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Reverend Gentleman mean to say, then, that the Apostles had not the mind of Christ, when they wrote the Scriptures, that they went contrary to the will of Christ in so doing? and yet he must admit this, or his argument goes for nothing. But what does my reverend antagonist mean by the observation, that Christ did not sanction the reading of the Word of God? He must know, on the contrary, how forcibly he sanctioned the written word, by his frequent appeals to it-saying, Thus it is written.'"


Mr. B. here referred to Deut. vi. 7.; Ps. lxxviii. 1-7; and particularly pressed on his opponents the case of the Bereans, Acts, xvii. "Here there is an Apostle preaching to a people; and so far from rebuking them for trying his doctrines by the written Word, he commends them for it; if, then, we find that when St. Paul preaches, his doctrines are brought to the test of Scripture, and that instead of rebuking the people he commends them for it; I say, what are we that we shall say, 'The Word of God shall not try our doctrines, but our doctrines shall try the Word of God."

Mr. B. concluded by affectionately and fervently pressing on all those assembled the necessity of searching the Scriptures for themselves.

The Rev. Mr. Browne then rose. "I regret, Sir, that we should have been constrained to meet here this day, for the discussion of a subject on which I feel convinced, that, were we to debate from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof, we should not agree. The difference of sentiment which exists amongst us, as to the meaning of the different texts of Scripture which we can quote, is one of the strongest arguments which could be adduced to show that poor, weak, fallible man cannot of himself come to the proper understanding of their intent; and proves, beyond a question, the obscurity of the Word of God, I perfectly agree in the praise which has been bestowed upon the Word of God, and I should be a heretic from my own church, were I to say, you are not to read the Scriptures; I would say, read them with a docile and humble heart, but do not enter too deeply into their mysteries; receive the word from your spiritual pastors who are appointed to expound it. If the pastors be not appointed to expound Scripture, why does St. Paul say he has appointed the bishops to rule the Church, and that he has given some to be bishops, some pastors, and some teachers. The Catholic priesthood of Ireland are charged with being hostile to education; with keeping the peasantry in ignorance, and keeping from them the word of God. The charge is false, and such is not the intention of the priests; nor do we

prevent the reading of the Scriptures, as the Reverend Gentlemen opposite suppose, because we fear that the peasantry would become Protestants. It is not Protestantism, but Infidelity, that we dread; and Infi delity most assuredly would follow the indiscriminate reading of the Scriptures, were people deprived of the fostering care of their pastors, whose duty it is to expound the sacred volume for them." Mr. B. then contended, that the ancient and modern heretics, and even Satan himself, when tempting our Saviour, derived their arguments from the Bible-that God had given an authority to pastors to guide the faithful

that the indiscriminate circulation of the Bible would bring it into the hands of the people, who would extract from it the most pernicious poison, referring to 2 Peter, iii,


He then insisted on the collective infallibility of pastors-on the poverty of the Catholics-on the rebellions, &c., of the Protestants, and then proceeded: "We ought to be aware, that we are all liable to error; and, therefore, I would call upon the Reverend Gentlemen opposite to pause in their career, and deliberate upon what may be likely to ensue if they continue in it. I am afraid it will not end here, but that other uses will be made of this day's discussion than those originally contemplated. I would, therefore, advise the Gentlemen opposite to avoid all public disputations of this nature. I came here in opposition to my own judgment, which was and is, that no good whatever can result from it. I think it would be much wiser to discuss questions of this nature through the medium of the public press, and then leave the public to judge which party is in the right. If meetings of a similar nature should be again held, I am afraid sentiments might be uttered, calculated to produce the worst possible effects.-Let the Protestant Clergymen instruct the children belonging to their flocks. Let them read the word of God and explain it to them, and we will not interfere with them; and in like manner, let the priests instruct their flocks, and, in obedience to the Council of Trent, expound the Scriptures to them; but let there be no prose lyting system pursued by either. Let the Gentlemen opposite give us the Douay Testament with the notes and comments of our Church, and we will pledge ourselves to give them to our people, and to expound, explain, and teach them the morality they inculcate."

