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:... /*•'r '■arwi ■ i ■ -…


r '■arwi ■ i ■ ■— i- T .L'j. i ■■ ■ 1 -it'i~i—r1 "n n<n *m INSTITUTION OF THE DtiNRTGHStU HE AUXILIARY RIULE SOCIETY. [We feel great pleasure in laying before OUT rentiers (tie following sketch of Hie substance (if the observations delivered at Ruthin, by the Rev. Thomas Gishorne, August 27th, 1813, at .'•f: the County Meeting, for the Institution of the above Society J MRE. GISBORNE hean by declaring his hope 1 li at, as lie attended (he Meeting iticonsequence of the urgent wishes of the Committee ap- pointed to arrange the necessary measures antecedently to 1 he business of the day, and- was Ihen desired bv the Chairman to deliver liis sentiments, lie should not he deemed obtru- sive. although he was a stranger, in alldres-sing 'the audience then before him.—The purpose #(,r* w!i"(,Ii they were assembled was to take into consideration the propriel y of establishing a DeiJhig-hshirc Auxiliary BibtsSuciety, as at I Auxiliary to the British and Foreign Bible Society. The object of the British and Foreign Bible Society is to disseminate at hoRie aiWI -,itid to the widest extent which 'tile ^.support conferred upon it may enable it to, embrace,the pure word of God, the simple volume of sacred scripture. This object is one 1 ..which, when regarded as to the nature, and as, (lie it promises, can- t. hut command the approbation, and inte ,t the hearts 0.1 christians of every deserip :■ Æfofh He understood, however, that in -1 liis"j of the kingdom as in some other pails, w-isi'oncepfurns respecting it, or respecting f'ircuinstances connected with it, were preva ent; and that various otejei'i ions-against the proposed association were afloat. It tHight I hen-fore be -,iflvls;tl)le fol-tilwitli to examine ihbss objections.—To clear away exlranctHls., flatter would strongly tend to manifest the ,v )t ?v (if the foundation on which the sopec- ■«!rtfC!urc was to be raised. It was in the first phtt" n1<fged by opponents, that the British -and Foreign Bible Society is a dissenting in «tiiiUuiii that it wears a dissenting cast (If -character that it favours the interests of <fisscisters as contrasted with those of (he Estab- lished Church, tt, was nol easy 10 cmbody an -Indefinite charge in precise terms. But he was .-solicitous to state the charge in such words as -should bring it forward in its complete force, -that £ fotSemen miht judge whether he met it fairly and assuredly the opinion which he •entertained as to the validity of the charge was >?!ot such as to -subject, him to temptations to the contrary. Wis-al theais meant by the al- legation, that tlrt British and Foreign Bible •Society is an iUJliluti-on of a dissent nig com- el plexion. of a dissenting tendency ? Is it meant, ihat the instrtulion is olle in which Members I)f tiie co-ol)erate with dissleill "Scrs ? Unquestionably the co-operatiou is ia- tended to fake place, mild does take place. And that very co-operation, that co-operation is the object for which the British and Foreign Bible Society was formed exclusively, and to which it is exclusively restricted, the cirtula lion of the tiiliie, stands rominentamonthe reasons which-most warmly recommend {lie Society to our regard, most efficaciously con tribute to illustrate its usefulness. Whvare not weladly to co-operate with dissenters, wlieneTfr we can co-operate with them con-j .s(,i,,ntiotisly ? If we see a inan drowning, are s not wc to unite with a dissenter in drawing the = .Pei. stifferet out of the stream ? And if yve perceive a person absorbed in ignorance,; engulfed in wickedness, I-re 'ti(it we to join with a dissenter in holding out to him the ttoqk of light and life ? Neither party could. in conscience unite with the other in dispersing publications, which it esteems at variance with its own creed. Bllt why may not all d'enomi 1 lutions or christians eordialll unite illåispèl's, ing that book, on which all build their belief-; I(Itls on which all found their religious opinions oil which a if are convinced that the belief and the religious opinions of every individual throughout the world ought to rest-I By such -co-operation, not only are promptitude and energy communicated to the diffusion of. the records of our common faith but nitktitil prejudices among oven differing as to religious persuasion are mitigated, mutual heats are? allayed. All feel the softening influence of being united in a good work; a')< though retaining respectively their doctrinal senti- rtients, learn to view their comi):iii.lotis willi Christian c)iiirity, and with in etic-re,,tsiiig sl)i- rit of brotherly love. Or is the charge meant to imply, that-the British and Foreign Bible Society was instituted by disssenters ? Let it not he supposed that we concede the-fact to have lieeo so But what if it really were so-? Let it he for the moment assumed, to furnish every a (vantage to the argument of objectors, jet it he assumed that the British and Foreign Bibie Society was originally projected and es- N tablished by dissenters. Is any ground thus gained against the Society ? What is the ra- tional question respecting any iiistittill oil ? Not, whence did it spring ? Bkit, is it in its nature good ? Not, who produced it? HII!, what is its tendency ? A measure truly lauda- ble, joyfully to be encouraged, may originate in a quarter exposed lo reproach. When our Saviour came upon earth, there were those nmang the Jews who exclaimed, Call nt)y good thing come out <if Nazareth ? Out of dai'ilee ariseth uo Prophet ?" Out' Lord dwelt in Galilee yet was he the Great Prophet. He was educäled at Nazareth yet was