Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

rrian eign versionsh Scriptures are at

They would not support the Bible Society, distributing, as it does, the authorized version of the Scriptures, without observing something in its constitution which makes it worth the sacrifice. Socinians may now speak at public meetings, where they are sure of a numerous, attentive, and inflammable auditory; and though they are at present prevented from tampering with the English Scriptures, there are no restrictions in regard to foreign versions. Indeed, Mr. Aspland, in his “ Plea for Unitarian Dissenters," distinctly stated that the reason why so few of his communion had associated themselves with the Bible Society, was not any disapprobation of the Society's constitution, but on the contrary, a desire not to prejudice the efforts of the institution, by rendering it ostensibly Socinian.

Such are some of the arguments by which members of the Church of England are induced to withhold their countenance from the Bible Society; and as we are here about to take our leave of Mr. Poynder, we will first advert to the catalogue of motives to which he has been pleased to assign the influence of the above and other reasons. It is not the most honourable feature in the authoritative productions of the Bible Society, that they have ever been liberal of their criminatory attacks on all who have not been disposed to allow to the utmost their extravagant assumptions. Mr. Poynder should have bethought himself of his own quotation, “ Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth,”* before he presumed to charge Clergymen of the Church of England, as pious and zealous as himself, with “ an inadequate sense of the value of the blessings which the Bible conveys;" and "an inadequate sense of the importance of individual conversion.” By the latter, as we collect from Mr. Poynder's language, is to be understood the Calvinistic doctrine of the nonbaptismal regeneration; and if there be any argument in this part of that gentleman's pamphlet, it can only amount to this, that the Bible Society, after all its high professions of neutrality, is committed to Calvinism. Let Mr. Poynder inform us what class of Clergymen “repudiate as so much enthusiasm" the doctrine of “THE LIFE OF GOD IN THE SOUL OF MAN.” Mr. Poynder will find on the catalogue of that Society, which the Bible Society have spoken so fair and treated so injuriously, an excellent book, bearing that very title. And he may find too, upon inquiry (a pursuit to which he appears little addicted), that the calumniated Clergy in question preach constantly the necessity of a conversion from dead works to serve the living God, although they do not lead their hearers to expect any instantaneous and irresistible impulses as the means or warrant of regeneration. “ An undue exaltation of a national Church”

* P. 28.

is another cause assigned by Mr. Poynder. As this is a question of sentiment, it must be decided accordingly. We cannot, however, omit cursorily to observe, that Mr. Poynder is of opinion, that " the legal establishment of the Church of Scotland, by the Act of Union," has virtually decided “the validity of Presbyterian ordination.”* Whether this be an undue exaltation of a national legislature must be left to the consideration of our readers. . · Mr. Poynder's next complimentary explanation of the motives which actuate his opponents, is “a determined adherence to the maxims and habits of thinking which belonged to a period of comparative darkness." Here the Bible Society demands a monopoly of intelligence, as well as a monopoly of piety. But “not he who commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth." + The adversaries of the Bible Society have backed their “ maxims” with facts and arguments; and it would have been more to Mr. Poynder's credit to have refuted these than to have dealt in vain accusations. His next “ cause” is particularly offensive, and it shall be stated in his own words.

Another cause which some, not inattentive, observers of men and things are disposed to assign for clerical opposition to the Bible Society, may possibly be found in the patronage afforded to those in the Church who have publicly entered the lists against that Society. Certainly the cases, if not numerous, are yet not few, in which a vigorous, and often unprovoked, attack upon our Society has been promptly followed by preferment in the Church, which, however it may have been really referable to other causes, such, for instance, as sermons against Calvinism, or pamphlets against sectaries, has been generally attributed, by public consent, to services of this description. Now, although the maxim of 6 Vox populi, vox Dei," is far from infallible, yet it was an accurate observer of mankind, who said, “ Interdum vulgus rectum videt;" and if it can be shown, that encouragement of this kind has often, or ever, been afforded to those who have chosen to make the Bible Society a stepping-stone to emolument or fame, it is quite in the nature of things that such an incentive should operate as a sort of “ premium virtutis” to other adventurers in the same field of action."Pp. 73–75.

In support of a charge so gross as the opposition of a religious society by the Clergy, for the sake of preferment, some most decisive and irrefragable evidence should have been adduced. The following passage, which immediately succeeds the preceding, we leave, without a syllable of comment, to the indignation of every honourable mind:

I would hope, indeed, for the credit of my own Church, and of those who are the distributors of its honours and advantages, that a supposition of this nature requires BETTER EVIDENCE THAN I PROFESS TO HAVE FOUND, OR AM ANXIOUS TO DISCOVER.-P. 75.

