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Once in Thy loving kindness blest, swift flew my days along:
ту Rock, why hast thou cast me off, To groan beneath oppression and endure the impious scoff ? Keen as a sword the cruel taunt, repeated day by day; Where is the God he trusted in ? my foes insulting say. Yet why art thou cast down, my soul? Why faint beneath the rod ? Hope on, for I shall praise Him still, my Helper and my God. Judge Thou my cause; right me, O God, against a ruthless race: O save me from a treacherous foe, unprincipled and
base. For Thou my strength, my fortress art: Why hast Thou cast me off? To groan beneath oppression, and endure the impious scoff? Send forth Thy light and truth, O Lord, to point and guide my road, To lead me to Thy holy mount, even Thy blest abode. Then at Thine altar, O my God, my harp and voice shall raise, To Thee, the Author of my joy, triumphant hymns of praise. Then why art thou cast down, my soul Why faint beneath the rod ? Hope on, for I shall praise Him still, my Saviour and my God.
Art. V. 1. Considerations respectfully submitted to the Committee of
the British and Foreign Bible Society, on the present Crisis of its Affairs. By a Secretary of an Auxiliary Bible Society. 8vo. pp. 28.
London, 1831. 2. The Character of the Bible Society as a Religious Institution; con
sidered in a Letter addressed to the Hon. and Rev. G. T. Noel, occasioned by his Letter to Lord Teignmouth. By Clericus. 8vo.
pp. 44. Price ls. London, 1831. 3. Circular addressed to the Members of the British and Foreign Bible
Society, and of the various Auxiliary and Branch Societies, and Bible Associations, by a Provisional Committee formed on the 20th
of May, 1831, at 32, Sackville Street, London. pp. 3. WE had not intended to advert again, at least for the pre
sent, to the subject of these publications; but pamphlets, letters, and resolutions are pouring in upon us, which, if noticed at all, require to be promptly noticed ; and the activity of the agitators calls for a corresponding watchfulness and decision. This specious and insidious Circular', the manifesto of the Sackville Street junta, bearing as it does the signatures of nearly eighty respectable individuals, claims a distinct, though brief examination.
The Circular invites our serious and deep consideration to eight . Resolutions', which we shall take up seriatim.
1. That we whose names are undersigned, do form a Provisional Committee, with power to add to our number, for the purpose of VOL. VI.-N. S.
uniting in such measures as may induce the British and Foreign Bible Society to re-consider the decision of the late Anniversary General Meeting of that Institution, and to bring about a separation in point of Membership from those who do not acknowledge the Scriptural doctrine of the Holy Trinity.'
This is, we believe, the first time that a provisional committee was ever formed, not for the purpose of instituting a society, but with the avowed object of disturbing an institution long established, by forcing upon it the views of an inconsiderable and defeated minority. This provisional committee is nothing better than an organized conspiracy, how specious soever its object, which, if successful, would overturn the whole management of the Society. Formed in direct and open opposition to the venerable President, the episcopal and other vice-presidents, (with the exception of Lords Mandeville and Lorton, the officers, and the elected committee of the British and Foreign Bible Society, all of whom have deliberately recorded their opinion, and are staked to the present constitution of the Society,—the effect of what this junta are proposing to themselves, if not their aim, must be, to turn out the whole body of patrons and directors, who, if thus overborne and counteracted, could neither with honour nor consistency retain their connexion with the Institution. But that such is the actual aim of some of the confederates, is matter of notoriety. The following is the language of Robert Haldane, Esq., in his last furious bull against the Bible Society Committee.
· Such is the manner in which the Directors of the British and Foreign Bible Society have directed themselves in the whole course of their proceedings. And I ask, if it be possible, in the history of the whole world, to produce an example of charges so multiplied, and of such weight, and magnitude, and criminality, being brought against the managers of any other society? Yet, after all, how little do we know of their practices --how short a way have we been able to trace them! But from the little we have seen of their public transactions, and from the glimpse we have had of their secret operations, a scene has been disclosed unparalleled and unprecedented. Religious principles have been outraged, religious duties have been violated, and religion itself has been trampled upon, and exposed to the scorn of men and to the derision of infidels. And they who have been guilty of all these delinquencies, although fully and publicly convicted of them, refuse to this hour to make any acknowledgement or confession of their faults. Does it become any Christian to support or countenance such a Committee? In doing so, is he not betraying the cause which it is his duty to support? And does he not become a partaker of other men's sins? .
any of their supporters affirm with a good conscience, that they are not incompetent and disqualified for the duties of their office ?
It might have been expected, considering the number and magnitude of the charges established against them,-and the fact of their being the occasion of so greatly dividing public opinion, and producing so unhappy a schism, that they would long ere now have voluntarily resigned the direction of the society, and been willing to commit it to others who might re-unite in its favour the suffrages of Christians. But, notwithstanding the circumstances in which they have been placed, they have tenaciously clung to their situation, although they are well aware that there is no prospect of their being able to regain that general confidence which they once possessed, but which they have irretrievably lost. In this state of things, it ought to be considered, whether the Auxiliary Bible Societies should not require their resignation of office.'