hit the, promised Kedeemer, the Son of Ciod. if an institution lie beneficial, our duty, our wis- df)iti. iq to receive if, -let it corner wbence.it m:iy and to cherish it, and to employ it for every purpose of uldify which it is adapted to promote But the.charge is perhaps intended to intimate, that the management of tlc Bri- lisli and Foreign Bible Society is in tbehands of dissenters.' How stands the fact then as to this point ? The affairs of the Society are-con- *'> conducted by a Committee, consisting<*f the £ -(. definite mimber of thirty six Laymen nomi- nated annually and of such other |iersons as bv the recorded laws of Ihe Society, are enti- tfed to a place iu the Committee. Of these thirty six laymen, fifteen are necessarifyto he Churchmen, and fifteen to be dissenters. So far then there is no prevalence of dissenting power. To these thirty-six Laymen arc added, for the purpose of facilitating the trausac- lions of the Society abroad, six foreigners, resident in London or in its vicinity. These foreigners may reasottably, be considered as neutrals with respect to the local interests v of the Church of England, and of other denominations of christians. But, throw lliem, ifyuu think fit-altogether into the dissenting scale. Theii be it recollected that the President, I lie Vice-Presidents, and the Treasurer, are all by right of office, members of the Committee. Count their number from the list published in the report of the Society and you will observe it scarcely amounting to less than two-thirds ofthe whole of the lav-committee. Read the names from that list and observe that, al. though those offices are open, as beyond doubt they ought iit fiiriiess t,) be open, to all deno- minations, e-very individual among them is a member of the established Church. Be it also recollefcled, that every clergyman of the 'Church of England, who subscribes a stipu- lated s.tiin, is, equally with the Dissenting Mi- nister subscribing the same sum, a'-member oh the committee. When I lIese circumstances are dtity estimated, the futility of the-objec- tion, under the shape in which we arc now discussing it, is plain Nay, in examining the only remaining form in which the imputation of a Dissenting tendency in the British and Foreign Bible Societv can clothe itself, we shall probably discern that, were .we even to suppose the obnoxious circumstance that a meeting-of the committee might be composed of a majority of persons not of the establish- ed Communion, the imagined importance of the circumstance would melt away in propor- tion as it were examined. For, to close with the charge under its only remaining form, is it Incant that the object of the British and Fo- rei-ti Bible Society, has, either in itself or in its mode of being carried into elTect, a leaning towards Dissenting interests ? The object is s to diffu se copies of the Scripture at home and in foreign countries and at home no copy. but of the version of ourchurch Here surely is nothing unfavorable to the church. The mode ill which the Society carries its object inlo effed is by printing edition!) at its own expense; and by purchasing editions already printed, and by encouraging the formation, and the exertions of Societies for tiie same object in foreign countries. Now., let any man ask himself, whether it be easf to devise a question, as capable of being brought before the committee, in which the interests of the church, and of those who differ from it can come into competition. How stands the case as to the proceedings of the Society at borne ? The Bibles, which it furnishes to its members are supplied, according to an established regu- lation, in a stated proportion to the-stibscrip ti-ons of individuals, and are necessarily deli- vered on the applicatioll of individuals, as a matter of course, and without any reference to the religious tenets of the applicant. Thus far, there is no possibility ofclashing-interesti, no opening for moving a .(,I(ieistioti. The I 4-14 questions- respecting domestic proceedings, which may come before the Committee are, whether the next edition of the Scriptures should be on a page of this size, or of that size in this type, or in that type of this number of copies, or of that number. Is there any thing in the decisionof anyone of these questions either way, which affect* the rt-falive interests of the Church of England, anti I)ct-soiis who dissent from-it? Then with regard to the foreign of the Society, it may he a subject of di-ncnssioh, whether the reprinting of the Bible in Spanish, or in Dutch, should first be undertaken wi- ther a version into the language of (lie Chi- nose, or of the Calimicks, shonid first encouraged, whether a Bihle Society in Sax- ony, or one in Switzerland, be most in need of; immediate assistance. In the determination (.)f aity of Lhe,.ie-cjtteitioi,q, where is there any room for competition of interests between Dissenters and the Church ? The charge against Ibe British and Foreign Bible Society,1 of a tendency favorable to Dissenters, and- relatively unfavorable to the Church of Eog- >S<>:id, may now be dismissed. There rests, oil the minds of some men an in. distinct nnd indeterminate idea, that the So- ciety is in some way dangerous. An obscure and undefined apprehension is the more diffi- cult to remove, because it does not possess substance which enquiry may grasp. But it ,is reasoiial)le, it, the I first I)Iac(!, to rlstitk"t, those persons who imagine that danger is to be feared from the institution of the British and Foreign Bible Society, to -consider whe- ther there be the slightelltappearallceot ante- cedent probability in thesupposition, that