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Holy Scriptures. But if they reply, "We do not admit him into the vestry, nor give him any authority in the affairs of the church;" the facts already stated will abundantly prove that such an answer is not in point; for the danger arising from the admission of Socinians on the committees of Bible Societies is purely chimerical.
The dangers arising from union with Socinians have been proclaimed through every county of England, accompanied with much to alarm, but little to enlighten. The nature and extent of that union have been misrepresented-I do not say intentionallyand at this moment there are many persons in the country who actually believe the British and Foreign Bible Society to be under the management or influence of Socinians, in consequence of what they have read in the Circulars," "Letters," and "Records," which have been so industriously distributed. If this communication, and the following summary statement, shall be the means of undeceiving even one of those persons, the wishes of the writer will be amply gratified.
The object of the British and Foreign Bible Society is, exclusively, the universal circulation of the Holy Scriptures.
The constitution of the Society admits the co-operation of all persons in furtherance of this one only object.
Under the blessing of God, the Society has been the means of distributing, printing, or translating the Scriptures, in whole or in part, in one hundred and fiftythree languages and dialects, in one hundred and four of which they had never before been printed. The total number of Bibles and Testaments issued by the Society exceeds seven millions, being double the number of copies estimated to have been in the world at the time of its institution. Exclusive of these seven millions, about five millions of copies have
been distributed by Bible Societies in foreign parts, called into existence by the example and encouragement of the British and Foreign Bible Society.
May every one of your readers, and every friend of the Society, unite in giving all the praise and the glory to the God and Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, while they adopt the prayer of Moses the man of God: "Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children: and let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us; and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it!"
Since writing the above, another manifesto from Sackville Street has appeared, containing four resolutions of a special meeting of the Provisional Committee, held on the 26th of July." On each of them a few words may not be out of place.
It appears that these gentlemen feel themselves called upon to "protest" against the decision of the late annual meeting, which they consider "ought not to be viewed as the deliberate expression of the Christian sentiments of the members of the British and Foreign Bible Society." -Not having been present, I am thankful to say, on the occasion referred to, my information is derived from the published accounts of the proceedings, which, if precedents and general usage have any weight, set the question completely at rest. But, be this as it may, I should really have thought these objectors would have been thoroughly satisfied by this time, since the deliberate expression of the Christian sentiments of the members of the Society," be those sentiments right or wrong, has been so general as to content the most scrupulous taste.
Again, because the Committee of the Bible Society decline to act in open opposition to the recorded judgment of their constituents, as given at the very meeting which appointed them to conduct the affairs of the
institution according to solemnly recognised rules and principles, therefore the Sackville-Street Committee
"feel it to be their imperative duty
to re-double their exertions in call
ing forth the energies of the Christian public." Surely this principle of "agitationing" will not be approved in a solemn matter like this, however well it may have succeeded in some other quarters, and on other questions.
If " the general body of members of the British and Foreign Bible Society" shall, most unaccountably, still persist in their infatuation; if they shall continue their attachment to those simple and scriptural principles which have hitherto governed the institution, and by which, under the Divine blessing, it has become a benefit to the world; if they shall still resist all the powers and the arts of agitatio, and "meddle not with them that are (unnecessarily) given to change; " then the Sackville-Street objectors add, that they will "finally withdraw from the institution as at present constituted." In this there is sound sense, and scriptural morality; and the same advice has been given them again and again. If they cannot conscientiously continue members, they ought to withdraw.
It is one of the fundamental rules of Auxiliary Societies, that the whole of their funds, after deducting incidental expenses, are to be remitted to the Parent Society. The Sackville-Street Committee "unanimously" "recommend" a different appropriation of the funds; which, till the Auxiliaries shall change their constitution, would not be consistent with common honesty.
As to the intended new society, should it ever be formed, may God speed it, if it be His gracious will, and make it ten-fold more beneficial than that on which His blessing has so richly descended; and may both always remember the excellent advice of Joseph and of Moses.
D. S. C.
CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 357.
(Continued from p. 489.) I HAVE been looking, my dear friend, for a quiet interval of leisure to resume my cursory remarks, and have the distich of Winchester College more than once mentally repeated Dulce Domum,
Musa, libros mitte, fessa,
Me mea mittito cura,
that I might enjoy in idea an hour or two in conversing over with you the memoranda of your venerable cathedral. But leisure is more easily invoked than obtained; and all I can therefore hope for is, to catch a few transient glimpses of ages past, as they flit by me in a hasty reminiscence. Thus, therefore, my dear friend, while the gay, the official, and the curious people are at this moment busily employed, in their several departments, in the solemnities at Westminster Abbey, I sit down in my quiet cell, this memorable eighth day of September, to talk over old matters;-of kings who in their day were crowned with hallowed rites and festive pomp; whose every look inspired hopes or fears; on whose nod hung the fates of nations; who arbitrarily made peace or war; who grasped the sword of justice, or the sceptre of mercy; who toiled, and banqueted, and breathed flattery, and underwent gorgeous mummery; and then, after a few brief years of good and evil, were summoned to their account-and, oh! how solemn an account!
