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decisive tone those tenets which were obviously not consistent with these first principles, to select for consideration from the remaining mass so many subjects, as might appear to the numerous advocates of a reformation so to be constituted under any view important to the interests of true religion. It was natural to suppose, that a temperate discussion of these topics would have a tendency, from mutual explanations and reciprocal forbearance, to induce an approximation of opinions, which would not admit of a closer union. And whilst the extreme positions only of each were found to be irreconcileable with those of the other, it became the dictate of piety and prudence in each to acquiesce, in terms, which, if they did not fulfil the wishes of all, afforded yet no positive ground of objection to any. Thus the concession required from individuals was not that which gives up to others an opinion against conviction, a concession of tenets, of the truth of which they were assured : the concession was simply in appreciating the value and importance of those tenets : more obviously, a forbearance shewn in not insisting upon those propositions as fundamental points of doctrine, which did not appear to themselves necessarily such, and which to others might not appear to be in themselves just; a forbearance productive of the most desirable ends, mutual edification in procuring a general consent upon the more important topics, and mutual peace in avoiding to excite unnecessary diversities of opinion upon others less essential to true religion *.”
I conclude that Mr. O'C. is not warranted in denying that a Calvinist can be a true churchman; and that no merited reproach can be cast upon the Bible Society, from the introduction of this topic.
The next tangible accusation is almost too futile to be noticed. “ With an obliging frankness, they” (that is, those whom our author denominates Evangelical Ministers) 66 they tender their services, as secretaries, to the different Bible Societies; and never forget to inform the public that these services are gratuitous.”
* See Remarks on the Design and Formation of the Articles, &c. A Sera : mon preached before the University of Oxford, 1802, by William Lord Bishop
It would be a miserable ostentation * indeed that could be delighted with annexing gratis to one's name." I believe that it originated simply in a desire of giving subscribers information, to which they might consider themselves intitled. This (probably) produced a statement that an Assistant Secretary and Accountant was paid ; but that the principals were not paid. The practice was perhaps imitated, where there was not the same occasion : yet it is not correctly said that “ they never forget," &c. I have a Report of the Hibernian Bible Society before me, containing an account of a great number of its Branches; and among them I have observed but one instance in which the word gratis is annexed to the office of Secretary.
From this charge our author passes to an insinúation, which tends to impeach the authenticity of some of the correspondence of the Bible Society. He introduces this in a sketch, (which accords with his usual style) of the ordinary transactions at ” affiliated Branches, and Bible Associations.” 6 Before some of the latter" (he says) “ often consisting of females, they read awful narratives of providential interferences, of sudden conversions wrought on low profligates, by short passages of Scripture, together with well written letters of thanks, from convicts, under sailing orders to Botany Bay, acknowledging the receipt of Bibles and Testamenis, and imploring blessings on Bible Societies." From what source this account of the business of Bible Associations is derived, I can only conjecture. -- But I am inclined to think that Mr. O'C's own knowledge of the matter must be very limited; because it is to be lamented that Bible Associations are very rare in Ireland. If, however, it were divested of its ornaments, it might perhaps appear not to furnish much ground for objection. But the essential point is the insimuation implied in the manner of mentioning “well written letters of thanks, from convicts, under sailing orders," &c. In this I suppose - there is an allusion to the letter from convicts on board the ship Three Bees, from which there is an extract in No. XXIII. of the Appendix to the 10th Report of the British and Foreign Bible Society. Now it is very true, that the letter is well written ; but it was
* In p. 47, our author accuses the Lists of Subscribers of ostentation, and the alphabetical order of disrespect; though every name has its due honour!. This might be entirely passed over; but that it serves to shew the scantiness of his inaterials for objection, --in matters of facta
signed by 169 persons, and written by one in the name of all, and authenticated by an accompanying letter from the Surgeon of the ship. He states that two months had elapsed from the time the Bibles and Testaments were distributed among them ;--and that “as soon as the matter was proposed (by a Roman Catholic who had never perused the Holy Scriptures before he came on board this ship) they all flocked with gratitude and anxiety to subscribe their names; and I have good reason” (he adds) “ to suppose that not a few of them acted from principle in so doing," Is there any thing incredible in all this? -that, after two months reading, a grateful sentiment should be thus excited, and one convict found among 169 of sufficient abilities and education to produce a well written letter of thanks? It would be idle to dwell upon a case so plain : but in answer to all similar insinuations from whatever quarter, I observe-that the correspondence of the British and Foreign Bible Society has been for twelve years before the world ;-with the fullest opportunities of refutation, and numerous adversaries on the watch:-Yet I confidently ask, where is the single instance which affects the truth of the Reports, or the genuineness of the documents upon which they are founded ? "Our author proceeds to describe the origin and purpose of instituting Bible Associations. “ To elicit, from the poor, part of their hard-earned pittance, penny-a-week Societies have been instituted; and so well has the project succeeded, that the Parent Association boasts, in its reports, that these miserable confederacies are frequently more productive than the auxiliary branches in the same districts." But it is easy to trace these Associations to the wise principle of generally preferring sales, at reduced prices, to gratuitous distribution. To enable the poor to purchase with the greatest convenience, they were allowed and invited to do so by deposits of a penny-a-week. Many of them, not satisfied with their own supply, voluntarily and joyfully continued their subscriptions, which, in the aggregate, most materially enriched the fund for foreign purposes:--a spirit which, instead of earning for them the appellation of " miserable confederacies !” may, I trust, not unfitly be parallelled with what St. Paul testifies of " the grace of God bestowed upon the Churches of Macedonia:" " How that, in a great trial of afflic.
