: we leave to every man the free exercise of his own judgment and conscience, and we claim for ourselves a similar privilege. Ruin the church 2 Where then is the discretion of all our archbishops and bishops, of all the dignitaries and beneficed clergy, and of all those members of the establishment, who have supported the Bible Society? Can it be believed that they are so weak in understanding, or so desperately impelled by inverted ambition, as to join in a scheme of this tendency – Let us never forget, that the Scriptures, for the dispersion of which we are thus publicly arraigned, are the word of the Most High ; let us never forget, that they contain the dictates of infallible wisdom, and that they are given to us by God himself, as calculated above all other means to make us wise unto salvation and to lead us in the way to heaven. So far, in my opinion, is the Bible Society from being hostile to the establishment, that the very contrary tendency is with me a powerful argument in its favour. Whatever promotes the cause of Christian charity, must infallibly be beneficial to the church; and no means, I am persuaded, were ever yet discovered, so likely to excite and to cherish the genuine feelings of charity in the hearts of all men. If we cannot all think alike, this lesson at least we shall learn, to respect
one another, to forbear with one another, and to provoke each other to love and to good works. “The counsel of those gentlemen who are hostile to the Bible Society. and who recommend us to desert it, appears to me not a little extraordinary. They advise the Dissenters to have their own institution upon a similar basis, but would keep us from the contagion. They would therefore give to them the full popularity of the plan, which would still invite thousands of churchmen, who, in spite of all our remonstrances, would see uo harm in circulating Bibles; and they would probably retain the co-operation of the contnental societies. And what security, I would ask, should we then have, for the purity of the versions distributed throughout the United Kingdom It is evident that they might circulate airy versions they please, corrupt or incorrupt. Thus then we are to throw power into the hands of those, whom we are taught to consider as inveterate enemies, and to do it in a manner the most ungracious, offensive, and exasperating, that can possibly be devised. A more unwise measure, I think, was never proposed by any man, who professed attachment to the church. What does it imply? Our archbishops and bishops, who countenance the Bible Society, are now, forsooth, to confess, with penitent faces, that in the simplicity of their understanding, they have been, for several years, the mere dupes and tools of a parcel of politic dissenters: our nobles are to retire with shame : the numerous and respectable clergy, who have lent us their aid in every part of the kingdom, are now to acknowledge that they too have been the children of infatuation; and by this public act we are to record it as our deliberate opinion, that the circulation of the Scriptures is an evil which must undermine and blow up the Church of England, and be fatal to the best interests of Christianity.