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There is yet another article in the Quarterly Review, on which we intended to have said a few words, but as we shall be led to animadvert upon it in the Review which follows this, we shall not think it necessary to add to the length of the present critique by any farther comments. It will afford us real pleasure, if this, in some respects valuable, publication should avoid in future the faults on which we have been led reluctantly to remark.
A Letter to the Right Honourable Lord Teignmouth, &c. in Vindication of “Reasons for declining to become a Subscriber tothe British and Foreign Bible Society.” By CHRistopher Wordsworth, D.D. Chaplain to His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dean of Bocking, &c. London: Rivingtons, 181(). Price 3s. 6d.
A Vindication of the British and Foreign Bible Society, in a Letter to the Rev. Dr. Wordsworth, chiefly in Reply to his Letter to the Right Hon. Lord Teignmouth. By W. DEAlthy, M. A. Examining Chaplain of the Bishop of Bristol, Chaplain to the Earl of Leven and Melville, Professor of Mathematics in the East India College, and Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. London: Hatchard. 1810. Price 7s. 6d.
The publication of Mr. Dealtry's reply to Dr. Wordsworth's Vindication of the Letter reviewed by us upon a former occasion, calls upon us to redeem the pledge we then gave of discussing the additional topics in this controversy. Till Mr. Dealtry's work was announced, it certainly was our intention, presumptuous as it may seem, to have engaged with his antagonist singlehanded. But having little of the Spiritual Quixotte in our composition, we are sincerely glad to stay with the baggage, if any one else will tight the battle. The promise therefore of Mr. Lealtry’s book, which
found its way into our work soon after our Review was printed, at once determined us to lie upon our arms till this champion should appear; and, according as we should find him par, aut impar, pugna, either to leave the post of honour and danger to him, or to take it to ourselves. It is with sincere satisfaction we announce to the public, that the cause has sound a worthy champion; and it is with feelings of gratitude to Providence that we quit a post which is so much better filled by him than it could have been by us. It is, indeed, possible that our readers may hear from us a few concluding volleys—a sort of few de joie; but we shall relinquish all the hazards and honours of the campaign to Mr. Dealtry: or, in less warlike phraseology, we may perhaps ourselves add a few supplementary remarks; but, by giving a brief and compact abstract of Mr. Dealtry's work, we shall let him both settle the merits of the controversy and reply to Dr. Wordsworth. The arrangement which Mr. Dealtry has adopted, by giving us, in a large part of his work, first, the objections of his antagonist, and then his own reply to them, much facilitates the execution of this design;—a design which, as it substitutes Mr. Deaitry's reasoning for our own, must be gratifying to all our readers, with the exception of one. Mr. Dealtry begins with expressing his surprise at the declaration of Dr. Wordsworth, in his second pamphlet, that his first did not state his chief objections to the Bible Society; and fairly confesses that he did not imagine all the author's “ hints to be reasons; and what he pleasantly terms reasons, to be merely hints.” On this point, however, we shall say no more, unless indeed it be to express a hope that Dr. Wordsworth begins (for we give him credit both for good sense and talents) by this time to wish he had neither reasoned upon his hints nor ever hinted his reasons. Mr. Dealtry next enters upon the
history of the Welsh edition of the Scriptures. Through this we cannot follow him. It is enough to say that he proves, by an appeal to indisputable facts, that the Bartlett's Buildings' Society had been in vain urged from year to year to publish a Welsh edition; that on September 3, 1804, the Bible Society determined to publish one; that in March 1805, and not before, the Bartlett's Buildings' Society pass-ed, a similar order; that, although the Bible Society did not actually begin to print till after the date -of this order of the Bartlett's Buildings' Society, they had previously -entered into engagements for that purpose; that the Bible Society proceeded with the utmost caution in selecting the text from which to print; that they did nothing withsout the approbation of the Welsh Bishops and the Cambridge Syndics; that they displayed great eagerness, for the sake of uniformity, and out of respect to the Bartlett's Buildings' Society, to adopt the same text with them; that in 1809 the Bartlett's Buildings' Society had not issued a single copy of the Welsh Scriptures; but that during the same period the Bible Society has distributed about 40,000 copies. We are willing to believe that Dr. Wordsworth was ignorant of these facts; but surely he should either inquire himself, or not write against those who do inquire”. Mr. Dealtry then states the six topics which are principally to occupy his attention. 1. The paramount importance of circulating the Scriptures. 2. The actual want of Bibles in different parts of the world. 3. The most effectual means of dispersing them. 4. The advantages of the Bible Society. 5. The answer to Dr. Wordsworth's objections. * This remark, it will be felt, applies with equal force to the Bishop of London, Mr. baubeny, and all who have yet written against the Bible Society. ChalsT. Onseuv. No. 108.
