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and numerous other languages. Austin, Jerome, and still earlier writers, might be cited to the same effect.
And for what purpose were the Scriptures thus promulgated in every known language ? Not that they might be placed in the libraries of princes and philosophers, or lodged in the cabinets of collectors; but that a copy of the sacred roll miglit find its way into every family: so that the poorest and meanest might, through reading it at home, “by patience and comfort of God's
holy word, embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life.” None, says the learned and indefatigable Bingham (Origines Ecclesiasticæ, lib. xiii. cap. 4.) ' ever de
nied them this privilege, but those persecuting tyrants, who intended to destroy the name and faith of Christians, toge
ther with their Bibles, out of the world.' · Private Christians, both men and women, then enjoyed the Scriptures as
their birthright; and none pretended to ravish them from 'them but the persecuting heathens. The Fathers of the Church were so far from doing this, that on the contrary they used all manner of arguments to induce men to read and study them exhorting them not only to hear them with attention in the
Church, but to read them privately at home with their wives and families; commending those that studied them, and reproving those that neglected them; making large encomiums upon the use and excellency of them, and requiring men to peruse them privately, as the best preparation for the public service and instruction.'
If we wish to seek a parallel to the spirit and the exertions of which we have been speaking, we must pass through the gloomy night of the dark ages, and even look beyond the dawnings of the Reformation onward to the present times, when it has been the privilege and the glory of Britons to originate a Society, which has for its simple but magnificent objects, the translation of the Holy Scriptures into all languages, and their circulation among “ all nations, tongues, and people ;" a society which thus aims, under the blessing of God, to pour the light of divine truth into every understanding, and gladden every heart with the consolations of the Gospel ; a society, the limits of whose operations are the limits of the globe, and which, like the globe, every where directs its face towards heaven.'
The present age has frequently been denominated the age of wonders; and if we were inclined to adopt the term, we should most unquestionably in the series of wonders adduced to justify the use ofit, specify this ;---that, in the nineteenth century, there should be found a man of learning, a Christian minister, a Professor of Divinity in a Protestant University, directing all his powers for the purpose of impeding, per fus et nefas, the operations, and misrepresenting the objects of such a society
as this; who, with great earnestness and apparent sincerity should set himself to prove, that it is a very dangerous thing to give away bibles, unless they are invariably attended by a companion that should prevent their doing mischief. So, however, it has happened; and none of our readers will be at a loss to recognize just such an opposer of the Bible Society, in the person of Dr. Herbert Marsh, Rector of Terrington St. Clement, and Terrington St. John's in Norfolk, and Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity in the University of Cambridge. This learned gentlemen, we believe, had for some years moved on quietly, (except when he might be occasionally called forth to write an “ electioneering squib,” or to lecture bishops who presumed to write against him anonymously,) discharging what he doubtless supposed the duties of his Professorship and of his Rectory; viz. prosecuting his researchies into manuscripts and editions, carefully translating passages from dull German theologians, inquiring whether the rents of Lady Margaret's lands might not be raised, and sending his distant parishioners a printed letter, to inform them that he thinks it his duty as
rector of the parish to give them an opportunity of purchasing “their tythes before he lets them be taken in kind,' to propose to them the terms of composition, medium price for grain, marshes, &c.' and to warn them, that though they may 're‘ject his 'fair proposals,' he shall have done his duty to his 'parishoners, and shall have the satisfuction of remaining free
from reproach, if, after all, he shall be compelled to transfer his right to a lessee!' Thus laudably and irreproachably did our Rector and Professor pursue “ the tenor of his way,” when the establishment of an Auxiliary Bible Society at Cambridge disturbed his repose, and filled him with the most direful apprehensions of the mischief that would inevitably ensue, if bishops and deans, vicars and curates, heads of colleges and fellows, graduates and under-graduates, should, in their eagerness to prove that they were Protestants, and to evince their belief that the Bible alone is able to make men “ wise unto salvation," “ forget that they were---Churchmen.
