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above all their prayerful' considera- cases a meeting may be held in a tion? I feel a peculiar desire to place not congenial to our wishes. arrest the attention of
brethren All this may be, and much more; in the ministry. I am quite aware yet after all what is it in comparithat many stand aloof from the son of the work that is accomplishSociety with the most conscientious ing in the circulation of the Scripfeelings. But conscience may be tures over the whole of the habita. misguided. Saul of Tarsus thought that he ought to do many things Shall the traveller, intent upon contrary to Jesus of Nazareth, and his home, be greatly upset with the he was most conscientious in so badness of the road, or the badness thinking.
of the conveyance? Will he suffer We are answerable to God for himself to abandon his journey on our negligences, and ignorances this account? What will not men too, as well as for our sins. May put up with in order to reach God grant, that by His Holy Spirit home? And if God's word is we may have a right judgment in precious to us, and if we are alive all things, and may He make us to to the importance of sending forth perceive and know what things we the light of truth to disperse the ought to do!
mists of error overhanging our Now the grand objection which fallen world, every thought should stands in the way of many, is the surely merge in the blessedness of very constitution of the society, such a consummation. consisting, as it does, of all deno- I am sure that the distinction minations of Christians. Let us in the mind between the magnifienter a little into this objection. cence of the object and the inferiAnd in the first place, I would ority of the instrumentality, will do observe that I never cease to think much with candid minds to discern that every dictate of reason and the path of duty. Our endurance sound judgment should lead us to may well stretch to a great extredistinguish between the sublime mity to compass such an object. and unexceptionable object of such Paul went far when he rejoiced an institution, and
awkward- that Christ was preached by conness or infirmity that may
tentious schismatics! and what parent in its machinery. If co-operation shall we refuse for the Christians could only get their full dissemination of Christian thoughts fixed on the vast import- truth? ance to the glory of God and the 2. But, in the second place, good of men of the universal dis- agreed as I am sure we all are on semination of the Divine Word, the essential importance of the all considerations of the instrumen- universal circulation of the Scriptality by which such a work is tures, I would ask, by what other effected would be comparatively as
agency is it expected to effect this nothing. True, there may be an object? The Society for promotoccasional contact with a Dissenter, ing Christian Knowledge cannot do whose bitterness and hate against it. In the work of translation it our own communion may be too is almost stationary. Half a dozen well known. Or, in our meetings versions are the extent of its pubthere may be a weary speech to lications. Its designs are too mullisten to which offends against tiform to admit of its doing more. good taste and our notions of pro- But supposing any scheme of a priety. Shall I add that in some Church Bible Society could be effected, or any other unexception- free course of God's word in dig. ably constituted, I for one feel that tant lands. And further; the I cannot wait till a choice of socie- union of all denominations of ties is in existence, and in equally Christians in England is the only extensive and efficient operation. guarantee and security to foreignI may possibly live to see another ers of the purity of our versions, agency effecting what the Bible and likewise against the possibility Society is now doing. The thing of any proselyting intentions. A is possible. But life is fast ebbing, Church of England, or a Wesleyan, and there is no device or work in or a Baptist Bible Society may the grave whither I am going. I answer for home purposes, but must work while it is called to-day, abroad it would be eyed with susthe night cometh when no man picion, and would necessarily not can work. In the meanwhile, who effect a free and uninterrupted can wait for a suspension of the circulation. mighty work which is unquestion- 4. But may we not ask, what ably progressing? Who would mischief has been found to accrue dare to recal the 160 versions and from the union of Churchmen and the above 100 translations? Who Dissenters? We have a right to can forget the more than 16 mil- ask the question after the experilion copies of the Word of God ence of 40 years.
Some serious that this society has already circu- and positive mischief to our section lated! Is it possible for a Chris- of the Church of Christ should be tian heart not to feel some glow of indisputably manifest, to set against grateful attachment to a Society the abandonment of such an instiwhich has achieved so much in tution. I can only give the result furtherance of the Redeemer's glory of my own experience. I was one and the best interests of the world? of the undergraduates in CamIs it possible to wish for a suspen- bridge whose efforts were so sig. sion of all this good, till a society nally blest in the formation of the less exceptionably constituted pre- Cambridge Bible Society. Never sents itself? and yet to stand aloof shall I forget that first magnificent is it not almost tantamount to meeting, when the leading men of this?
