« PrécédentContinuer »
The New Bible Society. “ Thus was established the reformation only we had reason to hope that they would of Berne, under which the canton has not offend again. Now then, when the flourished to this day. The event was King of kings, the Prince of our souls, the celebrated with public rejoicings; the ma- Son of God, who is also our Brother, visits gistrates opening the prisons, restoring us, and brings with him pardon to us who the exiles, changing the die of their money have deserved eternal banishment from in honour of their revolution, and causing his presence, shall we not honour the the date to be inscribed on a column in event by pardoning those who have done letters of gold. For such a celebration us wrong?' And the like sentiment of they assigned their reasons in the follow- Christian piety and charity, we are told, ing terms: * If a king or emperor in alli- was reiterated from friend to friend, in ance with us should enter our city, we their mutual salutations of one another." should remit the punishment of those who p. 28. bad offended against the laws, provided (To be concluded in the Appendir).
THE NEW BIBLE SOCIETY. best energies, at a great sacrifice of time A NEW Bible Society has been formed; and and exertion, to benefit their generation. though we saw no necessity for its insti- We have thought, in some instances, that tution, and have expressed serious doubts societies have been projected, which might respecting any alteration of the old con- have been well spared; but even in these stitution, and anxious fears lest the result cases, except there seemed special reason should neither be for the glory of God, for interference, we have felt unwilling the peace of his church, nor the religious to expose failings where the intention benefit of the world, there is no reason, was right; and in several instances, these now that it is formed, why we should not institutions have silently died away, or once more look at the whole matter with been broken to pieces, and come to nought. an unprejudiced eye, and endeavour in In regard to the work which the new a calm and prayerful spirit to ascertain Bible Society purposes to undertake, that if any mistake has occurred in our former of the circulation of the word of God, it conclusions. We can say, as in the sight is an object of such momentous importof God, that we have done so; and that ance, and so dear to every Christian if we could really believe that the new mind, that we should be willing to overinstitution is likely to further the great look many things that might not quite objects we have specified, we would comport with our own ideas in detail for most cheerfully retract all that we have the promotion of the general design. Abwritten, and even yet unite ourselves hand stractedly, an efficient Bible Society, conand heart in the measure.
structed on almost any plan not sinful, There is a rule which we have always would deserve the public gratitude ; and endeavoured to act upon in reference to though we should wish to amend it where religious institutions, new or old; that it was wrong, we should not scan too where the main object is right, and the nicely every defect, or forget the main agents are evidently desirous of proceed- design in the faulty provisions. ing conscientiously, the utmost forbear- But the Society recently formed profance, the most liberal construction, the fers its claim to patronage, not on the most tender delicacy, should be observed ground of being a Bible Society, but of in regard to those mistakes, frailties, and being an essential improvement on all the infirmities, which are inseparable from all Bible Societies at present existing. It is human proceedings, not excluding works (not to use the term offensively, but only of piety and benevolence. It is not with- for distinction,) an opposition Bible-Soout extreme pain that we have witnessed ciety; so that the question is not, whether of late years the rude spirit in which some we shall circulate the Bible, and whether of our religious and charitable societies, if there were no other means of circulatand more especially the Bible Society, ing it, we might not lawfully join the new have been assailed, as if it were doing institution ; but whether this institution service to i use of God and the best ought to supersede those which have gone interests of 1.5 to mistate and exaggerate before, and whether, now that both are every real failure; and then, the work before us for choice, the new one is having once begun, to invent what is not founded on a preferable basis. Those real, and thus to hold up to the public as who introduce this religious reform-bill culprits and defaulters, men who are zeal- must convince us that the old constiously and disinterestedly devoting their tution was radically unsound; that a reChrist. OBSERV. No. 360.
