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first formed the design, but to that God who put it into their hearts to do so.
To form a design for communicating the word of God alone, without comment or note, to every person in every nation through the whole earth, to each in his own language; to enable, even without miracle, prophets and apostles to speak to every man, all over the globe, in his own tongue; and to form such a plan as, if adequate means can be attained, will without doubt accomplish this object, and which for the time has •accomplished more than its most sanguine friends could have hoped: this is an attempt unexampled in the annals of the world, and it overwhelms the mind with its vastness and its excellency.
It is to communicate to those who " sit in dark"ness" the whole of that sacred word; a small part of Avhich caused David to exclaim, " The en"trance of thy word giveth light, it giveth under"standing to the simple." "Thy testimony is "sure making wise the simple." It is to communicate to those "who are in the region and shadow "of death" " the light of life." Much is heard of enlightened nations, and of the great luminaries of learning and philosophy; but here alone we have " the light of life!" The holy scriptures are able to "make us wise unto salvation, through "faith in Jesus Christ," and " thoroughly to fur"nish us for every good work."l I might enlarge, but after what you have heard it is not needful.
1 The woman of Canaan, a Syrophenician, living near Tyre, without the borders of the promised land, where probably neither Priests, Levites, nor Synagogues were found, had obtained and
The design of this Society, though uniform in its grand object, and simple beyond all example, is, by the state of the world, compelled to assume a two-fold aspect; as its very name implies. 'The * British and Foreign Bible Society.'—As the British Bible Society, it purposes to furnish the inhabitants of Britain with the sacred scriptures alone, without other books, and without note or comment, and exclusively in the authorized version.—As the Foreign Bible Society, it purposes not to terminate or limit its exertions; but to persevere in endeavouring, by all proper means, to supply the inhabitants of all nations with the sacred scriptures, in approved translations already made, or to be made for the purpose, each country and tribe in its own language. To each of these attempts objections and oppositions have been made: but, my friends, what good design was ever set on foot in this evil world, to which no opposition, no objection was made? Such a design as I have stated, indeed, directly aims at the subversion of the kingdom of the prince of darkness, the " god of this world." And can it be expected that he will suffer his kingdom to be subverted without exciting opposition?
I own it does not appear to me that the opposition made, and the objections brought against the Society, will produce much effect on those who, with a candid and impartial mind, have opportunity and leisure fully to investigate the subread the scriptures of the Old Testament, and had heard of the miracles of Jesus; and, comparing them together, she was led to believe in him as the promised Messiah, and was a disciple of superior excellence: and this by the word of God alone, read, and without a preacher.
ject; but the bulk of those to whom the Society looks for a large part of its resources are, in gTeat measure, out of the way of those accurate researches which are needful to repel the assaults of its opponents; while their arguments are plausible, and may easily impose on such as are but partially informed on the subject. I shall, therefore, beg your candid attention to a few remarks, or questions relating to it.
In respect of the home department of the Bible Society, our opponents strenuously contend, that it is wholly inconsistent in the members of the establishment, to countenance or support a Society for dispensing Bibles alone, unaccompanied by the Common Prayer Book; and that it will prove subversive of the church of England. This is their grand objection; urged in every way, and enforced by every argument they can adduce.
As a member, and now for above forty years a minister, of the established church, I may be supposed to have some predilection for her. And, if the circulation of any other book, except the Bible, was thought likely to subvert the church of England, I should firmly discountenance the circulation: but, if the dispersion of the word of God Alone tend to subvert the church, then let it be subverted!
But do the members of our church, by supporting the Bible Society, indeed exclude themselves from giving away Prayer Books, or the Homilies, or any other books; or from forming societies for dispersing them? When a number of persons form a eoal-shed for supplying the poor with fuel alone, do they exclude themselves from giving away bread, shoes, or clothes? May not each member, if he choose, accompany his ticket for a bushel of coals, with a loaf, or a garment, or any other useful article? He cannot, indeed, procure them at. the coal-shed, but must apply for them elsewhere; because, in order to accomplish to the greater effect, and with more general assistance, its one object, the society find it needful to attend to it exclusively.
I ask, again, have fewer Prayer Books, in point of fact, been dispersed since the establishment of the Bible Society than were before? Have not more, far more than previously, been dispersed in the same number of years? I answer, without fear of confutation, that far more have been dispersed, Is this the effect which the objection requires?
I inquire again, Have the various denominations of dissenters no favourite books or pamphlets, in which they suppose the principles they severally hold, and hold as the reason for their dissenting to be clearly stated and proved? Are there no such works as the Assembly's Catechism, among one description, and others among those of different sentiments? yet do not they recede (not indeed from the liberty of dispersing them, but) from the expectation of procuring them with their Bibles from the same society, in order to unite with their brethren in one grand design, of furnishing the inhabitants of the land and of the globe, with the word of God. Do they, in conceding this, fear the subversion of their several bodies? Do they manifest any jealousy on this head? And shall the Church of England alone shrink from the effects of circulating the word of God alone? Let all who would honour her, protest against such a disgraceful suggestion! I am confident she has nothing to fear in this respect.
But do not the dissenters give up even more than we of the Church of England, in supporting the home department of the Bible Society? It is well known that our present authorized translation was made by bishops and divines of the established church, and that it is, in every way, our translation. The dissenters are not destitute of persons fully competent to form a translation of their own: yet they, without hesitation, concur in the plan of dispersing the authorized version alone among the inhabitants of Britain: our version, attended with no comments or pamphlets from themselves. And do they, without complaint, in order to promote the great philanthropic design, determine to leave all their own peculiarities at the door of those buildings in which the meetings of the Society are held, lest they should impede the main object; and shall the members and ministers of bur church alone complain of this concession t Shall we alone determine not to enter, unless we may bring our peculiar sentiments along with us, to clog and retard the motions of the Society? My friends, let us be ashamed of a conduct so derogatory to the honour of that church to which we belong.
When a fire takes place, and threatens to spread its devastations, and persons offer their assistance to work the engines and to stop its progress, we do not previously inquire concerning their religious principles, before we allow them to assist us. My brethren, sin is the fire, the destructive ravages of which prevail all over the world, with the mOst