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them, also, the genius of Aippancy reigos literary criticism with which we are acpre-eminent; and although a thread bare quainted. To the conductors of one and maxim, or a borrowed sentiment of a all of them the bitter sarcasm of Job more sober cast, be occasionally intro- might be addressed, " No doubt but ye duced, yet their maxims, sentiments, and are the people, and wisdom shall die with morality, are essentially and undisguisedly you.” Cases, indeed, have not been the maxims, sentiments, and morality of wanting in which a contributor to a rethe world. Talent, indeed, is frequently view has been allowed to review his own manifested, but it is talent devoted to no works, and apply to himself the epithets beneficial purpose; and when the end is of learned, ingenious, illustrious, and so only to make the reader laugh, it matters forth. Nay, we have lived to see a prolittle whether the feather, which tickles fessedly Christian reviewer assail, with him, be handled by a philosopher or a the most unmeasured and unprovoked buffoon.
vituperation, a contemporary Christian There is a department, however, of the magazine, to the literary merits, evangefashionable periodical literature of the lical sentiments, and extensive usefulness day which merits especial notice, from of which the religious public of Great the influence which it exerts upon the Britain had borne testimony for nearly public mind. This is the department of half a century. criticism. In addition to the costly and Such being the state of the periodical influential publications, which are pro- literature of the day, whether intended perly termed reviews, every magazine, for the labouring, the middle, or the and almost every newspaper, has a space higher classes of society, it becomes the allotted for the critical examination of duty of the Christian to be careful that, books. That the opinions thus promul. in any walk of science, of learning, or of gated are often honest in themselves, and criticism, which he may choose to enter founded on a candid perusal of the works upon, his scholarship shall be of a kind reviewed, admits not of a doubt; but that calculated to lead men to Christ. It beopinions are often published of books comes him to be careful to countenance, which have never been read is equally as far as in him lies, every effort to spread undeniable. How is it possible, we ask, the knowledge of the Redeemer's name; that the editor of a weekly paper, in ad. and, in the same degree, to discourage dition to the toil and drudgery of his own the circulation of any work which is calimmediate avocations, can find time to culated, directly or indirectly, to injure read, so as to be able honestly to come the cause of religion. These are not the ment upon, eight or ten different public days for indolence and supineness, still cations weekly? And yet there are men less for contention and animosity, among who pretend to do this; and who deliver the friends of Jesus. “The schoolmaster their opinions with as much confidence is abroad”—the people are becoming enas if the wisdom of an empire concen- lightened--and if Christians do not unite trated in themselves. But flagrant as the their efforts to add the light of the gospel dishonesty of these pseudo-critics is, their to that of literature and science, they may pertness and dogmatism are more dis- expect to see a race of men rise up around gusting still. Does an author belong to them, with the same disposition as now the narrow circle of their acquaintance. to do evil, and with their ability to achieve ship, he is extolled as a prodigy of genius, it infinitely increased. one of the master-spirits of the age, a No man denies the truth of the adage man whose talents require only to be that knowledge is power; it is of incalknown in order that they may be uviver- culable importance, then, that the power, sally admired. On the other hand, is an now in the course of being rapidly acauthor unknown to them, and has no quired by the population of this country, more influential voice pointed him out to be a power of a right kind, and directed fame, they treat him with neglect, or to a right end. It is of incalculable imbestow only that cold and negative sort portance that, along with the first eleof notice, which, to a mind of sensibility, ments of education, they imbibe, in order is peculiarly galling. Nor are the pert- that they may practise, those two great ness, and dogmatism, and egregious par maxims of Christian polity, Fear God, tiality which we have mentioned, con and honour the king. The friends of fined to the editors of newspapers or Jesus, therefore, must be always at their hebdomadal reviews, they pervade to a post. Much of the character, much of greater or a less extent every organ of the well-being, of the next generation
depends on their fidelity to their Divine Master. Let no false modesty, no love of learned ease, induce them to shrink from their duty. When a lectureship is founded for the benefit of the labouring classes-when a village library is instituted for tradesmen and mechanics when a scientific journal is started for the operative classes—when a new magazine or review is undertaken for any sort of readers-let Christians be ready to co operate, and take the lead if possible. To every thing of this kind a Christian cha
racter 'may, and therefore ought to be given; and if, at the outset, it receive the hallowed impress, it will be comparatively easy to preserve the influence alive. But if, on the other hand, the golden opportunity be lost, it may be impossible, even for the wisest and the best, to repair the omission; and the friends of religion may have to submit, as heretofore, to the painful reflection, that “ the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light." Edinburgh.