distric producthese me parented; an, pittanco olicitado
tion, the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their . power (I bear record) yea, and beyond their power, they were willing of themselves.” (2 Cor. viii. 2, 3.) i
As to the opportunities afforded to Calvinistic ministers, it is obvious that the same are afforded to all denomina-, tions. And surely Mr. O’C. does not intend to attribute to Calvinists the honour of monopolizing all zeal; or to affirm, that 6 sober and enlightened Christians” are not sufficiently diffused throughout the British nation, to realize the plan which he himself has urged, at the very outset, as essential to a system of religious instruction. (p. 5.)
The remainder of the sections now before us has been collectively anticipated; with the exception of our author's theory of enthusiasm in the 17th section. « The natural effect" (says he) " on the uncultivated mind, of reading the Bible without note or comment, oral or written, is enthusiasm more or less sublimated, according to the temperament of the individual.” Perhaps, where it is not entirely produced by pride, or constitutional derangement, a more probable account of the origin of enthusiasm may be derived from the operation of oral comments upon a suitable temperament or pre-disposition. Impassioned eloquence and action, with the sympathy of a crowded audience, may often act more upon the nerves and feelings than upon the judgment and conscience. But these causes are much more adapted to produce an enthusiastic effect upon ignorance, than upon a mind well stored with scriptural knowledge. The acquisition of this knowledge in the way of private reading has a tendency to create sober habits of thinking, and to fortify the intellect against the assaults of the imagination. Sufficient time is allowed for giving to every faculty its proper exercise ;--the mental nourishment is digested in the calmness of meditation ; the nerves and animal spirits are free from excitement;and intellectual health and vigour are the natural consequences. All this, however, is upon the supposition that a competent, but not an excessive degree of application, be employed. If the reading of the Scriptures so far engross time as to interfere with other duties; or if the study of them be so intense as to intrench upon the proper hours of rest, or any other way to injure the bodily health and constitution; then indeed the effects may be pernicious.
· But the guards which are furnished against such imprudence, by the necessity of labour in the inferior classes of society, must render it a rare occurrence among them; and no man will contend, that universal famine is the best preventative against occasional intemperance. We have therefore no cause to dread that the reading of the Bible, which in general is a calm and temperate exercise, will generate enthusiasm. It is true Mr. OʻC: has told us (p. 16.) that this noxious plant is “ hardy,” “ the growth of every age and climate ;” but I appeal to experience, whether it does not require hot-beds and stimulants, to make it vegetate with much strength or luxuriance?-Let us repress its growth, by the widest dissemination of the most precious of all seeds.
Here we are once more led back to the primitive ages of the Church, and up again to the present; but by a climax, which is far from being supported by historical evidence. “ It cannot be denied" says Mr. O'C. “ that the fathers of the Church were strangely deficient in scriptural knowledge”-and a little after,-- every successive generation was anxious to increase that stock of biblical knowledge, which had been transmitted to them by their forefathers.” Now whatever degree of truth there may be in the first assertion, nothing can be more manifest than the falsehood of the second. It is completely subverted by a retrospect to the dark ages of the Church. I admit, that even before the three first centuries had elapsed, the purity of the Gospel was considerably tarnished, and a fanciful mode of interpreting the Scriptures introduced. But, let the chief source of adulteration be observed. It was in the School of Alexandria, where the Eclectic philosophy prevailed; where it appears to have been forgotten, that “ the world by wisdom knew not God.” Let the pastoral Cyprian be contrasted with his renowned cotemporary Origen, and it will be seen from what quarter the greatest danger is to be apprehended. After all, it seems extravagant to assert in one sweeping sentence, that the men who translated the Scriptures into so many languages; who so largely quoted and commented upon them, that from their surviving writings the moderns are enabled