Under these apprehensions Dr. Marsh commenced, and has continued, the most decided and systematic attaek upon the principles and conduct of those Churchmen who, in their zeal to save souls, and otherwise to meliorate the moral state of mankind, distribute Bibles alone, that ever was attempted, out of the Romish communion, by either clergyman or layman, infidel or heretic. This attack has been met, and his weapons broken, by several combatants who had taken the field against him ;* but, as whatever may be advanced by a man of eminence
* See Ecl. Rey. Vol. viii. Dec. 1812.
in the Church will, from the most natural of all prejudices, be more readily received and believed, than what is ollered by a clergyman who sustains a lower office, it was still to be wished that our Professor should be encountered by at least his equal in nominal dignity. The friends of the Bible Society have now, therefore, to rejoice, that their cause is defended, and the puerilities and fallacies of Professor Marsh exposed, by such a man as Dr. Milner; not merely eminent as a Professor of Mathematics, as a President of a College, and as the Dean of Carlisle,--but eminent for his talents and attainments, for the acuteness of his intellect, and the profoundness of his philosophy; for the quietness and peaceableness of his habits, for the soundness of his faith, and the purity of his conduct.
Dr. Milner's work is at once satisfactory in the discussion of the great question between him and Dr. Marsh, instructive in the matter, and amusing in the manner. He writes like one who feels, though almost without knowing it, that he is master of his subject, and master of his opponent. My object (says he) is rather to shew that he is weak, even where he conceives himself most strong. And this object he effectually attains. He attains it, too, by such a naïveté and prevailing playfulness of procedure, that though his book is somewhat prolix and tautologous, a person will find it very difficult after he has commenced its perusal to lay it down till he has proceeded regularly to the last page. Let the reader picture to himself Lemuel Gulliver stretching out his hand to a Lilliputian with a tantalizing ambiguity of manner, as though he had scarcely determined whether he should tickle him or strike him, and he will have a tolerably correct notion of the method in which the Dean of Carlisle deals with the Lady Margaret Professor.
In my heart (says he) I love a good argument: let Dr. Marsh produce one, and I will be among the first to shew my sensibility to its weight. I also love to see a man warm and zealous in a cause which he believes to be important; but we are never to forget, that zeal and warmth, however intense, afford no proof of soundness and solidity.
• It is not many years since a class of eminent philosophers en. tertained a notion that warmth and heat, when combined with nà. tural bodies from any heating cause, increased their weight. To settle this point, the most exquisite balances were constructed by the artists; and it was soon found, that only the addition of real matter, and not the mere communication of heat, was capable of increasing the actual weight of a body.
• But, alas ! in the science of ethics we are possessed of no instru. ment whereby we may, with certainty, distinguish the substantial pro. duction of a sound intellect, from the plausible fancies and conjec. tures of a busy and misguided imagination,' p. 6.
