task of reporting from unofficial sources upon the extraordinary speeches at the meeting; for if persons choose to quarrel with closed doors, and to pay their money for the privilege, we see not why strangers should interfere in the matter. It may be as well, however, for the information of our readers, and for future reference, in order that they may be enabled to form an intelligent opinion in case the matter goes further, to copy the following report from two opposite quarters; the first, from the Patriot newspaper, the organ of the great body of the orthodox Dissenters; the other from the Record newspaper, the organ of the friends of the Trinitarian Society.

The statement of the Patriot is as fol


"The affairs of the Trinitarian Bible Society are in strange confusion. A most stormy meeting took place last Thursday, when certain members called the committee to account for excluding the heretics of Regent Square; a step which they contended was an unjustifiable extension of the original test. No reporters were admitted; this is in itself an ominous circumstance. It is a plain proof that any society, but especially a religious one, must be in a lamentable condition indeed, when it cannot face the open day-when it is conscious that its proceedings are likely to be too disgraceful for publication. The description we have had, however, of the meeting, from those who were present, leaves us no room to regret that the veil of secrecy was dropped over this painful scene; a scene which, if disclosed, would only fill the sincere Christian with sorrow, and store with fresh arrows the quiver of the infidel. Suffice it to say, that the Irving heresy had a majority in its favour; the consequence is, the offi

The Patriot will concur with us, upon re-consideration, that this is not an accurate statement. The members who opposed what they considered the unfairness and intolerance of Mr. Gordon's party, were not of necessity tainted with Irvingism. Witness, for example, Mr. Washington Phillips' indignant remonstrance with the Record newspaper, for urging a similar charge: "With feelings of mingled surprise and regret," says Mr. Phillips to the conductors of that paper, "I have perused the extraordinary statement which has found a place in the columns of your paper. lingly would I ascribe to misapprehension that which, if traced to any other source, must subject such a statement to the just reprobation of those rightly informed upon the subject of which it treats. Groundless assumptions and unjust inferences can never uphold any cause, much less the cause of error. Pemit me, then, sir, to certify the misapprehension under which you are evidently


cers of the Society have already resigned and formed themselves into a provisional committee. And this, then, is the Trinitarian Bible Society, after a brief existence of some seven or eight months! This is the meagre performance which has followed such magnificent promises! We trust its projectors have found out by this time how vast is the difference between opposing an old society and erecting a new one; between finding faults and amending them; and that a theory may look ever so well on paper, which it may be extremely difficult to reduce to practice. They were forewarned, that if they inclosed their society within the pale of church communion and such, in fact, a test constitutes it-they would find it impossible to stop; they can only stop consistently by shutting out whatever they account heresy-and that greatest of all heresies an unholy life. Then, indeed, they will be consistent, but not till then.

"Little did those who opposed the formation of the Trinitarian Bible Society imagine that so short a time would suffice to shew the impracticable nature of the principle on which it was founded. Experience has enforced her lessons more quickly than usual. In the mean time, how lamentable is the fact that the new society has been fruitful in nothing but mischief! It has occasioned schism, and has been itself the victim of it; it has given birth to innumerable and most angry controversies; it has impaired the unity, and has done all the little it could to circumscribe the energies of the noblest institution of our age-while it has completely failed of the great object for which this and every Bible Society is ostensibly founded. We believe we speak the truth when we say that it has not yet circulated a single copy of the Scriptures! If we

labouring, and to afford information more accurate than any at present you appear to possess. A deep sense of responsibility to God, whose glory never can be promoted by carnal policy, and a desire to discharge faithfully the trust committed to them, under a conviction that the authority delegated by their constituents was for the administration of existing, and not for the framing new laws, influenced the persons who obtained the requisition for a special general meeting of the subscribers of the Trinitarian Bible Society. The requisition itself is headed by a vice-president, treasurer, the two secretaries, and fourteen members of the committee, who consider the resolutions published as an infringement of the existing constitution. Permit me, then, sir, to inquire upon what authority, derived either from the precepts of the Gospel, or the duties of social life-either from the Word of God, or the bond of Christian fellowship either from the obligations of truth, or the suggestions of that

