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out just offence to any, conceive that more good is likely to be produced by the popular and expansive force of a society where every member has a voice in the application of his contributions. With many, a personal knowledge of the directors of one association will induce them to prefer it to another equally respectable, and there are many who, from experience of the superior activity possessed by most recent institutions, will expect greater and more beneficial exertions from a new society for no other reason than because it is new. But, while there is room and employment for all, while there is a unity of faith, a unity of object, a unity of symbols and Sacraments, a unity of religious and canonical obedience, and, above all, a unity of Christian charity, such institutions may all wish each other good luck in the name of the Lord, with no other rivalry than that of which shall best serve their common Master.
There is another, however, and a more plausible objection made to us, that our Society is only ostensibly anxious for the conversion of the heathen, or the general interests of Christianity, while its main attention is directed, and its inevitable consequences tend to the support of a party among ourselves, whose rise and prevalence have been for some years the objects of peculiar jealousy to the majority of the Church of England. Now it might be, perhaps, sufficient in answer, to enquire by what means, supposing its members to have such intentions, those intentions could be forwarded by
a society for foreign missions. Is it by a fraudulent appropriation to other purposes of the funds which we raise for this specific object ? Our annual accounts are before the world; nor has, indeed, a villainy of this nature been, at any time, imputed to us.
Is it by a selection of enthusiastic or fanatical missionaries, or missionaries remarkable for their adherence to obnoxious opinions ? Even here it would be hard to say how the purposes of party at home would be forwarded by sending our most active partisans abroad; nor would the advantage to the Church be less evident of a conduct which removed from her bosom those persons whose presence is supposed to disturb her peace, to scenes where their peculiarities could do little harm, while the warmth of their zeal might carry them through obstacles under which a calmer spirit would sink.
I will not, however, dissemble my sentiments, nor can any advantage arise from a pretended ignorance of the nature of those accusations which are brought against us. If it had been the object, if it had been the practice of this Society, to disseminate among the Heathen, or elsewhere, those peculiar views of Christianity which are known by the name of Calvin, believing, as I do, though with sincere respect and esteem for the virtue and talents by which those doctrines have been adorned and supported, but believing, as I do, those doctrines to be most injurious to the Divine Majesty, and most pernicious in their ordinary and natural
effects on the human mind, I, for one, would have sought some other means of contributing to the propagation of the Gospel.
But, I speak from personal knowledge when I say that, in no one case has any preference been given in the choice of missionaries to the followers of Calvin over those of Arminius; and that while enthusiasm of all kinds has been discouraged by the managers of our institution, with a jealousy little less than that which has been exerted against positive immorality, they have been contented to exhort their agents to a more zealous attention to those points in which all Churchmen are agreed, and to moderation as to those on which they themselves were divided.
It is by our fruits, however, that we desire to be judged, and if the exclusive employment of missionaries, either episcopally ordained at home, or furnished by those Lutheran Churches of Germany whence the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge has derived some of its most distinguished labourers ; if the translation of the English liturgy into three new languages, and its introduction into weekly use among the negroes of Africa, and the ancient Syrian churches in India ; if the consignment of a very considerable sum of
money to the entire disposal of the excellent and apostolical Bishop of Calcutta', and a desire, repeatedly expressed and consistently acted on, to submit our mis
1 The Right Rev. T. F. Middleton, D.D., first Bishop of Calcutta. VOL. I.
sionaries in the east to his spiritual guidance and prudent counsels ; if these are marks of allegiance to the Church, we may at least disclaim the charge of having departed from her, and we may hope that our attention to her sound form of words and doctrine may be blessed by the Almighty as a means of grace to millions who now sit in darkness.
On these grounds it is that, as Englishmen, as Churchmen, as Christians, as lovers of the virtues and happiness of mankind, I now appeal to your bounty. And that our alms may go up before the sight of God, and be blessed both to the givers, the objects, and the dispensers, let me entreat your prayers through the merits of Him in whose name only is strength or righteousness.
THE DISPERSION OF THE SCRIPTURES.
[Preached for the British and Foreign Bible Society, at
Shrewsbury, 5th Sept. 1813.]
Rev. xiv. 6.
I saw another angel fly in the midst of Heaven, having the ever
lasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwell in the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.
Being called upon, with the permission of your ordinary pastors, to plead in this place the cause of the British and Foreign Bible Society, I conceive it to be incumbent on a minister of the Church of England addressing an assembly of the same persuasion, to examine with patient impartiality the objections which have been levelled against this institution, as unfavourable or unfriendly to the religious establishments of our country. A more grateful task it would indeed have been to consider the broad and general duties of diffusing religious knowledge, and the glorious facilities which our present combination affords for sowing the seeds of eternal life in soils the most distant and unkindly! For, whether we seek to turn the nominal Christian from the errour of his ways, or whether it be