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which many prophets and wise men have a wise and well tempered rule, ramifies desired to see, and have not seen them ; | its genial virtue through all the branches and to hear, and have not heard them. of society. So that if any thing can make My Lord, we cannot dwell too much upon a glorious Sovereign, and happy subjects, the delightful recollection, that here, in it is the attachment and subinission of this Society, Christians may put off the both to the oracles of God. garb of their exterior diversities, and “For the very same reasons, the Bible, meet together in the simple and beautiful in proportion as it is known and believed, livery of the Son of God; and, foregoing must produce a generally good effect on things which do not touch the hidden the condition of the world. In forming man of the heart,' may give scope to that the character of the individual and the celestial charity which aims at nothing nation, it cannot fail to mould also, in a less than extending the pure word of life greater or less degree, the conduct of to every region of darkness and death on political governments toward each other. the surface of our globe.
It is not in the Bible, nor in the spirit “ My Lord, it would create a smile, if which it infuses, that the pride wbich the subject were not infinitely too serious sacrifices hecatombs and nations of men for smiles, that an apprehension of injury to its lawless aggrandisement, either fiods, to the cause of sound Christianity from the or seeks for, its aliment: and had Europe labours of such a Society as this, should been under the sway of the Book of God, find its way into a Christian bosom. If, this age had not seen a more than fabled as your own Chillingworth has exclaimed, monster of ambition, endeavouring to plant
The Bible, the Bible alone, is the re- one foot on the heights of Montmartre, ligion of Protestants,' it is passing strange, and the other on the hills of Dover; and, that any good man should be afraid of dis- while he scowled on the prostrate Conpersing it abroad; that is, of spreading tinent, stretching out his right hand to rifle his own religion. How is it possible that the treasures of the East, and his left to the charities of men, united in the holy crush the young glories of the West, work of diffusing among their fellow Such an ambition was never bred in the immortals the record of the charity of bosom, nor drew nourishment from a Bible God, can operate with any other than a Society. salutary infuence? Besides removing un * Your Lordship will permit me further natural and unnecessary restraints upon to remark, that if any judgment can be the reciprocation of our best affections, formed from the aspect of Providence, it and thus multiplying friendships which will be the honour of this Institution, both are pledges of mutual virtue, the Bible in its direct and indirect operations, to be Society acts with an auspicious energy on | bighly instrumental in preparing the all, even the lowest classes of civil society. world for that period of life and blessedMy Lord, the man who reads and reve. ness, when none sball' burt nor destroy, rences his Bible, is not the man of violence because the earth shall be filled with the and blood : he will not rise from the study knowledge of Jehovah.' It will be then of lessons which the Holy Ghost teaches, that the gallant and principled soldier to commit a burglary : he will not travel will rejoice to beat his sword into a with his Bible, under his arm, and, medita- ploughshare, and his spear into a pruningting upon its contents, as forming the rule hook, and to learn war no more.' Bible of his conduct, to celebrate the orgies of Societies seem destined to act an illustrious Bacchus, or the rites of Venus. Assuredly | part in the measures preparatory to this it was not the Bible, which, in 1780, grand event. They are scattering over kindled the flames of Newgate; nor is it the face of the earth that precious seed,' from the stores of inspired eloquence, which, in due time, shall spring up, being that the apostles of mischief draw those watered from above, and shall ripen into doctrines, and speeches which delude the an abundant harvest of righteousness and understanding, and exasperate the pas- peace. They are laying and uniting, by sious, of an ignorant and ill-judging mul social communication, that long train of titude. If there are any two maxims truth, to which the angel of God shall onc which go together, under the sanction of day apply his match from heaven, and scriptural authority, they are these; he cause the light of salvation to burst forth who fears God, will honour the King;'as in a moment, from every spot on the and he who does both, will not be the first globe. to' meddle with them that are given to “ But before this consummation, much, change. On the contrary, the influence very much, remains to be done. The cord of the Bible, and, therefore of Bible Soo of the Hindoo cast is to be untwined; and cieties, upon the habits of the community, the word of God is to perform the task. is calculated to throw up around every There are long ranges of Alps between paternal government, a rampart better you, and regions which must be annexed than walls and guns, and bayonets,-a to the crown of Messiah the Prince. They rampart of human hearts. . While, at the are not merely to be pierced by the band same time, that influence over those who of imperial power, that a few troops of are in authority, descends, inits turn, upon travellers may pass their limits; they are the state at large; and, in the exercise of to be removed ; they are to disppear; and "the divine word is the fire and vinegar, 1 I cannot repress my congratulations to under the action of which they are to both, that the conflict was so short, and the moulder away, till their ashes shall be reconciliation so prompt; and, I trust, scattered to the four corners of heaven, not easily to be broken. Never again, my and their bases be turned into a garden Lord, it is a vow in which I have the conof God.
