Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

The last charge of " forgetfulness" preferred, viz, of our Divine Master's express command to preach the Gospel to every creature, is, as Mr. F. observes, "a very weighty one indeed;" much too weighty, we entirely concur with hiin, to be risqued without cautiously considering how far it is applicable. He evidently feels that the less is said upon it the better, and therefore, he merely shows, that the conduct complained of is capable of an explanation more consistent with clerical integrity, if reference be had to those scriptural limitations which provide against the indiscreet and injurious observance of the command, and he ventures an opinion, that under existing circumstances the beneficent end in view will possibly " be best expedited, so far as we may be instrumental, by wisely selecting from the Past multitudes who have not yet heard, those who huve ears to hear.

Mr. Fi's next observations are upon che persons referred to as alarmists at the spirit of enthusiasm, which they conceive to have gone forth in the prosecution of inissionary exploits, and upon the remedy suggested. He declares himself ignorant who are intended in this significant inuendo, and therefore, for his and our reader's information, we cite the passage which appear's to be pointed at, and which will be found in Mr. Cunningham s tract on Church of England Missions, p. 42, where he speaks confidently of the existence of the evil at the grand theatre of action abroad, and discovers great anxiety to provide such a counterpoise of soberer councils as may "check its exacerbations." "We, however, concur heartily in opinion with Mr. F., that the invitation to join the ranks of the Society with such a view, would "more firmly determine us to stand aloof."

“ I would by all means," he proceeds, “leave off such strife before it were meadled with. I could not imagine it possible

« To control “ Between the fits this fever of the soul, " by offering counsels of mildness and moderation; as an intermittent may be cured by administering in the like intervals, proper doses of the Peruvian Bark.”—“On the contrary, I should be afraid of increasing the violence of the paroxysms by officious interference. Who would venture into a Society of Enthusiasts for the purpose of overruling their extravagances ? None but a man less sane than he ;

“ In Corum atque Eurum solitus sævire flagellis

“ Ipsum compedibus qui vinxerat Ennosigæum." P. 49. The last of Mr. F's animadversions on the former speech, which we shall notice, are those called forth by the passage containing an 66 ardent wish for no less than two hundred Mission. ary Societies !! and that every Christian, of every denomination,

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

was

was joined to one or other of them." * This," says Mr.F,

has been quoted as a noble and memorable dictum iu several publications, widely circulated among the people of districts near and remote," and therefore he deems it expedient to give bis reasons at length for not concurring in it; and they are such as, we have no doubt, will carry couviction to every intelligent and unprejudiced reader, that the institution, as well at home in raising its resources, as in their application abroad, has a mischievous rather than a beneficial operation upon the cause of Christianity; at home,---by fomenting endless and enthusiastic strife, by encouraging the propensity to speculative, rather than practical charity; abroad, by begetting amongst the Heathen contempt, instead of reverence, for the Gospel, making its missionaries, from their ignorance and dissensions, a bye-word among them, and thus, if not defeating, giving at least great obstruction to the success of any legitimate and well-digested plan which may be adopted for their conversion.

In the course of Mr. F.'s remarks, “the mendicant system," as he very happily designates it, together with its whole retinue af pulpit, puffers, travelled itinerants, deacons and deaconesses for the nursery, the kitchen, and the cottage, as also its sturdy importunity, and indirect expenditure, are developed : in illustration of the latter of which particulars, a citation is inade froin the printed account of the disbursements of the London Society for promoting Christianity among the Jews, for the year 1813, "" From which it plainly results, that of every guinea given for the purposes of the Society, nearly five shillings go towards the handsome conveyance of secretaries and preachers in post-chaises, and their comfortable accommodation at inns and lodgings on their official excursions; towards the support of an expensive establishment of charitable stipendiaries, and towards incidental and petty expences not worth specifying." (P. 55.)

And yet this is not all, for two inexplicable items follow, which added to 17051. 7s. 3d. the amount of charges last adverted to, make a total of 28591. 158. 2d. not easily reducible under any legitimate head of expenditure.

Upon the second speech, set forth as delivered on the following day at the auxiliary Bible Society's Anniversary, Mr. Fi's observations are confined to two remarkable passages, viz. the description given of the success of the lustitution, as "almost miraculous," and the dark and undefined declaration of disrespect to the Establishment, when compared under certain contingent circumstances with the Bible Society.

The deep regret excited by the former passage in VIr. F.'s pind will be felt, we are persuaded, in common by all our rea

ders;

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

ders; for it is truly lamentable, that the presumptuous habit of referring to Divine interposition the success of any measure, in support of which, popular frenzy is to be excited, should have received seeming encouragement from venerable authority. The phenomenon of the Bible Society's success is, as Mr. F. observes, so far from affording any justification of this language, that a siinple statement of " notorious matters of fact” will explain it, and show, that "the real wonder would have been if the Society had been at all less prosperous than it is." Witha this statement, admirably drawn up, he feruisbes us, and we give it in his own words.

« All possible varieties of religious sect and persuasion, however openly or covertly hostile to each other, have discovered one point, in which all can, for a time, co-operate, and be, ostensibly at least, of one heart and one mind. While this unanimity lasts, such a coalition, simply in itself, and without any circumstances auxiliary, must, of necessity, acquire more extensive popularity, and receive ampler contributions, than any one which is partially, hợwever, liberally supported,

The unequalled, and before unattempted, activity of the zealous supporters of this institution, is a circumstance powerfully promoting its success. Every where and at all times, alive, awake, and alert in its interests; by themselves, their agents, and subagents, they are instant in season and out of season; strengthening its phalanx and marshalling its auxiliaries, training its branches, engrafting its cions, leading its very tendrils in every possible direction, till it literally fills the land; canvassing and ransacking every part of society, from the top of the scale to the bottom; catching every contribution, that can be got by solicitation, by suggestion, by management, by influence, from the talent of the prince, down to the pauper's mite; deeming nothing too high to aim at, nothing too mean to accept ; and sweeping all together into one vast aggregate." P. €6.

