« ElőzőTovább »
ESSAYS, EXTRACTS, &c.
Bishop Watson on mutual forbearance among Christians.
Newion and Locke were ves. We ought to entertain esteemed Sveinians ; Lardner BO other wish, but that was ao avoned one ; Clarke
every man may be allowed apd Whiston were declared without loss of fame or Arians; Bull and Waterland fortone, et sentire quæ velit were professed Athanasians: et que sentiat dicere. This who will take upoo bim 10 absolute freedom of inquiry, say that these men
it is apprehended,is the best pot equal to each oiberia way of investigating the probity and scriptural know- sense of Scripture, the most Jedge? Aod if that be ad. probable wean of produc. 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 joos, except tbat of perfect intelligible 10 as'. in the moderation and good-will eighteenth ceptury 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 ot ed somewbere, that a good superstition. What system thing is liable to be abused be purer than tbat just in proportion to its which was laoght and estah. goodness ; that 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 system, it is the more likely sink below the rery dregs to be corrupled by foreign of heatheoism. Wbat in. admixtures ; and the more stitution can be more excel. excellent any institution the lent tbau tbe Bible Society ? greater is the probability And yet we fear that proofs that it will be turued from might be adduced that its its original desigo. What primary object has some. truth, for iostanre, can be times beco lost sight of; more important than the and the catholic spirit which being of a God? And yet, it professes, frequently sio. as Warburton bas remarked lated. in his Divine Legation of Our attention has been Moses, it has beeo produc. l foroibly drama to this sob.
ject by, tho perasal of the Second Roport of the Cal. cutta Bible Association just published. This Report bas afforded as much plea. guro mixed with some pain. We are gratified to observe the growing interest taken by the Christian inbabitants of ialcutta in the object of the Bible Society ; but we are grieved to notice those jodications of a sectarian spirit in its conductors of which tbis Report presents condemping evidence. We are aware that io thus pub. licly expressing oor senti. ments on so tender a subject, our motives will pro. bably be misunderstood, and perhaps oor ohjeet mis. represented: the task we impose on ourselves will certainly be thankless, and most appear ungracious. These considerations, hoc. ever, will pot deter us from performing what we conceive to be oor duty to the Christian poblic by osing oor utmost endeavours to
this Society from beiog made the tool of a party, or to make it stand forth before the public in its true character. Mr. Burke bas said, ' I like a clamour whenever there is an abuse. The fire-bell at midnight disturbs
your sleep, bol it keeps you from being burned in your bed. The hue and
cry alarins the county but it proseryes
all the property of the province, It is oot our inten. lion to raise a cladiour, lo ring the fire-bell, or to send forth a hue and cry; but wo do mean most soleqraly to protest against the perver. sion of an Institution which should be as catholic and comprehensive in its spirit, as it is generous and phi. Tanibropic in iis desigo.
Before proceeding far. ther, we will briety oxplain what we conceive to be the peculiar excellency of the Bible Society. The prima. ry object of all Bible Soci. eties is no doubt the samo as that stated in the Rules and Regulations of the Cala cutta Association, viz. “ the circulation of the Holy Scriptures, without note or com meni."
The circulation of the Holy Scriptures,' is an object whicb must recommend itself to the heart and an. derstaoding of every phi. lanthropist. Even if placed, in point of authority, mere. lý on a level with human compositions, the Scriptores constantly exhibir views Sun important, so just, and so salatary, of our relations to God and to each other, that they canuo! but be consi. dered a powerful means moral and religious im. provement.
Biit wheo wa regard them, as they de. serve to be regarded, as the only genuine aud authentic
records of those successiro sevelations of His will wbich God has granted to wao. kind for their goidance and ind comfort to direct their steps on eartb aod to raise their hopes to heaven-in this case, they acquire so great a value, and must exercise so mighty and bene. ficial an influence, that it bocomes the imperiou. duty of every sincere Chris. tian to extend the know. jedge of them to the otniost
of his power.
