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these afflicting and exceptionable statements, coming as they did, not from a Socinian, but from a member of the Church of England? And I might say the same, as respects what is objected to in the proceedings of Bible Societies abroad. We have been told, though with much unfairness and exaggeration, of the evil conduct of certain Bible Societies on the continent; but, my lord, one and all of these professed to belong to orthodox churches. The conduct of Professor Levade, for example, has been most severely vituperated by Mr. Haldane and his friends, in the matter of the Lausanne Testament; but would Mr. Gordon's test of a belief in " a tri-une Jehovah" have prevented the mischief, or expelled Dr. Levade from a Bible-Society committee? My lord, I have at this moment on my table Dr. Levade's own book of prayers, printed many years ago, and long before this controversy; and on opening it I find the whole work thus solemnly dedicated: "Au Nom de la tres sainte et adorable Trinite, de Dieu le Pere, le Fils et le Saint Esprit." I write not this at present to defend Professor Levade against the charges urged against him (and as I think, from what I can judge by his writings, urged most unjustly), but only to prove of how little value, on the shewing of our friends themselves, is the test they propose, or is any test which is contented with a mere nominal orthodoxy to do that which can alone be done by the Christian and religious feeling of the united body of members. The more our opposers see fit to vituperate such individuals as Professor Levade, the more they shew the invalidity of a test. Even if Dr. Levade's words can be so translated as not to be truly orthodox, they are at least verbally Trinitarian; and this is the only point to which I am at present adverting. But I repeat, that it is not from those who are either doubtful or heterodox in regard to the Holy and Undivided Trinity, that the chief practical opposition arises to what is most spiritual in the public meetings of the Bible Society. Addresses full of holiness and unction are always hailed with delight by the great body of Christians assembled on such occasions; and if a tacit rebuke meet the glowing speaker, it is not from some Socinian who happens to sit quietly in a solitary nook, but from nominal Trinitarians; who, though for some secondary end they have joined the Bible Society, hold in utter abhor* rence all that they profanely call cant, and neither know, nor wish to know, the heights, and lengths, and breadths, and depths of the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Two or three such men, lay, clerical, or even episcopal, will freeze a platform, and chill a whole meeting, which no Socinian would ever have thought of venturing to assail. It may be pride, it may be despair of success, or it may be good taste; but the fact is as I have stated it, with regard to the practical bearing of the Socinians in their occasional intercourse with the Bible Society.
It is not then for the sake of actual convenience that the proffered alteration is necessary; and I have already shewn what appear to me strong reasons to prove that it is not necessary upon principle, or expedient in its effects. There only remains, then, the argument, that whether necessary or not, it would be a glorious occasion for protesting against this heresy. Protest, my lord? What is every copy of the word of God but a protest; a protest more strong than any that could be couched in the words of man's devising; a protest, moreover, not against one heresy, but all heresies; and of this protest so full, so unanswerable,—the protest of Infinite Wisdom itself,—more than seven million copies have been scattered around the world.
Christ. Observ. No. 363. 2 B
Look at these Bibles; count them; follow them in their circumnavigation of charity; and then, my lord, need I say that this Society protests against Socinianism?
If, my lord, I have shewn the proposal to exclude Socinians to have been practically superfluous, still more so, if possible, is that to expel Roman Catholics: first, because there is not the slightest allegation that Roman Catholics have ever obtruded themselves upon our committees; and, secondly, because of all classes of persons in the world they are those whom every true Protestant must wish to interest in the work of distributing the Scriptures. The expulsion of Roman Catholics is another pregnant illustration of the folly of once beginning to introduce the plan of tests ; for no such proposition had been heard of a few months ago: if Socinians were rejected, we were assured all would be right; we should then have a scriptural society; but so it happened, that while Mr. Irving.Mr. Gordon, and various other speakers and writers, were insisting so stronglyupon the application of 1 Cor. v. 11 tothesociety, in which passage occurs the word " idolaters," Mr. Gordon was called to -advocate in the House of Commons a petition from Scotland, in which .Papists were designated by that very title; whereupon, said the Christian Observer, why do you not in common consistency, upon your own shewing, if the text applies at all to the Bible Society, reject Roman Catholics as well as Socinians? Good, said our friends; we had never thought of that: it is certainly quite necessary to have another test. . Besides, rejoined Mr. Phillips (see his published speech, at the formation of the " Trinitarian Bible-Society"), you know that Roman Catholics are not Trinitarians, so that we can with the better grace reject them: though, after all, it was a very ludicrous proceeding to reject men who had rejected themselves; and was much as if a radical club of mechanics should vote that no prince, peer, or prelate should be permitted to frequent their meetings. However, in consequence of what the Christian Observer said, though it was only meant to shew the absurdity of beginning with tests, which must extend to infinity, and not as really recommending so foolish and useless a measure as gravely to decree that neither pope nor cardinal shall find a chair in Sackville Street, the new Bible Society actually adopted a test to keep out all such persons from their membership; and has thus entailed upon your lordship's humble correspondent the trouble of examining how far the old Society's want of restriction in this respect, during eight-and-twenty years' experience, had rendered any such regulation practically necessary. I do not, however, regret having done so; for I have found the Society's operations in regard to Roman Catholics to be among its most interesting features, and greatly must they rejoice the heart of every man who wishes to see that corrupt church totter to its downfall, the pure word of God ejecting the delusions of the mass book, and scriptural doctrine and holy discipline erected on the ruins.
