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task of reporting from unofficial sources cers of the Society have already resigned upon the extraordinary speeches at the and formed themselves into a provisional meeting; for if persons choose to quarrel committee. And this, then, is the Tri. with closed doors, and to pay their nitarian Bible Society, after a brief ex. money for the privilege, we see not why istence of some seven or eight months ! strangers should interfere in the matter. This is the meagre performance which It may be as well, however, for the infor- has followed such magnificent promises ! mation of our readers, and for future re- We trust its projectors have found out by ference, in order that they may be enabled this time how vast is the difference between to form an intelligent opinion in case the opposing an old society and erecting a matter goes further, to copy the following new one; between finding faults and report from two opposite quarters; the amending them; and that a theory may first, from the Patriot newspaper, the look ever so well on paper, which it may organ of the great body of the orthodox be extremely difficult to reduce to practice. Dissenters; the other from the Record They were forewarned, that if they inclosed newspaper, the organ of the friends of the their society within the pale of church Trinitarian Society.
communion-and such, in fact, a test The statement of the Patriot is as fol- constitutes it—they would find it imposlows:
sible to stop ; they can only stop consist “ The affairs of the Trinitarian Bible ently by shutting out whatever they acSociety are in strange confusion. A most count heresy—and that greatest of all stormy meeting took place last Thursday, heresies—an unholy life. Then, indeed, when certain members called the com- they will be consistent, but not till then. mittee to account for excluding the heretics • Little did those who opposed the forof Regent Square; a step which they mation of the Trinitarian Bible Society contended was an unjustifiable extension imagine that so short a time would suffice of the original test. No reporters were to shew the impracticable nature of the admitted; this is in itself an ominous principle on which it was founded. Excircumstance. It is a plain proof that perience has enforced her lessons more any society, but especially a religious one, quickly than usual.
In the mean time, must be in a lamentable condition indeed,
how lamentable is the fact that the new when it cannot face the open day—when society has been fruitful in nothing but it is conscious that its proceedings are
mischief! It has occasioned schism, and likely to be too disgraceful for publica- has been itself the victim of it; it has tion. The description we have had, how- given birth to innumerable and most angry ever, of the meeting, from those who were controversies; it has impaired the unity, present, leaves us no room to regret that and has done all the little it could to cirthe veil of secrecy was dropped over this cumscribe the energies of the noblest inpainful scene; a scene which, if disclosed, stitution of our age-while it has comwould only fill the sincere Christian with pletely failed of the great object for which sorrow, and store with fresh arrows the this and every Bible Society is ostensibly quiver of the infidel. Suffice it to say, founded. We believe we speak the truth that the Irving heresy had a majority in when we say that it has not yet circulated its favour *; the consequence is, the offi- a single copy of the Scriptures! If we
• The Patriot will concur with us, upon labouring, and to afford information more re-consideration, that this is not an ac- accurate than any at present you appear curate statement. The members who to possess. A deep sense of responsi. opposed what they considered the un- bility to God, whose glory never can be fairness and intolerance of Mr. Gordon's promoted by carnal policy, and a desire to party, were not of necessity tainted with discharge faithfully the trust committed Irvingism. Witness, for example, Mr. to them, under a conviction that the Washington Phillips' indignant remon- authority delegated by their constituents strance with the Record newspaper, for was for the administration of existing, urging a similar charge : “ With feelings and not for the framing new laws, inof mingled surprise and regret,” says fluenced the persons who obtained the Mr. Phillips to the conductors of that requisition for a special general meeting paper, “ I have perused the extraordi- of the subscribers of the Trinitarian Bible nary statement which has found a place Society. The requisition itself is headed in the columns of your paper: Wil- by a vice-president, treasurer, the two lingly would I ascribe to misappre- secretaries, and fourteen members of the hension that which, if traced to any committee, who consider the resolutions other source, must subject such a state- published as an infringement of the existment to the just reprobation of those ing constitution. Permit me, then, sir, rightly informed upon the subject of which to inquire upon what authority, derived it treats. Groundless assumptions and either from the precepts of the Gospel, unjust inferences can never uphold any or the duties of social life-either from cause, much less the cause of error. Pe. the Word of God, or the bond of Chrismit me, then, sir, to certify the misap- tian fellowship--either from the obligaprehension under which you are evidently tions of truth, or the suggestions of that have been misinformed, we shall be most at its meetings, more stormy debate, more happy to contradict our own statement. bickering and quarrelling, in seven or Instead of circulating the Scriptures, eight months, than the Bible Society has without which a Bible Society, let it be known in thrice the number of years, if ever so pure in principle,' is a mere we except the disturbances which these mockery, its whole life has been spent in very men occasioned before they conceaseless agitation. • A Trinitarian So- structed a society for themselves, where ciety' it may call itself if it pleases, but they might wrangle at pleasure."
