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September 1824. It may be right to add, that soon after the publication of this ADDRESS, a revision of the tracts of the society was directed to be undertaken by a general board, and a Committee appointed for that purpose. The Report presented afterwards by the Committee denied, indeed, that they had found any contradictions to be involved in the language of the older tracts and that of Dr. Mant; but distinctly admitted all that the ADDRESS contended for; that the term Regeneration was employed in them sometimes in a strict liturgical sense for the grace conveyed in Baptism; and sometimes in a more enlarged and popular sense for the renewal and conversion of the heart generally. It abstained from any direct approbation of the obnoxious tract of Dr. Mant.
About the same time, a new edition of Dr. Mant's Tract was published, in which the most objectionable expressions, all those indeed on which the controversy turned, were expunged or modified.
In how strong a manner the old writers most in repute in our Church differed from the persons who guided in the publication of the Society's Tracts at this time, was further apparent from the circumstance, that in transferring a comment upon a passage in Ezekiel from Dr. Lowth's pages to those of the Family Bible, the word Regeneration was expunged, and another and softer word substituted, without the slightest authority or explanation. The alteration was retracted on an expostulation being made at the General Board.
Church Missionary Society
REV. JOSIAH THOMAS, M. A.
ARCHDEACON OF BATH.
TO THE FIFTEENTH EDITION.
A VARIETY of publications, professing to reply to the “ Defence of the Church Missionary Society," have appeared; and though they do not, as it appears to me, contain any objections of real weight, yet I may possibly hereafter, if my friends should think it advisable, make a brief and general answer. It may seem, however, expedient to advert, without further delay, to one topic of a personal nature; especially as it may be dispatched in a very few words, and has little real connection with the general and immensely important question under discussion.
A strenuous effort has been made in one of the publications alluded' to, and has been even circulated by means of the public prints, to prove that the Reverend the Archdeacon of Bath acted throughout under the direct sanction of the Bishop of Bath and Wells. But I cannot help remarking, that no averment whatever is made on the only point in question, namely, by what
· The author, upon more mature reflection, was dissuaded from making any reply to the twenty or thirty pamphlets occasioned by his tract. His simple reasons were, the extraordinary weakness of the arguments employed; and yet more, the almost immediate activity in the cause of Missions, which marked the two great Societies to which his Defence principally addressed itself.
authority the Archdeacon issued his Protest in the name of his diocesan, the Bishop of Bath and Wells. I must be permitted, therefore, to conclude, that my original opinion was correct; and that, whatever inferences the singular precipitancy of mind exhibited by the Archdeacon on this occasion, may have erroneously, though I doubt not conscientiously, deduced from general obliging expressions and the characteristic urbanity of the Bishop, his Lordship never did give him authority to protest in his name at the meeting; a step of so serious a nature as obviously to require a distinct and positive appointment. From the reply made by his Lordship to the Secretary of the Bath Missionary Association, and from various other circumstances, I cannot but concur in the conviction generally entertained, that his Lordship, though he declined to support, never himself intended to oppose the formation of the Church Missionary Association at Bath ; a conviction greatly strengthened by the consideration of the distinguished moderation and judgment of his Lordship's conduct towards the members of the Auxiliary British and Foreign Bible Society in his own diocese. It is, I believe, well known, that his Lordship has always declined any
inter ference with his clergy upon this subject, and has allowed each individual to act entirely according to his own discretion.
Chapel Street, Bedford Row,
March 9, 1818.