« PrécédentContinuer »
addressed to the venerable Society instituted for the promotion of the Gospel, whose chief honour and ornament ye are ; and as often as I contemplate the light of the Gospel either now first rising on the Indian Nations, or after the intermission of some ages again revived, and as it were restored to its inheritance; I am constrained to magnify that singular goodness of God in visiting nations so remote; and to account you, my brethren, highly honoured, whose ministry it bath pleased Him to employ, in this pious work, to the glory of His name and the salvation of so many millions of souls. Let others indulge in a ministry, if not idle, certainly less laborious, among Christians at home. Let them enjoy, in the bosom of the church, titles and honours, obtained without labour and without danger. Your praise it will be (a praise of endless duration on earth, and followed by a just recompense in heaven) to have laboured in the vineyard' which yourselves have planted; to have declared the - name of Christ, where it was not known before; and through much peril and difficulty to have converted to the faith those among whom ye afterwards fulfilled your ministry. Your province, therefore, brethren, your office, I place before all dignities in the church. Let others be pontiffs, patriarchs, or popes; let them glitter in purple, in scarlet, or in gold; let them seek the admiration of the wondering multitude, and receive obeisance on the bended knee. Ye have acquired a better name than they, and a more sacred fame. And when that day shall arrive, when the chief Shepherd shall give to every man according to his work, a greater reward shall be adjudged to you. Admitted into the glorious society of the Prophets, Evangelists, and Apostles, ye, with them, shall shine, like the sun among the lesser stars, in the kingdom of your Father, for ever. Since then so great honour is now given unto you by all competent judges on earth, and since so great a reward is laid up for you in heaven; go forth with alacrity to that work, to the which the Holy Ghost hath called you. God hath already given to you an illustrious pledge of his favour, an increase not to be expected without the aid of his grace. Ye have begun happily, proceed with -spirit. He, who hath earried you safely through the dangers of the seas to such a remote country, and who hath given you favour in the eyes of those whose countenance ye most desired; He who hath so liberally and unexpectedly ministered unto your wants, and who doth now daily add members to your church; He will continue to prosper your endeavours, and will subdue unto himself, by your means, the whole continent of Oriental India. O happy men! who, standing before the tribunal of Christ, shall exhibit so many nations converted to his faith by your preaching; happy meri ! to "whom it shall be given to say, before the assembly of the whole human race, Behold us, O Lord, and the children whom thou hast given us; happy men! who, being justified by the Saviour, shall receive in that day the reward of your labours, and also shall hear that glorious encomium, Well done, good and faithful servants; enter ye into the joy of your Lord. May Almighty God graciously favour you and your labours in all things. May he send to your aid fellowlabourers, such and so many as ye wish. May he increase the bounds of your churches. May he open the hearts of those to whom ye preach the Gospel of Christ: that hearing you, they may receive life-giving faith. May he protect you
, . and yours from all evils and dangers. And when ye arrive (may it be late) at the end of your course, may the same God, who hath called you to this work of the Gospel, and hath preserved you in it, grant to you the reward of your labour,-an incorruptible crown of glory. “ These are the fervent wishes and prayers of,
“ GULIELMUS CANT.” “ From our Palace at Lambeth, January, A. D. 1719.”
I cannot here refrain from adverting to the admirable Sermon of the present Lord Bishop of London, delivered last year (1817), before the Society for Propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts, and which precedes their last Report.
The circumstance also may be here mentioned-and I shall only mention it--that if the efforts of the Church Missionary Society were suppressed, the number of Missionaries in India and its dependencies, supported by Members of the Church of England, would not exceed three or four; while those supported by other religious communities in this country amount to above seventy.
March 9, 1818. Feeling it to be due to the Hon. and Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of Gloucester to remove a misconception, which, as I collect from
some of the publications that have appeared in reply to my Defence, seeins to be entertained on the subject of the “ 'Statement" made by his Lordship, I take this opportunity of giving a simple account of the facts which the
error committed by me in a few copies of the First Edition of the Defence seems to render it expedient for me to detail.
The attack made upon his Lordship by the Archdeacon of Bath, to which the public attention was called in so peculiar a manner in the metropolis and throughout the kingdom, having rendered it advisable, in his Lordship’s judgment, to give some degree of publicity to a few words in relation to the part which he had taken in the whole transaction, it appeared to him sufficient for that purpose to furnish his bookseller with a statement, which he was instructed to show to any one who might seem interested upon the subject.
This Statement, of which his Lordship did not keep a copy, is dated December 22, 1817, and is here transcribed from the original at Mr. Hatchard's, word for word:
“ You have authority, from the Prelate who took the chair at the request of the friends of the Church Missionary Society at Bath, to declare, that, having previously consulted the Bishop of the Diocese upon the subject of preaching for the Society, he had not the slightest reason to suppose that, in taking that step, or in attending the meeting, he was acting in a manner disrespectful or displeasing to his Lordship; the introduction of whose name, as protesting against the meeting, is firmly believed by the prelate above mentioned to have been entirely unauthorised and unjustitiable."