have been misinformed, we shall be most happy to contradict our own statement. Instead of circulating the Scriptures, without which a Bible Society, let it be ever so pure in principle,' is a mere mockery, its whole life has been spent in ceaseless agitation. A Trinitarian Society' it may call itself if it pleases, but a Bible Society' it certainly is not. Strange to say, it has exhibited in the course of its short history, most of the very faults which it charged upon the old Society, but in an aggravated form. It condemned, in its great rival, the avowed co-operation of all parties; it finds within its own bosom equally incongruous materials and that too in spite of a principle of exclusion. It denounced a Society in which there was only a possibility of a heretic having a voice in its management; it finds them swarming on its platforms and its committee. It was to be free from all difference of opinion; and it has witnessed in its committee rooms and

'charity which believeth all things and hopeth all things'-upon what authority, derived from these sources, have you allowed such charges to be brought against persons actuated by the most conscientious motives in the course they have pursued? The gravest accusation which could be substantiated, supposing them to have done wrong in bringing this matter before the constituents, would be an error in judgment. But are persons striving to perform their duty without favour or partiality, to be stigmatized as striving to spread 'the sickening and deathful influence of the Irvingite leaven? Are God-fearing men to be branded as the abettors of pestilential errors ?' Are they to be held up to public opprobrium, as having sacrificed the interests of the Society of which they are members, and as having been alike unfaithful to their Saviour and to their fellow-labourers engaged in this service? Sir, these are most fearful accusations, which, when maturely weighed, will, I trust, be immediately retracted, and deeply deplored. Nor is the attempt to give them stability, less unjustifiable, than the charges themselves are without foundation.

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"In conclusion, permit me, sir, to caution you against the admission of such unguarded statements, and conveyed in such unmeasured terms, into the columns of the Record. They will tend to shake the public confidence in your accuracy and your discretion. Be assured, truth is best supported by its intrinsic weight of evidence and real value. Its interests can never be promoted by overcharged representation, nor its glories eclipsed by the dark shades of calumny. Would you seek to maintain its sway and spread its influence, scriptural principle must be regulated by scriptural precept, and followed by scriptural practice!"

at its meetings, more stormy debate, more bickering and quarrelling, in seven or eight months, than the Bible Society has known in thrice the number of years, if we except the disturbances which these very men occasioned before they constructed a society for themselves, where they might wrangle at pleasure."

Such is the report of the Patriot; let us now hear the conductors of the Record, who, in their displeasure at the decision of the Society against introducing the new test, write as follows:

"It cannot be concealed, and assuredly we have no wish to conceal, that the first attempt which has been made, by using separation as an instrument to induce the British and Foreign Bible Society to yield the points at present in dispute, has signally failed.

"By an advertisement in another column, our readers will perceive what passed at the Special Meeting of the Trinitarian Bible Society, which was convened for Thursday last. Those proceedings have, in our judgment, sealed the doom of that institution.

"How completely public confidence was shaken in the Society, by the wellgrounded reports + that the Committee had not had the wisdom, judgment, or ability to keep themselves free from the leaven of the pestilential heresy of Mr. Irving, was clearly manifested by the insignificant number which appeared to take part in the business of the day. It appears from the advertisement in another column, that the greatest number present at any part of the day, gentlemen and ladies together, was 105 of these, fifteen were supposed to have retired without voting, three declined to vote, the minority consisted of thirty-nine, and the majority, a very large proportion of which may be presumed to have been Irvingites, was forty-eight! So that, even as it regards numbers, to what has the magnificent Meeting dwindled which assembled for the formation of this Society §! It is

And yet when the Christian Observer intimated this, it was false and calumnious.

+"Well grounded." And yet when the Christian Observer said so, it was falsehood and calumny; and the Record, with a view to prop the falling cause of the Society, assured its readers again and again, that it was not infected with Regent-square leaven.

This only shews how few were the members of the Society, for the utmost pains were taken by both sides to collect all the voters they could.