currence of all noble spirits and all feeling “ Permit me to add, that no heart is too hearts, never again may that humiliating magnanimous, no arm too powerful, no spectacle --two nations to whom God has station too exalted, to lend its aid in pro vouchsafed the enjoyment of rational moting so magnificent a work. In that liberty; two nations who are extensively day, when all human things shall appear engaged, according to their means, in enin their own littleness, and shall undergo larging the kingdom, in spreading the rea judgment according to truth, it will ligion, of the Lord Jesus--the kingdoin not be a source of shame or regret, that of peace the religion of love-those two Princes have come down from their nations occupied in the unholy work of thrones, and that the members of kingly shedding each other's blood! - Never families, and the possessors of ecclesiastical again may such a spectacle be exhibited pre-eminence, have mingled with private to the eyes of afflicted Christianity! May Christians in common efforts for the best their present concord, written not merely interests of individual and social man. with pen and ink, but on the living tab. The reaction of such deeds of goodness lets of the hearts; enforced by the sentiwill never sully the purity of the mitre, ment of a common origin, by common nor dim the star of royalty.
language, principles, habits, and hopes; “ One observation more, my Lord, and guaranteed by an all graicious Proviapon the general subject. The high and dence, be uninterrupted! May they, and holy interests, and responsibilities which their Bible Societies, striving together are lodged in the hands of this Institution, with one heart and one soul, to bring glory do not allow it to give back, or to hesitate. to God in the highest, and on earth to There is a notion which has passed into a manifest good-will toward men, go on, sort of common-law creed, that all intel increasing in their zeal, their efforts, and lectual and religious light, following the their success; and making stronger and course of the sun, must go from the east stronger, by the sweet charities of the to the west. My Lord, the ‘Sun of Righ-Gospel, the bands of their concord!" teousness rises where he pleases; and, The Rev. RICHARD WATSON, (Minister on this occasion, he has chosen to rise in in the Methodist Connexion,) after some the west, to take the point of his depar- prefatory remarks on the merits of the ture from the island of Great Britain, and Committee, spoke as follows: to filing the broad beams of his glory on
“ My Lord, the midnight of the east. He has done it, “The Report and the addresses which as by other agencies, so, in a singular | we have heard this day, have turned our manner, by the agency of this Society. Its attention to the Russian empire; and decause and interest are not the cause and lightful are the views which are there interests of a few visionaries, inebriated presented to us. We cannot listen to such by romantic projects. It is the cause of | statements, without anticipating, from the more than giant undertakings in regular circulation of the Scriptures in the Greek and progressive execution. The decisive Church, the revival of religion there in battle has been fought; opposition comes all its purity; and whoever considers now too late. He who would arrest the the geographical positions of the Russian march of Bible Societies, is attempting to Empire, its rising greatness, its political stop the moral machinery of the world, influence, and the character of its sove. and can look for nothing but to be crushed reign, must contemplate such a revival of in pieces. The march must proceed. pure religion, as the certain harbinger of Those disciplined and formidable columns, the moral renovation of the world. To which, under the banner of divine truth, merely Pagan countries we send both are bearing down upon the territories of Bibles and Missionaries; but where Chrisdealb, have one word of command from tianity exists, though in decay, the Bible on high, and that word is ONWARD!' may be sufficient. The circulation of the The command does not fall useless on the Scriptures alone, may raise and restore ears of this Society. May it go onward, the Greek Church ;---the frame of the continuing to be, and with increasing temple still stands, and the Bible will resplendour, the astonishment of the world, kindle the fire upon its altars--an order as it is the most illustrious monument of of Christian ministers exists, though many British glory.