The great question respecting the Bible Society, as it is to
be regarded, it seems, by the members of the Established Church, is, whether it have a tendency to alienate them from the Church, and especially whether it tend to produce a neglect of the Prayer-book? It is now, we believe, notorious, that Dr, Marsh, in the consideration of this question, has so managed matters as almost always to divert the attention of his readers from its real nature, to mislead their judgement, and to terrify them with chimeras. Yet, though Dr. Marsh writes for the consideration of Churchmen, and of bigoted Churchmen too (for he is a man of too enlarged an understanding to fancy that half his arguments will have the least weight with any except bigots) ; still it should not be forgotten that the concerns and the tendency of the Bible Society are thought of the utmost moment by many persons who fall under neither of the classes to which he has addressed himself. Men of the character to which we now allude, approve of every upright and honourable means of diminishing the existence of vice and wretchedness, and promoting the cause of virtue and holiness. They look upon all Christian and Protestant churches, whether established or tolerated, as calculated, each in its respective sort and manner, to effect these desirable purposes : established churches as immense machines, and, if pure, yery efficacious ones, for the production of moral and religious good; tolerated separate ch rches, if pure also, as moral machines of a minuter struc ture, whose lesser wheels can be brought to play on materials which the larger mechanism never touches ; and thus, the whole being duly harmonized and suitably actuated, they contemplate them like the mysterious wheels in Ezekieļ's vision, as all - working together for good :” “Whithersoever the Spirit is to go, there is their spirit to go, and the wheels are lifted up over against them; the Spirit of the living” God “being in the wheels.” Can men holding such sentiments view with jealousy and alarm the origin and rapid growth of an Institution whose sole object is the diffusion of the pure and unadulterated Word of God ---that Word which is read and taught in every Protestant church, that which contains the glorious truths that constitute the joy and rejoicing” of the Church universal, that withcut which no Church would ever have been formed, and without which no Church can continue in existence ? No. This is left to men who lose sight of the grand objects of the Christian dispensation, in their zeal to promote what they fancy the interests of a particular community. Whether the Lady Margaret Professor has or has not so done, our readers shall judge and to assist them in coming to a decision, we will proceed with our account of Dr. Milner's book.
The following is his brief history of the “ grand question," as it is supposed to affect “Churchmen.”
• First, Dr. Marsh, in his Address to the Senate of the University, chose to represent the constitution of the Bible Society as being unfavourable to the distribution of the Prayer-book. It was not a Church-of-England Society: it distributed 'Bibles only, and not the Liturgy: churchmen, indeed, might so far correct the evil, that they might associate Prayer-books with their Bibles.-He added, that churchmen were increasing the importance of dissenters by joining with them, and so might be contributing even to the dissolution of the Established Church.
• The churchmen of the Bible Society, as might well be expected, repelled this invidious representation with an honest fervour. They resented the insinuation of want of attachment to the church, or of indisposition to its Book of Common Prayer. The Bible, they said, was the source of Protestant doctrine; and the extensive dispersion of it by the Bible Society was a blessing to this country, and to the world; adding, that the Scriptures, without the aid of human productions, were able to make men wise unto salvation. They further denied, that, under any circumstances, the Bible could prove hurtful; and to suppose this to be possible, they maintained, savoured of Popish tenets.
• Dr. Marsh, instead of understanding this language as it was really intended, affects, in his Inquiry, to congratulate himself on a discovery to which his Address, he supposes, had led; namely, that. churchmen justified the practice of neglecting to give the Prayerbook with the Bible.
• But here, instead of laying his short Address to the Senate of the university before the public, along with his Inquiry, which would have enabled them to judge who was the aggressor, and who the just complainant, Dr. Marsh prints an extract from his sermon at St Paul's, and informs us, that his Address "contains precisely the same sentiments.” The fact is, that the sermon, as far as it goes, contains the very same words ; but it is not at all calculated to make the impression on the public mind, which the whole Address, taken in its connection, is likely to do. The
very offensive part of it is almost entirely suppressed ; and although, for the temporary purpose of stifling the growing zeal for an auxiliary Bible Society at Cambridge, many copies of this Address may have been circulated
me weeks before the publication of the Inquiry, it was by no means an easy matter to procure it at the time when the Inquiry made its appearance.
Our Inquirer, instead of attempting to prove by fair argumentation (what was indeed impossible to be proved), that the distribu. tion of the Bible alone would most probably make bad Churchmen, proceeds to crowd many pages of his book, in the first place, with diffuse eulogies on the excellence and importance of the liturgy, which no Churchman denies; and in the next place, with charges or insinuations, more or less direct, against the Churchmen of the Bible Society, of being disaffected to their Prayer-book; and with surmises and conjectures of the political dangers, which, he thinks, may probably ensue from this assumed disaffection.
Never, in his whole life, Dr. Marsh tells us, did he undertake to write on a subject which he found so “ intricate and perplexed” as