Archdeacon Digby-"In reply to an observation of the Rev. Gentleman who has just sat down, I beg leave distinctly to state, we met here this day, by desire of the Gentlemen opposite, for the purpose of amicably, honestly, and fully discussing the propriety of circulating the sacred Scripe tures; and we may take as a thesis for our

argument, the decree of the Council of Trent

"Indiscriminata lectio sacræ Scripturæ interdicta est,'

expediency, that the indiscriminate reading
of the Holy Scriptures ought NOT to be
interdicted. He enlarged upon the posi-
tive injunctions both of the Old Testament
and the New, and especially alluded to the
Epistles being addressed to the saints as
well as the bishops and deacons, and to the
blessing pronounced on those who read the
book of Revelations. He then pressed
upon his opponents some extracts from a
work entitled, 'A Consideration of the al-
leged Antiquity of the Church of Rome
compared with the Novelty of the Protest-
ant Church,' solving the question, "Whe-
ther the Scripture be easily understood, or
be most obscure; and whether, in all essen-
tial points, it do not interpret itself; so that
what is hard in one place, is openly set
forth in another?" and then summed up
his former argument: "And now, my Ca-
tholic friends, you see such was the prac-
tice of the people of God of old, to trans-
cribe for themselves and their families as
much of the Scriptures as they were able;
and from these they learned to believe, to
love, and to suffer. This appears from
Eusebius, who tells us that he frequently
saw the word of God torn from the hands of
the people by the tyrant Dioclesian, and
Julian, the apostate, and burnt in the Ro-
man forum. There was no public decree
of a council, condemning the venerable
practice of searching the Scriptures, for
more than one thousand years after the
establishment of Christianity; in fact, not
until the year 1229, when a Synodical, not
a General Council, assembled at Toulouse,
for the purpose of counteracting their cir-
culation; and then the people heard with
astonishment, that a Christian Association
was the first to interdict the reading of the
Scriptures. In the first days of the Roman
Catholic Church, the Scriptures were pub-
lished in Latin, which was originally the
vernacular tongue; but when this became
a dead language, in consequence of not
being the tongue spoken by any European
nation, darkness covered the earth, and
men were compelled to have recourse to
those who had retired into monasteries for
spiritual consolation. After a lapse of a
considerable period, a citizen of Lyons,
named Peter Waldo, first procured its
translation into a modern European lan-
guage, for the benefit of the inhabitants of
Savoy and Piedmont. And then came forth
the decree, against which we this day
argue: Christian Councils having once
done wrong, those subsequently convened
persevered in error, and at last came that
Council of Trent. I call those Councils
modern; I call Toulouse modern; I call
Trent modern; and I call Constance mo-
dern; as none of those Councils were held
for a length of time after the establishment
of Christianity. Against this innovation of

The indiscriminate reading of the Scriptures is interdicted.' We take the negative of this proposition, and propose to prove our case to the satisfaction of this meeting, from reason," and from the word of God; and after that, we shall also show that we have the authority of antiquity on our side. I would premise, that no objection against the circulation of the sacred Scriptures, arising out of their abuse, can be considered as admissible or legitimate argument; for it is a rule in reasoning, that what proves too much proves nothing at all. They must first prove whether the thing in itself be right or wrong. If the Scriptures ought to be circulated, we are irresponsible for their abuse. Were we to adopt a contrary principle, to what absurdities would it lead us? Knowledge may be abused, therefore away with knowledge. Civil liberty may be abused, therefore away with civil liberty, and let us all be slaves; and in a similar way, all the common blessings of Providence may be abused. To what monstrous conclusions the admission of such a principle would lead, must, therefore, be evident to all. There is no one who deplores more than I do, or who would set himself in opposition to fanaticism and extravagance more than I would: but, considering the infinite value of an immortal soul, I would even revert to history, and, admitting all the evil that has ever been charged to the circulation of the Scriptures, I would say, that if they have been the means of saving one immortal spirit, let them go forth, be the consequences what they may. Our Saviour, in the Gospel, has forewarned us, that it is impossible but that offences must come, and woe unto that man by whom the offence cometh. But by whom cometh it in this case? Is it by him who circulates the Scriptures? Certainly not. The Gentleman opposite has referred to 2 Pet. iii. 16. St. Peter says, that the unlearned and unstable do wrest those passages even to their own destruction. But why do they so wrest them? Because being unstable. And why unstable? Because unlearned. Unlearned in what? In

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profane literature and science? No: but unlearned in the sacred Scriptures. The word in the original is aμades; this word has a reference to manns, which signifies a disciple, and yet the word is to be put into their hands. They are to grow in grace, and in THE KNOWLEDGE of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

The venerable Archdeacon then, referring to the decree of the Council of Trent, demonstrated, from reason, experience, and