SIR, -Attached as I have long been to the British and Foreign Bible Society, I regret, in common with yourself, the attempt that has been made to form a counter-society; and I am sorry to find that an impression has been made in some parts of the country, and particularly in Wales, chiefly by reading the Record paper, and the continual play upon the term “Socinian.”
I admit that the founders of the new society make a strong appeal to the best feelings of every truly `Christian mind, when they declaim against an alliance with Arians, Neologians, and Socinians. Who that feels his obligations to the Saviour-who that prizes the efficacy of his atonement, or the power of his grace, does not at once revolt at the thought of a league with those who would rob him of his glory, or cast a shade over his divi. nity ? Were I to be governed by my feelings alone on this question I should be carried to the veriest extreme, well knowing that my hope is delusion if I am trusting for my salvation to an arm less than divine. But, surely, we ought not to be governed by a mere impulse in a case like this. The B. and F. Bible Society-an institution which God has so eminently blessed under its present constitution—deserves something better at our hands, and ought not to be rashly changed in all its fundamental principles, merely because some few men, of warm feelings and hasty judgment, fancy that they see more clearly than many who have gone before them, and many their contemporaries as pious, as active, and as devoted as they. Surely it becomes us
dispassionately to consider present evils, if such there be, and whether they may not be corrected under the present management; and I believe that if I had access to the minutes of the Committee, I could produce various resolutions calculated to provide against all probable evils, and to prevent the recurrence of any that have arisen.
But, after all, it is not for the sake of a few Arians or Socinians that I care to trouble you with a single line upon the subject, whom I regard as so many leaves or feathers floating upon the surface of the stream. Here the advocates of the new society have rested the whole burden of the case ; while I think, on the contrary, that they affect the question very slightly, if at all; and I do complain that they have not met other and far more important difficulties that they have not shown more satisfactory reasons for a test, a test at all times objectionable, and more especially so in a benevolent society like our own-but particularly that they have not noticed the exclusion of the whole body of Friends; and next of a large proportion of Dissenters, sound in every essential point, who yet, like myself, reject all human impositions in matters of faith. The Friends are a numerous and influential body in London and in various parts of the country; they have contributed largely, and have laboured most perseveringly in the cause of the B. and F. Bible Society, and they have ever ranked among its most active and unobtrusive supporters. I have had the happiness to associate with them occasionally, and whatever objections I may entertain with
Tespect to the peculiarities of their system, Auxiliary in London, proving, I think, yet I cannot deny to very many whom I that that apostle of North Wales (as he have known the convictions I cherish of has been called) perfectly understood the their solid piety and their devotional ha- comprehensive principles of the Society, bits. I refer with pleasure to their yearly and that he had no such fears or scruples epistles for their general, or at least as are now entertained when he asked the avowed, orthodoxy; and to the writings support of one so confessedly heterodox. of such men as Mr. Gurney, on “ The With respect to the new society, it is Evidences, Doctrines, and Duties of so perfectly sectarian in its character, and Christianity," and his more recent work so objectionable in its whole constitution, on the very subject of our Lord's divi- that it seems to be incapable of acting on nity; yet such are their scruples that the any grand scale, or, if the B. and F. Bible introduction of a test would separate Society were extinct, of supplying the them from the Society for ever.
deficiency. How objectionable is its deAnd besides these it is well known that signation, as though only its members Dissenters generally, both Independents believed in the important doctrine of the and Baptists, object to every thing in the Trinity, or the Bible which they circulate shape of a test, although their orthodoxy alone revealed that fundamental verity! is unquestionable on all the vital doc- And, to say the least, it is extremely of trines of Christianity. And why are not fensive that a term should be bandied their scruples to be respected, more par about in common usage, heading every ticularly in a Society to which they have advertisement, every letter, and every rem rendered such willing and abundant ser, port, which at best serves very impervice? I had hoped that all tests were fectly to express the mysterious distiocdone away with the Test Act, and among tions which subsist in the one Divine Christians that the Bible itself would be Essence. regarded as the surest bond of union, and How objectionable, too, is its close its truths received into the heart as the committee! There is no provision made best proof and pledge of orthodoxy. for the attendance of visitors, or right of