Bible Society' it certainly is not. Such is the report of the Patriot ; let . Strange to say, it has exhibited in the us now hear the conductors of the Record, course of its short history, most of the who, in their displeasure at the decision very faults which it charged upon the of the Society against introducing the old Society, but in an aggravated form. new test, write as follows:It condemned, in its great rival, the avow. “ It cannot be concealed, and assuredly ed co-operation of all parties; it finds we have no wish to conceal, that the first within its own bosom equally incongruous attempt which has been made, by using materials—and that too in spite of a prin- separation as an instrument to induce the ciple of exclusion. It denounced a So- British and Foreign Bible Society to ciety in which there was only a possibility yield the points at present in dispute, bas of á heretic having a voice in its manage- signally failed". ment; it finds them swarming on its plat. By an advertisement in another coforms and its committee. It was to be lumn, our readers will perceive what passfree from all difference of opinion; and it ed at the Special Meeting of the Trini. has witnessed in its committee rooms and tarian Bible Society, which was convened
for Thursday last. Those proceedings charity which believeth all things and have, in our judgment, sealed the doom of bopeth all things'—upon what authority, that institution. derived from these sources, have you “ How completely public confidence allowed such charges to be brought against was shaken in the Society, by the well. persons actuated by the most conscien- grounded reports † that the Committee tious motives in the course they have had not had the wisdom, judgment, or pursued ? The gravest accusation which ability to keep themselves free from the could be substantiated, supposing them to leaven of the pestilential beresy of Mr. have done wrong in bringing this matter Irving, was clearly manifested by the in. before the constituents, would be an error significant number which appeared to take in judgment. But are persons striving to part in the business of the day. It apperform their duty without favour or par- pears from the advertisement in another tiality, to be stigmatized as striving to column, that the greatest number present spread the sickening and deathful in- at any part of the day, gentlemen and lafluence of the Irvingite leaven?' Are dies together, was 105 : of these, fifteen God-fearing men to be branded as the
were supposed to have retired without • abettors of pestilential errors ?". Are voting, three declined to vote, the minority they to be held up to public opprobrium, consisted of thirty-nine, and the majority, as having sacrificed the interests of the a very large proportion of which may be Society of which they are members, and presumed to have been Irvingites, was as having been alike unfaithful to their forty-eight! So that, even as it regards Saviour and to their fellow-labourers en- numbers, to what has the magniticent gaged in this service ? Sir, these are Meeting dwindled which assembled for most fearful accusations, which, when the formation of this Society §! It is maturely weighed, will, I trust, be immediately retracted, and deeply deplored. * And yet when the Christian ObNor is the attempt to give them stability, server intimated this, it was false and less unjustifiable, than the charges them- calumnious. selves are without foundation.
+ “Well grounded.” And yet when “In conclusion, permit me, sir, to the Christian Observer said so, it was caution you against the admission of such falsehood and calumny; and the Record, unguarded statements, and conveyed in with a view to prop the falling cause of the such unmeasured terms, into the columns Society, assured its readers again and of the Record. They will tend to shake again, that it was not infected with Rethe public confidence in your accuracy gent-square leaven. and your discretion. Be assured, truth # This only shews how few were the is best supported by its intrinsic weight members of the Society, for the utmost of evidence and real value. Its interests pains were taken by both sides to collect can never be promoted by overcharged all the voters they could. representation, nor its glories eclipsed by § This confirms our oft-repeated statethe dark shades of calumny. Would you ment that the “magnificent meeting ” did seek to maintain its sway and spread its not as a body approve of the Society, influence, scriptural principle must be or join it. The whole affair was managed regulated by scriptural precept, and fol- by trick and fraud, and the great mass of lowed by scriptural practice!"