the Society may be dangerous. Here is a Society flllblicill its nature and in its proceedings; formed for one avowed and exclusive object,! an object in itself confessedly most laudable, the universal diffusion of the word of God a Society supported, not merely by the contri- butions of individuals without number, but by the votuntary accession of Auxiliary Soci elies in fotvns and districts in almost every < county, if not in all the counties of the king- dom a Society to which very many of the have united themselves in their col lective capacity a Society comprising a con- spicuous proportion of the talents, of the learning, of the wisdom, of the piety of Great Britain-, a Socicly fostered by every descrip- (ion.by every denomination, of the inhabi- tants ofthe Islands a Society publicly coun- tenanced and patronised by the leading men in our political par ties, by the principal Mi- nisters of State, by the two Universities, by more than twenty of thePrelatesot the united kingdom, by no less than seven Princes of the roya! blood; Is this a Society from which danger is to be feared ? Is it conceivable, is it possible that such a Society can have danger in it ? Ih live next place, we call upon Uio ac- cusers of the Society far proofs. We call for specification. We ask not for assertion, but for evidence Hot for speculation, but for facts; not for surmises, but for realities.—, The Society has now been in operation nine years. Where is the danger which it has jiro- duced ? In England, we know of none. Has any such danger ■Hiused the echoes of the mountains of Wales ? Has any vole been pro- posed to the legislature for the expulsion of. our Prelates from the House of Peers ?•— Has the See of St. Asaph been sequestered ?— Have the rights of the Bishopric of Chester been invaded ? If dangers cannot be discovered at hand, we most look for them in some quar- ter more remote. Is it in our public aflairs that the pernicious influence of the Bible So- ciety is to be discovered ? Did the Bible So- ciety produce or terminate the Continental armistice ? Was it to the operation of the Bible Society that we are) to attribute the personal escape of Marshal Soult.in the battle of the Pyrenees;, on the failure of our gallant troops in the assault on Si. Seb,.isti-,in I In the next place, let us be informed what danger the British and Foreign Bible Society can produce, whate-vil it. can effect. It can ctis tribute the Scriptures, It can doiiothingmore. Is the dispersion of ihe Scriptures dangerous? is the diffusion of the Word of God an evil ? Can any one among us, the members of the establishment affirm, that the distribution of the Bible, of the book on which the doctrines and the discipline of our Church aregounded, of the book which makes us Churchmen, can be an evil, can he dangerous ? Can the affir- mation be made, can the thought he harbour- ed, withotrf shame ? The -supposition is not to be tolerated. Bul hy some it is tdtitwllcll said, that the Bible Society may undergo a vhange that, if not at present dangerous, it .nay become dangerous hereafter. There is no institution of a public .nature, there is no arrangement in domestic life, against which such an argument might not equally be ad- vanced. We might as reasonably be told, I -it ought not on any account to be members oHhe 'Royal Society, because that, although it is at present occupied exclusively tile, Ittirsitit of science and the promotion of natural philosophy, it may be transformed at some future time into au association for che- rishing Republicanism As reasonably might we be admonished against sheltering ourselves under the British Constitution, for fear lest that Constitution,^though it.is now established on the principles of ci vil liberty, should here- after degenerate into a despotic tnoli;li-ciiy.- Tit is vague argument of a possible transmuta- tion would irov.e, if valid, ten thousand times too much'taud thus demonstrates itsel-f to be* incapableVf proving any thing. Sitch arethe injurious uisconceptions, such the charges, which hav: been current respecting the British and Foregn Bible Society. Under all mis- conceptiois and chargeE the Society asks ollly for impariality and investigation. Its merits are the mist prominent ami impressive, not i when it k eulogized with broad panegyric but when, having been erroneously accused, 'it comes forth triumphantly justified. It is witi) tillitsociely-is with the noblest of the natural (hjects, by which the principality of Wales is idoraed. W tinder any circumstances Soowdonappears v?it!i pre-eminent sublimity, it is not vhen his surtax is gilded with uni- versal sUJhinc; but wher., raisin hi-s tllad above the clouds, he surveys the dispersion of the vapairs which have %v;k,;iiky citk!eivotire(i to obscure him. There is yet. allol her propo- sition, aproposition, were it trite, of prime magnitude, which is affirmed by the oppo- nents oftlit. British and Foreign Bible Society namely, that the institution of that Society was unnecessary. Here agam., let ItS come to m ilters of tact. Why was the institution mi. iii>cessaiv ? Because, it is repLed, therc al- ready existed a very excellent Societv, the Society for promoting Christian Kitowictlge, having4o-r one of its main objeds lite circula- tion of the Scriptures. The usefulness of thai Society is fully recognised. But persons Wil-) on that ground represent the British and Fo- reign Bible Society -,I-, seem very little aware ofthe-unfavorable light in which they place the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge,'and of the dt-leuima, to winch ihey reduce themselves. {To be concluded in our nexL') -¡.a-