[Dec. volutionary measure, the formation of a religion? He is much more-he is a new constitution, was necessary; and that Bible Christian. The scholastic term the constitution they have devised, is Trinitarianism was not invented to inpreferable to that which they wish to clude the whole of revealed truth; but to subvert. We are not left to be neutral; mark out one essential fundamental docwe are desired by the seceders from the trine upon which it depends. The new original principle to make a choice; to society takes a part, instead of the whole; compare the two plans, and to come to a it throws away its Protestantism, which decision ; a process, we must say, pecu- receives “the Bible, the whole Bible, and liarly distressing to our feelings, where nothing but the Bible,” for its oracle ; matters of religion and charity are con- and imitates the Church of Rome, which cerned: but no alternative is left us, ex- first makes itself the expositor of Scripcept we are willing to allow it to be in
ture, then places the human comment in ferred by our silence, that we admit the place of the inspired text, and then exgrievous charges alleged against the old pects men to subscribe to the former institution, or at least see no great evils instead of the latter. It thus becomes likely to arise from the new one; neither sectarian, not Christian; expository, not of which is the case.
biblical : it does not ask, Do you believe The Sackville-street institution is en- what God says ? but what I interpret: and titled, “ The Trinitarian Bible Society.” though, in the present instance, the interWe have called it as above, “ The new pretation is correct and essential, and the Bible Society,” because we did not wish contrary erroneous, heretical, derogatory to designate it by any title that might to the glory of God, and fatal to the souls appear offensive, while we cannot in con- of men, yet the principle is the same; it science concede to it the title given to it is substituting the comment for the text; by its friends. Why do we not yield to it is not trusting God with his own word, Socinians the title of Unitarians? Be- however, or by whomsoever, distributed; cause it is unjust and invidious, and im- it is swerving from the character of a plies that those who are orthodox believe Bible Society to that of a Bible-exponot in one God, but in a plurality. Now, sition Society ; hedging in the tree which if it be unjust and invidious in the Uni- was for the healing of the nations, so that tarian to assume a title which implies no person shall take of its leaves to give that Trinitarians are polytheists, as little to his neighbour who has not first passed is it to be commended in the planners of the society's ordeal, instead of leaving his the new Bible Society to choose a title motives and principles to Him who sees which stigmatises all other Bible Societies and knows all things. Far more lamentas anti-Trinitarian or un-Trinitarian. Is able is such a limitation of the Bible and not every Bible distributed by the British the Bible Society, than that lamented by and Foreign Bible Society, a Trinitarian a poet, of a great statesman, who, Bible? Are the great body of the faith- “ Though born for the universe, narrowed ful servants of Christ in all lands anti
his mind, Trinitarian in their opinions or pro- And gave up to party what was meant jects? Have the millions of copies of for mankind. the Scriptures which have been circu- But have our friends considered that lated by means of this venerated institu- their new title, besides being invidious tion been instruments for diffusing prin- and unscriptural, is also utterly vague ? ciples contrary to that fundamental doc- It admits Ranters, Swedenborgians, and trine which is the basis of our holy reli- a hundred heretical and disorderly sects; gion? Are the names of Burgess, and to say nothing of worldly, ungodly, and Barrington, and Sumner, and Ryder, or vicious men of every kind, who happen to of Wardlaw, and Scott, and Milner, and protect themselves under the banner of Venn, and Hall, and Legh Richmond, an orthodox church; while it excludes and a thousand others, wont to be fami- the Society of Friends, and all who will liarly connected with measures tending to not submit to human comments on the the furtherance of Socinianism? Is it mo- sacred text, however correct and orthodox, dest, is it becoming Christian men, thus to but give in their adherence to the inspired select a title to which they have no ex- word only. It may be said, that these exclusive right? no right beyond that clude themselves; that the society has of their neighbours, who disagree with no wish to exclude them: but it excludes them on the Bible-Society question; and them by making its rules so strait that the assumption of which casts an un- they cannot enter ; besides which, it has, merited reproach upon the whole Chris- by an express rule, excluded Roman Catian world. Let our friends select their tholics also; and this from an institution own path; but why cast stones at their not designated as Protestant, but only as brethren?