of them are comparatively dead; but, “ A word more, my Lord, and I shall like the witnesses in the Apocalypse, have done. It relates to a topic on which when the spirit of truth shall enter into I know not whether my emotions will al- them, they shall stand upon their feet low me to express myself distinctly ; it is and prophesy.' the late unhappy difference between my “ The circulation of the Scriptures in own country and this between the land the Latin Church, produced our own of fathers and the land of their children. glorious Reformation, and gave us Pro
testantism, with all its blessings. And success; it is the quickening freshness we may look forward to the same results which goes before the morning; the rising in the Greek Church, with this interesting breeze, which indicates the descending difference, that the opposition made to and universal shower. the circulation of the Scriptures in the “I will add but another remark, and Latin Church, produced an angry schism; I make it, because it has been made be. kut, encouraged as Bible Societies are in fore, and because it derives its interest tbe Greek Church, the free diffusion of from being made often. Our Christian divine truth will re-animate the body, and union still continues; we are still one in yet, probably, preserve its unity. This, this glorious work; the dew of Hermon my Lord, is a cheering consideration. | has not, to us, lost its refreshing quality; Our Reformation dawned upon us with the ointment poured on the head of Aaron, lurid glare; all our Protestant Churches still retains all its fragrance. I follow, had their birth amidst the convulsions of with pleasure, the respectable divine who political elements, and their cradle was has just addressed you. He is an Amerirocked by storms; but in Russia we have can, with a truly British heart; and he the prospect of change without convulsion, has furnished me with an American alluof the good without the evil;---its refor- sion, with reference to the principles of mation approaches like a soft and beau- this Society, which embraces Christianity teous sun-rise, shedding rays equally well of all names and all countries. We have come on the cottages of Siberia, and the | buried the hatchet of strife, and may the palaces of the northern Cæsar. What is moisture which nourishes the root of that doing in Russia, in comparison of the tree under which we have laid it, daily wants and population of that empire, is eat more deeply into its edge, and more chiefly in preparation ; yet such notes of completely destroy its temper. I know preparation fall delightfully on our ears; of but one malediction in the breast of they are, like the first faint notes of the charity, and that is reserved for the man birds, wakened, even by twilight, into who shall dig the hatchet from the earth, songs, preludes to the full harmony of na- and again give sharpness to its edge.” ture, and the perfect light of day. One circumstance, in the operation of the Bible Society, has appeared to me equally
MR. HALL'S SPEECH. singular and encouraging—the eager de
The Leicester Auxiliary Bible Society, sire of the people in all places to possess
held its Seventh Anniversary in the Guildthose Scriptures, which it is the object of | hall, Leicester, on Tuesday July 15th the Society to furnish. Has, then, the | 1817, on which occasion, the following carnal mind ceased to be at enmity wish | Speech was delivered by Mr. R. Hall. . God - Have vice and ignorance laid aside. It has been usual, on these occasions, their hostility to truth?- We believe a to eulogize the Bible Society; I will not time will arrive, when 'those reproving say beyond its merits, for they are more words of the Evangelist will lose their ap: | than equal to the powers of the most ex. plication,-'The light shineth in darkness, alted panegyric: but the frequency of and the darkness comprehendeih it not; - these encomiums must be my apology for a time when the darkness shall cumpre saying but little on that topic at present, hend the light, and eagerly lay hold upon The stores of rhetoric appear to me to it. Have we, then, the encouragement be exhausted; while every department of arising from the consideration, that we nature and of art has been summoned and are approaching that period? I think made to contribute its share to the illus. we have. When the light of the Gospel tration of the divine simplicity of its faded away from the minds of men in principle, the sanctity of its object, and former ages, there was no such feeling as the extent and grandeur of its operations. that to which I have referred; none Never was there an institution which at sighed at the approach of night; none once went so far forward 'in the distri. laid hold on truth, as Jacob on the angel, bution of its benefits, and exerted such a saying, "I will not let thee go.'-The reflex energy on its members and patrons; shadows of the evening were welcomed, producing a generous enthusiasm, which and the angel was repulsed. I have no kindles at every step, and is raised to a other way of accounting for this change, | more intense degree byevery fresh achievebut by referring it to the special influence ment. of God; and this is one of the noblest I consider this Society as a new moral proofs, that the work of the Bible Society | power, which, combining the energies of is taken up into the plans of Providence: Christendom in one great effort, promises God is not only with us, but there is a to change the face of the universe; while, sense in which he goes before us. Where. | in imitation of Him in whose cause it is ever this Society directs its operations, his l enlisted, it travels in the greatness of 149 Spirit appeare, to precede it: a holy in- strength, "mighty to save.” It possessce fluence is breathed upon the world, pre. I every characteristic of a work of God paring it to receive those blessings which in which the simplest means are made o the Sacred Word alone can communicate, produce the greatest effects; where there This is a pledge of ultimate and universal | is the utmost economy ip the contrivances and the greatest splendour and mag-, which would exclude a part of the word nificence in the design. The imbecility of God from universal inspection and of man appears in the littleness of his perusal, we feel insuperable objections ; ends, which he accomplishes, for the most. nor are we disposed to ascribe to any des- . part, by complicated and laborious opera-cription of men whatever, that control tions. Omnipotence, on the contrary, over divine communications which such places opulence in the end, and parsimony a measure implies. We are persuaded in the means. While our pride is morti | that no man possesses a right to curtail fied by perceiving how little we can effect the gifts of God, or to deal out with a by the greatest efforts, the Almighty sparing hand what was intended for unitouches a secret spring, known only to versal patrimony. If the manner in which himself, and impresses a single motion, revelation was imparted, be such as which propagates itself in circles con- makes it manifest that it was originally tinually exiending, till it reaches the designed for the benefit of all, we are at extremity of the universe, and diffuses a loss to conceive how any man can have order and happiness through regions most a right, by his interference, to render it remote from its origin, and most uncon- inaccessible, scious of its cause.
