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No. 11. Vol. 14.] LONDON, Friday, Sept. 22, 1826. [Price 6d.
BICKERINGS OF THE BIBLE MEN.
Tue falling out among these Bible-Taxers of the weaker and more credulous part of the public leads to the question-Would they so disagree, in the object of circulating the Bible, if all were directed by one influence, an influence, such as they pretend their divine influence to be, free from all jarring interests ? Were their Jehovah on Mount Sinai, uttering his ten commandments, amidst peals of thunder, superior to his brother thunderer, Jupiter, on Mount Olympus, these disagreements would not happen ; for he, who can choose instruments and guide them, would not choose such instruments as should obstruct the actions of each other. When the writer of the ten commandments said or made Jehovah say,
“ Thou shalt have no other Gods but me," he meant to say to those over whom he had influence, “ Thou shalt not pay homage to that God on Mount Olympus, to that Moloch of Carthage and Tyre, to that Bel of Persia, or to that Osiris of Egypt. The name of your God shall be Jehovah, and his dwelling-place shall be Mount Sinai.” Heaven and Hell had not then been invented as godly residences. We are not told that Jehovah came down from Heaven to Mount Sinai; but that he dwelt there. The ten coinmandments neither promise Heaven nor threaten Hell beyond this life. All punishments for neglects or offences were to consist of the vengeance of jealousy, a loss of favour, or a little fury that might proceed so far as a blow or a scratched face. Certain acts are forbidden; but no penalties enacted if committed. When Jehovah is made to say,
• For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments”- the application is human in its character, and applies entirely to a species of favouritism. It expresses, “ if thou lovest Jupiter, my rival mountain God, and hatest me, I will hate and annoy thee.” This is the only punishment denounced in the ten paltry commandments. Their first principle is jealousy ot other Gods, a species of sectarianism that
Printed and Published by R. Carlile, 62, Flect-strect.
has been co-existent with religion, and the three first of the ten are confined to an expression of this
jealousy. This jealousy was precisely of the same character as that which now pervades the Bible Men. Indeed, jealousy and hatred among mankind have found their mainspring in religion.
The present immediate dispute among the Biblers is called the is
Apocrypha Controversy;" just as if every historical book in the Bible were not Apocryphal. Every particle of historical matter in the Bible, including Old and New Testament and the Apocryphal books, is alike Apocryphal. If a probability of historical correctness attaches to any of them, it is to the books which are called Apocryphal. The whole controversy between the Biblers and Infidels is, in fact, the “ APOCRYPHA CONTROVERSY."
The scene at the Freemason's Tavern on Friday last was ludierous in the extreme, and I shall close this week's notice of the dispute among the Biblers, by copying the report of the proceedings from the “ Morning Herald."
BRITISH AND FOREIGN BIBLE SOCIETY. A MEETING of this Society was held yesterday at the Freemasons' Tavem. It was convened by the Rev. Mr. Williams, for the purpose of making charges against the Committee, and giving them an opportunity of answering them. The room. was crowded.
Soon after twelve, the appointed hour, the cry of“ Chair, chair!".commenced, and the Rev. Mr. Williams, in a few minutes, made his appearance, with a large bluish bag under one arm and a pile of books under the other.
Rev. Mr. WILLIAMS--I propose that the Rev. Mr. Mutter do take the chair. Will any body second it?
The Rev. Ms. MUTTER-I beg to decline taking the chair.
The Rev.Mr. Cox was then proposed and seconded. It was the unanimous opinion of the meeting that he be called to the chair.
The Rev. Mr. Cox having taken the chair, said, that he was unexpectedly called upon to occupy the chair of so respectable a meeting. He came there solely and simply to hear the proceedings, and to act according to the impression they made upon his mind. If he submitted to take the chair, it was because he saw many gentlemen of the highest respectability present, who knew how to act: aud if they acted promptly and directly, they would at once set the thing at rest, and tranquillize the public mind.-(Applause.)
Rev. Mr. BLACKBURNE said that, having last night learned, from the Monthly Extracts of the Society, that misrepresentations had gone abroad against them, to which they would offer explanations, and it being the law of England that no man should be condemned before he was heard, he thought the Committee ought to be first heard, and he would therefore move an adjourpment. This he did chiefly on the ground that the Committee were not preparing an explanation, which be had no doubt would give general satisfaction.-(Loud applause.)
Captain FLEMING.--I beg leave to second that motion.
