Abbildungen der Seite

in this blunder, committed at this enlightened period by a Protestant publisher of the Bible." Here I might let the matter rest : for as R. H. N. has not condescended to furnish an iota of evidence in support of his statement, but would have your readers to rely implicitly upon his own ipse dixit, I should be perfectly justified in merely reiterating my former account, and throwing the onus of proof on his shoulders. But as it will be more satisfactory to your readers, and contribute perhaps to the edification of your correspondent, I shall proceed to supply the lack of proof in as concise a manner as is consistent with the nature of the subject; and I confidently rely upon your candour and justice as a "Christian Examiner," to give the same degree of prominence and publicity to the following statements as to those of R. H. N.

Indeed, Sir, it is a fact of such notoriety, that I feel I should be making a serious sacrifice of the time and patience, both of you' and your readers, did I dwell long upon the subject. There is not an Encyclopedia or Biographical Dictionary, but furnishes a confirmation of my statement. The following extract (selected for its brevity) from "the London Encyclopedia," lately published, may be taken as a fair sample: "GREGORY, bishop of Nyssen, one of the Fathers of the church, and AUTHOR OF THE NICENE CReed, was born in Cappadocia, about A.D. 331. He was chosen bishop of Nyssen in 372, and banished by the Emperor Valens for adhering to the council of Nice. He was afterwards, however, employed by the bishops in several important affairs, and died in 396." To the same purpose the Encyclopedia Britanica, Dr. Rees' Encyclopedia, Chalmers' Biographical Dictionary, Lempriere's, &c. &c.; and, indeed, every work of the kind which I have consulted; so well known, and so universally received is this fact. Here I might safely leave my case, and plead, that if it were an error, it was one into which all my predecessors in literature had fallen. But as it may be said that these are only second hand authorities, who seldom cite those of more ancient writers, I shall bring before you a most unexceptionable witness-a witness with whom your correspondent should certainly have had an interview before he ventured to bring forward the very serious charge with which he has been pleased to visit me. This witness, Sir, is one among many I had cited in the Introduction to the Comprehensive Bible, in support of my statement; and it certainly would have been but an act of bare justice to me, (and much more creditable to himself) had he examined my witnesses before he brought in a verdict of guilty. "Anno. CCCLXXXI. (says-lave Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum His toria Literaria, page 196.) cùm ad Synodum Constantinopolitanam iret [Gregorius]; libros à se contra Eunomium scriptos secum detulit; quos audientibus Gregorio et Hieronymo recitavit. Concilii istius magna pars fuit; adeò ut non tantum à Patribus eligeretur, qui Meletium Antiocherium sedente Synodo defunctum funebri oratione laudaret; verùm etiam Symboli Synodici compositionem curæ suæ commissam habuit; (teste Nicephoro Hist. Eccles. 1. 12. c. 13.) ut quæ in Symbolo Nicæno deerant, ipse suppleret, ac perfectionem fidei confessionem conderet." The passage of Nice

[ocr errors]

phoras referred to by this learned writer, is as follows: "Et canonibus quibusdam ecclesiarum exornandarum gratia promulgatis, etiam spiritus sancti gloriam, utpote similem atque patri et filio, sancto Nicænæ fidei symbolo adjecerunt: Gregorio Nysseno id quod illi deesset supplente."

In fact, that the creed which we have under the name of the council of Nice, was really that of the council of Constantinople, though founded on that of Nice, is expressly affirmed by Milner in his Church History, (vol. ii. c. 13, p. 184;) and this we have seen, was THE COMPOSITION of Gregory of Nyssa-"The council (of Constantinople) very accurately defined the doctrine of the Trinity; and enlarging a little the Nicene creed, they delivered it as we now have it in our communion service." It is true that the same historian affirms that "the venerable Hosius of Corduba was appointed (by the council of Nice) to draw up a creed, which is in the main the same that is called the Nicene creed to this day," (vol. ii. c. 3, p. 60 ;) yet when this is checked by his other statement, and when we take into consideration the account of Mosheim, (vol. i. p. ii. c. 5,) drawn up from the best authorities, we shall clearly perceive the precise sense to be attached to it." The ancient writers," says our author, "are neither agreed concerning the time nor place in which it (the council of Nice) was assembled, the number of those who sat in council, nor the bishop who presided in it. No authentic acts of its famous sentence have been committed to writing, or, at least, none have been transmitted to our times. (See the Annotations of Valesius upon the Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius, p. 223. Jos. Sim. Asseman. Bible. Orient. Clement. Vatican. tom. i. p. 195. The history of this council was written by Maruthas, a Syrian, but is long since lost.")

