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again explained. First, because the constitution of the Society admits of them; secondly, because the object, being simply the circulation of the Scriptures, allows of their concurrence; thirdly, because it is the duty of even Socinians, to concur in promoting the circulation of a book which they acknowledge as of Divine authority, and it cannot be right in us to discountenance others from doing their duty; fourthly, because to exclude them would be not very practicable, not very honourable, not very consistent, not adapted to promote the interests of truth or the credit of evangelical religion, and, as being a measure of unprovoked insult, not very Christian.

• If', says Mr. Clayton, one obnoxious class is to be shut out, equity and fairness and consistency demand that all obnoxious classes should be excluded. But as things now are, it is not a question upon the propriety and practicability of shutting out members, henceforth to be pronounced ineligible or inadmissible, but of turning out persons whom you have invited, admitted, and entertained in this fellowship of distributing the Scriptures. Hateful as Socinian doctrine must be to the orthodox believer, and painful as he must, on some accounts, feel it, to associate with its abettors on any occasion whatever; yet, if such co-operation, in any given case, involve no compromise of sentiment, be productive of no practical mischief, tend to the wider diffusion of the uncorrupted word of God, and, by possibility, lead on to the illumination and conversion of the erroneous themselves; then, I conceive, the principles of the New Testament, and the dictates of the renewed heart, so far from proscribing, do actually concur to recommend and enjoin it. And I think it may be shewn, by irrefragable proof, that as long as the Society adheres to its one object, and preserves entire its present constitution, although it have no exclusive law, it involves no compromise of religious opinion; it is secured from the production of any practical mischief; it does most unquestionably tend to effect a wider circulation of Holy Scripture; and has, in various and well-authenticated instances, reclaimed from the camp of error those who had there been entangled and overcome.'

• My views of the religion of Jesus Christ, and of the obligations it imposes, are such, that I devoutly wish all the Socinians in the universe could be prevailed on to join me in presenting the Scriptures, without note or comment, to the whole family of man: and were I to propose any barrier to such a junction, or to refuse it, I think such refusal would partake of the nature of sin.

• I am, moreover, perfectly convinced, that no law of exclusion can be devised, which will be found really and permanently efficient in maintaining the proposed separation. So much of mental reservation and secret equivocation may be brought to any test of human prescription, that heretical subtlety will easily, and with the utmost plausibility, evade it. Witness the total inefficacy of subscription to Articles of Faith, for the exclusion of men of erroneous creeds and profligate habits, from holding office in the established church. The love of the truth, and the profession of it, sustained by the influences


of the Holy Ghost, and by the various administrations of Christ's spiritual kingdom, are abundantly more mighty, for the preservation of the Church from the incursions of error, than all the guards of human device, and all the fences of human creation.

•I deem it, therefore, a duty to protest against the recent attempts that have been made to innovate upon the constitution of the Society: First, because I consider the principle of the proposed alteration to be UNRIGHTEOUS ; by which I mean to say, that it is disingenuous, dishonourable, and unjust, involving a breach of good faith with the public, destructive of confidence between man and man, and subversive of the integrity of moral obligation. To change, now, the original basis of the Society, after the lapse of a quarter of a century, and after it has received the seal which the mortality and the testamentary liberality of the pious dead have set upon it, would be, in my view, an affront to the Eternal Justice. It would be doing evil, that good may

It would be to apply the exploded doctrine of expediency, in a disguised, but a most exceptionable form. And I have yet to learn, that that zeal for orthodox doctrine is any better than spurious, counterfeit, and delusive, which, in grasping at some favourite point of imagined reformation, tramples on the claims of social virtue, conventional truth, and moral honesty. Fiat justitia ; ruat cælum.