6. The consideration of Dr. Wordsworth's remedies.
With the first three topics we conceive we have little to do; as most of the facts have been stated, and what needed discussion has been discussed by us, on former occasions.
Under the fourth head Mr. Dealtry enumerates the peculiar advantages of the Bible Society; which he states to be, the unexampled dissemination of the Scriptures; the promotion of unanimity and intercourse among various classes of Christians upon practicable and secure grounds; the refutation of those charges of disunion and indifference brought by the enemies of Christianity against its disciples; the supplying a channel of coinmunication and bond of union with foreign churches; the investing the Church of England with fresh claims upon the veneration of the good; the preservation of the sacred volume from corruption. Upon some of these heads we really long to dilate, or rather to give the reader the masterly and conclusive reasonings of Mr. Dealtry; but neither will our space permit it, nor can we suppose that the bare enunciation of these benefits will not at once carry conviction along with it to the minds of our readers in general. Whilst, however, the truth of these propositions is admitted, let not their force in the present argument be forgotten. These are not propositions of an ordinary bulk and complexion; but, as Pyrrhus said of the Roman soldiers, “give us these, and we will conquer the world.” Let the facts involved in them be duly estimated; let it be considered what it is to circulate 223,000 Bibles from the warehouse in London alone; to discover, in a period of unexampled peril and disunion, a safe rallying point for every Englghman who loves his God; to coissound, by one grand display of the energy and unanimity of Christian principles, the assailants of the cross; to give one heart to the most reinote nations; to exalt the Church of England from the
to constitute the whole world guardians of the purity of Scripture, by circulating them in every language, and naturalizing them in every country. Let these effects be considered, and then let men, if they can, deny the importance of the Bible Society. Mr. Dealtry proceeds, under the fifth head, to examine the “objections” brought by Dr. Wordsworth or his coadjutors against the Bible Society; and considers that the whole of them, not already answered, may be classed under eighteen distinct heads. The 1st is, that it affects and “embraces a novel union between Churchmen and Dissenters.” Now union between Churchmen and Dissenters ought not to be called novel, for they have frequently associated, and this with Dr. Wordsworth’s sanction, for purposes of benevolence or commerce. The disference between one party and the other, then, seems to be simply this: that Dr. Wordsworth and his friends allow co-operation just so far as not to give away Bibles; Mr. Dealtry and his "friends go one step further, and co-operate in giving away Bibles also. Those draw the line just within the Bible; these, just without; and surely the former is a line which every honest man must, without the most powerful reason, shudder while he draws. To say the least, an error on one side is far less venial than on the other.—Nor is their union even for religious purposes altogether new : it is the practice of several hospitals, for instance, where the different classes are joint subscribers, or governors, to give away Bibles and to furnish other means of religious instruction. And the Naval and Military Bible Society, of which the Archbishop of Canterbury is president, admits both Churchmen and Dissenters, without distinction, among its governors. But we shall have eccasion to return to this point.