The question itself, whether it was Of so similar a character is the Bible designed to be communicated to manSociety, and so analagous to the move. kind at large, without distinction, or ments of divine power, that, it appears to a particular class, with a discre. to me, it would be impious not to acknow tionary power of communicating it, at ledge the agency of the Spirit in its first such times and in such proportions as conception, as much as the superintendence they might deem fit, can only be deterof Providence in its support. To fix mined by itself. If it bear decisive inupon a course of action, which gives dications of its being intended for private scope to every virtuous energy, while it custody; if it be found to affirm, or even stands perfectly aloof from the spirit of to insinuate, that it is not meant for uni. party; which draws towards itself the versal circulation; we must submit to best propensities of our common nature, hold it at the discretion of its legitimate and unites the pious of every pation and guardians, and to accept with becoming profession in one harmonious family, is gratitude such portions as they are pleased not the work of a mortal; it bespeaks the to bestow. From the word of God there finger of God. Its direct benefits are too can be no appeal: it must decide its own obvious to escape the most careless obser character, and determine its own prevation : but the indirect influence it extensions. Thus much we must be allowed erts, in harmonizing the spirits, and con to assume; that if it was originally given ciliating the affections of such as had long to mankind indiscriminately, no power been alienated from each other, is so upon earth is entitled to restrict it; beremarkable, as to make it doubtful, cause, on the supposition which we are whether its instruments or its objects, now making, since every man's original whether those who share, or those who right in it was equal, that right can be dispense its munificence, are the great-cancelled by no authority but that which est gainers.
| bestowed it. If it was at first promul. The utility of this admirable institution, I gated under the character of an universal however, has been called in question, its standard of faith and practice, we are constitution censured, and its operations bound to recognize it in that character; and arraigoed. To give the Bible to all every attempt to alter it, to convert into classes and descriptions, without note or private what was originally public procomment, is represented by some as a perty, or to make a monopoly of an uni. dangerous experiment, adapted to per- versal grant, is an act of extreme preplex and mislead uncultivated minds. sumption and impiety. It is to assume a Excellent as the Scriptures are allowed superiority over revelation itself. to be, some preparation, it is asserted, Let us see, then, how the matter stands. is necessary, ere they are communicated Let us ascend to its original, and examine in their ful extent; and that the best use in what shape it was first communicated. that can be immediately made of them, is | Though we are accustomed to speak of to compose and distribute such selections the Bible as one book, it is in truth a and abridgments as seem best calculated collection of many, composed at diferent for popular instruction,
periods and by different writers, as boly That some portions of the sacred volume men of God were moved by the Holy are of more universal interest than others; I Ghost. that the New Testament, for example, To speak first of the Old Testament. has a more immediate relation to our The Old Testament was distributed by prospects and duties than the Old, is the Jews into three parts; the Pentateuch, freely conceded ; just as one star differs the earlier and later Prophets, including from another star in glory, though they some historical compositions, and the are all placed in the same firmament, and Hagiographs, or Holy Writings, cons are the work of the same hand. But to sisting chiefly of the Book of Job, the this restrictive system, this jealous policy, Proverbs, and the Psalms.