the friends of religion were disgusted and not the paucity of its numbers, however, openly immoral person would have been of which we complain. We grieve that excluded had such a one been proposed. it has now, identified itself with fundamen- –That the reverse of all this has been the tal error, so that it is impossible for any case, coupled with the Resolution which sound-hearted Christian to have further we have just quoted, proves incontestibly connection with an institution, which has that in the minds of that Committee there unhappily placed itself in an incomparably exists a leaning to, or tolerance of, the evil worse situation than that of the body from in question, which is in no small degree which, on account of its alleged impurity, dangerous to themselves individually, and it separated."
which must of necessity deprive them of “ Should the friends of the British and the confidence and support of the sound Foreign Bible Society think it worth part of the church of Christ which otherwhile to waste a single word further on wise might be disposed to give them its the subject (which we hardly think it is support. 80 complete is the overthrow) they may “We accordingly humbly but earnestly say—'We told you this from the first exhort all Auxiliary Societies and Assothat according to the principle upon which ciations of the Trinitarian Bible Society you sought to build no edifice could be to dissolve their connection with it at erected, or if erected hold together *.' once . This Society separated from the
“ We have, however, already shewn the British and Foreign Bible Society beinaccuracy of this view of the subject. cause of its admitting Socinians as memAll that was wanting was a small measure bers, though not one of that body had of that common sense in the committee ever been admitted on the committee or of the new society which is to be found assumed any prominence in the proceedings in that of the old. Is there any Irvingite of the Parent Society t. But here is the -has there been any Socinian--on the Trinitarian Society deliberately approving committee in Earl-street ? No. Are of those who hold doctrines worse than they excluded by law? No; simply by those of Socinians # becoming not memcommon sense and common wisdom. Is bers only, but managers of the society. there any openly immoral person in either They are in truth preparing a cradle for committee? Not. How is he excluded ? this most malignant heresy, in which it Simply by a common feeling of propriety. may be rocked and cherished into size and And had there been upon the minds of the strength_into vigour and maturity. They committee of the Trinitarian Bible So- are fitting up a market-place in which it ciety any thing approaching to a just sense may meet with many unsuspecting souls, of the infinite evil bound up in this new whom it would not otherwise reach, and heresy which has appeared in the church, inoculate them with the deadly virus." any individual even supposed to be in- “ At the formation of the British and fected with it would have been excluded Foreign Bible Society, though one and without an approach to a difference of another were only gradually admitted into opinion, with exactly the same readiness, the councils of the originators of the Soand exactly by the same power, as an ciety, being carefully selected on account of
their Christian character and superior wisdom repelled; especially at the secret reso- and sagacily $, considerable risk of dislution for ejecting the clergy and dissenting comfiture was experienced in the arrangeministers from the board, and giving the ment of the Committee. This danger, whole management into the hands of a however, was happily overcome. The close secret committee, who now mutually Provisional Committee, from which the proclaim each other to have been wholly Trinitarian Society derived its existence, destitute of forbearance or discretion. was a body of men held together by no
• We would not " waste a single word,” other tie than their disapprobation of but for two reasons; first, that the Society certain practices current in the British is still in existence with all its faults, and and Foreign Bible Society. They were its friends express a bope of reviving it ; and secondly, that Mr. Gordon's “ pro- . That is, to join the Gordon division, visional committee " is about to renew the and renew the work of agitationing. work of agitationing, the best antidote to + Never even “assumed any promiwhich is such a simple monitory narrative nence." What a complete answer to the as their own society has furnished.
