Images de page

faces, and Turkish versions, and delin- honestly put to the vote; on the contrary, quencies, peculations, quarrels, and party it expressly declares that no discussion or tricks innumerable, and nobody out of voting was allowed ; and so palpable is Sackville-street be the wiser. 'All this this fact that it gives only the names of our good friends complain of, as not being the movers and seconders, without venthe best way of conducting a society upon turing to add that the matter was under* scriptural principles," one of which prin- stood, or intelligently and deliberately ciples is fairness, openness, and honesty; voted upon. We do not mean to say no secret trickery with shut doors and that the great majority of the meeting packed committees. But how could our were not favourable to some alteration in good friends expect otherwise; when not- the principle of the Bible Society : they withstanding all the pretensions to scrip- undoubtedly were so, for they consisted tural principles and the declarations about chiefly of persons industriously collected prayer and purity, the whole of the pro- for the purpose from among the very ceedings at the formation of the society small number of those who take this view was conducted upon a direct, palpable of the question; and whatever the secret falsehood. We speak deliberately, and we committee had proposed, there being no will prove it. It is stated in the resolu- time or permission at the meeting for detion of the secret committee, that no liberation, they would naturally take for persons were to be permitted to take a granted in Christian confidence was right, part in the proceedings, or “to speak or and hold up their hands accordingly. All vote ” but those who were friendly to this may be true ; but it is utterly untrue the objects for which the meeting was that the meeting was summoned for the convened ;” which objects, it is added, purposes declared in the committee's were “ the formation of a Trinitarian secret resolution. They were summoned Bible Society, composed of Protestant to exclude Socinians, and to propose Christians.” Now this we state in plain prayer; but beyond this nothing had been terms was untrue; for so far from these announced ; every thing had been kept being the objects for which the assembly inviolably secret; they were not sumcame together, theywere not even known or moned to call themselves a Trinitarian. heard of by them, till they were announced Society, instead of a Bible Society; putfrom the chair, with the addition that it was ting a part for the whole, as if no other now too late for any person either “to doctrine were of the slightest imporspeak or vote" against them. Mr. Per- tance; much less were they convened to ceval did not even affect, he could not in expel Roman Catholics, as not being, acChristian honesty, to put the resolutions cording to Mr. Phillips's special pleading, as matters of deliberation, or to ask se- Trinitarians, and this at a moment when. riously if there were any votes against as every good man is most anxious to induce well as for them : indeed, how could he the Roman Catholics in Ireland to accept. when he had twice told the meeting that the Scriptures. But allow that it was no opposing voice or "vote ” was to be desirable to exclude Roman Catholics, allowed? when in fact if he had ordered still it was false to say, as the committee the meeting to be cleared, as he did the do, that the meeting came together for kouse-of-commons gallery, the whole pro- that purpose, and on that pretence to forceeding would have gone on in precisely bid any person to speak or vote against the same manner. We repeat that the the proposition. It might with just as whole was conducted upon this deliberate much truth have been affirmed that the trickery and falsehood. We appeal con- meeting came together to petition against fidently to the two thousand persons said the Reform Bill or to elect the Cham of to have been present; we appeal to the Tartary. And did the meeting also committee themselves; we appeal to all knowingly come together to pass resoluwho have read the circulars and adver- tions rescinding the privilege which clertisements of the provisional conclave; gymen, dissenting ministers, and goverwe appeal to the whole world, whether nors enjoyed in all former Bible societies, the meeting had the slightest knowledge of attending and voting at committees ? that they were convened for the purposes Were they aware that they were resigning stated in the committee's secret resolu. the whole management into the hands of tions, which were not even disclosed till & few self-constituted gentlemen, who the meeting was collected together, and are to debate and decide with closed with no more distinct knowledge than so doors, and to print what they like, and to many sheep in pens of what they were spend the society's money as they choose, about to vote for. We can bring nume- no clergyman, dissenting minister, or gorous witnesses, and among them several vernor, however large his contribution clergymen, to prove that they anxiously or active his zeal, being privileged in inquired what was to be the constitution virtue of his office to be present or to exof the new society, and were refused all amine the books, or vouchers, or corresinformation. Even the society's own ac- pondence ? No; all this was kept a procount of the proceedings does not pretend found secret; the meeting, never susto say that the resolutions were fairly and pected it: they had no time for inquiry or CARIST. OBSERV. No. 362,



