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with the Bible. By the Rev. CHARLES SIMEON, M. A. Fellow of King's College Cambridge. London: Cadell. 1812. An old Fable, with a new Application: The Dog in the Manger, Cambridge: Hodson. 1812.
We have now the controversy contained in the above-named pamphlets appearing before us in its ulterior stages. If we feel any backwardness in redeeming our pledge to our readers upon this important subject, it is from a fear lest, having already committed ourselves on the abstract merits of the question, we should be deemed partial judges in the cause; and should be in fact too much interested in raising the weight and credibility of witnesses who are to stand on our own side.
Our discharge, then, of the delicate office of judge-advocate, we must leave to the decision of our readers: most of whom, we doubt not, will come to us with an opinion already made up, upon a transaction not certainly done in a corner! The field of battle has been in this case an Areopagus" of no mean distinction. And if we may presume to compare the members of our learned university to those of old, "who spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing," we should be inclined to designate the present encounter as one of philosophers; each of whom is wielding the weapons peculiar to his own order, and, in no trifling or ignoble contest, calling on the world to award the prize of victory.
Our former pages have detailed the history of this sharp, but as we hope short, controversy. We understand the proposal for a Bible Society at Cambridge originated amongst the under-graduates; and amongst some in particular who, in their religious opinions, were known to be "nullius addicti jurare in verba magistri." This proposal, it seems, soon came under the notice and direction of some distinguished persons in the higher orders of the university, and was met by an Address to
the Senate from Dr. Herbert Marsh, Margaret Professor of Divinity, dated Nov. 25, 1811; in which he respectfully submitted to the University, which of the two Bible Societies" (for so he is pleased also to entitle the Society in Bartlett's. Buildings)" is most entitled to encouragement on the part of a body whose peculiar duty is the support of the Established Church." This Address, written with all Dr. Marsh's characteristic acuteness and perspicuity of style, differs only in substance from his subsequent pamphlet, by suggesting the want of "a guarantee, that other objects inimical to the church, will not in time be associated with the main object. The experience of seven years" (all, by the bye, the society can have given) is a poor ground of consolation." This objection, as Mr. Vansittart well observes, has been entirely relinquished in the pamphlet itself. And, indeed, so much umbrage seems to have been offered by other parts of that Address, as to make another short Address or handbill necessary, dated the 10th of December, and stating, that "whereas it has been insinuated, that they who object to the modern Bible Society, object to the distribution of the Bible, it is necessary to reply that this objection is not to the distribution of the Bible, but to the distribution of the Bible alone. Instead of requiring less, they require more." And then it is proposed to add the distribution of the Liturgy to the new Bible Society.
The detail of the proceedings which took place on the memorable 12th of December, when the proposed meeting was held at the Town Hall (the Senate House having been withheld in consequence, we presume, of Dr. Marsh's Address), will be found in our Appendix for 1811.
We shall only now observe, in regard to that meeting, that it was an event above all others to have been wished for, that the Professor should have honoured it with his presence, and there have stated his sentiments in an open and candid manner. By
these means, we are persuaded, a turn would have been given to the general tone and complexion of the assembly, and a guard would have been introduced on the expressions of the persons present, which is scarcely ever to be expected where there is perfect unanimity, but which we fully believe would have removed every plea for Dr. Marsh's subsequent pamphlet. In that pamphlet,indeed, he complains, that he was accused in his absence, and under circumstances which would have prevented his being heard had he been present;" (p. 26.) an imputation, we presume, on the character of the nobleman in the chair, and the other noblemen, gentlemen, clergymen, and dignitaries of the university present, which, in his cooler moments, Dr. Marsh would have been reluctant to cast. His attendance, Mr. Dealtry informs us, was expect ed by all, was even earnestly requested by Dr. Clarke: to which request, Mr. Dealtry adds, Dr. Marsh will recollect his own answer. (Examination, p. 34.) We fully close with Mr. Dealtry, that " Dr. Marsh would most assuredly have been heard with all the respect and attention due to his situation and talent;" whilst, on the other hand, we cannot but express our opinion, that he ought to have been treated exactly as if he had been present.
Whatever roughness of handling the Professor had to complain of, was, nevertheless, of his own seeking. He was clearly the aggressor: and, having thrown down the gauntlet, he should not wonder there were knights of spirit to accept the challenge. He himself erected the conductor which brought the lightnings of eloquence and zeal on his own head. We will go further; we will believe he had a motive in erecting it. By putting forth his Address in manifest defiance of the whole society, by speaking both of the Bible and Liturgy in language which, as we may see hereafter, he had good reason to suppress, he seems to have almost laid a trap for
the zeal and Protestant feelings of his antagonists. And what wonder, therefore, if in the scene which ensued, the Professor found the occa sion which he sought for. Doctors Milner and Clarke, and Mr. Dealtry, men whose vivacity of wit is no less conspicuous than the soundness. of their understandings, felt too keenly what Dr. Marsh himself seems to have felt in that Address, not to animadvert upon it with spirit: and from their speeches, delivered with animation and freedom enough, yet (we appeal to the readers of them) with decency and good nature, Dr. Marsh has called the matter, which we doubt not he so eagerly expected, for his threatened attack. These, with Mr. Vansittart's first letter (in answer to Dr. Marsh's Address), which is given in our number for Dec., p: 797, and which we hesitate not to call a mas terpiece of controversy, form indeed almost the only objects of Dr. Marsh's attack. At length, on Jan. 27th, at 4 o'clock, P. M. as Dr. Clarke informs us, after a promise of nearly two months, and many a change of title in different advertisements, appeared this formidable pamphlet.