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modern Councils, as a Catholic and a Bible Christian, I lift up my protesting voice, and say, in this matter of giving circulation to the Scriptures, we must obey God, commanding the practice, rather than man, forbidding it, and in this we follow the example and precedent of the apostle Peter, who put it to the Jewish Council, to which he stood opposed, to answer the question themselves for him, "Whether it be right in the sight of God, that we should hearken to you more than God, judge ye; for we cannot but speak these things, which we have heard and seen." (Acts, v.) We cannot consent to behold the people perishing in ignorance, without making an offer, to as many as will receive it at our hands, of "that Word which is able to make them wise unto salvation." We want not to proselyte any, but to enlighten all. I would say to the Gentlemen opposite-We wish not to rob you of the fruits of your labours, of your emoluments, or of your honours. We only wish you to agree with us in circulating, if not our Bible, at least your own. To oppose the march of knowledge is a dangerous experiment, especially the knowledge of God as communicated by the means of his Word. This is that "stone upon which whosoever falls he shall be broken, and upon whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him into powder." But if you will not act thus, and concur in the work with us, at least take the advice which we offer you nearly in the words of Gamaliel to the Jewish council: "Refrain from these men, who are labouring to disseminate the Bible, and let them alone: if the work be not of God, it will come to nought, but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; beware, therefore, lest haply ye be found even fight ing against God."

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The Rev. Mr. O'Beirne then rose in a somewhat querulous strain, but added little to what had been before advanced on his side of the question. He was triumphantly replied to by the

Rev. George Hamilton. "Much has been said by the opposite party of the reluctance with which this discussion was entered upon, and great regret has been professed that it ever took place; but I must say, Sir, that it was not called for by the friends of the Bible Society. Such meetings have not been coveted by the Protestant party. This meeting was convened at the desire of the Reverend Gentlemen opposite, in consequence of some opposition which they offered at a recent meeting in this town; an opposition which I am glad to have an opportunity of saying, was far different indeed from that which took place in other quarters. I feel great satisfaction that this has been the case; and I think it reflects great credit upon the Reverend Gentlemen opposite, and forms a striking

contrast to a most disgraceful scene which took place in the diocese (Tuam) where I reside. The argument of the Reverend Gentlemen opposite rests, as I conceive, upon this principle, that there is a living speaking tribunal established, by which alone the Scriptures can be judged, and from whose judgment there is no appeal; and that the circulation of the Scriptures is an infringement upon their prerogatives. This position I deny; and it is not alone denied by me, but by the whole Christian world, save only by the Church of Rome. The three Gentlemen had severally quoted our Lord's commission to his Apostles, Matt. xxviii. 20. Now, with whom was it he promised to remain? Not with the Apostles, for they soon finished their course, but with those who were the successors of the Apostles. But how was this to be determined? They were those who should teach "all things whatsoever he commanded." The Gentlemen opposite must be aware that all Christendom charges their communion, not only with not teaching all things which our Lord commanded, but with teaching many things which he did not command; therefore, they cannot expect that we will allow them to be the persons to whom our Lord's promise applies. So that here is a second of their pillars totally demolished."

Mr. H. then showed how utterly unfounded was the assumption of the unity of the Catholics in a case which had recently occurred.

"If a pious person went to Mr. Shearman or Mr. Esmond, another Reverend Gentleman, who agreed with Mr. Shearman, and told him that his wife was dying, this Reverend Gentleman would say, 'Your wife, it is true, is a Protestant, but she is a most exemplary woman, and I only regret that she should not belong to our Church; but do not be cast down, there is another world where you may meet: she may be saved; and on this point the Reverend Gentleman used a remarkable expression, 'I would not dare to limit the mercy of God.' But if this man were to go to Callen, he would be told differently. There he would be informed by the Rev. Mr. Furlong, that dying without the pale of the Church, she dies without hope. This disagreement of doctors has appeared in the public press. The Reverend Gentleman must first reconcile Mr. Shearman and his brother Jesuit (so he called him) Mr. Esmond, with the Reverend Mr. Furlong, before they or their brethren in any part of the world can venture to assert, that unity of sentiment is a mark exclusively belonging to their Church."

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Mr. H. adverted also to the falsehood of the assertion, that Christianity was first planted in Ireland by St. Patrick, it being

doubtful whether such a person ever existed; and demonstrated that the Douay version of the Scriptures, on which so much had been said, is, in fact, not an authorized version; that both text and notes had been disavowed by different prelates, and that there is no authorized Roman Catholic version of the Scriptures in the English language. He showed that fanaticism and infidelity were produced in countries where the Scriptures are restricted, as well as where they prevail, supporting his position by a reference to the French Revolution; and sat down, expressing his confident expectation, that the Bible Society would hereafter be permitted to continue its course without interruption.

We regret that our limits confine us to these extracts; but are happy to announce, that a full account of the proceedings is now published, price only sixpence, which we earnestly recommend our readers to procure, and hope it will be very exten sively circulated.