This confirms our oft-repeated statement that the "magnificent meeting" did not as a body approve of the Society, or join it. The whole affair was managed by trick and fraud, and the great mass of the friends of religion were disgusted and

not the paucity of its numbers, however, of which we complain. We grieve that it has now identified itself with fundamental error, so that it is impossible for any sound-hearted Christian to have further connection with an institution, which has unhappily placed itself in an incomparably worse situation than that of the body from which, on account of its alleged impurity, it separated."

"Should the friends of the British and Foreign Bible Society think it worth while to waste a single word further on the subject (which we hardly think it is, so complete is the overthrow) they may say-We told you this from the first that according to the principle upon which you sought to build no edifice could be erected, or if erected hold together *.'

"We have, however, already shewn the inaccuracy of this view of the subject. All that was wanting was a small measure of that common sense in the committee of the new society which is to be found in that of the old. Is there any Irvingite -has there been any Socinian-on the committee in Earl-street? No. Are they excluded by law? No; simply by common sense and common wisdom. Is there any openly immoral person in either committee? Not. How is he excluded? Simply by a common feeling of propriety. And had there been upon the minds of the committee of the Trinitarian Bible Society any thing approaching to a just sense of the infinite evil bound up in this new heresy which has appeared in the church, any individual even supposed to be infected with it would have been excluded without an approach to a difference of opinion, with exactly the same readiness, and exactly by the same power, as an

repelled; especially at the secret resolution for ejecting the clergy and dissenting ministers from the board, and giving the whole management into the hands of a close secret committee, who now mutually proclaim each other to have been wholly destitute of forbearance or discretion.

* We would not "waste a single word," but for two reasons; first, that the Society is still in existence with all its faults, and its friends express a hope of reviving it; and secondly, that Mr. Gordon's " provisional committee " is about to renew the work of agitationing, the best antidote to which is such a simple monitory narrative as their own society has furnished.

And yet nothing could induce the conductors of the Record to allow these facts to appear in their columns, so long as it was a party object to misrepresent the Bible Society as fraternising with Socinians. We complained again and again of the unfairness of the friends of the Trinitarian Society in deceiving ignorant persons in this matter; but nothing could induce them to give publicity to the truth, till a new party object extorted it.

openly immoral person would have been excluded had such a one been proposed.

That the reverse of all this has been the case, coupled with the Resolution which we have just quoted, proves incontestibly that in the minds of that Committee there exists a leaning to, or tolerance of, the evil in question, which is in no small degree dangerous to themselves individually, and which must of necessity deprive them of the confidence and support of the sound part of the church of Christ which otherwise might be disposed to give them its support.

"We accordingly humbly but earnestly exhort all Auxiliary Societies and Associations of the Trinitarian Bible Society to dissolve their connection with it at once. This Society separated from the British and Foreign Bible Society because of its admitting Socinians as members, though not one of that body had ever been admitted on the committee or assumed any prominence in the proceedings of the Parent Society +. But here is the Trinitarian Society deliberately approving of those who hold doctrines worse than those of Socinians becoming not members only, but managers of the society. They are in truth preparing a cradle for this most malignant heresy, in which it may be rocked and cherished into size and strength-into vigour and maturity. They are fitting up a market-place in which it may meet with many unsuspecting souls, whom it would not otherwise reach, and inoculate them with the deadly virus."

"At the formation of the British and Foreign Bible Society, though one and another were only gradually admitted into the councils of the originators of the Society, being carefully selected on account of their Christian character and superior wisdom and sagacity §, considerable risk of discomfiture was experienced in the arrangement of the Committee. This danger, however, was happily overcome. The Provisional Committee, from which the Trinitarian Society derived its existence, was a body of men held together by no other tie than their disapprobation of certain practices current in the British and Foreign Bible Society. They were

That is, to join the Gordon division, and renew the work of agitationing.

+ Never even "assumed any prominence." What a complete answer to the Haldane and Sackville-street statements and speeches! And this is the Recordnow that it happens to be more convenient for its purposes to state the truth than to suppress it! When we said so, it was falsehood.

Is it meant that it is worse than Socinianism to believe Miss Fancourt's cure to be miraculous?