Thus then, my lord, I turn to the case of the Papists : but in doing so, I give no pledge that I will in future follow up every new vagary of test and exclusion that may be henceforth devised; for if I am to discuss the history of every sect and party which the new objectors to the Bible Society's principle may go on to reject in succession, I am not likely soon to stop. Even while I am writing, an advertisement is pat into my hands with the ink scarcely dry uponit, in which the Sackville-street committee apprise their suhscribers that they have proceeded in their work of expurgation, by excluding from their body two more of the very classes of persons whom the Christian Observer recommended to their attention as soon as they should have done with the Roman Catholics; namely, "those who ascribe sin, or a tendency to sin, to our Lord's humanity," and those who believe "in alleged miracles and the gift of unknown tongues*." Not that the Christian Observer meant in these cases, any
■ By the way, the so-called Trinitarian committee, being secret, irresponsible, and self-elected, and taking the whole management into their own hands, without condescending to consult that servum pecus their subscribers and members, advertise that they shall not call a meeting of the Society, to authorise these new tests; for that, though the above exceptionable persons are entitled by the Society's rules to membership, it is guarantee sufficient that the committee exercise their own discretion "in excluding from the management of the Society's affairs every person whose principles or whose conduct may practically interfere with the faithful and successful discbarge of the solemn and important duties for which they are responsible." Now what Jesuitism is this, after all their invectives against the Bible Society for doing the very same things in regard to one class, which they are doing in regard to another. They admit that persons may be properly members whom it is not desirable to choose for committee-men; and is not this precisely what the Bible Society does in the case of Socinians? But what is lawful in Sackville-street is not so in Earl-street. I say nothing of the rest of the advertisement, to which the name of "J. E. Gordon, V'. P., Chairman," is affixed, except that it is one so thoroughly dogmatical and dictatorial, that I can only wonder that any body of subscribers to a voluntary society can choose thus to give their money, and be exhibited to the world in leadingstrings. This, however, is a matter of taste; and if they like it, others have no right to complain. They were, however, entrapped, as is well known, in the whole business: they were not aware, and, their leaders carefully concealed from them, that they were forming a society to be conducted by a secret committee with closed doors, and that not only are the four classes above-mentioned excluded, but all clergymen, dissenting mimsters, and large subscribers are ejected from the right which they possess in all former Bible Societies, of knowing what is passing in the committee, watching over the funds, preventing jobs and trickery, and seeing that the confidence of the subscribers is not abused. No such guarantee is pretended to exist in the Trinitarian Society. "J. E. Gordon, V. P." is to stand in place of all such vulgar checks. If any persons are so abject as to like this, I have no wish to interfere with their predilections. Well may the advertisement say, that "the confidence of the Christian public in the committee has been considerably shaken, and in some instances entirely forfeited." The committee hope, however, that this confidence will be restored by their ungratefully and fraudulently ejecting the very persons to whom they are chiefly indebted for the formation of the Society; amongst others, Mr. Perceval, Lieut. Rhind, Mr. Boys, and, had he still been living, my dear sainted friend Mr. Hawtrey. I am certainly, my lord, no advocate for pseudo-modern miracles; but could any man have ever supposed that any committee could have felt itself sunk so low in public estimation, as to wish to revive its credit by publishing advertisements in all the religious periodical publications, to announce that no person who believes Miss Fancourt's cure to be miraeulous is fit to assist in distributing Trinitarian Bibles? No, my lord, this notable manifesto will not restore "forfeited confidence;" let them retract their calumnies against the Bible Society; implore pardon of God for desolating his church; open their committee to the ministers of Christ; produce their books and vouchers, and let their subscribers know how many hundreds of pounds have been expended in circulating libels on their brethren, whereas not a word is said of their having begun to circulate any copies of the word of God. As Mr. Gordon has made himself responsible by putting his signature to the above advertisement, I call upon him by name, to exhibit, if he dare, the Sackville-street books, correspondence, and expenses from the formation of the provisional