Secondly, I enter this public protest, because I consider the principle of the new measures to be as IMPOLITIC as it is unrighteous. Unwittingly, I grant, and against their best intentions, the malcontent members of our Society are really serving the cause they profess themselves anxious to stigmatize and destroy. Socinians, and Socinianism, have, by their means, been called into a greater publicity of notice, and swelled into a larger magnitude of importance, than by any event which has taken place in this country for at least the space of half a century. pp. 12-14.

The fourth Resolution is as follows:

• 4. That we, therefore, pledge ourselves to use all Christian means in our power to have the British and Foreign Bible Society firmly established upon the above principles.'

What principles ? Scripture principles'? or Our opinion'? The wording is not very clear. But, Gentlemen, the Bible Society is ' firmly established', and requires not your using any means, Christian or unchristian, to move it from its present foundation. As there has been no settlement, no deviation from the perpendicular, we believe all to be safe there; and when, under such circumstances, we find persons busying themselves with the foundations of an edifice that has stood firm so long, we cannot help suspecting them to be sappers and miners, rather than builders. Proceed we to Resolution

* 5. That entertaining the most friendly feeling towards the Society, we invite the co-operation of any members of Auxiliary Societies, Associations, and other individuals of every Christian denomination, who acquiesce in the principle declared in the foregoing Resolutions ; and we solicit the communication of their sentiments on the subject.'

In other words, · That, entertaining the most friendly feeling towards a Society of which many of us have been for many years the most bitter and malignant calumniators and opponents, we invite the co-operation of any persons who acquiesce in our opinions, in carrying our point per fas et nefas, and ousting Brandram, Hughes, and the whole Earl Street Committee, with or against whom we find, to our mortification, that we avail nothing.'

6. That we have no intention of recommending that any Test should be put individually to persons proposing to become members of the British and Foreign Bible Society, or that any questions whatsoever should be asked of them ; it being pre-supposed that such persons are acquainted with the rules of the Society which they intend to support.'

This disclaimer comes rather late; and although we are not sorry to perceive the lowered tone in which this Resolution is couched, we must say that it looks more like an awkward attempt to ward off an objection, than an honest explanation of previous 'intention. Experience has amply shewn, that nothing could be more illusive than the pre-supposition, that all persons who subscribe to a society are acquainted with its rules. Besides, let rules or articles be never so definite and explicit, they may possibly be understood and subscribed to as mere 'articles of

peace.' Ignorantly, mistakenly, or insidiously, Socinians and other heretics might still creep in; and if no questions are to be asked, what is to prevent it? And as to those already in the Society, how are they to be got rid of? By a declaration that they ought not to be in it, — cannot consistently be admitted members ?' But some Socinians are members, and cannot be expelled by a mere ex post facto declaration. If, however, no test is to be imposed, and all the security is to be a pre-supposition, by virtue of which we are to take it for granted that thenceforward no Socinians will offer themselves as members, why not take it for granted now, that all the members of the Bible Society are as orthodox as any declaratory rule could make them? Since it must be, even then, by a sort of legal fiction, that all the members of the Society would be pre-supposed to be Trinitarians, why not avail ourselves of the same charitable hypothesis, as things stand, and take it for granted that they are all children of God, members of Christ, and "heirs of the kingdom of heaven ? But the excess of courtesy and latitudinarianism in this Resolution really astonishes and perplexes us. What! are no questions to be asked ?

Why, surely, then there must at least be a secret ballot. Will it be


enough to fix up a board over the committee room, with the notice, No Socinians or Neologists admitted,' and then suffer every one to pass unquestioned, on the pre-supposition of his orthodoxy, and to take his seat on paying his guinea. We confess we cannot understand this, more especially when taken in connexion with the last Resolution.

• 8. That it is our opinion, that all persons, without distinction, should be permitted to purchase bibles and testaments upon equal terms, according to the amount of their respective contributions; but that no contribution or subscription should constitute membership, except in accordance with the first and third Resolutions.'