Thus, Sir, I have laid before your readers, a plain statement of the facts of the case; and I confidently expect a verdict of acquital from the charge of falling into such a gross error. I hope it has appeared sufficiently clear, that "Gregory of Nyssen," in innume rable instances, is justly, and with the strictest propriety, termed "the author of the Nicene creed,"-understanding by the latter term, the creed which is usually so called; and that there is no necessity that it "should be cancelled without delay," as it certainly never can "tend to throw a doubt and suspicion on the whole of that part of the work." And, allow me, Sir, to say in conclusion, that notwithstanding the few typographical errors which your correspondent, in the true spirit of hypercriticism, has thought proper to drag before the public, but which he truly says, "are of slight importance, and such as must have found their way into so great and arduous an undertaking, I trust that "the interest which every one must feel in Bagster's Bible" will not be lessened, and that his "own firm conviction that it is beyond all comparison the most valuable edition of the Bible which has yet appeared in our language," will be more deeply rooted.

[blocks in formation]

Yours respectfully,


[ocr errors]


SIR-If any apology for the admission of this letter into your esteemed publication be required, it will be for the imperfection of the writer, not the insufficiency of the subject. On the contrary, it seems peculiarly fitted for the pages of an editor who, on more than one occasion, has so laudably advocated the necessity of cultivating the Irish language for the benefit of the Irish people, justly representing it as the most expeditious, the most effective, and perhaps the sole means of extirpating the vile weeds of a barbarous superstition, and substituting the wholesome plants of moral virtue and vital religion. Any doubt which might have remained on the mind of Christian benevolence, under the illusory hope of succeeding through the diffusion of the English tongue, must have been removed by Mr. Anderson's most laborious and comprehensive work, which, I think, no man of ordinary understanding can read without entire conviction. There are, perhaps, some who will still differ from him respecting the Gaelic as the repository of much literary excellence, or valuable historic information, but none who will refuse to regard it as perfectly and exclusively capable of supplying the great present desideratum; and impressing on the minds of the native population, the saving truths of the Gospel of Jesus. But reasoning, however cogent, and plans however promising, have still an ordeal to undergo; nor is it till they have been submitted to practical scrutiny, and come sound out of the furnace of actual experiment, that they can assume the character of truth and certainty. It may indeed be fairly presumed that what has succeeded in one country will, under equal management, succeed in another, human nature being the same in all; but the great and exciting encouragement, is the view of a successful trial-the testimony borne by fact itself. The following plain narrative of what has lately taken place here, will, I believe, be admitted as a case in point: a fair experiment, which, as far as it goes, may be regarded as satisfactorily decisive:

On Tuesday, the 11th inst. a deputation from the Church Missionary Society arrived in Clonakilty; the regular members of the deputation being two most intelligent and respectable English gentlemen, Captain Gardner, R. N. and the Rev. Thomas Woodruffe. I shall not stop to enlarge on the well-known talents, acquirements, and zeal of these gentlemen, my present purpose being confined to a single point. Suffice it to say, they were every where received with the respectful attention their characters deserved. On their tour through this part of the country, they were attended by the respective clergymen in the vicinity of those parishes they went to visit, whose names I do not think it expedient to mention, from regard to that modest merit, which, though seeking no concealment when the interests of vital Christianity demand exertion, yet studiously avoids the blazon of public applause. One of these clergymen, a young gentleman justly esteemed for the qualities both of his