The Rev. Mr. CROSBIE (an Irish gentleman) claimed the attention of the Meeting for a few moments, as one disinterested in the result of these proceedings. As a humbie and officiating member of the Established Church, he must say, that at a time when the Church of England was assailed by Unitarian and Socinian heresy, the intimation of acljournment given by the Rev. Gentleman who preceded him, if that gentleman be in holy orders, was not one, which, considering the number of years tlie Society was established, would give satisfaction to the public. A Society so long established should be prepared to meet all charges at a moment's warning, and at once satisfy a Christian public. He would be ready, whenever the subject was fairly brought forward, to prove that faith bad been violated by this Society with the public, both in England and Ireland-(The Rev. Gentleman was prevented from proceeding for a few minutes by hissing and clamour.) Rev. Mr. WILLIAMS-I will prove it too.--(Hissing.)
The CHAIRMAN.—This is a subject which ought to be discussed with the utmost tranquillity. It relates to the Bible, and our proceedings ought to be conducted in the spirit of that Holy Book.
The Rev. Mr. CROSBIE resumed.-After expressing his obligation to the Chairman for his interference to procure him a hearing, he begged it not to be understood that, because he found fault with the conduct of the British and Foreign Bible Society, he opposed the distribution of the Bible. Though a young man, he had suffered many afflictions. He had seen some of bis nearest relatives and dearest friends descend to the grave, and were it not for the divine truths contained in that inestimabla book, he would be the most miserable of men—(Applause.) But there where societies enough, where every loyal and true member of the Established Chorch could obtain a Bible without having recourse to the British and Foreign Bible Society—(Hisses). He well knew, that because this Meeting was got up by an individual, many persons were unwilling to hear any thing against the Society; but the time must come when error and prejudice being removed,
Nebula erroris remota, they would be more indulgent in granting him a hearing. As a proof that he was not an enemy to the Bible, he supported the Church Missionary Society-(Hissing and clamour).
CHAIRMAN.-Every Gentleman has a right to be heard, and I request no Gentleman will interrupt the speaker. It is competent to any body to answer him after he has spoken.
The Rev. Mr. CROSBIE continued. As he bad been so often interrupted, he would only repeat that the British and Foreign Society were wrong in not coming forward and refuting the charges brought against them by the Rev. Mr. M‘Neil and Mr. Drummond, at Guildford. He did say, that so influential and powerful body as this Society, with their host of clerks, secretaries, stationers, &c. living in affluence and retirement, ought to be able to resist the attacks of any individual, without delay, and without begging time to prepare a report. He was not one of those who would shrink from his duty as a clergyman of the Established Church, when the proper time came. He knew that Church of England clergymen were blamed for not being in more constant communication with their flocks. But he also knew, that when clergyıner did come foru ward to do their duty, their flocks did not always stand by them. He had no communication whatever with Mr. Williams, but let the Meeting, even in justice to itself, grant hiin a patient hearing, and the Society would have
an opportunity of refuting his charges at another meeting. He protested against any individual, who claimed to be a Christian and a gentleman, attempting to put down fair discussion by hissing and hooting. Nor ought charges, when offered to be substantiated by proof, to be cushioned by adjournment. It was the bounden duty of every person present to grant Mr. Williams a safe, sound, and lawful hearing. If they did not, he had no hesitation in saying they would disgrace themselves. He again repeated that he was not opposed to the distribution of the Bible, but he was on British ground, and when he saw an individual who had charges to make against a pobiic body, attempted to be put down by adjournment-that they who ought always to be ready to account for their conduct might have time to prepare a report, he could not help expressing his surprise. In conclusion, the Rev. Gentleman begged the Chairman to accept his thanks for his polite and courteous conduct towards him, and apologized to the Meeting if, in the warmth of the moment, he made use of any offensive language to them,
The Rev. Mr. WILLIAMS theu rose to state his charges, but almost at the outset alluded to a report in the public press of his having prosecuted a poor man under the Game Laws. (Hissing, and " what have the Game Laws to do with the question ?" “ Chair, chair.")
CHAIRMAN–If the Rev. Gentleman will speak to the question, he will be heard, but he cannot go into a long detail of irrelevant matter.
Mr. Williams—I have three propositions to state against the Society, which I can prove to the conviction of every impartial man. I speak in one language, and think in another. [The Rev. Gent. is a Welchman.] "You speak and think in one; but truth is easily understood. The charges are these—first, that the British and Foreign Bible Society departed from the line of conduct prescribed by their own rules. Secundly, that the conduct of the Society has been different from that which it stipulated with the public to pursue; and thirdly, that it was conducted now in a different manner from what it had been in the first years of its existence. I am well acquainted with the organ of the Society
A Gentleman here got up and said the question of adjournment should be first disposed of.
The Chairman agreed that the question of adjournment should be first disposed of, and if it should be negatived, Mr, Williams would then have an opportunity of addressing the Meeting.
The Rev. Mr. Crosbie ruse amid cries of “ spoke, spoke,” “ Order, order."