In speaking more particularly than we have done to the contents of this singular publication, in conjunction with the replies to it, we can never admire too highly the singular dexterity, not to say felicity, with which Dr. Marsh has converted a most simple hypothesis, combined with a very few facts, into the most considerable attack that we think has yet been made upon the Bible Society. The hypothesis is, that it is harmless, useful, nay even necessary, for churchmen to give away Prayer-books with their Bibles; an hypothesis of which in deed no common man would doubt the truth, nor greatly prize the inventor, though Dr. Marsh is at the trouble of claiming the first discovery of it, in the following words: "I do not perceive that any one except myself has pointed out the danger......of neglecting to give the
Prayer-book with the Bible. I have read again......Dr. Wordsworth and Mr. Dealtry, and I do not find any allusion to this danger." (Inq. pp. 42-44.) On the contrary, Mr.Dealtry is at the further trouble of shewing, that Dr. Wordsworth did actually originate this hypothesis, and, by several quotations from his former antagonist, proges him to have only abstained from pressing it, like an honest man, because no charge, he was conscious, lay against the Biblists on that score. We should be sorry to see another controversy to set this matter right; and cannot still, in the worst event, think Dr. Wordsworth as unfortunate as Columbus in his discovery of America.
The few facts by which this hyphothesis has been brought to bear against the Bible Society, are, in Dr. Marsh's words, that he has been" bitterly reproached" for asserting that churchmen should not content themselves with distributing only Bibles to the poor;-that Dr. Clarke, in answer to certain questionable + statements of Dr. Marsh, had asked at a public meeting, "Is the distribution of the Bible alone detrimental to the interests of the Establishment?"-that an anonymous writer had asked in a similar strain, What! the Bible knock down the church ?that Dr. Milner had spoken against trying the Scriptures at the bar of the traditions of fallible men," and had imputed to Dr. Marsh the saying that Prayer-books were needed as a "corrective to the Bible," (both
We beg leave to use Biblists, as Mr. Dealtry has done, for the friends of the Bible Society; Anti-biblists, for its enemies.
+ It is certainly very questionable, though in a certain sense explicable, to say that the distribution of the Bible alone can be injurious to any Christian church. Much more is it questionable to say, we" may so far correct the evil by adding Prayer-books, &c. and that this correction will be made easy by belonging to the other society:" words, which those who read Dr. Marsh's attack on Dr. Milner, will find it hard to believe that the former actually did ever use. Vide" Address to the Senate." * See the last note.
of which acts, however, Dr. Marsh pointedly disclaims);-thatMr.Vansittart had asserted from Chillingworth, that "the Bible only is the religion of Protestants;"-and, finally, that Mr. Dealtry had supposed himself to be publicly arraigned by Dr. Marsh for distributing the Word of God. These are the very few facts, upon which, aided by the abovementioned hypothesis, Dr. Marsh has been able to found, we canuot belp saying, a very plausible attack on this society. By these facts, combined with this hypothesis, Dr. Marsh has felt himself warranted in asserting (for this fact is entirely of his own creation) that "the omis sion of the Liturgy, in the distribution of the Bible, is justified by Churchmen," (Inquiry, p. 8.) ;-in assuming from thence that the Liturgy is actually held in contempt by the Biblists (p. 60.) ;-in proving upon that assumption the great dan-, ger to which such a contempt must bring us, and this by illustrations from Puritan times, as well as by apprehensions for the safety of the test act;-and, finally, in maintaining that this contempt of the Liturgy assimilates them to Joseph Lancaster, who teaches children only the Bible. The scene concludes with a proof from abstract reasoning, that the contempt for the Liturgy must be what he asserts it is, in the friends of a society for giving the Bible alone; and that the Dissenters are the only gainers both in honour and profit by this boasted union.What proportion this gigantic superstructure bears to the simple base of hypothesis and fact on which it rests, others may as well determine as ourselves. For ourselves we utterly disclaim all intention, or even thought, of not accompanying our Bible with a Prayerbook where it is wanted, and not already possessed. We heartily hope, that Dr. Marsh's pamphlet will be a warning to those churchmen who ever did separate, or wish to separate them; and we are ourselves fully convinced of all the mischief
which Dr. Marsh anticipates from such a neglect, or contempt, of the Liturgy as he states. But our busi ness is not now to state our own sentiments: We have already stated, and endeavoured to justify, our belief, that such a neglect or contempt, on the part of churchmen, is likely, neither in reason nor according to fact, to result from their union with the new Bible Society. But we are now to give to our readers some idea of the feelings expressed by the several writers at the head of this article, in answer to the charge in which, personally or by implication, they are so intimately concerned.