head and heart, possessed in a singular degree, what now I shall call a valuable accomplishment, though till lately held in little esteema masterly knowledge of the Irish tongue, oral as well as written. Having learned to speak it when very young, he fortunately continued the practice when he grew up, and of late has made it a particular branch of study, with what happy prospect of eventual benefit will now appear. After the regular business of the deputation terminated, public notice was given, that in the evening our church service would be read, and a sermon preached, in Irish. The room was extremely crowded, and the number of Roman Catholics by no means inconsiderable certainly much greater than any other mode of addressing them on a religious subject could have brought together. Novelty it may be said, and probably with truth, had no small share in collecting an audience; but if novelty was thus operative at first, it soon ceased to be the moving spirit that animated and influenced the congregation. Probably no service was ever heard with more profound and pious attention, no discourse seemed to sink deeper into the hearts and feelings of the audience. I believe, too, it may be said with truth, that none were more sensibly impressed and affected than the Roman Catholic auditors, of whom the only thing to be regretted is, that the number was not still greater. But this excites no wonder. That pernicious system of Papal tyranny, so long the reproach of human intellect, which governs the rich by their passions, and the poor by their fears; which, in the very circumstance of placing a mortal on the throne of God, subverts the kingdom of righteousness, and substitutes the covenant of Rome for the covenant of grace; which, having obtained domination by mental darkness, is reduced to the miserable necessity of maintaining it by the exclusion of mental light; which takes infinitely more pains to keep up the degrading yoke of spiritual bondage, than would suffice to diffuse "the glorious liberty of the sons of God;" this system, if it does not now totter to its fall, must inevitably, ere very long, like Dagon before the ark, fall prostrate before the united energies of knowledge, reason, eloquence, and of truth. Under the benumbing influence of this tyranny, it is perhaps only to be wondered, that so many have dared to come. For as there is nothing more feared by the Papal ministers, and not without reason, than the introduction of scriptural light into the hearts of their benighted followers, nothing more dreaded than the substitution of the freedom of speech and thought for the servility of tongue-tied obedience; so nothing is more strictly forbidden, nothing more positively prohibited under the dread terrors of anathema, than daring to listen to a Protestant preacher. That any came therefore, and many did come in almost every place where the Irish service was given, and, as far as judgment could be formed, with striking symptoms of deep and permanent impression, affords a cheering presage of what we humbly trust is likely to follow.

In Clonakilty and Skibbereen, the Reverend Irish orator received a little relief from a young clerical friend, who, having lately taken up the study, had so far improved himself in the Irish language, as

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


to be able to read, though unable to lecture or converse in it. He read the Lessons, and, as I am informed, read them very well, thereby adding something both of interest and variety to the service, it being well known to many present, that until a very late period he was as much a stranger to Irish as to Chinese. But the great weight of novel duty rested on the Rev. gentleman first mentioned, in whoni figure, voice, action, and elocution were so happily combined, as to render it one of the most affecting displays of pulpit eloquence ever delivered in this country. Many were moved to tears; and all who understood the preacher seemed to feel in their inmost souls, a deep impression of those awful truths he so ably and pathetically laid before them. It cannot, perhaps, be more strongly described, than in the language of a young clergyman who was present at some of the discourses, and did not understand the language of the preacher. There was," said he, "something in the tone of his voice, the affectionate earnestness of his manner, and the impressive flow of his unhesitating elocution, that affected me in an extraordinary degree. I could not keep my eyes off him for a moment. He carried me with him as though I were master of the words, merely by the evidence of a sincerity which showed that he felt what he said, and that his exhortations, of which I could only guess from knowing the subject of them, came from the heart. No wonder, then, that those who did understand him, were, as was really the case, proportionally affected. Nor was Iless surprised and delighted by the language itself, which, however guttural and uncouth in the mouths of the vulgar, appeared in his accents capable of uniting all the powers of vocal eloquence soft and persuasive, or dignified and impassioned as the subject seemed to require.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


Such was the result of this young clergyman's primary endeavour to exhibit the force of vital religion to the native Irish in their native tongue, to display the worse than nullity of looking to fasts, penances, saints, reliques, absolutions, and human ordinanees; the show of godliness without the substance; to bring the truths of the Gospel home to their hearts; to evince the necessity of frequent and fervent prayer, in a language whose words they understand; to show that true repentance, exemplified in a lively faith and a holy life, is the sole ground of a Christian's hope; that without the grace of God, to be obtained only by supplication to the throne of mercy, the professing Christian is a lost creature; that there is only one name by which man can be saved the name of the Lord Jesus Christ; and, that this great doctrine can be perfectly known only by an intimate acquaintance with the revealed Word of God. Tuti It is not wonderful that these great truths, delivered with power **) and feeling, should make a deep impression on any rational and intelligent auditor, but it is wonderful that they should fall upon the ears of so many hearers in a Christian country, as novelties, as doctrines before almost entirely unknown jor, if in some respects not absolutely new, yet thrown so far into the back groundy by the precedency given to empty forms, and the paramount duty of an


« ZurückWeiter »