deliberation; they rushed carelessly into not bave formed their institution ; and the net, and now those of them who then, the moment it was formed, plotting are not thorough partizans complain that & secret regulation, and expelling them they were caught in it; and that the se- from their ranks. cret framers of the society have acted We shall not enter into matters of peruçither fairly, openly, nor according to sonal allusion ; but as the new committee "scriptural principles;" since it is a scrip- complain of the Bible Society's versions tural principle that he that is of the light of the Scripture, we are obliged in hocometh to the light, and that men never nesty to say, that on looking over the love darkness rather than light except names of the Sackville-street board we when their deeds are evil. But though shall not have the slightest confidence in they have acted in an unfair and covert theirs, should they survive to produce any. manner (poor Mr. Perceval little think. We will not go beyond matters of notoing that he himself was to be one of the riety ; but as a specimen we find on the first victims), they have acted, we must committee the name of a very pious and say, with excellent worldly policy; they amiable layman, but whose name is no have decided that no persons but their guarantee for the integrity of the sacred own thick-and-thin partizans shall witness text, as he has actually attempted in print the proceedings of their committees, to foist a portion of the Apocrypha into which is a proof that they were not the inspired canon just to suit some hy. willing that they should be very closely pothesis of his own about prophecy, and scrutinized. The whole matter has been for the same reason has corrupted the begun and concluded in a spirit which can, sacred text with a gratuitous boldness not be followed by the Divine blessing; which no professed neologist has ever and to state one half of what some of surpassed, or perhaps equalled. Our read their own late warmest friends are now ers remember the remarkable passage, publishing abroad, would ruin their credit (Dan. viii.), where, in answer to the quesas an institution professing to be conducted tion how long should the vision be concernon manly, open, and “scriptural” princi- ing the treading down of the sanctuary, it is ples. It is too late in the day to hope to answered“ Unto two thousand and three hun. conduct a large society depending upon dred days; then shall the sanctuary be voluntary public contributions, by a hand- cleansed.” This text is clear and explicit, ful of paid or party agents with closed and there is no authority of manuscript or doors. Already, as we have said, are some citation to contradict it. But though it of the most zealous and conscientious is the word of God, it happens to contra promoters of the society complaining of dict the hypothesis of a member of this the breach of good faith in the self-consti- new Bible Society committee, and theretuted conductors of the new institution; fore without one word of parley it is of the trick played upon the public meet- forthwith mutilated and altered. Our ing in entrapping them into an apparent readers are doubtless incredutous; but, approval of rules and regulations which to convince them, we quote the fola they had never heard of, and the drift of lowing passage from Mr. Frere's “ Eight some of which they could not at the mo- Letters on the Prophecies," published a ment suspect, especially the abrogation of short time before he was elected to the the right of clergymen and dissenting mi- office of superintending new versions in nisters to attend meetings of the commit- the Sackville-street Committee. He says, tee, (as if red and blue coats thought it “ The year 1847 is farther pointed out by an intrusion in black ones to interfere the vision of the ram and the he-goat, as with the distribution of the Scriptures); the epoch when Jerusalem will be cleansand of their having adopted in secreted from the pollution of the Mohamconclave certain new tests not expressed medan superstition, as well as restored in the printed rules, and which have not to political power. For a period of two even yet been divulged to the public or thousand four hundred years, reckoning to their subscribers; by virtue of which from B.C. 553, when the vision was seen secret tests some of the leaders have al. (vide marginal date, Dan viii. 1), ends in ready expelled a portion of their brethren, that year; and this I am fully assured was including Mr. Perceval himself, whom the correct and original reading of the period; they induced to take the chair without for as the action of the vision begins, like all the apprising him of their secret intention, other historical prophecies, from the time when and then, when he had lent them his aid it was seen, had it been only of two thousand and the society was formed, expelling him THREE hundred years, it would already have from his office of vice-president. If any terminated, and the sanctuary would have thing except their calumnies against the been cleansed A.D. 1747.Bible Society could be more contrary