the University fearlessly came for3. But let me observe further, ward to give it their allegiance and that the constitution of the Bible to repudiate the charge of danger Society is essential to its success; to the Church ; from that day I I mean to say to the success of have been almost as much engaged every Bible Society which is to be
as any one in attending Bible the world's Bible Society. We Meetings, and in watching the immay declaim against Dissent, but pression and effects of the Bible there is no concealing the fact, Society, and most truly can I affirm, that Dissenters are largely possess- that I am utterly at a loss to coning the privilege and the power of jecture in what respects it can have evangelizing the world; and if proved detrimental to our Church. their missionaries are to be exclud- I believe indeed that the Clergy ed from a share in circulating the have suffered loss in the estimation Scriptures, as undeniably would of Dissenters because of their nebe the case if we are to have a glect of the Bible Society, while I Bible Society consisting only of know, for a fact, that the better Churchmen, then, consider how acquaintance with them, which the we should limit and contract the Bible Society has effected, has extensively softened down the pre- they commend not our beloved judices of Dissenters, and produced Church or promote its real interests on their part a more friendly feeling. by acting towards Dissenters as an I am much mistaken if the contact inferior and dangerous set of beings, into which Quakers have been with whom no association can be brought with pious members of had. Their conduct may often our Church through the Bible make intercourse difficult I admit. Society, and the discovery of an But if they readily come forward enlightened and spiritual religion, to circulate that word which strikes for which they never before gave us at the root of all error, theirs credit, has not been one of the amongst the rest, shall we swamp chief means of shaking Quakerism the world's welfare in our refusal to its very centre, and leading to unite with them, and virtually many of its communion to join our say, that the world may go without establishment.
the bread of life, rather than that a But, where is the Churchman Dissenter's hand shall join with ours who through Bible Society influ. in making the distribution: The ence and attachment ever found whole matter solves itself into this: himself more in love with dissent Bread for the world is at stake or less devoted to his own com- the world is hungry for it-shall munion ?
we send it? or, are we willing 5. But in the very spot where that thousands and millions should so many falter, I must own, I never perish for lack of knowledge, while cease to find a welcome resting we are squabbling about the mode place. We can have no part with of dispensing it? Rather let my Dissenters in many ways.. I am right hand forget its cunning, than the more thankful that we can in refuse such a sympathy. Never
Shall we ever be at strife ? may I forget, that to him who In that world to which we are knoweth to do good and doeth it hastening shall we able to keep not, to him it is sin. I again repeat, asunder from each other? Shall that if there were two agencies at we wish it? In the prospect of work, with their two versions, and eternity shall we not try to get as issuing their millions of Bibles, it near as possible to all who love the might be a question which I ought Saviour, rather than consider how to select: but in the little
space entirely we can stand aloof? No life which is allotted to me, I must one would wish me to refuse to act avail myself of the one channel in concert with a Dissenter for the which is open to me, for doing what good of a Hospital. I am equally in me lies to send the light of ready to go hand in hand with him divine truth throughout the world. for the circulation of God's word. When I come to die, it will be Here is no compromise of principle. no regret that my mind was so A large work is to be done, and all filled with the importance of sendhands are wanted to effect it; and ing the Bible to all mankind, as to with all my abhorrence of Popery, be comparatively regardless of the if the Pope himself would come and agency: it might be a regret that join us on the platform of a Bible in quarrelling with the only
existing Meeting, I would give him an ho- agency, I had withheld the boon. nest welcome.
There are other weighty conWould that my brethren in the siderations, which I must leave for ministry would consider this matter future number.-ED. well; they may depend upon it
of ON DESERTING THE BIBLE SOCIETY.
To the Editor of the Christian Guardian.