§ If the conductors of the Record had possessed the candour to admit this a few months ago, when the "echoes" from

not a body formed of materials chosen as peculiarly suitable to work harmoniously together, not of men who were selected from their established Christian character and sound spiritual judgment, as fitted to command the confidence of the Christian community, but they were rather brought together by a mere fortuity."

Such is the testimony of the Record. But we stop; our readers have had enough too much of these matters; and we hope now to have done with them for ever, except the course of events should imperatively recal us to them. Twelve months have been lost in disputing, while millions of souls have gone into eternity. The Bible Society has not indeed turned aside from its duties to mingle in the fray; but its efforts have been greatly impeded by this ill-judged opposition. Now however that the projected experiment has been tried, and has failed, we trust that it will be permitted to proceed in its work of faith and labour of love in piety and peace. But there is one evil result of these contentions, which it will require time to remove. The opponents of the Bible Society, in their zeal to overset that institution, have deeply injured the cause of Christian confidence and charity; so that though they have failed in building up, they have done much to pull down; and have so infused doubts and alarms in many tender and timid spirits, that the weak are cast down and the ignorant led astray so much so, that some persons feeling that they cannot in conscience join the new society, and yet having heard absurd and calumnious stories respecting the old, are refraining from subscribing to the circulation of the word of God altogether; which was doubtless the precise issue which Satan had in view when he first stirred up the feud*.,

Scotland and Sackville-street were every where reverberating the contrary, what reams of controversy, and how much ill-blood had been spared.

An exemplification of this fact occurs in a pamphlet which has just been placed in our hands, published by "The Retford Trinitarian Society." This Society left the Bible Society in search of ideal perfection; and not finding it in Sackville-street, stands aloof from biblical circulation altogether, and rests on its oars on its own river "Idle." But though idle for good, it is not for harm, having just published a controversial pamphlet with the sacred funds contributed for the distribution of the Word. We have indeed been pronounced uncharitable, for asking how large a portion of the funds subscribed for the circulation of the word of God, has been employed by committees called Trinitarian," to circulate tracts and pamphlets calumniating the Bible Society. The best answer to the question would have been to throw open the

But it were incorrect to imagine that these unhappy differences are of that magnitude and extent, which, at first sight, and at a distance, they may appear. It is not true, that among the great body. of the servants of Christ, there is little but strife and vain glory. We believe quite the contrary; and that they are as closely united in affection, and as active in works of piety and mercy as perhaps at any period in the history of the church. It is true that there are individuals in whom conciliation is not the most prominent virtue, and who err on the side of a well-meant though mistaken impetuosity; but the great majority of religious persons among us, both in the Established Church and among the Dissenters, are, we trust, in the main sound, sober, and scriptural in their views, and peaceful and charitable in their practice. Even in this very matter of the Bible Society, which has caused such heats, how small, how very small (witness the late scanty meeting, and read the names of those who composed it) has been the number of the disturbers. Not any one body of Christians has joined the secession; not even any one of our numerous religious periobooks, minutes, and proceedings, concealed with such studious secrecy; but here is at least one published document in proof; for on the title page of this antibible society pamphlet, it is stated that it is" printed for the Retford Trinitarian Bible Society," according to a resolution of the committee, in which it is "ordered to be printed and circulated at the cost of the Society." Is Retford altogether so corrupt in religion, as well as in other matters, that there is no subscriber, no collector, no contributor of a penny-aweek from his hard-earned pittance, who has spirit and honesty enough to go to this "unanimous committee," and demand back his offering thus sacrilegiously wrested from the altar of God, to foment purposes of strife and controversy? But we need not dwell upon the point, as the subscribers to societies called Trinitarian are beginning to open their eyes, and to say to their conductors, You have sent us bitter controversial papers and tracts, by hundreds and thousands, when will you remit us a few bibles? What a clamour would have been raised, and justly, if the British and Foreign Bible Society had thus abused its sacred funds to print controversial pamphlets. But no; the poorest subscriber has the satisfaction of knowing that his valued offering is not thus misappropriated, and that the committee has never embarked in controversy, or expended a penny upon it. Friends and advocates, indeed, it has found in every part of the country; but it has issued no controversial pamphlets, labelled, "Printed and circulated at the cost of the society."