Was there ever so unscholar-like, neoto scriptural principles than another, it logian, and unchristian a corruption of a has been their conduct towards some of text to suit an hypothesis ? And this is a their own associates, with whom they sat gentleman especially selected as a coliserin confidential intercourse for weeks and vator of the sacred text, which the old months, and without whose aid they could Bible Society are slanderously and falsely. accused of having perverted. Will any Or will they prefer pocke ting the affront thinking man yield his conscience to a and going on quietly? or, if they can nei secret committee that selects such mar ther return to the old society nor uphold Dagers ?

the new one, form a third, with new rules And here we may notice an argument and tests to their own mind? Those cler, which we are surprised has never been al gymen, dissenting ministers, and liberal luded to in the matter of rejecting one contributors who can submit to the new or another sect from Bible Societies. society's humiliating rule of exclusion, The vigilance of all sects and parties and contentedly yield their conscience and has been the chief means, under the su- subscriptions, and those of their flocks, perintending providence of God, of pre- to be managed for them in a close com serving the Bible pure. Its enemies as mittee, instead of seeing with their own well as its friends have thus served its eyes and hearing with their own ears, as cause. The Jew cannot object to the in the old-fashioned Bible Societies, may integrity of the prophecies of the Old go on a little longer with the institution Testament, though they condemn himself, which assumes to itself the character of for his own fathers were their conserva- being conducted on “scriptural princitors. So in the Bible Society's versions, ples. it cannot be said that they were unfair We have omitted to mention another part in consequence of the exclusion of any of the constitution of the new society, one sect. If the plans now proposed had which utterly prevents its offering any been early carried into operation, or were guarantee for the integrity of its versions, even yet carried into operation, it might should it ever procure or publish any, or justly be said, a century hence, that there for the general impartiality of its proceedhad been a plot to get up unfair translam ings; namely, that there is a studied omist tions. The popish priests will easily sion of the old society's rule which propersuade their people that the jealous ex. vided that the committee should consist clusion of Roman Catbolics from Bible of a mixture of churchmen and dissenters. Societies is with a view to corrupt the In the new society there is no such protext, and make it speak Protestantism vision, and the omission is fatal to the where they think it favourable to Popery. whole character of the institution. The No such suspicion can rest upon the Bri. churchman has no guarantee (for all checks tish and Foreign Bible Society's proceed- are systematically removed) that the maings; for though there has never been a chine may not fall into the hands of DisSocinian on the committee, there is no senters, and its versions, if ever it should jealous exclusion as to membership, attempt any, be made to speak any parti. nor shutting out either clergymen or cular set of tenets which the conductors dissenting ministers from the committee; for the time being choose.

Can any conso that if any thing unfair had been done scientious clergyman join such a society ? there were always witnesses enough at a society in which next year there may hand, and of all colours, to complain. not be a single clergyman, or even a single

It can be no subject of pleasure to any churchman,on the committee ? Our readers Christian mind, that the janglings and may be assured that we are not exaggedivisions which we have alluded to should rating in this or any other of our remarks; have occurred in the new society. They for the society's own code of rules is before were indeed what we predicted from the them stitched up with our last Number. first would occur, and what must inevi- There is not, we repeat, the slightest setably go on, till the whole machine falls curity for the Church of England; the to pieces; for it has no coherency, like the word “ clergyman” or member of the British and Foreign Bible Society, which Church of England is never once men. adopts a plain intelligible principle; the tioned in the rules; and a clergyman has, only bond of union in the new institution no right, as we have seen, to attend the being the opposition of its members to committee from his office in virtue of his the system of the old one. But though being a member. He is to pay his guinea, the event was predicted and inevitable, it andthe secret committee are to do what they only adds another illustration of the frailty like with it; and if his flock ask him what of human nature, and it were better for pledge he can give them that their money the peace of the church of Christ that it will be properly bestowed, and that abuses had not happened; and that, if a new soci- will not find their way into the society far ety was formed by secession, the seceders greater than those alleged against the old should at least have not begun so soon to institution, he can only answer that he quarrel among themselves, and to banish takes for granted all will be right. He some of their own most zealous and ex- has no confidence in the great body of reeellent friends.