The last passage in the speech of the Bishop, which calls forth Mr. F's aniinadversions is, perhaps, the most extraordinary one ever attributed to such a speaker. We learn froin him, that it is a" repetition literally exact” of a declaration published the preceding year under the assumed sanction of the same autliurity. Mr. F. makes several atteinpts to give it an inoffensive meaning; but after all, the premeditated prostration of the Church Establishment at the feet of the Bible Society cannot be got rid of, and we are left “to lameni” with him," that any language purporting to have been used by one of the Fathers of the Church should, at once, be so mortifying to her friends and so Hittering to her enemies," and tiiat the sons of confusion sliould be suffered to avail themselves of such high authority, for recon

eiling

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]

1

ciling the unthinking part of the community to that state of things, when, as Mr. F. well describes it,

« Every individual will be his own priest and his own preacher: when the Bible in his hand will be his church, his pulpit, and his altar; and the whole Christian world (as long as it continues Christian) will be one vast Babel of heterogeneous doctrines." . In concluding our remarks upon this able Pamphlet, there is one part of it of an apologetical nature, intended to protect its anthor from the imputation of officiousness or of other unworthy motives, which appears to us rather unnecessary, and which we observe upon, because it proceeds from a feeling which we fear has prevented the exposure of much of the trick and contrivance of Auxiliary agents in remote places, which it would have been very advantageous to the public to know. Undoubtedly, such men as Mr. F. describes himself to be, (xar' Boxòv, a private clergyman,) may be supposed to emerge

froin their “ obscurity and seclusion" with considerable diffidence, to face the public on questions much agitated by practiced and wellknown writers: but in cases like the present such persons are the very men to come forward. Multitudes are gained by local activity and manoeuvring, to whom general discussion never finds its way, and to whom no particular caution is addressed. The proper person to undeceive this nunierous class in the community is a private respectable man, of good sense, sound judgment, competent knowledge, and right principles among themselves. Speaking unostentatiously through the provincial press he will be heard, and with attention ton, in his own district. Our recommendation therefore is, that “ this defensive warfare” be carried ou, in future, in “affairs of posts," rather than in general engagements. We augur well of them. We hope to hear of them in all directions ;-till those marauding invaders,--the resuscitated mendicant orders of the last and worst period of Papal corruption, are no longer able, " by their good words and fair speeches, to deceive the hearts of the sinsple."

The Pamphlet next in order—the first reply which Mr. Forby's Letter producent, is au anonymous one, and of a mixed character; for in different parts of it we are distinctly told, that upon the subject of Church Missions and Bible Societies, the author has the honour to think with Mr. Forby; that he "ada mits* the justice and excellency of Mr. F.'s remarks on the nature of Missions, and thinks he has well and ably shown, “ that Christianity was not intended for savage man;" that his "arguments are such as may profitably be recommended to all who have not made up their minds as to the utility of Church Missionary Asso. ciations;" and that he also " perfectly accords with him in opinion

respecting

.

stated

preacher 1 and B continos

protect i

more

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

respecting the means by which Bible Societies have been enabled to take such strong hold on the affections of the public.” But Mr. Forby is not merely indebted to his respondent for a detailed confirmation of his own sentiments on the important points in debate, and of tire force of argument by which he supports them, the confirmation extends to the judgment passed by Mr. F. upon both the Speeches, which are the subject of his animadversions ; of the former of which, our author a confesses," that “it is a speech, the sentiments, of which he cannot bring himself to approve;" and of the latter, that he thinks it « indefensible". than the former, which declaration he proceeds to support by enumerating its many untenable positions.

Thus far then Mr. F. finds in his adversary a very abłe advocate, we now turn to the cause he is professedly maintaining, and shall set before our readers the nature of his defence. He states his belief, that: “ of the genuineness of the Speeches there is no doubt," and though it gives us great pain to see such a statement, yet most certainly a persuasion of their

genuineness cair alone account for an attempt at vindication. This is contained in several short passages dispersed through the painphlet, and is to the following effect; that on the occasions in question, " he (the Bishop) is to be considered nrerely as a popular orator, and speaking from the warm and impassioned enthusiasm of the moment,---a moment certainly not the most friendly to the origination of calm and correct sentiment;" that "it is not expected of a public speaker to be perfectly accurate in points confessedly immaterial;" " that the speech in question was merely a popular address to an anomalous and popular assembly; and not therefore to be subjected to too severe a scrutiny; without recole lecting how much others, in equally exalted stations, have, in the opinion of those who differ from them, committed themselves upon this wipropitious subject;" that “this opinion happens to have been unguardedly expressed, (no uncommon thing in a promiscuous and popular assembly) or incorrectly given, or perhaps not worded in the clearest manner, and but little divested of its obscurity in the subsequent report;" and lastly, that "the aforesaid passage, though neither a definition of Dr. Paley's not a definition at all, perhaps for mere popular purposes may come near enough to both.” After all, however, our author seems to give up as hopeless this part of the task he has undertaken, for he closes his defensive labours, with “ most sincerely lamenting, that ihe Bishop's speeches should have been so loosely and unguardedly worded as to subject his Lordship to a remona strance, at once insulting in its language, petulant in its invertives, and coarse in its application, and that any sentiments should have escaped such a Prelate as to call forth the unbe

coining

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »