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ESSAYS, EXTRACTS, &c.
Bishop Watson on mutual
forbearance among Christians. Newion and Locke were ves. We ought to entertain esteemed Sveinians ; Lardner no other wish, but that was ao avoned one ; Clarke
every man may be allowed and Whiston were declared without loss of fame or Arians; Bull and Waterland fortone, et sentire quæ velie were professed Athanasians: et que sentiat dicere. This who will take upon bim 10 absoluie freedom of inquiry, say that these men
it is apprehended, is the best. not equal to each oiber ia way of investigating ibe probity and scripturalkpow. sense of Scripture, the most jedge? Aod if that be ad. probable mean of produce mitted, sorely we ought to ing a uniformity of opia. Icaro no other lesson, from ion, and of rendering the the diversity of their opin. Gospel Dispensation jons, except that of perfect intelligible to as in the moderation aod good will eighteenth century towards all those who hap- presume it was to the Chris. pon to differ from oursel. tians in the first.
Calculla Bible Association. We have seen it remark. tive of all the mischiefs of ed somewbere, that a good superstition. What system thing is liable to be abused be purer than that just in proportion to its which was faoght and estah. goodness ; ibat the more lished by Christ and bis important any truth, it is the apostles ?' And yet some of more liable to be obscured the corroptions to which it by error ; the porer any has giveo occasion almost systew, it is the more likely sink below the very dregs to be corrupted by foreign of heathenism. What in. admixtures ; and the more stitution can be more excel. excellent any institution the lent tbau the Bible Society? greater is tbe probability And yet we fear that proofs that it will be turued from might be adduced that its its original design. What primary object has somo. truth, for instance, can be times beca lost sight of; more important than the and the catholic spirit which being of a God? And yet, it professes, frequently rio. as Warburton bas remarked lated. in his Divine Legation of Our attention has been Moses, it has been produc- / forcibly drawn to this seb.
jeot by tho perasal of the Second Roport of the Cal. cutta Bible Association just published. This Report bas afforded as much plea. gure mixed with some pain. We are gratified to observe the growing interest taken by the Christianiobabitants ofi alcutta in the objeet of the Bible Society ; but we are grieved to notice those iodications of a sectarian spirit in its condnctors of which tbis Report presents condemoing evidence. We are aware that io thus pub. licly expressing oor senti. meots on so tender a subject, our motives will pro. bably be misunderstood, and perhaps our ohjeet mis. represented: the task we impose on ourselves will certainly be thankless, and must appear ongracious. These considerations, howe ever, will pot deter us from performing what we con. ceive to be oor duty to the Christian poblic by asing oor Otmost endeavours to rescue this Society from being made the tool of a party, or to make it stand forth before the public in its true character. Mr. Burke bas said, ' Ulike clamour whenever there is an abuse. The fire-bell at midnight disturbs
your sleep, bot it keeps you from being burned in your bed. The hue and
cry alarins the conaty but it proserves
all the property of the pro. vince,' It is oot our inten. ton to raise a clausour, lo rior, the fire-bell, or to send forth a hue and cry; but wo do mean most solemnly to protest against the perver. sion of an Institution which should be as catholic and comprehensive in its spirit, as it is generous and phiTanibropic in its desigu.
Before proceeding far. ther, we will briedy explain what we conceive to he ide peculiar excellency of the Bible Society.
The prima ry object of all Bible Soci. etics is no doubt the samo as that stated in the Rules and Regulations of the Calo cutta Association, viz. “ tao circulation of the Holy Scriptures, without noie or comment."
The circulation of the Holy Scriptores,' is an object whicb must recommend itself to the heart and on. derstanding of every phi. lanthropist. Even if placed, in point of authority, mere. lý on a level with human compositions, the Scriptores constantly exhibir views sua important, so just, and so salutary, of our relations to God and to each other, that they canunt but be consi. dered a powerful means of moral and religious im. provemeot.
But wheo W3 regard them, as they de. serve to be regarded, as the only genuine aud auibencio records of thoso saccessire revelations of His will wbich God has granted to wao. kind for their goidance avd sod comfort to direct their steps op eartb and to raise their hopes to heaven-in this case, they acquire so great a value, and most exercise so mighty and bene. ficial an influence, that it becomes the imperious duty of every sincere Chris. rian to extend the know. Jedge of them tv the atniost of his power.
Bible Societies have not only declared that the cir. culation of the Holy Scriptores shall be the chief object of their institntion, but also that they shall be cir. culated witbont note ur comment. The mere circulation of the Holy Scrip. tures does not distinguish the Bible Sociéty from Other Sociсties. The Bari. leti's Buildings Society, whicb existed long before the Bible Society was heard of, circulate the Holy Scriptures; but then it is Dr. Mani's Bible which they cir. culate, contaiving notes and con nenis inabuodance, and such potes and comments as in their general tendency can be approved only by meinbers of the Church of England, nor even by ail of them, but only by sucb members of the Church as give to the Liturgy and Articles as well as to the Bi
ble an Arminiad, and not a Calvinistic, interpretati. on. Again the London Uncë tarian Society for the promotion of Christian Krow. ledge, which was formed twelvo or thirteen years beo fore the Bible Society ex. isted, circolate the Holy Scriptures ; but then it is the Improved Version whicta' they circulate, to which, in like mauoer, aro appendod numerous potes and ovm ments priocipally intended to prore and illustrate the distinguishing tepets of that decomination. It is not therefore in the circola. iion of the scriptures, but in the circulation of them icithout note or comment that the pecaliar excellency of the Bible Society consists ; and in watever point of view this restriction may be considered it reflects the highest bonour on those by whom it was originally adopted. It was a dictate of tho wisest policy : for it secured tho cooperation and support of the various sects of Christians, who, however mach they may differ in the modes of inter.' pretation tbey adopt or the results to which they come, get all agree io acknow. ledging ibe troth of the Scriptures, and in appeal. ing to them as the ultimato authority in questions botla of faith and practire. It displayed a gly catholis spirit ; for it showed that the object of the Bible Society was to promute, not ahe exclusive interests of aoy particular denominati. po, but the general interests of Christianity by multip's ing the copies of that book
mbich is the universally ackuowledged standard bosh of its doctrines and its pre. cepis. It was calculated to prove easinently beneficial in its effects: for its IN 201Iest tendency was 10 dead Christians to forget their Actual differences and ani. Inosities in the promotion of a common object as im. portant in itself as it was dear to them all, Oiber Societies are formed to sub. serve the interests of some particular charch,or secl, or party : the Bible Society acknowledges no charch, or sect, or party, more than another, but receives all a. like within its wido em. brace, The publications of the former will sometime's express sentiments of which only those of the same deno. mipation oan approve; those of the latter should contain pothing with which every Christian may not cordially sympathize.
If these views of the Bi. ble Society are correctand we appeal to the corštant and uniform professions, of its friends for their sorrecipes.-ben it fellow's
tbat doctrinal sentiments do not form the proper bond of anión between its mem. bers ; that to inculcate the doctrinal sentiments of one denomination in opposition to those of another is no part of its origioal object; and that to misrepresent the opinions aud characters of those who belong 10 lbat other devomination is no's only foreign lo iiis purpose but utterly opposed to ilg and calculated to abridge its usefulness by introduc. ing codless divisions a mong its sapporters.
Such, We conceive, is the tendencs of some of the stalements contained in the Second Report of tbe Calo elita Bible Association now before us, a hich we shall endeavour to prove by a few extracts. The first passage to which we w would quest the alteption of our readers is contained io pages 14 and 15:
"The associations into which Christians of all communions, formerly so widely separated from each other have now en. tered for promoting wedly ibe universal diffusion alid study of the Scriptures, seen to be the meania by which God intends to unite all believers in the faith and practice of the one divine religion, not within standing the multifunwils of communions, which being formed by men, canuot tube differently formed, as to their outward appearance. As deass
it has been abondantly proved by indubitable facir, that the Bible Sociely forms a principat centre of onion, productive of Christian respect aud love, ( m bord is jutinitely more than coldhearted; passive tole alion,) in which inembers of ali Christian communi:118, ackuowledging each other as professors of one religion, can meer together in peace friends, as brethren, as being all of the same mind in every essencial point, aud engage withi olie accord to glorify that one God and Saviour revealed in the sacred Scriptures, 10 know hiin as the way, the trach, and her lise, and to trust in the trocified Gud - Mall, as jus opitiation and peace with Gost, both in the course of our life, and in the hour of death."
The above is part of an extraet from a Circular addres. sed by the Rev. Dr. Leander Van Ess, a Roman Catholic clergy man in Germany “10 all Bitle Societies throughout the world;" and in the gureseni instance, " to all Bible Committees in the Eası." The whole of the Circular,translated from the German is contained in tne Appendix, and ibe extract from which the above quosation is taken is iotroduced into the body of the Report by the Committee aho "hail with delight, as highly auspicious sign of The times the public utter. ance of such truls Christian aud Catholic sentiments ;" and who "confidently hope tbar ibis lovels spirit will
encreasingly prevail, that true believers of all deno. winations will more and Roore approximale to eaob other, both in a mutual re. ciprocation of love and a few fection aodio a co-operation of Christian labours."
We are at a loss what lan. guage to adopt in remarki ing apon these extracts, which contain at once professions of the most unbound. ed liberality, and proofs of a narrow party spirit. The writer of this Circalar and the authors of this Re. port could not be ignorant that all Unitarian Chris tjans, including those in Cal. cutta, several of
whose we observe in the lists of Contributors and Members,consider the com. pound phrase,a“God-man," as a soiecisın in languages the being it is intended to describe as impossible in fact net less thaa absurdin idea; and the doc. trine which it involves as not only unsoriptural and heathenisb in its origin, bat
anti-biblical and antie christian in its tendency. Yet " the cracificd God. man'' is the phrase emplos. ed, in an official communie cation, by this accredired agent and correspondeot of the Parent Society,and a be. lief in this doctrine is represented as one of the links of that chaio “his whico the Bible Societies