hear the joyful acclamations which I doubt not are ascending from thousands of consenting voices in the venerable abbey and its precincts; but earnestly would I offer up my silent prayers, to “ Him who wears the crown immortally," that our beloved and popular monarch may be an instrument in His hands of much good to his people-(and may they be a united, religious, and happy people!)—that he, and his illustrious house and relatives, may be endued with God's Holy Spirit, and enriched with his heavenly grace, and prospered with all true happiness, and at length be brought to an everlasting kingdom, to wear a crown of glory that fadeth not away. No enviable lot, however envied, has the mortal, who, in becoming the ruler of others, ceases, as often he must, to be his own master; who is left at the disposal of every ebb and tide of public favour; a slave in golden chains;if applauded by the multitude, an object of suspicion to those who more nearly surround his throne; and if sequestered in solitary state, and chiefly anxious to support the privileges of the higher classes, then dreaded and denounced by the lower; —in short, a servant of all; living for all; his volitions checked by routine and ceremony; with many enemies, and, perhaps, unable to secure or trust a friend. I speak only generally, and from the page of history. The monarch who at this moment is receiving his high investiture, has indeed the peculiar felicity of reigning over a people whose laws and institutions are so equitable and well-defined that he is not subjected to the direr perils which have so often beset princes in troubled times. Yet doubtless he has perplexities most harassing, which men in lower stations feel not; and the awful responsibility of his high function must of itself be sufficient to make any wise and good man tremble in assuming it. That tranquillity, which constitutes much of the charm of private stations, a king cannot expect to enjoy; for, do what he will, say
what he will, think what he will, unless he can banish from the earth clashing interests, and political factions, and differing opinions, and vice, and fluctuation, and poverty, and passion, he must of necessity live in frequent turmoil-often, perhaps unjustly, the idol; and often, and perhaps as unjustly, the execration, of mankind. Much does a human being placed under such perilous circumstances need the prayers, sympathies, and most favourable construction of every candid and religious mind; and if the duty, so much inculcated in Scripture, of interceding for kings and all that are in authority, without any mental reservation as to whether they are Whig or Tory, popular or unpopular, were more conscientiously performed, it might be that God would more copiously pour out his Holy Spirit upon our rulers; inclining them to His will, and to walk in His way; governing their hearts in his faith, fear, and love; making them abundantly a blessing to their people; and causing their people to honour and obey them, as the delegated servants of God.
The train of historical reflection into which I had fallen when the coronation salute aroused me, had just led me to the days of the dissolution of the Heptarchy by Egbert, who, having accomplished his plans for the consolidation of a new and mighty empire, repaired to Winchester, to be crowned sole monarch of England in the cathedral of that city, in the year of our Lord eight hundred and twenty-seven. The choir of Westminster Abbey does not at this moment exhibit a more striking pageant than probably took place on that occasion-that is, allowing for the change of times, and the modern increase of wealth and splendour. Indeed, I know not whether the rough helmet and mailed suit, the sword and the battleaxe, did not present an aspect of stern dignity more imposing than the splendour of ermine and velvet and silks and ostrich plumes and
twinkling jewels and gilded coronets. Think of the majestic associations of a coronation in which seven United Kingdoms joyfully concurred, after a long series of years of " agitation" and bloodshed, and with not a single O'Connell left to take up the glove which the champion hurled down in defiance to all who would dispute the Union, or Egbert's right to preside over it. But kings, like private men, are not destined to continue long in one stay; and if O'Connells ceased at home, Danes and Normans were not wanting from abroad, to break in upon the royal conqueror's repose. However, after all his toils, and all his glories, he died in his bed, and reposed side by side with a long race of royal line in Winchester cathedral, the scene of his proud triumph. Well said an inspired Apostle," All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass the grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away; but the word of the Lord endureth for ever." I will not charge your historical recollections with the names of the long list of kings who, before or after Egbert, were born, or educated, or died, or were buried, in this illustrious city. Connected, however, with some of them, there are remarkable incidents, which might well furnish matter for reflection; and I am particularly at this moment reminded of Ethelwolph, the son of Egbert, who was crowned in your cathedral in the year 838, and whose name is memorable as being the alleged founder of tithes in Great Britain. Not a word do I say to the disparagement of that reverend argument of their having virtually existed long before by Divine right; or to the denial that they ought to have been duly claimed, and paid, from the very day when King Lucius, in the year 165-that is to say, if you believe old monkish chroniclers, in whom my own faith is not very strong-converted the idol temples of Britain into churches, and founded the original mother church and cathedral of Winchester. Not a word would