The 2d objection is, that the
subscribers to the Bible. Society, it
they pass by the old society, embrace a less good where they might have a greater. The discus. sion of this objection we shall also defer for a short time. The 3d objection is, that the new society has injured the funds of the old. Mr. Dealtry had made a statement on this subject in his first publication, and which we copied in our former review, that certainly exhibited a view in some respects inaccurate of the state of the funds of the Bartlett's Buildings' Society. The errors into which he fell, however, were extremely natural, inasmuch as they originated in such a degree of supineness in the collectors of that society, as none but an enemy was likely to suspect. Mr. Dealtry estimated the condition of the society by calculating the donations, the receipts, and the subscriptions of the year. Now, it appears that the sum of receipts and subscriptions for a few years past is considerably augmented by the augmented industry of the society in collecting the arrears due to them. Of this Mr. Dealtry was not aware. Mr. Dealtry now admits that some small defalcation in the funds of the old society took place in the first year in which the new was instituted; but contends, that, although for a time it may be said to have thus injured the old society, yet, if the latter is now roused, by a spirit of emulation, to activity and zeal, it will be paid double for all its wrongs. And it may fairly be added, that if the old society suffers, it is its own fault; since, circumstanced as it is, nothing but its supineness or mal-administration can expose it to injury. The 4th objection is, that the new society has “impaired the relative importance and ascendancy of the old :” and the answer is, “if the Bartlett's Buildings' Society are unwilling to occupy the second place, let them take care to deserve
the first.” Would Dr.Wordsworth, wo
ask, have said to St. Paul, when he declares, “ I press forward towards the mark,”—“Stop! for your haste condemns the tardiness of others?” Objection the 5th complains that the new society has contaminated the purity of the old, by accessions of subscribers, who have joined them from improper motives, viz. dislike to the Bible Society. We remember hearing, that, when the secretary of Lord Holland cut his throat, his regard to cleanliness was such, that he carefully dusted the basin over which he cut it. Dr. Wordsworth will, we hope, excuse us if we say, that the fastidiousness which this objection indicates, and the sterner and less refined feelings which breathe in other parts of his reply, recalled this story to our mind. The 6th objection states, that, whatever may be pretended, the Bible Society injures the cause of Christian charity. Now, can this be asūrmed in the face of the evidence furnished by the history of the whole society 2 Is it not the fact, that many churchmen have learned, through the medium of this institution, to believe that their dissenting brethren do actually go about without powder and matches in their pocket for the annihilation of the commonwealth 2 Is it not equally the fact, that the dissenters have here learned that a mitre does not necessarily disinherit a man of zeal for God and charity to his fellow-creatures 2 If we were ambitious of reputation for cloquence, we should infallibly take in hand to describe the scene presented at an annual meeting of the Bible Society; for we perceive that no man touches this theme without becoming eloquent in virtue of his undertaking. Mr. Dealtry is often eloquent, but never more so than when thus occupied. We relinquish the subject to him : one remark, however, we may be permitted to make : To us this meeting has displayed, not merely a spectacle of unanimity, but has
revealed the grand secret, by the application of which alone will the glorious schemes of universal concord be realized, if ever realized on earth. This secret is—to find some object which at once all men prefer, and so prefer as in the pursuit of it cheerfully to surrender every other. Such an object has the Bible Society proposed to the religious of every clime; and they are to be seen within the walls of this institution, either in person or by their representatives, casting their several prejudices and passions upon the altar of peace. Our view, therefore, of the pacificatory influence of this grand institution extends far beyond, not only the forebodings of Dr. Wordsworth, but even the utmost grasp which has been assigned to it by its advocates. In former ages, when the ecclesiastical rulers of various countries sent forth ambassadors of general peace among the churches of Christ, they possessed no such instrument as this for harmonizing the discordant passions and opinions of men. The idea of an universal concord has now been deserted, through despair of its accomplishment; and its advocates have long since fallen asleep. But if these saints and patriarchs now bend from the thrones of heaven to contemplate the transactions of mortals; if they observe the “ highway ” which this society is erecting in the “desert;” if they view the most remote nations actuated by one vast and general impulse ; they perhaps strike their golden harps as they behold the dawn of that glorious day, when, for the standards of discord and the din of arms, shall be substituted the pacific banner of the cross, and universal songs of love and joy. But let us hear Mr. Dealtry on this subject.
“For the first time in my life, I attended
last May the “Ecclesiastical General Coun
cil, holden at the Old London Tavern,” and
most heartly do I wish that you had been "y
my side. It was, in truth, an animating
spectacle! On looking round this asswumbly,
and perceiving on every side the eye beam-
members of the Bible Society is to
“Eternal God! hast thou provided thy blessed Word, to be a lamp unto our fret, and a light unto our path;-hast thou indeed enjoined it upon us all, as a sacred duty, to search the Scriptures; to read them by day; to meditate upon them by night; to teach them diligently to our childreu ; to talk of them when we sit in the house, when we walk by the way, when we lie down, and when we rise up; to receive them with all reverence, as the record of truth, as the guide to everlasting life;—and shall creatures like us attempt to impede the free course of thy mercy, and to defeat thy providential designs? Shall we interpose to arrest the pure streams of heavenly light, til they can be rendered more fit for their pot. pose, by the laiserable contrivauces of hit