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One thing struck us very forcibly the Roman Catholic speakers grow weaker and weaker. Mr. Browne's argument is very inferior to Dr. M'Keon's, and Mr. O'Beirne's to Mr. Browne's; both of them express their reluctance, and speak in a desponding tone, that no good could result from the discussion. No good could result, it is true, to their cause; but they who pro



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voked the discussion were scarcely the persons to acknowledge this. On the contrary, the Protestant speakers rise triumphantly as they advance, and, confident of the power of their weapons, press home on their opponents the invincible arguments of truth and soberness; they meet the Ro man Catholics on their own ground; they appeal to fathers and to councils, as well as to the sure testimony of revelation; and they demonstrate the fallacy of the Catholic pleas; prove that even the famed Douay Testament is no authorized version in theeye of the Roman church; and then show that the zeal which has been evinced in some quarters for this Testament is really only a Jesuitical pretext for impeding the circulation of the sacred Scriptures. Great thanks are due from Protestants to Messrs. Bushe, and Digby, and Hamilton. Great praise should be given to Almighty God for assisting his servants on so trying an occasion; and many fervent prayers should be offered up, that the temporary conviction produced on the minds of the hearers of the excellency of Scriptural truth may, through the Divine mercy, be so deepened in their hearts, that they may be led to read, and mark, and learn, and inwardly digest the word of God; and may, finally, through God's mercy, attain and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, set before them in Christ Jesus.

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Notices and Acknowledgments.

We think A Constant Reader's remarks apply quite as much to his own epistle as to the article which he censures; posthumous fame and posthumous infamy are powerful springs of action.

Received, F. Y.—N.—A. N.—Extract from the Archives du Christianisme.-An Uni beneficed Clergyman.-J. S.-Theognis.-W.-J. A.-M. A. L.—Aape, J. W. M.-J. N. Hackney, will be inserted.


In concluding our present Volume, we desire thankfully to acknowledge the goodness of Almighty God, in graciously owning our imperfect services to the promotion of his glory, and the benefit of our fellow, creatures. We have been favoured through the year with extended patronage and support. Our stated and highly valued Correspondents have still continued their favours, and many others have kindly contributed their occasional support; so that we have not had to fament a deficiency of materials, but rather the impossibility of introducing within our narrow limits many interesting and important papers. We desire, therefore, to return all our Correspondents unfeigued thanks, beseeching the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation abundantly to own and reward their labours of love.

In reviewing the year that is past, we see abundant cause for praise and thanksgiving. Our country has been preserved in peace, and advanced in prosperity. The difficulties which a few years since pressed heavily on our agricultural interests have mercifully been removed, and both agriculture and commerce appear now highly prosperous. Our religious privileges have graciously been continued—the Gospel is still preached throughout our land, and, through the Divine mercy, has not been preached in vain. Our religious and other charities have also been proceeding in their work of mercy; and hopeful symptoms in various quarters appear, encouraging us to anticipate the speedy fulfilment of the promise—that the heathen shall be given to the Son, and the distant parts of the earth become his possession, and that all shall know the Lord from the least even to the greatest.

There are, indeed, dark spots in the picture which must excite painful feelings in the mind, but which ought to be steadily contemplated by the Christian, in order that he may be excited to use the appropriate means for their removal—we allude to the disgusting and disgraceful slavery in which so many thousands of our fellow-men are still retained in the West Indies, and the pertinacity and injustice with which every approximation to their delivery is resisted; to the permission given in the East Indies to the murder of widows, and the perpetration of abominable and cruel rites, and the discouragement of native converts to Christianity; to the horrid licentiousness still permitted in our men of war, and the countenance given to that compound of brutality, folly, cowardice, and murder, distinguished by the term duelling. allude to the progress of popery, and the existence and enlargement of Jesuitical establishments at Stoneyhurst, and various other parts of this country; and to that most absurd and impolitic expenditure of the publie money in the maintenance of that nursery of intolerance and sedition, the Roman Catholic College of Maynooth.

We lament indeed that men of honour and integrity, engaging in their country's service, are still exposed to various acts of cruelty and oppression, for which no compensation can be obtained. The Roman Catholic and Greek church are really dominant in some of our foreign possessions. British Governors have impeded English Clergymen in the circulation of the Scriptures, at the request of Popish Bishops ;-British Ollicers have been broken for hesitating about firing salutes in honour of certain saints; and, strange to say, the sentence of the Court Martial has been confirmed by the Commander in Chief, the presumptive Heir to a Protestant Throne. Nor have we heard that any disapprobation has been evinced towards those Governors, or any order issued which may prevent the consciences of brave and honourable and enlightened men being ensnared and entangled by similar ido


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