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up to the infidel conspiracy which produced them, is improved by the Bishop into an occasion of very seasouably suggesting to his auditory
"What a severe lesson this to all the world, to check infidelity in its very beginning, and to preserve, as far as it may be possible for man to preserve, the human mind from being drawn aside from those sound, sober rules of worshipping God, which Christ in his Gospel has so plainly laid down, and in which alone the peace of mankind can find security!" P. 3.
Having thus directed our attention to one of the most awful pages in the history of the world, the incidents of which are fresh in every one's recollection, and having pointed out the practical advantage to be derived from the study of it, the Bishop proceeds to his main subject-the characteristic evils of the present time; and the antidotes which have been applied to them by those who have learnt wisdom from past experience.
The general observation, that " one usual consequence of disturbed times, is an influx of wild notions," introduces a specification of those with which, during the late war, this kingdom became infected, upon those material points, the education of children, and the improvement of the religious character of our adult population. The former topic is very shortly dismissed; the Bishop having, as he states, spoken very fully upon the subject at his last Visitation: he passes on therefore to the latter; and here, of course, the merits of the Bible Society are brought under examination.
"On thus entering," says his Lordship, "upon the subject of the Bible Society, I am well aware, how difficult, I might say how impossible, it is at this present time, so to frame a discourse, or so to shape any argument, as not to be liable to reproach from some or other of the various supporters of that Institution. For the very idea of distributing the Word of God, seems to have such natural force and propriety, that nothing can be so obvious, as to represent every opposition to the design, however injudiciously the design may have been carried on, as a wish to debar mankind from their just liberty of judgment, or from obtaining a true knowledge of the way to eternal life. A subject of this kind is calculated to supply abundant matter of declamation, and to convey to many, notions of standing upon elevated ground, while they contend, in popular phrase, for the unbounded diffusion of the Holy Scriptures, whereby alone we can become wise unto salvation.
"I would therefore here in the very beginning, speaking in the mildest manner, so far obviate all such remarks, as to declare, that nothing can more readily coincide with the regular purposes, and inclinations, and endeavours of the long life with which God in his great mercy hath favoured me, than to spread the word of God in
every quarter, so that all, from the least to the greatest, may know God and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent.' In a great measure, the matter is ill understood by many. Questions have been raised, as if the distribution of the Bible itself was reprobated. I trust, my brethren, that the whole tenour of our lives, yours as well as mine, has already proved that we have never entertained one thought of the kind. It is the mode of doing it, and the effects of it, which have been called in question." P. 8.
It is surely very far from being an ameliorated state of society, which the labours of this all assuming Institution have produced, when a venerable Prelate, after a long, consistent life of exemplary attention to all his professional duties, feels himself under the necessity of entering such a caveat as this. But the fact is already before the public, that upon the formation of the Carlisle Bible Society, a zealous auxiliarist having spent his oratory in vaiu, in an endeavour to obtain his Lordship's countenance to the measure," broadly charged him to his face with obstructing the circulation of the Bible*." It is hoped however, that the recent conviction, in the Court of King's Bench, of the Bethnal Green Bible Society Associates, for a similar calumny against the Rector of that parish, will operate upon these new apostles as an effectual corrective of slander, and will impose in future a wholesome restraint upon their tongues.
We shall not follow his Lordship through the course of argument upon which he now enters. "The subject of the Bible Society is not one" (as he justly remarks) "upon which any fresh information of consequence can be given:" and highly important as is the service which his Lordship has rendered to the cause of sound religion, in sending forth, under the sanction of his authority, and in the solemn form of a Charge delivered to his Clergy at his Visitation, what had been before advanced, the subject has been so fully discussed in our pages, that we may safely refer those of our readers to the Charge itself, who wish to acquaint themselves more particularly with the precise nature of his animadversions.
There is however one far-famed citation-the palmary dis covery of the propagandists of the Society-and as presented by them without its context, imposingly specious in their favour upon the question in debate, which has engaged a larger share of the Bishop's attention, than, to the best of our recollection, it has elsewhere received. This passage we present to our readers; and shall complete the exposure contained in it, by some further researches of our own.
See Norris's Practical Exposition, 2d edit. p. 441.
"You have heard much," says his Lordship," of a notable saying of the learned and acute Chillingworth, that the Bible only is the religion of Protestants.' We all will readily join in the declaration. But this has been unwarrantably brought forward occasionally in aid of the Bible Society, as if we would deny it, or explain it away, and as if Chillingworth was pleading for the distribution of Bibles without note or comment, according to the present view of things. He had not an idea of it. He was contending against the practice of the Romish Church, in extolling the traditions which had been received, as of equal authority with the written word, and in thus adopting both a written and unwritten word of God, and in short making the doctrines of the Council of Trent, and not the Bible, the rule of faith. In this respect his argument was invincible, and sufficient too; as it obviated all the particulars of the case, about which the dispute was held. But his great name, with regard to the use of the Bible without note or comment, ought not to have any farther application, than to this his expressly intended respect and reference," P. 12.