The Rev. Mr. Williams—I will move for an amendment, and if not carried the Society will disgrace itself.
Rev. Mr. Crosbie-I ask if there be any person present to represent the Bible Society? If there be any accredited agent in the room ?-[No, no.]
A GENTLEMAN—And for this reason, no one knew who called the Meeting.
The Rev. Mr. Williams—I have taken the room for the day, and you will disgrace yourselves if you do not hear me.
Rev. Mr. Crosbie—I am sorry that Mr. Williams has used such language to so respectable a Meeting ; but if you now adjourn without hearing him, you will make out a prima facie case against the Society. If the original mution be not withdrawn I will move an amendmeut.
A GENTLEMAN rose to order, and said that an amendment upon the question of adjournment was quite irregular. But he loved the Bible. Society so well, that if there were one whisper against it, he begged in Christian kindness that Mr. Williams would be heard.
Mr. Jones-Mr. Williams says the Meeting would disgrace itself if it did not hear him; but he was sorry to say that if he were heard, he would bring more disgrace on himself.-[Applause.)
The Rev. Mr. CROSBIE—The adjournment may be pro ed at any stage of the proceedings, and if you continue to increase the agitation of Mr. Williams by opposition, you will render his statenient less clear and accurate. Any body who
does not choose to hear him may retire. I will move as an amendment that Mr. Williams be heard.
A Gentleman said that no amendment coull be made upon an adjournment.
The Rev. Mr. WILLIAMS-I offered 58. a minute to be heard. Those who choose 'may go away. Speak I will, if there be but two to hear me.
Mr. Voble-Though I am always onwilling to speak, and willing to hear, I cannot avoid saying a few words upon the question of adjournment. In the Bible Society there are men of exalted piety and unbounded benevolence, against whom charges have been made. To these men it would be but justice to give time to defend themselves. He had no doubt the Comnittee were strong in their integrity, and that they had not departed from the fundamental principles of the Society. Men of this kind, when attacks were made upon them, ought to have the opportunity of a fair hearing
Å Gentleman rose to order, when a scene of confusion, and disorder followed, for some minutes; vehement cries of " Question, question.” When quiet was restored.
The CHAIRMAN said, the placard circulated in the streets calling the Meeting was not signed, and therefore the individuals composing this Meeting were perfectly independent of each other ; but, as the friends of the Christian religion and of truth, they ought to give every man a hearing.
Mr. Williams---How can niy charges be answered if they are not heard ?
The Rev. MR. CUMMING, of Cork, rose and said, that before the question of adjournment was put he wished to make a few remarks. He came forward under considerable agitation, having never before addressed a meeting in this great capital, and therefore claimed their indulgence ; but he could not refrain from rising on this occasion, because, however narrow this question may seem to some, he looked upon it as one full of importance. When he saw a reverend gentleman, who had more than once appealed to the Meeting, say if the Bible Society did not wish to cushion the question by adjournment--but whether this was so or not, signified no. thing, the Society would conre forward and obtain a heariuy-when he saw this .gentleman state, and let this broad fact go abroad to the public, that a divine, a member of the Church of England—and he trembled when he heard himopposed the circulation of the Bible at a public meeting--that book which belonged to all nations, and to all churches, to which, when handed down to us from its original source, nothing was added in the length or breath by way of comment; as the church presented it to them, so it was presented to the people, and were they to prevent its circulation because it was not accompanied with note or comment ? Oh! from the bottom of his heart did he wish that such a sentiment was blotted out from the memory of him who uttered it and of all who heard it.--[Loud applause). Blame the individual who gave it utterance, and not the Church to which he be longed.
Rev. MR. CROSBIE rose, amid cries of Chair, chair” and “Spoke, spoke,"> but was allowed to proceed, after a few minutes. He assured them that the grave, temperate, and polite speech of the reverend gentleman, would not have the effect of blotting out from his memory any thing that he had said. He stated decidedly that no man was a warmer advocate of the Bible, and he looked upon it as the imperative, sacred, and bounden duty of every clergyman to go about and see that. none of his flock wanted a Bible--[Cries of—This is not explaining.] I am explaining. If, in the distribution of the Bible, I disapprove of the means, in which I am supported by nine-tenths of the dignitaries of the church, I do humbly say that I am not resisting the progress of the Bible.
Rev. Mr. Cumming disclaimed any intention of hurting the personal feelings of the reverend gentleman.
A Gentleman said the Bible Society would best prove their sincerity by hearing Mr. Willians. He, therefore, hoped the question of adjournment would not be carried.
Rev. MR. CUMMING-Under the sanction of the Chairman, who cannot make the proposition himself, I propose that the charges against the Society be heard. [No, no.]