Haldane and Sackville-street statements † And yet nothing could induce the and speeches! And this is the Recordconductors of the Record to allow these now that it happens to be more confacts to appear in their columns, so long venient for its purposes to state the truth as it was a party object to misrepresent than to suppress it! When we said so, it the Bible Society as fraternising with was falsehood. Socinians. We complained again and Is it meant that it is worse than So. again of the unfairness of the friends of cinianism to believe Miss Fancourt's cure the Trinitarian Society in deceiving igno- to be miraculous ? rant persons in this matter; but nothing $ If the conductors of the Record had could induce them to give publicity to the possessed the candour to admit this a few truth, till a new party object extorted it. months ago, when the “echoes” from not a body formed of materials chosen as But it were incorrect to imagine that peculiarly suitable to work harmoniously these unhappy differences are of that together, --not of men who were selected magnitude and extent, which, at first from their established Christian character sight, and at a distance, they may appear.' and sound spiritual judgment, as fitted to It is not true, that among the great body. command the confidence of the Christian of the servants of Christ, there is little community,—but they were rather brought but strife and vain glory. We believe together by a mere fortuity.”
quite the contrary; and that they are as Such is the testimony of the Record. closely united in affection, and as active in But we stop;
our readers have had works of piety and mercy as perhaps at enough too much of these matters; and any period in the history of the church. we hope now to have done with them for It is true that there are individuals in ever, except the course of events should whom conciliation is not the most proimperatively recal us to them. Twelve minent virtue, and who err on the side of months have been lost in disputing, while a well-meant though mistaken impetumillions of souls have gone into eternity, osity; but the great majority of religious The Bible Society has not indeed turned persons among us, both in the Established aside from its duties to mingle in the fray; Church and among the Dissenters, are, we but its efforts have been greatly impeded trust, in the main sound, sober, and scripby this ill-judged opposition. Now how- tural in their views, and peaceful and ever that 'the projected experiment has charitable in their practice. Even in this been tried, and has failed, we trust that it very matter of the Bible Society, which will be permitted to proceed in its work bas caused such heats, how small, how of faith and labour of love in piety and very small (witness the late scanty meetpeace. But there is one evil result of ing, and read the names of those who these contentions, which it will require composed it) has been the number of the time to remove. The opponents of the disturbers. Not any one body of ChrisBible Society, in their zeal to overset tians has joined the secession; not even that institution, have deeply injured the any one of our numerous religious periocause of Christian confidence and charity; so that though they have failed in building books, minutes, and proceedings, conup, they have done much to pull down; cealed with such studious secrecy; but and have so infused doubts and alarms in here is at least one published document in many tender and timid spirits, that the proof; for on the title page of this antiweak are cast down and the ignorant led bible society pamphlet, it is stated that it astray : so much so, that some persons is “ printed for the Retford Trinitarian feeling that they cannot in conscience Bible Society,” according to a resolution join the new society, and yet having of the committee, in which it is “ ordered heard absurd and calumnious stories re- to be printed and circulated at the cost of specting the old, are refraining from sub- the Society.” Is Retford altogether so scribing to the circulation of the word of corrupt in religion, as well as in other God altogether; which was doubtless the matters, that there is no subscriber, no precise issue which Satan bad in view collector, no contributor of a penny-awhen he first stirred up the feud., week from his hard-earned pittance, who
bas spirit and honesty enough to go to Scotland and Sackville-street were every this “unanimous committee,” and demand where reverberating the contrary, what back his offering thus sacrilegiously wrestreams of controversy, and how much ed from the altar of God, to foment purill-blood had been spared.
poses of strife and controversy? But we An exemplification of this fact oc- need not dwell upon the point, as the eurs in a pamphlet which has just been subscribers to societies called Trinitarian placed in our hands, published by The are beginning to open their eyes, and to Retford Trinitarian Society." This So- say to their conductors, You have sent us eiety-- left the Bible Society in search of bitter controversial papers and tracts, by ideal perfection; and not finding it in hundreds and thousands, when will you Sackville-street, stands aloof from biblical remit us a few bibles ? What a clamour circulation altogether, and rests on its would have been raised, and justly, if the oars on its own river “ Idle.” But though British and Foreign Bible Society had įdle for good, it is not for harm, having thus abused its sacred funds to print con. just published a controversial pamphlet troversial pamphlets. But no; the poorwith the sacred funds contributed for the est subscriber has the satisfaction of distribution of the Word. We have in- knowing that his valued offering is not deed been pronounced uncharitable, for thus misappropriated, and that the comasking how large a portion of the funds mittee has never embarked in controsubscribed for the circulation of the word versy, or expended a penny upon it. of God, has been employed by committees Friends and advocates, indeed, it has called “ Trinitarian," to circulate tracts found in every part of the country; but and pamphlets calumniating the Bible it has issued no controversial pamphlets, Society. The best answer to the ques- labelled, “ Printed and circulated at the tion would have been to throw open the cost of the society."