The passage from Chillingworth is here cited at length from chap. vi. part i. sect. 56, of his (as the Bishop characterizes it) "prudent and immortal work ;" and the most cursory perusal of it will show, that it could never have been alledged to bolster up the sinking cause of the Bible Society, but by the most wilful and shameless perversion.
But we have a tale to tell respecting this able champion of Protestantism, which increases a hundred fold the outrage of fered him by our modern puritans, in pressing him into the support of their cause. It is perhaps not known to many of our readers, that he was a zealous adherent to Charles I. when the factious religionists of his day were in open rebellion against their sovereign, and that falling into their hands on the surrender of Arundel Castle, and being shortly after seized with the sick, ness which cut short his valuable life, he died their prisoner. Now will it be credited, that there is in print what is termed a "Prophane Catechism," framed by these Bible-only zealots, at this particular crisis, chiefly out of his RELIGION OF PROTESTANTS, the drift of which is to fix upon him the guilt of im peaching, in a variety of particulars, the very dogma, for asserting which he is now so celebrated.-That they absolutely made it a question, whether, as a person convicted, amongst other malignancies, of holding these heretical opinions, his corpse ought to be allowed Christian burial-and that when this boon was (as it is stated) out of mere humanity granted to his remains, Mr. Francis Cheynell attended, with a copy of the above work in his hand; and, throwing it into the grave, bid it begone, as "a cursed book, which had seduced so many precious souls;" as 66 a corrupt
a corrupt, rotten book, into the place of rottenness, that it might rot with its author, and see corruption." We have that precious production of the above Reverend Gentleman, entitled NOVISSIMA CHILLINGWORTHI, &c. 4to. 1644, now before us; and if our readers wish to see illustrated how cruel are the tender mercies of fanaticism, when advanced to power; and with what unblushing confidence it can alledge, in support of its conceits, authorities which it has before proscrited for controverting them, we commend the document to their attention.
His Lordship having put his Clergy in possession of the grounds which make the discountenancing the Bible Society appear to him an imperative duty, proceeds to call their attention to the religious distractions, which "the false brethren, and countless hosts of determined enemies," embodied in this and other kindred Societies, are fomenting, even in that remote part of the country; and having adverted generally to their Ordination vows, as imposing, under such circumstances, a more than ordinary zeal in the discharge of all professional obligations, he specially presses those upon them, in which they solemnly engage to give all faithful diligence to preserve in their purity the doctrine. and worship of the Church of England, and to banish and drive all erroneous and strange doctrines away.
This leads his Lordship to describe, at some length, the im portant aids which the Clergy may derive in the execution of all parts of their ministry from the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, especially in the article of Tracts, adapted to all capacities, and to the various occasions, whether of doctrine, of reproof, or of instruction in righteousness, upon which their ghostly counsel may be required. And he concludes his pastoral address, with apprizing them of the formation of two Committees of that Society within the Diocese; and strongly recom mending the extension of its influence, and the furtherance of its pious designs, to their countenance and support.
We congratulate our readers on the accession of another Prelate to the number of those who have solemnly warned both their own Clergy, and the nation at large, of the formidable evils already produced, and still to be apprehended, from the Bible Society and as it may be imputed to the Bishop of Carlisle, that though he has now published his judgment without disguise, he has been very tardy in making the declaration; it is due to his Lordship, before we close our review, to suffer him to render his own account of the delay.
"Still," he says, "with this sense of the difficulty before me, (viz. of delivering his sentiments without offence) it would ill become me, holding so high a situation in the Church, to suppress
my thoughts, or to hesitate one moment about giving to you my opinions upon this interesting subject. This I should have done at our last meeting, most fully, had I been aware that such a plan was in agitation; but it was kept concealed from me, and from all those with whom I am accustomed to communicate upon the official business of the Diocese, till just after our last meeting was closed."
What a charge against the Society does this declaration contain; a Society which affects to shelter itself beneath the patronage of Episcopacy, and yet invades a Diocese, studiously concealing its machinations from the Bishop. Contempt like this offered to any member of the Venerable Bench, is a setting at nought the Apostolical office, of which every Prelate is a partaker: it is one of the many stabs which authority of every sort is daily receiving its obvious tendency is to subvert our Estabment; and such must eventually be the issue, if, in the place of that dignified discountenance, of which we have a noble example in the Charge before us, a conduct very like connivance, continues to be maintained.
ART. X. Ancient Scottish Poems.
Published from the Manuscript of George Bannatyne. 8vo. pp. 381. Murray and Co. Edinburgh.
THE poems before us are selected from a large miscellany compiled by Ballantyne in 1568, and now belonging to the Earl of Hyndeford. The present Editor has done well in making a selection, as many in the "Evergreen" were of a nature too improper to be admitted into a modern volume. At the conclusion is added a Glossary, and some very entertaining and useful Notes. We shall give the reader a specimen of the poetry, and of the editor's annotations.
"The Pruis of Aige.
"At matyne houre, in midis of the nicht,