The last " cause" adduced by Mr. Poynder is an exaggeration of the evils attending the Society. This must, of course, be matter of opinion.

* P. 66.

† 2 Cor. x. 18.

* We will now prosecute our inquiries into the conduct of the Bible Society, by the light afforded us by Mr. Powys, to whose mild and tranquil persuasions we cheerfully revert, from the dark and narrow bigotry of Mr. Poynder; and next let us hear him on the practice of female collectors.

With respect to the Female Bible Associations, let the principle thus recognised and acted on be fairly considered on scriptural grounds. Let us, in the first place, recollect that the “ woman” was the first “ in the transgression." (1 Tim. ii. 14.) And is it not most natural and becoming, on that account, that woman should take an active part in administering that effectual remedy which the Bible alone contains for all the dreadful consequences of that transgression? Let us consider also that the promised Saviour of the world was to be " the seed of the woman,” and was accordingly " made of a woman." (Gen. iii. 15. Gal. iv. 4.) What a distinguished honour has thus been conferred on the female sex! And how can woman better prove her sense of such an honour, than by taking a part in circulating that divine revelation which announces to all people a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord ? (Luke ii. 10, 11.) Let us call to mind that females were foremost in “ ministering to Christ of their substance” (Luke viii. 3) during his life on earth; that their tender sympathies were peculiarly called forth, during his last sufferings and crucifixion, (Luke xxiii. 27; John xix. 25); and that some of that sex were first at the sepulchre on the morning of his resurrection, (Matt. xxviii. 1, &c.) How many benevolent and useful offices did Christian females fulfil as “succourers of the apostles," as “helpers in Christ," as " servants of churches," as “ fellowlabourers in the Gospel!” (Acts xviii. 26; Rom. xvi. 1-13; Phil. iv. 3.) Is there then any just ground to suppose that the state of the church and of the world is so entirely changed, that Christian females are incapable of similar offices now? Is there any sufficient cause why they should be excluded from such “ labours of love" in our days? Surely the providence of God has endued the female sex with an influence peculiar to itself; and how can that influence be better exerted than in works of Christian benevolence?-Pp. 33, 34.

To us we confess it is impossible to read without a smile this imposing array of scriptural authorities, all so entirely misplaced. We beg to add Tit. ii. 5, wherein the women are instructed to be discreet," and " keepers at home," " that the Word of God be not blasphemed.”

But

We now come to that part of the proceedings of the Society which consists in distributing the Holy Scriptures, and in promoting their translation into various languages. The extent to which this has been accomplished in twenty-six years is most extraordinary. The number of languages and dialects into which the distribution, printing, or translation of the Scriptures, in whole or in part, has been promoted by the British and Foreign Bible Society, either directly or indirectly, amounts to one hundred and forty-eight, out of which there are sixty-four languages and dialects in which the Scriptures have never been printed before.— Pp. 36, 37.

Yet, as Mr. Powys adds from another source,

The essential importance, however, of this fact, rests on the supposition, that by these translations, the truth of God is really communicated to mankind; or, in other words, that the translations faithfully render the meaning -of the originals, so that by reading these books, the nations may be instructed in the knowledge of God as he has revealed himself in Christ Jesus.-P.37.

is another cause assigned by Mr. Poynder. As this is a question of sentiment, it must be decided accordingly. We cannot, however, omit cursorily to observe, that Mr. Poynder is of opinion, that " the legal establishment of the Church of Scotland, by the Act of Union," has virtually decided “the validity of Presbyterian ordination.”* Whether this be an undue exaltation of a national legislature must be left to the consideration of our readers. · Mr. Poynder's next complimentary explanation of the motives which actuate his opponents, is “ a determined adherence to the maxims and habits of thinking which belonged to a period of comparative darkness.” Here the Bible Society demands a monopoly of intelligence, as well as a monopoly of piety. But “not he who commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.” +

The adversaries of the Bible Society have backed their “ maxims" with facts and arguments; and it would have been more to Mr. Poynder's credit to have refuted these than to have dealt in vain accusations. His next “ cause" is particularly offensive, and it shall be stated in his own words.