“ Trinitarian. We say nothing at preThe title is also unscriptural, as well as sent of the propriety of excluding Roman invidious ; for does any Christian, when Catholics ; that is another and a very asked what religion he is of, say I am an serious consideration ; but to exclude Athanasian; or I am of the Trinitarian them from a society, the title of which
embraces all “ Trinitarians," is a solecism barrassment it will place the very indiwhich convinces us that the framers of the vidual who proposed it to the meeting at new institution, whatever zeal and piety the formation of the society-namely, they may have brought to their work, Captain Gordon. This gentleman has have not exercised that calm wisdom, for many years spoken and written very those judicious views, and that enlarged strongly, and not more strongly, we fear, range of thought which were requisite in than truly, respecting the conduct of the so serious a matter as that of subverting priests in Ireland, in opposing the circuthe Bible Societies of all lands, and set- lation of the Bible and the promotion of ting up their new model in their place. scriptural education ; and he is at this How easy is it to pull down : any rash very moment contending, both in print head and unsparing hand can do this, for and in parliament, with Mr. Stanley, the what is there human that is faultless? but Secretary for Ireland, on the proposed when we see what is substituted in its government plan of popular education, to place, how often are we constrained to wish be conducted in common by Roman Cathat innovators had let well alone, and not tholics and Protestants, without the inattempted to destroy what was solid, use- troduction of the Bible into the schools. ful, and on the whole incomparable, in or- The object of the Hibernian Society, the der to try new and visionary experiments. Kildare-place Society, and various other
Having alluded to the exclusion of Protestant institutions, was to promote Roman Catholics, we will just state in scriptural education; and their constant passing—for it is too large and serious complaint was, that the priests in general a point to go into fully at present, in all opposed them; though there were indiits bearings—that besides all the general viduals of a better mind, who acted otherobjections which apply to having any re- wise. But how stands the matter at ligious test whatever in a society which present ? The priests will retort in has no object but to forward under the Ireland, and Mr. Stanley in the House Divine blessing the glory of God and the of Commons, that the whole of the bisalvation of men, by the circulation of gotry is not now among the Papists, but the Holy Scriptures, there is a peculiar the Protestants; that some of the former impropriety and most fatal evil in exclud- might, and did, promote the circulation of ing from this good work this largest of all the Word of God, in union with Protestportions of the professed Christian world. ants, but that Captain Gordon and his If there was any one part of the Bible friends, disapproving of the catholic spirit Society's operations which we have always of the Bible Society, had formed a new regarded with more interest than another, one, forbidding such co-operation in and from which we anticipated, by the future; so that while Protestants problessing of Him whose word shall not re- fessed to make the Bible itself their only turn to him void, the largest and most rule of faith, they began with imposing a ample benefit, it was its unparalleled suc- test, demanding their own exposition of cess in disseminating the Word of God it as a preliminary even to circulating it, among Roman Catholics, and this,in nume- and had the bigotry and injustice to stigrous instances, by their own agency; espe- matize Papists as not being Trinitarians; cially by the hands of men like Martin Bos and, says Mr. Washington Phillips in his and others, who, though they quitted not published speech at the meeting, as not their corrupt church in act, were widely included “ in the pale of the visible removed from many of its corruptions in church of Christ.” * This regulation, in spirit; and who were not only Trinita- every view which we can take of it, is so rians, but we believe true servants of illiberal, so party-spirited, so little chaChrist. And more, the labours of the racterized by meekness or wisdom, and Bible Society have not only been the likely to be so suicidal to Protestantism, means, under the influence of the Holy especially in Ireland, that we have not Spirit, of enlightening the eyes of many words to express our extreme regret at members of that corrupt church, but of its adoption. At the same time, as we eventually bringing them out of it, and have repeatedly observed in former papers, adding converts to the ranks of Protest- we see not how the friends of the new antism as well as to the faith of Christ. society could have acted otherwise : for In the next generation, the effect was having begun with the imposition of a likely to be increased manifold. The test, they were obliged to carry it further pope so well understood this, that he than they themselves at first proposed. issued his bull to prohibit Roman Ca- The only question is, where it is to stop. tholics being connected with Bible So. Socinians are excluded, and so are Rocieties; but he little thought that a man Catholics; but are there no other society would arise in the heart of Pro- , flagrant heresies? What is to be done testant England to do the work ready to when the first Swedenborgian presents his hands. This regulation is the more himself? Is a new rule to be made ? And peculiarly to be regretted at the present when this is made, and another person of moment, on account of the state of Ire- unsound doctrine comes forward, is anoland. See, for instance, under what em- ther test to be devised ; and so on till the