Bible Societies have not only declared that the cir.. culation of the Holy Scriptores shall be the chief object of their institution, but also that they shali bo cir. culated wiibont note ur comment.' The inere circulation of the Holy Scrip. tures does not distinguish tbe Bible Society from other Sociсties. The Bari. Jeti's Buildings Society, bich existed loog 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 comments in abuodance, aud such potes and comments as in their general tendency can be approved only by members of the
Church of England, nor even i by ail of them, but only by
such members of the Church as give to the Liturgy and Articles as well as to tbo Bi.
ble an Arminiaa, and not a Calvinistic, interpretati on. Again the London Uncë tarian Society for the pro. motion of Christian Knowe ledge, which was formed twelve or thirteen years be. 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, are appendod numerous botes and oom ments principally inteuded to prore and illustrate the distinguishini tenets of that decomination. It is not therefore in the circola. tion of the scriptores, but in the circulation of them icithout note or comment that the pecoliar excelleocs of the Bible Society consists ; and in watever point of view this restriction may be coosidered it reflecis the highest bonour on those by whom it was originally adopted. Bi was a dictate of tho wisest policy : for it secured the co-operation and support of the various sects of Christians, who however much they may differ in the modes of interpretation they adopt or the results to which thes come, yet all agree io ackoow. ledging tbe trach of the Scriptures, and in appeal. ing to them as the ultimato authority io questions boil of faith and practire. It displayed a truly catbolis spirit ; for it showed that the object of the Bible Society was 10 promote, uol ahe exclusive interests of any particular denominati. on, but the general interests of Christianity by multiply ing the copies of that book wbich is the universally ackuowledged standard both of its doctrines and iis pro. cepts. It was calculated to prove cainently beneficial in its effecis: for its maoiIest tendency was 10 dead Christians to forget their mutual differences and ani. toosities 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 particolar church,or seci, or party: the Bible Society acknowledges no charch, or sect, or party, more than another, but receives all a. like within its wide em. brace. The publications of the former will sometimes express sentiments of which only those of the same deno. Dipation oan approve; those of the latter should contain dothing with which every Christian may not cordially sympathize.
If these views of the Bible Society are correct and we appeal to tbe corstant and uniform profes. sions of its friends for their gorrecipest.-ben it fellow's
that doctrinal sentiments do not form the proper bond of union between its mem. bers ; that to inculcate the doctrinai sentimenis 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 that other denomination is nos only foreign to its purpose but utterly opposed to it, and calculated to abridge its usefulness by introducin eodless divisions de mong its supporters.
Such, we conceive, is the tendence of some of the statements 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 pas sage to which we would ro. quest the attention of our readers is contained in pages 14 and 15:
"The associations into which Christians of all communione, formerly so widely separaled from each other have now en. tered for promoling medly ibe friiversal diffusion alia 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 with standing the multiformity of communions, which being formed by men, canuot to be differently formed, as to their Oulaid appearance. As leass
it has been abnodantly proved Lş indubitable facts, that the Bible Sociely rooms a principal cenire of onion, productive of Christian respece aud love, (i bich is iufinitely more than coldhearted; passive tole alion,) in which members of ali Christian commom:)ne, ackuowledging each other as professors nt one religion, can meet together in peace Friends, as brethren, as being all of the same mind in every essential point, and engage with one accord to glorify that ove God and Saviour revealed in Ibe sacred Scriptures, 10 know hiin as the way, the truth, and the lise, and to trust in the crucified Gud - Mall, propitiation and peace with God, both in the course of oor lise, and in the hour of death."
The above is part of an extraet from a Circular addres. sed by the Rev. Dr. L-ander Van Ess, a Roman Catholic clergyman in Germany “10 all Bible Societies through. out the world;" and in the gureseni instance, “10 all Bible Committers in the East." The whole of the Circular,translated from the German is contained in tne Appendix, and tbe extraci from which the above quosation is taken,is iotroduced into the body of the Report by the Committee Rho "hail with delight, as highly auspicious sign of the times the public utterance of such trols Christian aud Catholic sentiments ;' and who "confidently hope tbar ibis lovels spirit will
encreasingly prevail, that true believers of all decominatioas will more and more approximale to eaob other, both in a inutual re. ciprocation of love and afm fection aodio a co-operation of Christian labours,"
We are at a loss what lan. guage to adopt in remarki ing upon these extracts, which contain at once professions of the most anbound. 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 Chrise tians, including those in Cala culta, several of whose
we observe in the lists of Contributors and Members,consider the com. pound phrase, a'God-man," as a soiecisın ia languages the being it is intended to describe as iinpossible
fact not less than absurdin idea; and the doc. trine which it involves as not caly uosoriptural and heathenisb in its origin, bat
anti-biblical and antichristian in iis tendency. Yet " the cracificd God. man" is the phrase employ. ed, in an official coaimuni. cation, by this accredited agent aud correspondent of the Parent Society, and a be. lief in this doctrine is represented as one of the links of that chaio “bs which the Bible Societies