Then what is to constitute membership? Subscription and belief in the Trinity? But who is to decide upon the fact of membership, in the case of a subscriber, seeing that no test is to be put to the individual, nor any questions asked for conscience sake? Let us suppose a case very likely to occur. A person of suspected orthodoxy asserts his right to speak or to vote, and it is attempted to put him down with the intimation that he is not a member. “No member,' he replies, 'when I sub'scribe my guinea annually?' 'No, sir, you are a Socinian.' 'I

deny it. Do you not aitend such or such a chapel ?' 'Sir, *I am not bound to answer any questions?' How is this to end? By the decision of the Chair, or by a resolution duly moved and seconded, to the effect that A. or B., notwithstanding all pre-supposition and declaration to the contrary, is no member? We suppose that we could learn in Sackville Street, but the Circular does not throw any light on the difficulty.

We have passed over an intermediate Resolution, which we must not forget to notice.

7. That we learn with unfeigned grief, that an erroneous impression has been extensively made and received, that we contemplate a dissolution of the connexion which has hitherto subsisted, in the Bible Society, between the Members of the Established Church, and those of Dissenting Denominations of Christians. We therefore feel called upon distinctly to deny any such intention, and to declare, unequivocally and affectionately, that it is our earnest desire to bind together persons of all denominations who acknowledge the Seriptural doctrine of the Holy Trinity.'

We do not charge the actual framer of this Resolution with insincerity or with any conscious intention at variance with the tenor of it; but, as the declaration of all the subscribing parties, we say, it is not in harmony with either their spirit or their language. One very prominent individual among the Sackville Street junta has explicitly announced his intention to ' withhold all assistance (in future) from every Society which is *under the management of Dissenters;' alleging as one of his reasons, that the greater part of the Dissenters are not preach*ing the glad tidings of the kingdom,' (viz. the personal reign of Christ) but perverting the plain language of the Bible, and giving it meanings which an honest infidel would be ashamed of, and which for disingenuousness is not to be exceeded by 'the Neologicians of Germany, or the History of the Jews by • Professor Millman.' Besides which they, the Dissenters, have supported, as a body, Lord John Russell in Devonshire, and Lords Althorp and Milton in Northamptonshire, and are in favour, generally, of parliamentary reform! On these two grounds, and on account of their · damnable doctrine’ respecting the illegitimacy of the alliance of Church and State, this gentleman disclaims all further acknowledgement of Dissenters as Christian brethren.

• Who would not laugh if such a man there be ?

Who would not weep if Atticus were he.' We should be happy to think that the gentleman alluded to is the only individual whose politico-theological notions have, after disordering his judgement, begun to eat up his charity. But the names of the Rev. Hugh M Neile and the Member for Dundalk, meet our eye, whose affection for the Dissenters is so notorious, that we can easily understand what unfeigned grief it must have occasioned them, to be suspected of contemplating a separation from us. We know not whether the Editor of the Record is among the subscribers to the Circular, though we can hardly suppose that he would be guilty of the useless hypocrisy of affecting a desire to bind together all denominations of Christians. That mischievous and dishonest paper, is, however, the organ of the Sackville Street junta; and its perpetual slanders and calumnies are an admirable exposition of their 7th Resolution. But we shall not pursue the ungrateful topic; and we take leave of the subject with two brief extracts from the pamphlets before us, which we beg strongly to recommend to the perusal of our readers, as fraught with sound argument, clear reasoning, and an excellent spirit.'

In the spirit of the times, and in the characteristic habits, I will not say of the individuals, but of the parties generally, by whom this measure of change has been proposed and urged, I also see much that is highly objectionable. This is a season of dangerous and violent excitement in every department of society, and especially in the Christian church. In some, the leaven of political fermentation mingling with their religious principles and affections, and exhibiting by turns the extremes of liberalism and bigotry enlisted under the sacred banner of conscience; in others, the schemes and expectations of unfulfilled prophecy, in all possible grades, from the most calm and sober investigations of the real import of divine truth, to the most delirious ravings

VOL. VI.--N.S.


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