First appeared at a very early period, having been literally penned the same evening on which Dr. Marsh's pamphlet came forth, the answer of Dr. Clarke, contained in a short letter to the Margaret Professor, and prefaced by an introduction. Written as it literally was, "currente calamo," we should rather have considered it as a good humoured refusal to enter the lists of controversy, had it not contained some few expressions and retorts of a more serious nature. Compared to the vigorous staud of Leonidas, with his three hundred, in the very gates of Greece, we certainly consider it as a specimen of valour on the part of Dr. Clarke, and an earnest of what Dr. Marsh was hereafter to expect. Perhaps, however, the discretion of the other combatants, like the elder Grecians, "In μEVER TVELOVTwy" is more to be commended by us phlegmatic reviewers. But to give our readers some idea of this jeu d'esprit, which Dr. Clarke's pamphlet has certainly
a fair title to be called:
In the first place, we think this writer perfectly justified in the following note upon the use of his name at all by the Professor. "This use of the Author's name, without his permission, was the more unwarrantable on the part of Dr. Marsh, as the most studied forbear ance, upon the occasion he alludes CHRIST, OBSERV, No. 125..
to, prevented the writer of this letter from making any mention of him." Dr. Clarke, in fact, studiously did not allude to the 61 Address;" be-, cause it bore the Professor's name, but simply to the anonymous handbill, which (p. v.) Dr. Marsh only subsequently claimed as his own.The same introduction contains a curious fact, in opposition to Dr. Marsh's assertion of the disrespect in which the Liturgy is held by the Biblists. An address was made to the Bible Society by a Bible and Common Prayer-book Society in New York. This address, printed in the Seventh Report of the Bible Society, contains the following eu logy on the Liturgy: "What better method then can be adopted to disseminate the truths of the Bible than by dispersing a book, which, exhibiting these truths in the affecting language of devotion, impresses them on the heart as well as the understanding." This address was printed in the Report, and a supply voted to the New York Society, at the instance of a Dissenter, pp. vii. viii.
Dr. Clarke begins his "Letter" with a vindication of himself from the charge of misrepresentation, for having quoted an entire sentence indeed, but alone, from the handbill mentioned already, and since claim ed by Dr. Marsh. The sentence objecting "to the distribution of the Bible alone," we have already given, (p. 290), with the one which fo!lows it; and it really seems to us, that its tendency would have been exactly what it is, if a hundred such had followed. Not so does it seem to Dr. Marsh:-" If my objection had been fairly stated at the Town Hall, it would have been simply this; that I objected (on the part of churchmen) to the distribution of the Bible alone, or without the Liturgy.... But by stop ping at the words of the Bible alone, Dr. Clarke was enabled to give a new turn to the expression, &c." Inquiry, p.26. To which Dr. Clarke
fairly asks, "Where should we stop, but at the end of a sentence?" And not only accuses Dr. Marsh, in his turn, of a" cunning comma," instead of a full stop, after the words "Bible alone;" but also of perverting a passage of his own, so as to make Dr. Clarke use the word "priests" reproachfully, and yet synonimously with the Reformers" But the peculiarity of this whole affair is still to be noted. Dr.Marsh says, "my objection;" and evidently "gives a turn," to his expressions, as if Dr. Clarke had pointedly misrepresented him, which he had as pointedly avoided, by quoting only the handbill, not then recognized as Dr. Marsh's. Now we are sorry to suspect this turn to be the effect of design. Coupled with Dr. Marsh's further complaints of being "reprehended in his own university," of being "reproached and bitterly reproached," nay held out to public
* Dr. Clarke has not here seemed to observe how entirely his antagonist has mistaken what Mr. Dealtry calls, with truth, his" fine image:" and that our readers may have the opportunity of imputing some other more important mistakes of the Professor to inadvertency rather than design, we shall give Dr. Clarke's image, with Dr. Marsh's use of it. "It is really as if, while the light of Revelation, no longer concealed within the ark of a particular sanctuary, is permitted to irradiate the nations of the earth, a question should arise, whether it shall be conveyed through the public portals of the temple, or by the gate belonging only to the priests." "Those priests," rejoins Dr. Marsh," who composed the Liturgy and Articles, would tell him, that their office was only ministerial..that they desired not to stop the pilgrim at the threshold of the temple: that they were ready to admit him to its innermost recesses; but since between the portal and the altar were dark and intricate passages, where many a pilgrim had lost his way, they requested only permission to present him with a clue, &c. Mr. Laneaster disdains, with our present advocates, the gate of the priests, and approaches the portals of the temple." The consequence, concludes Dr. Marsh, of his adopting the Bible alone, is, that "Christianity itself has been lost to his
indignation," merely for advocating