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this is indeed a blessed privilege ; but as we are to follow"
peace with holiness ;” and as there is the limitation of “as much as lieth in you," it appears that on earth peace is not always to be obtained. Truth is not to be relinquished; and therefore discussion, not to say controversy, may be sometimes necessary: and would that it could be always conducted in that blessed spirit which I have heard your lordship so well describe, and of which I have ever regarded your own controversial publications as exemplary models. The amiable Melancthon, when he summed up the reasons why he was willing to go whenever God should call him to that world where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest, was wont to say: soul, thou shalt bid adieu to sin ; thou shalt be freed from cares, and especially from the rage of controversialists; thou shalt enter into light; thou shalt see God; thou shalt behold also his Divine Son ; thou shalt comprehend also those wonderful secrets which thou couldest not understand in the present life; thou shalt know why we are framed as we are ; thou shalt learn also the mystical conformation of the Divine and human natures in Jesus Christ." The former part only I intended to quote, but the whole has trickled from my pen. This was acquaintance with God; this was true peace; and in the anticipation of it, he said with his dying lips, “ What want I? nothing, nothing, but heaven." Like that kindred spirit Hooker, be had learned to view not only the world, but, alas! the visible church of Christ “made up of perturbations;" and he had long been preparing to leave it, and gathering comfort for that dreadful yet to him happy hour, when he should be translated to the presence of God. Like another eminent Christian, the celebrated Peter Du Moulin, he might say, “O my God, how weary am I! When shall I rest in thy bosom? When shall I drink of the river of thy pleasures ? I am unworthy of it, O my God; but thou art glorified by doing good to the unworthy. I am going to my Father and my God; I go to him with confidence, for he has arrayed me with the robe of his righteousness.” Luther felt, thought, and spoke in the same manner, for though he was cast by Divine Providence in the midst of the battle he was eminently a man of peace; and peace is the atmosphere of heaven, for “ God is love."
I ought in strict argument to cross my pen through all that I have been writing for the last quarter of an hour, for it has been but the effusion of a spirit wounded at beholding the strifes of the church, and fearful of adding to them, and your lordship's maxim and conversation, before alluded to, led me on : but let it stand, to remind the writer and the reader of that world where Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim ; but all shall see eye to eye, and strife and discord shall be no more. With a lurid political atmosphere around us, a pestilential disease at our doors, and perhaps an offended Father looking down upon us; these are not times for Christians to fall out by the way. It was hoped the Bible Society would have healed many wounds and cemented many hearts; but the accuser of the brethren mourned over the spectacle, as he did over Adam and Eve caressing in paradise, and he hurled the torch of discord among us. Let us not be ignorant of his devices, or yield to his temptations.
It has frequently occurred to me, in the course of these letters, how greatly the committee and officers of the Bible Society require the prayers, the sympathy, and the encouragement of their fellow-Christians. It is truly disheartening, when repairing to their hallowed
« Let us
labours, instead of being gladdened with the voice of hope and salutation, to meet with hard words and frowns; and, far from receiving the right hand of fellowship, to be greeted only with an ominous shake of many a head, which never shakes an argument out of it to shew cause for its prognostications. But these things are to be expected; and this not only on the part of the enemies of all that is good, but of ill-judging or weak-minded friends. But the Bible Society, as Beza says of the Bible itself, is “ an anvil that has broken many a hammer, and will break many more." If they will batter, they must. The conductors of the Society have ever been very much in the condition of Nehemiah and the Jews, when they were endeavouring to build, as God had commanded, the wall of the city, and Tobiah, the Ammonite, plotted against them. Nehemiah says, “I told the people of the hand of God, which was good upon me," and they said, rise up and build ;" so they strengthened their hands for this good work; but Tobiah and his colleagues“ laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye do?” This Tobiah was the most active of the opposers of the good work : he said, that it was wholly unsound,“ That which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall." But the fabric was not so flimsy as he imagined. The builders, though much inconvenienced and delayed by the opposition, and obliged every one with one hand to hold a weapon for defence, while with the other they wrought in the work, yet, relying upon the arm of the Lord, went on diligently and perseveringly. “ Then answered I them,” says Nehemiah, “ the God of heaven he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build.”