institution is Christianized to the parti- of those speakers whose known opinions cular views of its officers for the time might have been likely to create some being? And then this little select knot fear respecting this leaven. They state of persons in an air-tight chamber, self- that the chair was taken by Mr. Spencer excluded from the great mass of the faith- Perceval; and that "after prayer had been ful in all lands, is to supply the religious offered up for the Divine blessing,” by necessities of the whole world! And what whom is not stated, resolutions were would the chairman of the meeting, Mr. moved and seconded by Mr. Gordon, Perceval, and some of its most active ori- Mr. Washington Phillips, Mr. Pringle, ginators; as, for instance, Mr. Armstrong, lir. Sinclair, Jir. Melvill, Dr. Holloway, Mr. Irving, and Mr. Drummond ; and Mr. Thomson, Mr. Howells, and others. some of its chief speakers, as Mr. Thel- Who these “others” were is not menwall, Mr. Platt, and Mr. Rhind, say, if tioned; and then ensues the disclaimer Mr. Howells or Captain Gordon were to about Regent-square leaven; but, on turnpropose other tests quite as necessary, ing to the authentic report of the meeting against certain new and strange opinions in a future number of that very same which are atloat? Why admit Mr. Arm- paper, we find that the clergyman who strong and Mr. Irving, and exclude Pascal prayed was Mr. Tbelwall, and the speakand Fenelon? Why not have a test on ers omitted were Mr. Rhind, Mr. Lamillennarianism as well as on transub- bouchere, Mr. Lockhart of Newcastle, stantiation ? Why not on the immaculate Mr. T. P. Platt, and Mr. Haldane. nature of Christ, as well as on the invo- Now several of these omitted gentlemen cation of saints? The whole error is in have published with their names various laying down a test where a test was nei- statements of doctrine which the Record ther wise nor necessary, nor in practice certainly would not approve, and some at capable of application.
least of which are impregnated with a part We are glad to see the conductors of of “the leaven of Regent-square.” Of the Record newspaper, which is the only the chairman, Mr. Perceval, we shall sav part of the religious periodical press, ex- nothing, as we are not aware that that cept the Morning Watch, that has promot- gentleman has expressed his theological ed the formation of the new Bible Society, sentiments in print; but it migbt have earnestly endeavouring to detach it from been well, in order to avoid all possibility certain alleged exceptionable connexions. of " leaven,” to have selected a chairman “ As it has been industriously circulated," whose sentiments are well known to be says the Record, “ that a leaven from far removed from any extraordinary notions Regent-square Church has pervaded the about prophecy, the Millennium, miracles, new society, we have the pleasure of and other pending discussions. But it is stating, on the best authority, that the somewhat remarkable that,as one of the two report is wholly unfounded.” What the great reasons for secession from the old leaven of Regent-square may be is not society was the opening public meetings easily said, since it applies to many par- with prayer, the Record should omit to ticulars; among others, certain extraor- mention who was the chaplain specially dinary notions respecting the sacraments, selected, whether by the chairman or the and still more extraordinary interpreta- committee, for this occasion, and that it tions of prophecy; the doctrine of uni. was Mr. Thelwall who has so industriously versal pardon ; the heresy of Christ's as- and publicly exerted himself in defence of suming sinful flesh; assurance without the doctrine of modern miracles? It was evidence; modern millennarianism, and at least an unhappy coincidence that the the personal reign of Christ before the society could not,amongst all the clergy and final judgment; the non-cessation of dissenting ministers in the kingdom, have miracles; the exhibition of them at the selected an individual for the chaplain who present moment; with various differences was exempt from this portion of " Regentof opinion as to what are and what are not square leaven.” Again, Mr. Platt's abi. miracles; some asserting the cures but not lities, character, and his secession from the tongues, and sundry other points. Each the parent society, of which he has long one of these opinions is not held by every been a most valuable and laborious friend person who holds some of them; and we and gratuitous officer, were reasons why his are far from wishing to impute “ Regent- name should not have been omitted in the square leaven,” or any of its ingredients, most brief and cursory report of the meetto any individual who disavows them; ing. Above all, why pass over Lieut. but taking names and facts as they stand, Rhind, who has in print so fairly, honestly, we cannot wonder, to say the least, that and in that Christian spirit which is his chait is discovered to be requisite to lay be- racteristic, declared his views not merely on fore the public a special disclaimer on the a few points which Mr. Platt has written subject in reference to the new society. on, but on the mass of" Regent-square leaIt is somewhat remarkable, however, that ven?" But what has Regent-square leain their account of the formation of the ven, or any other leaven, even Socinian society, the conductors of the Record leaven itself, to do with a society for dishave passed over the names of every one tributing Bibles without note or com.
ment? Do not our friends feel already sufferance," and would not be permitted to
was understood to express his regret at