ligious persons of all persuasions watching The aggrieved members have indeed over each other's movements in an openone remedy in their hands, namely, that committee that keeps no secrets; but he if, in the general splitting of parties, fifty has perfect confidence in the little secret of them can agree to require the commit- knot of untried gentlemen debating in a tee to call a public meeting, it must be close chamber and with inaccessible books, done and the whole matter he reconsidered. who, for any thing he can know to the con

[ocr errors]

trary, may have other objects in view than expressed in one melancholy sentence: the mere circulation of the Scriptures. The That the enemy of souls, who ever watches Dissenters,also, shun the institution, as not an opportunity of sowing tares among the affording to them the slightest guarantee wheat, seeing the damage done to his should the managers choose to exclude empire by the diffusion of the word of them from Christian fellowship, as some of God, and having failed in his first plan of the friends of the new society have shewn subverting the Bible Society from without, symptoms of wishing to do from their has now grown wiser, and determined to

not being within the covenanted mercies subvert it from within ; for he cares not of God.” The Society of Friends are al- what garb he assumes, if only be can effect ready of necessity excluded by the rules; his designs; and if he can effect them by in short, the whole is one miserable stinted the mistaken scruples of good men, rather system of partizanship and exclusion. than by the outrages of the wicked, double

Our view of the whole matter may be is his triumph.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]


A DAY of national humiliation before which more peculiarly beset them at the God having been appointed by those who present moment; those wbich are in a hold under Him the temporal and spiritual great measure new, or revived with aggragovernment of the realm, we know not in vations ; for these specific offences form a what way we can better introduce our most important and humbling topic of monthly sketch of passing events, than by fast-day meditations. The above contrast alluding to some of those subjects which may further be useful, to shew in what may aptly form topics of prayer

and serious respects there has been any marked reformeditation on that occasion, including mation, and what are the peculiar blessings several which may also be touched upon as well as the sins of the present day; for with propriety from the pulpit.

let it not be that in our humiliation we Our limits oblige us to pass over much should forget the mercies of God as well that we had wished to urge, on the nature, as his judgments, for the contrast of these scriptural sanction, and beneficial effects, with our personal and national delinquenof public acts of humiliation, including cies is eminently calculated, by the power prayer and fasting ; the latter of which of the Holy Spirit, to soften the hard ought not to be a mere formal observance, heart, and to bring the careless sinner a but an appropriate token of true sorrow weeping penitent to his Saviour's cross. and contrition. We may, however, the And lastly, the retrospect is useful to better spare our remarks upon these points, shew us the forbearance of God and the having devoted considerable space to the aggravations of our national sins; for it is prayers and exhortations which were used no excuse that our forefathers were guilty in the days of our forefathers, and which of some of the same offences; on the are scarcely less applicable at the present contrary, does it not enhance our guilt,

In perusing those venerable that, after so much previous warning and documents we perceive humbling acknow- so many national vows, we continue in ledgments of many of those very sins the same evil path, and with new aggrawhich are also at the present day among vations? So far, therefore, from such a our prominent national transgressions ; review extenuating our offences, it disand the mention of this may be useful on plays the more their heinousness. Let not the coming occasion in various ways. It then the ministers of Christ heed the may shew us that sin is the great universal scoffs of the scorner, when he says that disease of every age, every country, and their reproofs are only the usual round of every heart, and that it exhibits itself for fast-day declamations; for the more these the most part in the same hateful charac- despised declamations have been repeated, teristics, notwithstanding all the changes the greater the guilt and the danger; for and boasted improvements of successive he that being often reproved hardens his ages. It may further lead to discrimina- neck, shall suddenly perish, and that with tion; so that, in setting forth the peculiar out remedy; and the brighter the light, sins of the present day, we may know the guiltier the neglect. At the same their bearings as contrasted with former time, we repeat, such a review will prevent periods, and thus not waste words in those exaggerations which only lead to a vague common-places, instead of coming recoil ; the facts of the case will be set directly home to the business and con- forth with scriptural honesty, but also sciences of the men of the present gene. with truth and sobriety, and the counterration, shewing them both those sins of vailing mercies and hopeful features wilt which the guilt is theirs in common with not be forgotten. It would not become all the fallen children of Adam, and those the gratitude we owe to God, if we did