We have thought it worth while to transcribe this furious and scandalous libel, fit only for the notice of a court of justice, and which, had it proceeded from Taylor and Carlile, would have been duly appreciated,-in order that none of our readers may be ignorant of the real views of at least some who sanctimoniously clamour about religious tests and prayer. So did the Pharisees stand up for the sanctity of the Sabbath, while bearing false witness against the Saviour! The name of Robert Haldane is not attached to the circular, but that of his faithful nephew, and deputy, Alexander Haldane, is of course among the subscribers, as well as that of Mr. Henry Drummond, who, in 1821, sounded the first note of warfare against the Bible So. ciety Committee; and those of some other worthy persons well known for their hostility to the very principles of the Institution. Five years ago, in noticing the malignant shape which the dispute about the Apocrypha had assumed, the Eclectic Review warned the Committee of the sort of warfare which they might prepare to encounter. Our readers may now judge whether the language employed was not too appropriate. If any persons
imagine that the opposition which has for some time been ri'pening, originated in the Apocrypha question, or that it will 'expire with it, they are under a complete delusion. Many years ago, a notorious heresiarch, the high-priest of Antino'mianism, yet holding a benefice in the Establishment, is said 'to have termed the Institution, the Devil's Society. And 'there are other religionists, not precisely of this school, men of
purer creed and better feeling, yet whose doctrinal eccentricities and party zeal render them scarcely less inimical to the 'irenical plan and catholic principle of the Institution. A 'party is springing up in the religious world, the progress of
which will require to be closely watched and vigorously con'trolled; for they will not be content till they have remodelled
every religious institution, and stamped them with their own features of intolerance. For this time, the experiment on the • Bible Committee has failed. The Secretaries and three-fourths
of the Committee have not gone out. But the contest is not over.'*
Such was the language held in this Journal in 1826. We now ask, were we not in the right? It proceeded from no random conjecture, nor was it spoken in the oracular spirit of prophecy, except that experience will sometimes attain
• To something like prophetic strain ;but expressed a firm conviction, grounded on the knowledge of character and facts. Mr. George Clayton, the Author of the • Considerations', does not appear to be fully aware of the filiation of the Sackville Street Committee, or rather of the school from which it has emanated, although he has most truly characterized the main part of these reformers. 'I do', he says, • I must, and ever shall congratulate myself, that the stir and strife on this lamented occasion have not sprung from the nonconforming members of the British and Foreign Bible Society.' He then adds :
• From clergymen or laymen of the established churches of this kingdom, and, for the most part, from the younger and less matured among these,-men green in judgement and warm in temperament, who, as John Bunyan would say, have the egg-shell still upon their heads,—this unhappy contest has emanated. Is it to be attributed to the power of prejudice-to the long seclusion within college wallsto an imperfect acquaintance with the principles of religious toleration and of human nature-to the lack of due initiation into those theological studies which ought to precede (and that in preference to all classical and mathematical science) an introduction to the labours of the ministry, -or to what other cause is it to be assigned, that these are the dear brethren who have poured upon us all this confusion?'
Not these only. We could mention individuals whose age and standing might seem to entitle them to be looked up to as leaders and guides, whose zeal and, perhaps, amiableness of character, command veneration, and seduce many an ardent and generous mind into the feelings of discipleship; but whose original feebleness of judgement, indicated by prominent eccentricities, has neither been remedied by sound learning, nor improved by age. We cannot forget whence sprang the epidemic heresy of the years 1817, 18, which was confined entirely to ministers of the Established Church, for the seceders never blended with the dissenters,'—and which, according to the confession of its leading advocates, derived its seminal prin ciples from the doctrinal instructions of one who has been a loud denouncer of the iniquities of the Bible Society, and
Eclectic Review, Vol. XXVI. p. 220.
figures in the Provisional Committee. And we are grieved to notice the name of another much esteemed clergyman, who is no green-horn, but whose constitutional veheinence, extending itself to all his opinions, right or wrong, gives an almost fantastical character to sound learning and fervent piety, and disqualifies him as a safe guide in practical matters. The greater part of the clerical subscribers are, however, what Mr. Clayton justly describes them to be,-'green in judgement and warm in . temperament,' -vehement, confident, and intolerant,-strongly reminding us, in their moral physiognomy, of the Cowans, and Bevans, and Barings of the Antinomian secession, although their ultra-orthodoxy assumes a less dangerous character. May we be pardoned if we again cite the language of our own Journal some thirteen years back, in reference to the true cause of these phenomena. The defectiveness or the entire want of a
theological education, we have often remarked to be a concomitant, and we believe it to be, in many instances, a direct cause
of the adoption of such sentiments... How far even the most ‘ judicious theological education affords a security, independent
of personal piety, against errors of the sceptical class, is a ques• tion of fact which we need not at present discuss. But we may * with confidence affirm, that it will, generally speaking, obviate the
danger of falling into fantastic incoherencies, similar to those ' with which we are at present concerned. Where men (what' ever may have been their advantages as to general education) • become suddenly acquainted with the first truths of Christ• ianily, and are immediately called upon to commit themselves, ' in the most public manner, upon its several doctrines, and ' where vivacity of temper is met by stimulating circumstances,
-nothing less, we imagine, than eminent grace, and that, pro• bably, imparted under the pressure of affliction, will preserve ' such persons upon the plain, humble path of scriptural sim. plicity. Perhaps, some one luckless hyperbole, uttered in the • heat of declamation, which is unhappily remembered, admired, • and repeated, may first tempt the feet upon the field of extra
vagance; and this enchanted ground once trodden upon, how • fearful is the chance that the wanderer may return !'*
Upon the whole, with all due respect for the private worth of the individuals whose names are attached to this Circular, we must say, that they form a class, to whose collective judgement we should not think it safe greatly to defer. Nay, although, while acting separately, or in association with Christians of cooler judgement and less exalted sentiments, they may be useful and valuable members of the body, yet, when compacted
* Eclectic Review, 20 Series, Vol. IX., pp. 539-541. VOL. VI.N.S.