“ So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof, for the people had a mind to work." Upon which, the pious Matthew Henry remarks, “ Good work goes on well when people have a mind to it; and reproaches should rather quicken to our duty than drive us from it.” He adds, Tobiah, and the other adversaries of the Jews, had the mortification to see the wall built up, notwithstanding all their attempts to hinder it;" but “Nehemiah had the vexation, notwithstanding, to see some of his own people treacherously corresponding with Tobiah.” “Several good honest tradesmen," further remarks this commentator, as well as priests and rulers were active in this work, as goldsmiths, apothecaries, and merchants; they did not think their callings excused them, nor plead that they could not leave their shops to attend the public business, knowing that what they lost would certainly be made up to them by the blessing of God upon their callings. Some ladies, also, are spoken of as helping forward this work, as Shallum and his daughters.”—There is one excellent feature of the parallel which the conductors of the Bible Society have imitated in all the controversies which have taken place respecting the Society; they have never stopped their work to engage in polemics; their language has ever practically been, “ I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down; why should the work cease, while I leave it and come down to you?” While they proceed in this course they will at length weary every Tobiah that comes against them ; only let their prayer be, “They made us afraid,” but,“ O God, strengthen our hands."
It is, my lord, no good omen for the Church of England, that this new opposition to the Bible Society should have arisen, like former ones, within her bosom, and been almost entirely confined to her pale. The Bible Society had done much to conciliate the more moderate and thoughtful portion of the Dissenters towards our communion; and they have expressed, times without number, their satisfaction in seeing so
many of our clergy and laity uniting with them in this common work of Christian mercy. They heeded little those who kept aloof while so many were present. But altered altogether will be the case if this schism is carried much further. Our Dissenting friends begin already, and I cannot say without some cause, to express impatience at this novel and, as they think, unreasonable opposition; and if the issue should be (not that I fear it will be, when the question is clearly understood in all its bearings) that a large portion of the clergy and church members should retire, the society will still exist and flourish, but it will be, and not unfairly, a focus for the concentration of Dissenting strength which may shake the church to its foundations.
And here, my lord, I do entreat, I do implore, I do most solemnly obtest, my reverend brethren who have been shaken in this matter, some of them men to whom I am not worthy to be called a brother; at whose feet I would sit to learn lessons of heavenly sanctity, and whose lives cause me to blush and mourn as I look at my own sins, negligences, and ignorances—I would beseech them, for the love of Christ and the welfare of immortal souls, to pause, to re-consider, to linger long, before they lend themselves to this heart-rending schism. It may be, that they took up these pages with prejudice; it may be, that the faults of the writer have increased them : these let them pardon in the meekness of Christ ; and then, having discarded all but their own secret strivings of heart, and the instruction of God's holy word and the teaching of his Spirit, let them ask if there be no fact, no argument, which fairly, calmly, candidly weighed, may prevent their unhappy secession. Do the numerous authentic documents referred to in these pages weaken no one of the statements they have been accustomed to hear? Will they not, at least, give to such an institution the boon even of a culprit, the benefit of a charitable doubt; and, after a few more conscientious oscillations, determine on their course, and exclaim, “I will go with you, for God is with you." I class not the brethren to whom I allude with the backbiters whom I have been constrained to confute; let them, in return, not class the friends of the Bible Society with those enemies of Christ, whom every true friend to that Society mourns over with sorrow, and would spend and be spent to rescue from their delusions. Let them reflect that the Bible Society, with all its infirmities, has been, by the Divine blessing, the greatest benefit which has been conferred upon the world since the Apostolic age; let them remember what was the state of Chri tendom when this society arose, and seriously inquire whether it has not been the chief instrument of that revival of religion which is closely connected with the very objections now made to it. Men slept in carnal ease; there was little warfare, because there was little spirituality ; but light has been sent from on high, let them beware lest the enemy of souls, taking the shape of an angel of light, split to fragments the machine which was intended for the destruction of his kingdom.