With respect to the Pentateuch, it is a , that, when they were about to leave matter of notoriety, that it was delivered certain countries where they had been with the utmost publicity, and was neither employed for a considerable time in dismorenor less than the public and municipal seminating the gospel, the inhabitants of law of the Jewish commonwealth, which those districts were anxious to possess a every king, on his ascending the throne, permanent record of the principal facts was commanded to copy with his own in which they had been instructed, that, hand, as the perpetual rule of his govern-by reading them at their leisure, they ment; and every head of a family, to might, in the absence of their teachers, teach and inculcate on his children, when impress them on their memory. The he sat in his house, and when he walked Gospels of Mark and Luke are affirmed, by the way. It was first proclaimed by the earliest historians, to have been from the top of Mount Sinai, with in composed from the preaching of St. Peter effable splendour, in the hearing of the land St. Paul, and not to have been pub. whole nation, prefaced with the remark- lished until they had received the entire able words, “ Hear, ( Israel.” There approbation of those Apostles. This is surely no pretence for representing it part of Scripture, then, supplies no preas a deposit committed to a particular class, tence or apology for the practice of re. wben an accurate acquaintance with it stricted distribution. was requisite, in order to regulate the The Epistles next come in order; and private as well as public life of every these, as is evident from their inscriptions, Israelite. Though, in process of time, were addressed to the whole assemblies its interpretation gave birth to a particular of the faithful; in which, rich and poor, profession, whose followers are stvled I learned and unlearned, Jew and Gentile, scribes, in the New Testament, nothing I were incorporated on terms of religioui was further from their thoughts than the equality. They were also read publicly, assumption of a right to withhold it from every Lord's-day; in the devotional ex. public perusal : their employment was, ercises of which the recitation of the partly, by an accurate transcription, to | Scriptures, after the manner of the an. preserve the purity of the copies, and, cient synagogue, occupied a conspicuous partly to elucidate its obscurities.
place. We find St. Paul strongly ad. If we descend to the Prophets, we juring one of the societies to which he shall find them addressing their instruc- wrote, to take care that his Epistle was tions, and announcing their predictions, read to “ all the holy brethren.” in the most public manner, to all descrip! There is one extraordinary book, of a tions of persons; to princes, to nobles, character totally distinct from the rest, to the populace, in crowded assemblies, which closes the canon of inspiration. in places of the most public resort. Such The book to which I refer, you are was the manner in which Jeremiah pro- | aware, is the Revelation of St. Joho; a phesied :-“I am full,” saith he, * of composition distinguished above all others the fury of the Lord; I am weary with by a profusion of obscure, figurative holding in; I will pour it upon the chil diction; delineating, by a sort of hierodren abroad, and upon the assembly of glypbics, the principal revolutions des. young men together." Jer. vi, 11. When tined to befal The Christian church from strong political reasons seemed to dictate the earliest times till the consummation a different proceeding, when he was of all things. This portion of Scripture violently importuned hy. bis sovereign to is a fertile mine of erroneous, extravagant conceal bis predictions, lest he should conjecture, and supplies, by its injudicious weaken the hands of the people, and ens interpretation, more gratificatiou to a courage their enemies, he remained in- heated imagination, to a taste for the flexible, and continued to divulge the marvellous and incredible, than the whole suggestions of inspiration, with the same of the New Testament beside; insomuch, publicity as before. Yet, it is the pro- that few have been found capable of phetic part of Scripture, which is the preserving a perfect sobriety and com. most obscure, and most liable to be per- posure in the midst of its stupendous verted to the purposes of popular delusion. scenery, where the curtain rises and falls
Of the Hagiographs little need be said. so often, where new creations so rapidly As they consist chiefly of maxims of civil succeed each other, accompanied by prudence, sentiments of devotion, and myriads of the angelic order, and the sublime descriptions of the Deity and his sound of trumpets, and of voices, and works, it is probable none will contend/thunderings, and lightnings. Yet it for their restricted circulation. . I is sufficiently remarkable, that this is
Let us take a rapid glance at the the only book, to the perusal of which New Testament. Here, the Gospels | an express benediction is attached : will claim our first attention; and, , “ Blessed is be that readeth, and they with respect to these, if we are to credit that hear the words of this prophecy.. the earliest eoclesiastical writers, they Its integrity is also guarded and secured are a mere abstract of the preaching of by a fearful measure denounced against the respective Apostles and Evangelists such as shall presume to alter it in the whose names they bear. We are informed minutest tittle, by adding to or taking