dical publications has espoused its cause, the great body of the ministers of Christ if we except the Record newspaper; and go on to preach faithfully, scripturally, ought such a fraction of misunderstanding, and without vain jangling; let the friends however sincere, to be allowed to weigh of our religious institutions retain their against the firm, deep, and oft-recorded, wonted spirit of Christian affection and sense of the great bulk of pious, well- confidence, striving to glorify God, to informed, and conscientious men of all exalt the Saviour, and to promote the classes and denominations? We say this, salvation of mankind, and all will yet be not invidiously, but only to comfort some well. As to perfect institutions, they are who seem to imagine that religion is de- not to be found upon earth : our duty is generating among us into mere strife and to do all the good we can by means of “anlearned questions.” Our own hopes such as we have, and to seek to correct are brighter, and our belief more cheering all that is evil in them ; but to expect In a few circles indeed, these things en- to model all things to our own private gross much attention ; but beyond them views of excellence is neither practicable, they are scarcely heard of, except perbaps nor, considering men are infallible, alin the pages of a pamphlet or magazine. ways desirable. Let us not then exaggerate the matter; let
VIEW OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS.
The second reading of the Reform Bill from the bill; and though some of our has passed the House of Lords, after a friends were pleased to be angry with us lengthened discussion, by a majority of `for so hoping, they will perhaps be glad to nine voices, that is by fifty more in its fa- find our hopes confirmed by Lord Wynvour than on the former occasion. The ford's fears. Of one thing we are sure, difference was caused by the suffrages of that if the Established Church, or the Lord Harrowby and Lord Wharncliffe, cause of Scriptural education, or the with their friends, and the votes of the preaching of evangelical doctrine, or any Archbishop of York, and the Bishops of of our most valued institutions, are not London, Bath and Wells, Worcester, safe in the hands of the majority of reChester, Lichfield and Coventry, Lin. spectable British householders, they can coln, Llandaff, and St. David's. The bill under Providence be safe no where else. may perhaps be modified in the committee ; The Pluralities Bill has passed the house but its principle and leading provisions we of Lords. Defective as it was when inconclude will, either with or without the troduced, it is worse now ; for Lord creation of new peers, be preserved : and Wynford, who is understood to have purwe think the Bishop of London was right chased the next presentation to a second in expressing his hope that it will not be valuable living for his son, which would sent down to the Commons mutilated in have been untenable under the intended such a manner as to lead to a renewal of enactments, having opposed it, the Archstrife. Thus the issue has come at last bishop has allowed a clause to be inserted to what we were so much blamed by some meeting this disgraceful case ; by which of our readers for anticipating twelve absurd clause the next presentation to a months ago; but attended with all the un- benefice will often be more valuable than happy results of a year's altercations, and the advowson itself. His Grace having which would bave been avoided, had the declined to listen to the reasonable sugbill, with whatever necessary amendments, gestions of the great body of the religious been met in a different spirit, and allowed and attached members of the church, who speedily to pass into a law. Lord Wyn- wished to restrain pluralities, if adınitted ford, one of the most determined and at all, within strict bounds, expressly fixed keen-sighted of its opposers, terrified the by the bill, and allowing no arbitrary disHouse of Lords with prognosticating that pensation or licence at an Archbishop's if the great majority of householders are irresponsible discretion, having lent an admitted to vote for members of parlia- ear to noble lords who raised obstacles, ment, two direful effects will follow: but refused to attend to the suggestions " the fanatical party;" as his lordship of those who were anxious to have a really terms them—that is the great body, of re- efficient bill, such as might justly satisfy ligious persons in the land—will gain great the public and save the falling church; the influence in the national councils, and that bill has gone down to the House of Com. blessed institution, West-Indian slavery, mons in a form which will content no per. will infallibly totter to its downfall. son, and is likely to be pulled to pieces by Now these two effects we long ago stated the united efforts of Whigs, Tories, and as, in our opinion, very likely to result Radicals'; by religious mer, as being inCHRIST. OBSERV. No. 365.