Yet apart from every private feeling I vote to subscribing ministers and subdo contend that the real question is, Whe- scribing laymen as a check upon their ther the fundamental principles of the proceedings, which has often been exB. and F. Bible Society shall be changed, erted with incalculable advantage in its basis narrowed, and a test be intro- Earl Street, duced, merely for the sake of a few names And again, how indefinite the terit which never had any influence over its « Gospel Ministers," as only eligible for direction, and never will? I am sur- the committee! And how fruitful of conprised that it should now be necessary troversy! Many may hereafter be there to discuss such a question. For nearly whom I should not deem such; while the thirty years it has been the glory of the churchman might consider the term apSociety that it asks no compromise from plicable only to those who have been any, while it invites the co-operation of episcopally ordained. all. This has been the favourite topic at . It is, however, plain that its projecevery anniversary—this the ever-recurring tors began with one test, a Trinitarian theme at every auxiliary and association one; and that they have followed it by a meeting ; and did not the thousands who second, which excludes the co-operation attended on these occasions understand of Catholics; for, says Mr. Phillips, " the what they were cheering? That the visible church of Christ at this day infounders of the Society understood this cludes none but Trinitarian Protestants." to be its broad and catholic principle is p. 14. Alas, for Catholic Ireland, and for unquestionable. The Rev. Mr. Hughes every Catholic country, if our efforts of has told us that at its formation be in- zeal are to be conducted in such a spirit, vited the co-operation of Arian and Soci- or if in no case a Catholic agent is to be nian ministers in common with others; employed. If I am not misinformed, other and I am able to state, upon the autho- tests have been virtually adopted by the rity of a friend who accompanied him, that Committee, in the execution of the most the late excellent Mr. Charles went fur extraordinary powers lodged with them, ther still; that he personally called upon of filling up their number to the extent of the late Dr. A. Rees to press him into ten members; not being provided at the the service of the Society, who imme- general meeting, I presume, with a suffidiately became secretary of the Welsh cient number of orthodox names to pro
pose. However this may be, I am not they had no control over it; and, whatever surprised that those who could refuse to may have been its bad renderings, that they give, in the lowest sense, the name of a had nothing to do with it.See page 31, Christian writer to Dr. Nathaniel Lardner, Mr. Platt's Reply to the Quarterly Revieu'. whose laborious collection of Testimonies With respect to the Turkish Testament, has furnished materials to every Christian Mr. Platt has also told us that “ not more apologist, have also excluded Pascal and than 100 copies had been circulated, if so Fenelon from “the pale of the visible many, when notice of some errors was rechurch;” but making it abundantly evi. ceived ; that the circulation was imme. dent, that if the B. and F. Bible Society diately suspended, and the text revised ; had yielded a single point, test must have and that of the errata, forty-nine in numfollowed test, till it became no longer a ber, there was not one that appeared digrand confederacy to spread abroad the rectly to affect any point of faith or pracword of life, but a petty conclave for the tice.” See page 23. What could the settlement of what is orthodoxy and what committee do more? is not.
The Strasburg Bible requires a rather Far be it from me to say that the B. larger statement. Mr. Melvill has said and F. Bible Society is immaculate that that “it was published at the expense of its Committee have never acted in error, the Society, and that many thousands nor committed a fault; they are men of were circulated before the edition was recommon infirmities with ourselves, and called;" but he is incorrect, and the asserof One only can it be said, “ His work tion is calculated to make a most erroneIS PERFECT." Like individuals, they ous impression. From the statement of have often had to gather wisdom from facts published by the Committee on this much painful and bitter experience. Their particular case, I find that it was never confidence has sometimes been abused, recalled, being an edition from Luther's or the laws of the Society misunderstood version, and therefore unexceptionable ; and misinterpreted by those in correspon. and next, that the Committee did not undence with them, and, perhaps in some dertake the expense, or do more than instances, the actings of their zeal have vote two grants in aid of the edition. been hasty and indiscreet ; but I believe In 1815, the Committee voted £300; it will be found that they have become and in 1816, £200 more, on condition of more cautious and circumspect, and that a society being formed at Strasburg, “ on they have from time to time adopted the same principles as their own ;” and a various resolutions to guard the laws of distinct assurance was received, “that all the Society, and the purity of its versions, the Bibles circulated by that society should more sacredly.
be without any note or comment whatever.” There can be no objection to the state. This was one of its rules. I understand these ment of the strongest facts, let them only grants to have been made in furtherance be stated fairly, and with candour,—the of the general objects of that society; for charge and the defence--the case in all its it was twelve months after the latter circumstances : but surely it is little con grant of 1816 that the proposal was resistent with Christian charity, or common ceived of their edition of the Scriptures, honesty, to search the records of ten, “ without alleration, addition, or com. twelve, or fifteen years, for charges, and ment,” which was not completed till the to reiterate them, as though no explana- year 1819, and in the interval they were tion had been offered-no answer given! occupied in distributing various copies of
In the proceedings at Exeter-hall, on the Scriptures, to a considerable extent, the 7th December last, the cases of the both in French and German. Danish Testament, the Turkish Testament, Of the Strasburg edition there were the Strasburg Bible, and the Lausanne 10,000 Bibles and 2,000 Testaments printed Bible, are again referred to, as matters of in 8vo., which, at the low selling price of painful charge, against the B. and F. Bible three francs the Bible, and 75 centimes Society; though official statements have the Testament, must have cost £1,260; long since been given, and, to my mind, and, even deducting some grants after most ample and satisfactory.