I urge against these grave arguments, especially at the present moment, when the tithe system is not overburdened with popularity: but so it is, that, according to historians of good credit, Ethelwolph, son of Egbert, was the first bona-fide bestower of this provision for the English clergy, and Winchester the honoured focus from which issued the boon. Ethelwolph was educated for the church-he was, fact, a monk-and this his early destination had led him to think of the desirableness of a settled provision for the clergy: so that, when he came to the throne, he, with the advice of his council for this purpose assembled, issued the following charter, dated at "Our palace of Winchester, in the year of our Lord 855, at the feast of Easter." This charter was solemnly consecrated and offered up at the high altar of the cathedral; and an order went forth for shoals of masses to be said or sung for the illustrious donor, living, and his soul, when dead. This important muniment runs as follows: " 'I, Ethelwolph, by the grace of God king of England, with the advice of the bishops, earls, and other persons of distinction in my dominions, have, for the health of my soul, the good of my people, and the prosperity of my kingdom, taken the prudent and serviceable resolution of granting the tenth part of all the lands throughout my whole kingdom, to the church, and ministers of religion; to be by them enjoyed, with all the privileges of a free tenure; and discharged from all services due to the crown, and all other incumbrances due to lay-fees. This grant has been made by us to the church in honour of Jesus Christ, the blessed Virgin, and all Saints, and out of regard to the paschal so. lemnity, and that Almighty God may vouchsafe his blessing to us and our posterity."
Now, though I suppose, that, in our giddily innovating and not very scrupulous age, much respect would not be paid by nine-tenths of the
public to this venerable document, yet I should, in sober seriousness, be glad to know what better title any freeholder can shew to his estate, any peer of the realm to his honours, or any corporation to its charter? What right, it may be asked, had Ethelwolph to bestow a tenth of the produce of the land after this fashion? He had just the right that all other monarchs have, to exert their prerogatives according to the laws and customs of the realm; and the grant was ratified by the concurring voices of the several orders of the community convened in solemn council. The fraction given to the church was as legally and irrevocably pledged as the remaining nine-tenths; and certainly the duties attached to the grant, supposing that Popery had not desecrated them by its superstitions and mummeries, were infinitely more beneficial to the public, than the absurd tenures by which so many of the lay feudatories held their lands; all first emanating, like this grant to the church, from the good pleasure of the Crown; but now, in our own age, grown into an unimpeachable moral right by long possession, by frequent purchase, and other equitable investitures. If we are cavalierly to set aside ancient royal grants, we may quite as fairly begin with some of those for which grotesque suit and service might this morning have been demanded at King William's coronation, as this of Ethelwolph's to the Church of England; then Popish, but now Reformed, and taking by legislative enactment the political place of the discarded church, only freed from its corruptions, and brought back, in a good measure, to Gospel simplicity.
My argument does not, however, go to the doctrine that the legislature has no right to make salutary regulations with regard to tithes, for the purpose of better securing their intended object, so far as that object is not superstitious or unscriptural; but I think it decisive against Mr. Hume and the whole phalanx of Ra
dicals. Our rulers have the right, and it is their duty, to amend the workings of the tithe system, so far as it has been found to defeat its own proper and intended object; but to deal with tithes in any manner that will not secure a fixed, inalienable, and equivalent provision for the maintenance of a parochial clergy, would be as unjust as to deprive the Duke of Norfolk of his domains, or Lord King of his coronet. Whether such an equivalent can be found, it is not so easy for me to decide; but I trust the venerable heads of our church may consider and re-consider the matter, lest, in evil hour, the public, hastily taking offence at some painful circumstances in the workings of the tithe system, Ethelwolph's Winchester charter should prove but a decayed skin of parchment with a worn-out seal dangling at the corner. I do not believe that the great mass of the community are at this moment averse to a fair, and I would hope liberal, maintenance for the clergy: quite the contrary: the unpopularity of tithes, therefore, must arise from other sources; and these I feel persuaded may be, and ought to be, diminished by a wise and timely arrangement. In all views, pressed upon as our Church is on every side, the glory of God, the stability of our ecclesiastical establishment, and the moral and spiritual welfare of the people, demand a careful revision of the whole of this serious question. If nothing can be done to render tithes less generally odious, why then I suppose our church must sink with this millstone around her neck; but if, as I believe, much may and can be done, and done justly, prudently, and religiously, for the satisfactory settlement of the question, then let not either false security, on the one hand, or exaggerated fears of the danger of innovation, on the other, prevent those who preside at the helm of church and state bringing forward a wise and well-digested plan to secure the substantial benefits of the existing system without its evils.