We urge,

not thus commemorate the good with the the pulpit have urged it in a variety of evil; and we should wish in our further appropriate forms; and as we purpose remarks that this should be borne in mind, noticing in an early Number some of the that we may not seem to draw an over- publications, new or reprinted, which charged picture of modern offences, so as have appeared upon the occasion. Among to disparage the good providence of God. the latter, are Shaw's “ Welcome to the We are not forgetful of the improvements Plague," and Vincent's God's “ Terrible introduced by education, our ameliorated voice in the City,” which are too well legislation, the humane exertions on be- known to need our recommendation. half of every class of sufferers, down to Both these were published at the time of the outcast slave; the circulation of the the Great Plague; and one or both were Scriptures, the increase of pious and de- reprinted at the time of the alarm, about voted clergymen, the building of so 1720, when the plague was raging at many new temples to God's honour, and Marseilles ; at which period, also, was the abatement of many individual enor- published an anonymous, and we presume mities against which our fathers were fictitious, narrative, lately reprinted by called to protest. But with all these the Rev. J. Scott, which, if not written alleviations, there is, alas! a fearful load by De Foe, was, we suspect, the basis of public guilt accompanied by awful of his well-known romance of the Plague, symptoms of the Divine displeasure. published three years after. But whether

The first particular which painfully en- truth or fiction, it will at the present mogrosses the national feeling, is that alarm- ment be read with interest, and we should ing distemper which was the immediate hope not without profit. Archdeacon occasion of appointing a day of humilia- Hoare, also, has a series of discourses in tion. There is much difference of opinion the press on the present visitation. respecting this malady, not only in the The next important topic which occurs popular mind, but among the best informed to us, is the state of political excitement members of the medical profession. Dis- in this and other countries, and the cussions of this kind are beside our pre- grievous animosities arising out of it. sent purpose: it may be, that on the one At the moment we write it has somewhat hand alarm, and in some cases cupidity, abated; but the reform bill is about to have exaggerated the danger, while on the pass the last reading in the House of Comother, the fear of commercial evil has mons, and it may again occur. affected to scoff at it; and it is also true we implore, all who really wish to obtain that some of our eminent physicians deny the blessing of God upon the approachits existence altogether in the character ing day of humiliation, to abstain as much of the specific disease which has desolated as possible from matters of political alluthe East; but the large number of deathssion and party warfare. We are not igin the North cannot be overlooked ; nor norant of the danger and the temptation can it be denied that the government have in this respect; and it was probably one most reluctantly felt it necessary to de- reason why the government felt reluctant clare the metropolis itself infected; or (we must think guiltily reluctant) to set that, by order of the king in council, the apart a day for national abasement, lest prayer which deprecated it has been al- it might be diverted to wrong ends; that tered to an admission of its presence, and not only would radicals and infidels scoff petitions for its removal ; or that a day of at it, but that some of the ministers of fasting and penitence has been publicly Christ might desecrate it by political inappointed; or that both houses of par- vectives, which, whether deserved or not, liament have recognised its appearance no government could be expected to court. among us, as a visitation of Divine Provi- If we quarrel every other day in the dence, and urged every human precaution month, let not the fast-day be thus against its propagation. In all this there dishonoured; and who can say, but that, is surely much that calls for seriousness if we keep a due check upon our spirits of spirit, and a penitent improvement of on that occasion, while bowing down bethe visitation, that we may not despise fore our Father in heaven, he may render the judgments of God, but turn at his it the commencement of a new era of rebuke, and find favour from his mercy. public peace and harmony? We have The disease, whatever it is, continues to large faith in the blessings afforded to be the opprobrium of science, and, where- suppliant nations. The Bible abounds ever it has appeared, has shewn how com- in instances to that effect. pletely are life and health and all things The wide-spread prevalence of infidein the hands of God. We are not alarm- lity and profaneness, and the public negists; but it is never unseasonable, and at lect of God, are features of the times so such a moment as the present it is pecu- awful, that they cannot escape the notice liarly befitting, to urge upon men to be of the most careless observer. We do ever ready, with their loins girt and their not say that such things were not in lamps burning, knowing not at what hour former days; but the present century the Bridegroom may come. But we shall has added fearfully to their aggravations not dwell at present upon this topic, im- and unblushing publicity. There is, we portant as it is, since both the press and rejoice to say, a large extension of true

« PrécédentContinuer »