committee, which have been covered up with such scrupulous secresy. However, as I am not a subscriber, and have it not therefore upon my conscience that any fraction of my guinea has gone to circulate libels instead of the word of God, it is not for me to complain if the heedless donors are satisfied. When Mr. Gordon answers this question he will perhaps also explain why clergymen and dissenting ministers were slyly ejected from their right of attending the committee. He speaks in the advertisement of "the objects which the Trinitarian Bible Society was designed to promote." I fully believe that there were other objects than the simple circulation of the word of God, and this advertisement confirms me in my opinion. In the statement respecting this Society in the Christian Observer for February, your lordship will see that the secret committee have selected more than in that of the Roman Catholics, that this exclusion was really necessary where there was no object but to promote the glory of God and the salvation of mankind by circulating the Holy Scriptures without note or comment; but only to shew that, upon the new principle, the testing must go on step by step, as often as any person chooses to point out a new class to be ostracised. The two new tests, I must say, besides all their other demerits, are abundantly puerile. To expel a man from a Bible-Society committee for believing that God was pleased to restore a young lady to health, in answer to prayer, by a wonderful display of his goodness and mercy amounting to a miracle! Really, the objectors to the Bible Society must have gravely intended to render all tests ridiculous, by resorting to a test like this. They have no tests against drunkards, duellists, Antimonians, swearers, Swedenborgians, Sandcmanians, and a thousand other vices of creed and life; all these are united " in spiritual union:" but let a good man, like poor dear Hawtrey, have a weak but pious fancy, and he is forthwith expelled with scorn from the "Trinitarian Bible-Society conducted upon scriptural principles," to herd with Socinians and Roman Catholics, and all that is outcast and refuse, as not worthy to join the secret, self-chosen, infallible brotherhood of Sackville-street. But this only, my lord, in passing, just to shew that I shall not feel bound to follow the objectors to every new variety of exclusionism, and catch each Cynthia of the moment: but the Roman Catholics being first on the list, after the Socinians, deserve a few paragraphs: and never, I must say, was exclusion so unwise, so unnecessary, so fatuitous as this; as I shall now proceed briefly to prove.
The Council of Trent hermetically sealed the Papal Church against the popular perusal of the Scriptures, which are able to make men wise unto salvation. I am aware, indeed, that some Roman-Catholic divines have construed the Tren tine decree less strictly; but generally speaking, this was both the theory and the practice. At the time when the Bible Society commenced its operations, you might have travelled all over Europe and scarcely found a copy of the Scriptures in the hands of the Roman-Catholic laity, except as here and there a library book, usually in many volumes, and the copies both vernacular and learned poisoned with delusive notes. Certainly no man could have anticipated the unparalleled success that would follow in this respect from the operation of Bible Societies. What hath God wrought! To Him alone be the glory!
Your lordship can scarcely have forgotten the burst of delight and wonder which pervaded the minds of the early friends of the Bible Society when the unexpected but welcome intelligence arrived that it had pleased God to open the hearts of certain Roman-Catholics on the continent to receive his holy word. It was in the year 1804, amidst the
for a member of their body a gentleman who has foisted a portion of the apocrypha- into the word of God, and altered the text of n most important passage, just to suit aprophetienl theory, in a manner which no neologian in all Germany would have dared to do. I see among the other elected members the name of " Mr. Haldane," a relative I suppose of Mr. K. Haldane, whose more than-dozen publications against the Bible Society are on my shelves; a gentleman I believe of the Baptist persuasion, whose avowed bitterness against the Church of England is not exceeded by that of any person in the three kingdoms. The Trinitarian Society, the clergy ought to know, gives no pledge that there shall be a single member of our church on its committee; and a clergyman has no privilege to attend in virtue of his subscription; so that there is not the slightest guarantee respecting the "objects " or proceedings of the committee, save and except "J. E. Gordon, V. IV And this is n society which asks for public confidence, on the ground that the Bible Society, comprising a majority of the best, and wisest, and most holy men in the kingdom, and with a committee whose doors and books are at all times thrown widely open to publicity, has forfeited it.