dical publications has espoused its cause, if we except the Record newspaper; and ought such a fraction of misunderstanding, however sincere, to be allowed to weigh against the firm, deep, and oft-recorded, sense of the great bulk of pious, wellinformed, and conscientious men of all classes and denominations? We say this, not invidiously, but only to comfort some who seem to imagine that religion is degenerating among us into mere strife and “unlearned questions." Our own hopes are brighter, and our belief more cheering. In a few circles indeed, these things engross much attention; but beyond them they are scarcely heard of, except perhaps in the pages of a pamphlet or magazine. Let us not then exaggerate the matter; let

the great body of the ministers of Christ go on to preach faithfully, scripturally, and without vain jangling; let the friends of our religious institutions retain their wonted spirit of Christian affection and confidence, striving to glorify God, to exalt the Saviour, and to promote the salvation of mankind, and all will yet be well. As to perfect institutions, they are not to be found upon earth: our duty is to do all the good we can by means of such as we have, and to seek to correct all that is evil in them; but to expect to model all things to our own private views of excellence is neither practicable, nor, considering men are infallible, always desirable.


THE second reading of the Reform Bill has passed the House of Lords, after a lengthened discussion, by a majority of nine voices, that is by fifty more in its favour than on the former occasion. The difference was caused by the suffrages of Lord Harrowby and Lord Wharncliffe, with their friends, and the votes of the Archbishop of York, and the Bishops of London, Bath and Wells, Worcester, Chester, Lichfield and Coventry, Lincoln, Llandaff, and St. David's. The bill may perhaps be modified in the committee; but its principle and leading provisions we conclude will, either with or without the creation of new peers, be preserved: and we think the Bishop of London was right in expressing his hope that it will not be sent down to the Commons mutilated in such a manner as to lead to a renewal of strife. Thus the issue has come at last to what we were so much blamed by some of our readers for anticipating twelve months ago; but attended with all the unhappy results of a year's altercations, and which would have been avoided, had the bill, with whatever necessary amendments, been met in a different spirit, and allowed speedily to pass into a law. Lord Wynford, one of the most determined and keen-sighted of its opposers, terrified the House of Lords with prognosticating that if the great majority of householders are admitted to vote for members of parliament, two direful effects will follow: "the fanatical party," as his lordship terms them that is the great body, of religious persons in the land-will gain great influence in the national councils, and that blessed institution, West-Indian slavery, will infallibly totter to its downfall. Now these two effects we long ago stated as, in our opinion, very likely to result CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 365.

from the bill; and though some of our friends were pleased to be angry with us for so hoping, they will perhaps be glad to find our hopes confirmed by Lord Wynford's fears. Of one thing we are sure, that if the Established Church, or the cause of Scriptural education, or the preaching of evangelical doctrine, or any of our most valued institutions, are not safe in the hands of the majority of respectable British householders, they can under Providence be safe no where else.

The Pluralities Bill has passed the house of Lords. Defective as it was when introduced, it is worse now; for Lord Wynford, who is understood to have purchased the next presentation to a second valuable living for his son, which would have been untenable under the intended enactments, having opposed it, the Archbishop has allowed a clause to be inserted meeting this disgraceful case; by which absurd clause the next presentation to a benefice will often be more valuable than the advowson itself. His Grace having declined to listen to the reasonable suggestions of the great body of the religious and attached members of the church, who wished to restrain pluralities, if admitted at all, within strict bounds, expressly fixed by the bill, and allowing no arbitrary dispensation or licence at an Archbishop's irresponsible discretion, having lent an ear to noble lords who raised obstacles, but refused to attend to the suggestions of those who were anxious to have a really efficient bill, such as might justly satisfy the public and save the falling church; the bill has gone down to the House of Commons in a form which will content no person, and is likely to be pulled to pieces by the united efforts of Whigs, Tories, and Radicals'; by religious men, as being in3 B

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