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THE

THE
BRITISH REVIEW,

AND

LONDON CRITICAL JOURNAL.

NOVEMBER, 1815.

Art. XII.-The Church in Danger : a Statement of the Cause,

and of the probable Means of averting that Danger, attempted in a Letter to the Right Honourable Lord Liverpool. By the Rev. Richard Yates, B. D. and F. R. $. Chaplain to his Majesty's Royal College, Chelsea, Rector of Ashen, and alternate Preacher to the Philanthropic Society. London. 1815.

Rivington, Hatchard, &c. A Practical Exposition of the Tendency and Proceedings of the

British and Foreign Bible Society, begun in a Correspondence between the Rev. H. H. Norris and J. W. Freshfield, Esq. relative to the Formation of an Auxiliary Bible Society at Hackney : and completed in an Appendix, containing an entire Series of the public Documents and private Papers which that Measure occasioned ; illustrated with Notes and Observations. Edited by the Rev. H. H. Norris, M. A. Curate of St. John's Chapel, Hackney, and Chaplain to the Earl of Shaftesbury. Second

Edition, with additional Notes. London. 1814. 'Rivington. A Review of Mr. Norris's Attack upon the British and Foreign

Bible Society. By the Rev. W. Dealtry, B. D. F. R. S. Rector of Clapham, and late Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.

London. 1815. Hatchard. Å Letter to the Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of Lincoln, on the

Subject of the Attack made by his Lordship upon the British and Foreign Bible Society, in his recent Charge to his Clergy. By a clerical Member of the Society. London. 1815. pp. 62. Baldwin and Co.

VOL. VI. NO. XII.

A Letter to the Right Reverend Lord Bishop of Gloucester, on the Subject of the British and Foreign Bible Society. By Thomas Gisborne, M. A. London. 1815. pp. 36. Cadell

and Davies. The various views which the several publications above enumerated present of the supposed difficulties with which the Church of England has at this time to struggle, suggest to most of its members matter of very serious consideration, and to some & subject of unquiet reflection. When the extent of our obligations to that system of ecclesiastical discipline, doctrine, and instruction, which has been-maintained since the Reformation in this country, are duly appreciated by those who are professedly within its pale, they cannot hear the recital of its numerous, and, as some say, increasing perils, without grief and alarm. That the Church should be surrounded with danger is agreeable to the course of Providence in the dispensation of his best gifts to man, who is never suffered to possess them in security, but as a property which he must live in constant watchfulness to protect, -as a tenure for which his ceaseless service is due to the paramount Proprietor of all things.

Nothing is so conducive to safety as a distinct apprehension of the danger. Floating and indeterminate fears serve only to distract the mind and dissipate exertion. To be calculating the probabilities of attack, to be counting the number of the besiegers, to reckon upon support from without, and to trust to the artificial strength of bulwarks, while disorder, disunion, and neglect of discipline, prevail within, has been the cause of ruin to many a fenced city, and may place our Zion at the mercy of its enemies, if we are not urged by the near approach of destruction to have recourse in time to the only substantial means of defence.

It is a question, for the solution of which we have but little appetite, whether a religious establishment, reposing on its ancient foundations, and trusting to authority, prescription, and opulence, can maintain itself against a numerical majority in the nation, who, though divided among themselves, are actuated by a common principle of opposition. If this numerical majority should become a moral majority, comprising the greater part of the middle class of the community, the fate of the ecclesiastical establishment can searcely remain in ambiguity. That institution must rest, indeed, upon a strong foundation, which in this country can see with unconcern the progress and fluctuation of opinion ;-of that agent which is always in restless activity, shaking, subverting, undermining, strengthening, establishing, creating, and again destroying; sometimes to be dreaded, sometimes to be reverenced,

always to be watched and regulated; sometimes with sudden violence and unforeseen aggression, assaulting the securest stations, and surprising the world with its short and subversive fury; sometimes rising in appearance like a cloud of the bigness only of a man's hand, and by degrees enlarging itself into a mighty magazine of storms, till the face of heaven is no more seen, and all things are overwhelmed with its resistless accumulations.

The moral supremacy of opinion in this country puts all its institutions, religious and political, upon their good behaviour; and their safety and durability depend upon their clear recognition of this truth, and the practical result of the conviction. To threaten, denounce, abuse, deplore, or complain of the enemy, will never thin his ranks, or change his disposition ; and still more impotent and unavailing to every good purpose will every expedient be found, that forgets what is due to candour, liberality, and justice, in the representation of facts and the imputation of motives. In the case of an individual member of a wellordered society, to live so as not to deserve reproach is the best confutation of malice, and the Church of England must thus act to secure itself amidst the difficulties and hostilities by which it finds itself surrounded. · It would be really ludicrous, and almost amusing, if every thing that touches the interests of religion were not too solemn and affecting for such impressions, to see the Parish Priest start from his couch at the sound of a Bible Association in his neighbourhood, and begin to fret and fume at the invasion of his territory; to hear Bishops and Archdeacons at their charges and visitations, instead of ascertaining and correcting the practical state of the ministry in the diocese; instead of supplying the defects, reproving the negligence, and animating the zeal of their own clergy; instead of inquiring into the means afforded to the poor of attending with convenience the service of God, and the opportunities afforded them of receiving spiritual instruction, first complimenting their auditors into a satisfied state of feeling in regard to their own orthodoxy and correct discharge of their duty, and then exhorting them to be on their guard against the restless and intrusive activity of those who venture to sound the alarum to sleeping consciences within their peaceful limits, or to stimulate the appetite for the bread of life beyond what it may suit their convenience to satisfy.

It would indeed be amusing, if it were not, as before observed, for its bearing upon things of such tremendous concern, to remark the anxiety with which men of good meaning, and much attached to our church establishment, regard every fancied encroachment upon its ministry, without at all adverting to the de

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