wards made by the London Committee Thus, with respect to the Danish Testa from that edition of 1000 Bibles and 500 ment, Mr. Platt, in his account of the So- Testaments to various objects, the expense ciety's versions, has assured us, that it was to the Strasburg society would still be not printed at the expense, or under the £1,135, towards which the London Comdirection of the London Committee; that mittee contributed £400, upon the dis.
tinct understanding that it should be in number, sometimes of not half a dozen printed “ without alteration, addition, or words, and wholly unimportant, so far as comment," of Luther's version.
I have gone through them; but still a If the Strasburg society had done no- single note was altogether at variance with thing more than this, they would have the stipulations of the London Committee, deserved the thanks of ihe Christian Yet whether we regard it as an abuse of world; but, unhappily, they printed a the confidence reposed, or a misinterprepreface of the same size, to be bound up, tation of the rule of the society, which was or otherwise, at the option of the pur- . pleaded at the time, by a reference to the chaser, not only without the sanction, but marginal readings in our own Bible: still without the knowledge, of the Committee what could the Committee do, upon learnin London. I am not the person to jus- ing the facts of the case, but complain and tify the sentiments of that preface; it is remonstrate, which it did to the utmost, enough that there was any preface; but The reply of Professor Lerade on the ocwhat, I ask, could the Coministee do in casion, acknowledging his error, and exsuch a case, when its confidence was thus pressing his regret, is touching in the abused, but remonstrate? They could extreme; and it is evident, so far as the not recal their grant; and it appears, London Committee are concerned, that that from the first intimation they received instead of acting in a Socinian spirit, the of the fact, they did remonstrate, nor ever version was expressly undertaken to serve ceased to remonstrate, until such preface the cause of orihodoxy. was not only separated from the Bible, Besides these specific charges, however, but taken from the Strasburg Repository, the advocates of the new society advance and the expense of printing it refunded others of a most sweeping character, to the society there : and I feel thankful wholly unsupported by proof. Mr. Melto them for their unceasing efforts upon vill asserts, that “ the B. and F. Bible the occasion.
Society has been the nurse of Neology (v. And, finally, with respect to the Lau. 21); and Mr. Haldane adds," that Bille sanne Bible, find, from the published Societies on the continent have become synominutes of the Committee in that case, nymous with confederacies of Neologians, that it was taken up at the strong recom- Arians, and Socinians." The best reply mendation of Mr. H. Drummond, because, to such monstrous charges may be given as he said, “it would give to Christian in the words of Mr. Platt, at the same minister's an excuse to get rid of the Arian meeting : “ that it must be known to every rersion of their churches, without any person at all acquainted with the continent noise, and prevent the further distribution of Europe, that there has been a considerof that wicked book.” It cost from £1,500 able revival of deep religious feeling among to £1,700 for an edition of 10,000 4to. the Protestants in some parts of that contiBibles; and the London Committee voted nent;" for to what as the means can it be £750 towards it, on the express condition mainly attributed, but to the labours of that it should be printed either from Mar- this much-abused Bible Society, and to its tin's or Ostervald's version, and under a large circulation of the Scriptures ? It is promise 10 fulfil this condition of the notorious that Neology had risen to its grant, and to secure " an edition of the height before the existence of the B. and icord of God in as pure a state as possible, F. Bible Society; that Neology has rewithout any human additions." This ver ceived its check, and better principles sion, when completed, was found to have begin to prevail, wherever the B. and F. some exceptionable renderings; yet Mr. Bible Society extends its operationsPlait has stated, “ that no sufficient proof whose labours are the hope and the delight has been brought fairly to impeach the of the pious in every part of the world. general character of the version ;” and The only proof atiempted to be given Dr. M‘Bride, of Oxford, adds, “that a of these extravagant charges as offered by great majority of the variations from the Mr. Platt, is holding up to view, after the edition of 1744 hare no other object than lapse of ten years, some inconsistencies to improve the style; that the editors hare and worldly compliances on the part of eridently no sinister intentions, and appear his late hospitable friend and host Proto be perfectly orthodox.”
fessor Lerade, “ who received him into his But the principal objection to this edi. house with open arms,” and of whom he tion, and that no doubt a serious one, is had told us, in 1822," that he was the very that it contains some short explanatory life of the Lausanne Bible Seciety," I am notes in the margin; they are about fortyno frequenter of the theatre; I do not