It has seemed to me, my lord, for several years past, and maintain it I must, notwithstanding some excellent friends of mine have often tried to smile me out of the notion, that we are approaching times resembling those of the middle of the seventeenth century, when God having revived his work in the midst of the years by the glorious Reformation, tares grew up with the wheat and produced a destructive harvest. Men began to declaim and to denounce; then arose new and visionary doctrines; prophecy was burlesqued under pretence of being interpreted; gifts and miracles were said to be revived; the millennium was at hand; the Bible was read in its terrors, and forgotten in its love; religionists made it a matter not of profane jest, but of fanatical boasting, that the praises of God were in their mouths, and a two-edged sword in their hands; nothing was good enough, scriptural enough, spiritual enough to suit the taste of the new deelaimers except their own wayward fancies; they stood up in the senate, not in the meekness of wisdom and the spirit of love, bringing the principles of the Gospel of Christ to bear with manly sense and spiritual understanding upon the business of states and nations, but with wild denunciations, making religion, lovely as she is, appear to the vulgar eye absurd and insane, and preparing the way for that fearful re-action which ensued in the days of the Second Charles, when men took credit to themselves that they were only profligates and blasphemers, and not enthusiasts and fanatics. This spirit encroaches by little and little, but of late it has made alarming strides ; and religion is becoming as polemical as it was in the worst era of the civil wars. Some good men, whose own hearts overflow with a spirit of Christian love, are yet gradually seduced by the apparent zeal and spirituality of the incursive party, above the steady course of more moderate spirits. Our religious institutions are to be shaken to their foundation, because some Balfour of Burley (I never read the fiction, but I know the historical fact) arises in solemn denunciation, and alarms weak spirits, who rush into the snare, and become mailed Covenanters, instead of humble, peaceful, and affectionate Christians. If this go on and prevail, the result will be, that what is true religion, as well as what is false, will be again scoffed at and put down ; a senator will not be allowed to speak as a Christian, lest he should adopt the declamations of Cromwell and the wild Parliament, the remembrance of which to this hour has done much to make religion distasteful in scenes of public resort, and the general intercourse of life ; licentiousness and infidelity will lord it over true devotion and scriptural piety, because men learn to connect these with wild eccentricity and extravagance. I think I see a portion of this spirit in some of the speeches and speakers who have assailed the Bible Society; it is too simple, too sober, too peaceful to please them; but I will not pursue the subject; my only word to really pious and judicious men is-BEWARE. Let such, and such only I address, remember, in addition to all that has been said, the agitation and distress of Christians of retiring and tender spirit who observe some to whom they look up for advice and guidance, hurried on by these agitated moments. Let them consider the extremely painful situation of Bible Society collectors and female agents, who are distressed and perplexed with these reports about Haffner's preface, and false readings, and Socinian agency, and Neologian connexions, and really know not how to answer the charges so currently alleged, and are thus disheartened in their excellent and pious work. Such persons are much to be pitied; and it is a grievous thing when those who might know the facts better, allow them thus to be unsettled by their own wavering and uncertain course.
My lord, I have done. I have written, perhaps, too much and too freely : I now betake myself to prayer; and my prayer shall be in the uncommented words of that blessed Book which we circulate. The passage will need but few omissions and few accommodations to adapt it to the subject of the preceding pages
Give ear, 0 Shepherd af Israel, Thou that leddest Joseph like a flock : Thou that dwellest between the cherubim, shine forth. Thou hast brought at rine out of Egypt; thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it. Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root; and it filled the land. The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars. She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river. Why hast thou then broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her ? The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it. Return, we beseech Thee, O God of hosts : look down from heaven, and behold and visit this vine ; and the vineyard which Thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for Thyself.
That your lordship may long live, venerable in years, mature in the fruits of righteousness, and prepared for a blessed immortality, to see this cloud pass away, as others have passed away before, and the Sun of Righteousness shining in his glory, in the peaceful rays of Christian union, on this invaluable institution, is the earnest prayer and heartfelt
and grateful servant,
RELIGIOUS INTELLIGENCE. ANNIVERSARIES OF RELIGIOUS pressive and edifying: the assembled bre
SOCIETIES IN LAUSANNE. thren “ experienced the presence of the The London May-meetings of religious Saviour, and we doubt not that there will and charitable institutions have given rise result the fruits of sanctification, conver. to similar anniversaries in Dublin, New- sion, and salvation.” It was resolyed that York, and Paris ; and are likely to be imi. the last day of the year should be approtated in other countries, where a sufficient ' priated to solemn prayer and fasting for number of such institutions exists to bring the abundant effusion of the Holy Spirit together their friends simultaneously to upon the Christian church, that Christians the same central spot. A solemnity of of every name and nation under heaven this kind, on a smaller scale, took place at may be united in a spirit of love and chaLausanne, during several days in Novem- rity, as they are united in one common ber; at which were assembled, from various faith, that the kingdom of Satan might be parts of the Canton of Vaud, more than destroyed, that sinners might be brought seventy pastors, and a considerable number to the cross of Christ, and that the faithful of Christian Jaymen, to attend the meet- may be prepared for whatever judgments ings of the Bible, Missionary, and Tract appear to impend over the world. Great Societies, and for mutual conference and numbers of Christians both in France and edification. The scene, says a French Switzerland agreed to join this solemn Protestant journalist, was peculiarly im- consecration.
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. L. N. G.; ALPHA; J. D.; T. G.; C. B.; AN OLD SUBSCRIBER; No PARTY-MAN;
N. N. N.; A CONSTANT READER; S. J.; J. J.; REPARATOR; J. S. – H.;
W. F. C. ; A FRIEND TO THE CHURCH ; and J. H., are under consideration. We have considered the pending questions respecting the Bible-Society of such im
portance, as to devote to them, not only the greater part of two Numbers, but a large quantity of additional matter. We trust that our readers in general take so warm an interest in the subject, that they will not be unwilling to postpone some of the usual varieties, for the sake of having before them, once for all, a full account of this much-litigated matter; though, had time and the thickness of the Number allowed, we should not have hesitated to add another sheet or two, for the sake of affording a larger number of the usual articles.