horrors of war and the convulsions of Europe, that a packet found its way to the London Bible-Society, from a Catholic priest in Swabia, imploring, not silver or gold, or arms or gunpowder, but Bibles; and offering to assist in forming a Bible institution, and to aid in distributing the Scriptures, and announcing that the RomauCatholics were beginning to ask for the Bible, and that many of their priests " not only would tolerate, but recommend, the reading of it." I must copy a passage of this proto-document, to shew its spirit.
"Now I beg you, my dear brother in Christ, to receive these few lines in love. I wrote this, trusting it might be acceptable to your venerable Society. I cannot express, in terms sufficiently strong, the fervency of my joy, and of my love towards all who, throughout England, heartily believe in Jesus Christ us their only Saviour, and zealously endeavour to extend the Redeemer's kingdom. I embrace them all as the beloved and elect of God, as friends and brethren in Christ, let them be of whatever name, or belong to whatever church or denomination. The more distant the countries, and the more different the outward forms and establishments are, the more I rejoice, if I am privileged to hear that our ever-faithful Lord and Saviour is gathering from among them a flock of believing people. Truly God has a numerous army of resenv in England, who do not bow before the Baal of the age, nor sacrifice to the god of the times. Let all who know His name, glorify Him for this mercy! May the peace of God, and the all-sufficient grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, be with you all!"
Need I say, my lord, with what joy this communication was received by the friends of the Society, and particularly the venerable Bishop Porteus, at whose tabic Mr. Owen read it publicly by his lordship's desire? The correspondence led to the grant of a thousand Protestant New-Testaments to the people whose cause this Catholic priest (I dare for once to omit the epithet "Roman" even in addressing your lordship) had pathetically described. I may just notice an incidental proof arising out of this transaction of the Society's anxious care to act rightly in regard to the purity of its versions; that when a continental Bible-Society had agreed, not suspecting any impropriety, to commute the Protestant Testaments for the Roman-Catholic version, the London Society refused to ratify the exchange. Every chapter of the Society's transactions abounds in such facts: I only mention this as one among a thousand illustrations, in refutation of the calumnies so industriously scattered abroad respecting this invaluable institution. Mr. Owen, little expecting the present controversy, says on this transaction:
"The author has been studiously particular in relating the circumstances of this transaction, because they serve to illustrate the cautious prudence, and conscientious exactitude, with which the committee of the British and Foreign Bible Society have been accustomed to act. It will appear, from what has been stated, how careful they were, in this instance (as they will be found to have been in every similar trial), to guard against being carried away by their best feelings, and by the tempting prospect of an immediate good, so as to adopt a measure which might, by however forced a construction, be interpreted into a violation of the letter or the spirit of their regulations."
The Roman-Catholic priest took the whole matter in an excellent spirit, and wrote as follows on the occasion:
"I feel the highest regard for the wise and prudent zeal of the English Bible-committee, because it is my own desire to see the pure and genuine word of God spread, and I am so entirely against all corruption of this invaluable treasure, that I myself would prevent it by ail means in my power. As the degeneracy of all outward churches is so great and general, and threatens to become still greater and more general, I comfort myself with this, that the Lord is retiring into the inner temple, and more gloriously building up the invisible church. At least he does not sit idle at the right band of his Father, nor can he lose his suit; whatever may now be the appearance, he must finally be the gainer. Our duty however is this, to pray more earnestly than ever, c Let thy kingdom come !' and 'Lord abide with us, for it is towards evening.' Dr. Sailer (who by his truly evangelical instructions and writings has proved a great blessing to the Roman Catholics in Germany) thus expresses himself in his last book: 'Christianity is fixed so firmly on its own basis, that, after it has outlived the times of persecution, after it has remained unshaken in the age of superstition, it will also outlive this age of infidelity and contempt. Therefore, we cannot sufficiently rejoice that we are privileged to serve such a Muster, who is infinitely superior to all His enemies; who has the