With this Statement the Bishop of Gloucester contented himself: and though, in a letter to a friend, who had inquired whether he had acquainted the Bishop of Bath and Wells with his intention to attend the meeting at the time when he referred the preaching to his Lordship's decision, he replied in the affirmative, he did not then think the circumstance so material as to require any addition to the Statement already made.
The Defence of the Church Missionary Society did not reach the Bishop of Gloucester till the day on which several copies of the first edition were issued. His Lordship then found that what he had written had been misunderstood, and feared that some inaccurate expression might have slipped inadvertently into the Statement which had been sent on the 22d of December to Mr. Hatchard-an expression capable of conveying a declaration that he had consulted the Bishop of Bath and Wells as to his attendance upon the meeting-an expression, therefore, contrary to his own knowledge of the fact. Under this apprehension, he immediately wrote to Mr. Hatchard the following short letter:
“ Mr. Hatchard,
Palace, January 4. “ I am not sure whether the following is precisely in words the same as the Statement you have hitherto had, but I should wish the Statement now shown to be as follows."
This letter was prefixed to a Statement, which, whether an exact copy of the original, word for word, his Lordship could not at the time positively say, but which he was certain contained a faithful expression of the sentiment which he had meant to convey.
On comparison, however, it appears that they are verbatim the same, with this insignificant exception : Dec. 22. “ At the request of the Friends of the Church
“ Missionary Society at Bath.' Jan. 4. “At the desire of the meeting of the Friends of
“ the Church Missionary Society at Bath." This assertion
may be verified by any one who chooses to inspect the papers at Mr. Hatchard's.
The Bishop took, then, without delay, every step in his power to procure an immediate alteration of the first edition of the Defence of the Church Missionary Society, and a substitution of what was in fact his first and only Statement. But considering afterwards that his letter to a friend had been the ground, however erroneously, of the mistake, he thought it better to insert the purport of that letter in a second Statement, which appeared in the eighth and all the succeeding editions of the Defence.
The second Statement is as follows, word for word:
“We have authority, from the Prelate who took the chair at the desire of the meeting of the Friends of the Church Missionary Society at Bath, to declare, that, having previously mentioned to the Bishop of the Diocese his intention of attending the meeting, as well as submitted his design of preaching for the Society to his Lordship's decision, he had not the slightest reason to suppose that in taking those steps he was acting in a manner disrespectful or displeasing to his Lordship; the introduction of whose name, as protesting against the Meeting, is firmly believed by the Prelate above mentioned to have been entirely unauthorised and unjustifiable.”
“ Jan. 5, 1818.
Such, then, are the only two Statements ever made by the Bishop of Gloucester; the latter only differing from the former in the addition of a fact, viz. his having previously mentioned
to the Bishop of Bath and Wells his intention of attending the meeting—the introduction of which had appeared of more importance to others than to the Bishop himself.
For the Statement introduced into a few copies of the first edition of the Defence, so far as it differs from the Statements above mentioned, the Bishop of Gloucester is not in any way whatever responsible.
I trust that the obscurity which has been imagined to rest on this really insignificant matter, is now fully dissipated. It is quite obvious, that the Lord Bishop of Gloucester had no concern whatever in the error into which I was betrayed in the extreme haste with which my first edition was carried through the press. On the subject of this error itself, I can add little to the notes already given in the several editions of my small work, except by offering my apology to the Honourable and Right Rev. Prelate for the inadvertence; which I more deeply regret, since I find that it has given occasion, however unjustly, to the insinuations which it has been the object of these remarks to refute.
I will only express a hope, in conclusion, that whatever differences in judgment may arise between my opponents and myself, on fair and open topics of discussion, what I have now stated
may be sufficient to prevent an unintentional error being made the occasion of serious accusations ;-an error which appeared in not more than a tenth part of a single edition out of fourteen of my work: that is, in not more than a hundred copies out of fourteen thousand;
-an error which was not contained in any of the copies of the Defence which appeared in the public prints, or in other similar channels of communication, though these probably amounted to not fewer than one hundred thousand ;
-an error which, even in the few copies of the pamphlet that contained it, was accompanied with a reference to the papers lying at Mr. Hatchard's, and thus furnished the means by which it might be corrected;-an error which the author himself repaired the instant it was discovered, and long before any false impression could be made on the public mind; and the apology for which was inserted in the very edition where it occurred, was enlarged to an almost wearisome length of detail within the space of six or eight days after the publication, and has been circulated in all the editions since published, and long after any possible trace of the original inaccuracy can be supposed to remain.