Another cause which some, not inattentive, observers of men and things are disposed to assign for clerical opposition to the Bible Society, may possibly be found in the patronage afforded to those in the Church who have publicly entered the lists against that Society. Certainly the cases, if not numerous, are yet not few, in which a vigorous, and often unprovoked, attack upon our Society has been promptly followed by preferment in the Church, which, however it may have been really referable to other causes, such, for instance, as sermons against Calvinism, or pamphlets against sectaries, has been generally attributed, by public consent, to services of this description. Now, although the maxim of Vox populi, vox Dei," is far from infallible, yet it was an accurate observer of mankind, who said, “ Interdum vulgus rectum videt;" and if it can be shown, that encouragement of this kind has often, or ever, been afforded to those who have chosen to make the Bible Society a stepping-stone to emolument or fame, it is quite in the nature of things that such an incentive should operate as a sort of “ premium virtutis” to other adventurers in the same field of action."Pp. 73–75.

In support of a charge so gross as the opposition of a religious society by the Clergy, for the sake of preferment, some most decisive and irrefragable evidence should have been adduced. The following passage, which immediately succeeds the preceding, we leave, without a syllable of comment, to the indignation of every honourable mind:

I would hope, indeed, for the credit of my own Church, and of those who are the distributors of its honours and advantages, that a supposition of this nature requires BETTER EVIDENCE THAN I PROFESS TO HAVE FOUND, OR AN ANXIOUS TO DISCOVER.-P. 75.

The last “ cause” adduced by Mr. Poynder is an exaggeration of the evils attending the Society. This must, of course, be matter of opinion.

* P. 66.

[ocr errors]

We will now prosecute our inquiries into the conduct of the Bible Society, by the light afforded us by Mr. Powys, to whose mild and tranquil persuasions we cheerfully revert, from the dark and narrow bigotry of Mr. Poynder; and next let us hear him on the practice of female collectors.

With respect to the Female Bible Associations, let the principle thus recognised and acted on be fairly considered on scriptural grounds. Let us, in the first place, recolleet that the “ woman” was the first “ in the transgression.” (1 Tim. ii. 14.) And is it not most natural and becoming, on that account, that woman should take an active part in administering that effectual remedy which the Bible alone contains for all the dreadful consequences of that transgression? Let us consider also that the promised Saviour of the world was to be “the seed of the woman," and was accordingly “ made of a woman.” (Gen. iii. 15. Gal. iv. 4. What a distinguished honour has thus been conferred on the female sex! And how can woman better prove her sense of such an honour, than by taking a part in circulating that divine revelation which announces to all people a Šaviour, which is Christ the Lord ? (Luke ii. 10, 11.) Let us call to mind that females were foremost in “ministering to Christ of their substance” (Luke viji, 3) during his life on earth; that their tender sympathies were peculiarly called forth, during his last sufferings and crucifixion, (Luke xxiii. 27; John xix. 25); and that some of that sex were first at the sepulchre on the morning of his resurrection, (Matt. xxviii. 1, &c.) How many benevolent and useful offices did Christian females fulfil as “succourers of the apostles," as “ helpers in Christ,” as “ servants of churches," as “ fellowlabourers in the Gospel!” (Acts xviii. 26; Rom. xvi. 1-13; Phil. iv. 3.) Is there then any just ground to suppose that the state of the church and of the world is so entirely changed, that Christian females are incapable of similar offices now? Is there any sufficient cause why they should be excluded from such “ labours of love” in our days? Surely the providence of God has endued the female sex with an influence peculiar to itself; and how can that influence be better exerted than in works of Christian benevolence?—Pp. 33, 34.

To us we confess it is impossible to read without a smile this imposing array of scriptural authorities, all so entirely misplaced. We beg to add Tit. ii. 5, wherein the women are instructed to be discreet," and " keepers at home," " that the Word of God be not blasphemed."

But

We now come to that part of the proceedings of the Society which consists in distributing the Holy Scriptures, and in promoting their translation into various languages. The extent to which this has been accomplished in twenty-six years is most extraordinary. The number of languages and dialects into which the distribution, printing, or translation of the Scriptures, in whole or in part, has been promoted by the British and Foreign Bible Society, either directly or indirectly, amounts to one hundred and forty-eight, out of which there are sixty-four languages and dialects in which the Scriptures have never been printed before.—Pp. 36, 37.

Yet, as Mr. Powys adds from another source, · The essential importance, however, of this fact, rests on the supposition, that by these translations, the truth of God is really communicated to mankind; or, in other words, that the translations faithfully render the meaning of the originals, so that by reading these books, the nations may be instructed in the knowledge of God as he has revealed himself in Christ Jesus.-P. 37.

« AnteriorContinuar »