DEAR SIR,—I have been too much admit, there may be feelings too interested and delighted with your acute, and faith too feeble to allow Review of “ Essays on Christian every one to encounter the painfulUnion,” to let the present oppor- ness occasioned by such a public tunity pass without communicating junction with persons hostile to to you a few extracts from a MS. our Zion. As to the expediency, which was occasioned by some propriety, and utility of leaving clerical characters deserting the the society, the subject in my view British and Foreign Bible Society. speaks to the heart; and every Some of our brethren brought Clergyman, rightly informed, and the subject forward, at a Cleri- of right feeling, should in my cal Meeting, about “The pro- esteem feel himself at home and priety of the Clergy seceding from alive in the ranks of the Bible it connexion;" chiefly on account Society. of the virulence of dissenting minis- The chief objections which I ters against the established Church, have seen and heard against Clergyand the danger there is lest we men uniting with this society, are should encourage their hostility, or summarily involved in this : viz.be classed with them ; some assert- “ The sectarian character of the ing that they could not advocate society, in its constitution and even a good cause on the same operations." platform with those, who had no Now, most truly, I consider this sooner left such meetings, than they a great mistake ; for the essential began to rail against our Church, nature of the British and Foreign her Prayer-Book, or her Clergy; Bible Society is not division but and that the best way to avoid being union. And wherein the Union of identified with them, or imbibing all denominations in the circulation their spirit, was to leave them and of the Scriptures can fairly be viewthe Society to their sole operation ed as sectional, I cannot compreand control.
told that its Now, my good brother, as I have constitution has a bad tendency, been more than half a century an inasmuch as it is calculated to ambassador of Christ and a minister magnify the agreement, and sink of the Church of England, I trust the differences of the various denoI may, without presumption, be minations engaged in it. To this permitted to give my opinion on a we may surely say, so much the subject so interesting and so im- better. Differences ought never to portant. Before we, as clergymen, have existed, no, not even appeared desert the Bible Society, I think, to exist. And how the withholdwe should consider well the conse- ing differences can either create or quences of secession. As we are increase them we are not told. not called upon, as advocates of And “ agreement” in any thing that society, to any “compromise which respects the making known of principle,” it resolves itself into the word of God cannot easily be a mere matter of feeling or expe- magnified above its worth. It is diency. Respecting the
former, I the very life and breath of divine
truth that it be made known or our deserting them? Rather might placed within the reach of every we not say that if we decline to It is complained, that its circulate the Bible
open operations obtrude on the Clergy, ground of Scripture, that souls make them disrespected, and pro- might be saved thereby, we desert mote, by giving influence to, dis- the principle of God's word and sent; and that it usurps the office become sectarian in our own examof the Church, as a witness and ple? The only remedy which I keeper of Holy Writ. It is true, conceive is within our compass is, if a Clergyman leave the Bible that Churchmen reassume their
genSociety to do the office of circulat- eral character. ing the word of God, which he The pre-eminence which the neglects in his own sphere, there is Church of England possesses rests no remedy; in a comparison of the in the constitution of her order, diligent with the remiss, his cha- and the character of her clergy. racter must and ought to suffer till She is in theory built upon the he amend his ways; and it cannot Scriptures—the Scriptures fairly be said that Dissenters reap an ad- and honestly taken. Her doctrines vantage in the circulation of the and her spirit are derived from the Scriptures which the Churchman vital, soul-saving truths of God's has not, without admitting that word. They stand on them alone. the Scriptures favour dissent; and These are open and evident without thus conceding the very thing com- reserve or equivocation. She needs plained of.
not deception. She courts not With respect to the Church, as flattery. She is above sectarianthe witness and keeper of Holy ism. She has no quirks nor shifts. Writ, I see no usurpation in this She is built on the “Rock of Ages," case; nor any incapacity in this and there she abides. society for bearing “witness to the of hell shall not prevail against it.' truth.” Every Society bears wit- But as she has truth for her conness to that, and to that alone, stitution, so she must have holiness which it promotes ; but the Bible for her character. Her clergy must Society, of all societies under hea- restore her primitive perfection. ven, bears testimony to and pro- Now or never is the time to show motes truth-divine truth and themselves men. Holiness is the that alone ; unmixed with human great object and result of Scrip
And in England, at least, ture. The Church, therefore, can we Churchmen cannot complain, never sustain her genuine standing because that copy of the Bible, or bear up against the opposing and that alone, is circulated by this divisions which still combine against society, which was framed by the her, or advance in her heavenly Church, and legalized at her re- career, but by constantly planting quest. So that I do not perceive and cultivating holiness. A heahow the Bible Society can be com- venly mind is the essence of the plained of by Churchmen, as being Bible, and the Church character. divisional, either in its constitution Wherever this is lost or enfeebled or it operations.
or endangered, the life's blood of But supposing the fears of some her vitality is proportionably gone. of our tender-hearted brethren re- The clergy, then, must resume specting the tendency of such mix- their own standing. They have ed society were real, would their descended many degrees from their sectional tendency be cured by original and duly appointed station.
“ The gates