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from certain circumstances of recent occurrence. The ere^* tion of schools, for educating youth in the principles of the Church of England; the institution of Prayer-Book and Homily Societies, and Missionary Tract Societies, is evidently intended to divert the people from bending their attention to the scriptures. They profess to have no objection to the circulation of the scriptures, only they would not have them sent forth defenceless; they have no wish to prevent the apostles from travelling, to heal the diseases of the mind; but, that their cures may appear more miraculous, they would have them to walk upon crutches. Thus both parties of the clergy, although in different ways, plain' ly acknowledge that the Bible, without note or comment, is quite sufficient to give the most ignorant a thorough knowledge of the Christian religion. The one class openly declare their persuasion, that the Bible Society is the noblest institution under heaven, inasmuch ns it supplies men with that book, which exhibits, in its purity, the doctrine of the grace of God; and the other class, by the opposition which they shew to that society, give full proof of their being aware, that nothing more is necessary to lead the people to despise every modification of the priesthood, than the understanding of the scriptures. It is to be hoped, that their endeavours to enlighten the people will prove extensively useful; and that Christians in general would enter into their views on the subject, and act as if they believed that the scriptures, without note or comment, are sufficient to furnish them for the performance of every good work. The Bible Society are employed in sending that book into every land where they can find admission for it; they send it to the nations of tho world with the highest possible recommendation; they present it to them in their own language, as a book suited to the weakest capacity, as capable of affording the highest consolation; of dispelling ignorance 'and superstition; of introducing man to the knowledge of his Maker; of directing him as to his conduct in life, and as a light to lead him to eternal day. But, oh! let them spare us the disgrace of having it published in connection) with all this, that in this small island alone, many thousands of priests have, for ages, been employed in explaining; it to us, and that their services are still deemed as necessary as ever.
Certainly there exists a misunderstanding somewhere on this subject; either the Bible Society, or the clergy, are mistaken in their aim; for if the Bible, without even note or comment; is sufficient to teach men Christianity, then there never was a society whose principles were more hostile to priestcraft in every shape, and which promised fairer to chase it from the earth. But if priests arestill to be considered as necessary; if people are not to read the Bible as they read any other book, and interpret it according to the dictates of reason and common sense, the standard of all truth, then ought the Bible Society to send priests wherever they send the Bible, that the people may know in what sense they are to understand it. They are daily multiplying; and widely circulating copies of the Bible, and many will by this means be made acquainted with Christianity who have never before heard of it; but what would such think of the exhibitions of Christianity which are made by many in this country, should they ever witness them.' Let us however hope, that at any rate they will never feel disposed to copy our example ; that the New Testament will teach them better things than to attempt to unite together murder and peace; that they will never so completely mistake the meaning of that book as to suppose that it sanctions intolerance, or warrants them to inflict bodily punishments on those who may differ from them in religious opinion ; and that they will never imagine it necessary, far less attempt to justify the practice, by appealing to these writings, to set apart, and pay, and honour with a parcel of unmeaning names and titles, a number of their fellow men as spiritual guides. One thing is certain—if ever those who receive the scriptures, should fashion their conduct after the example of the greater part of the religious professors in this country, it must be the effect of" notes and comments" of false glosses and artful interpretations of scripture ; for no two things can be more at variance than the spirit of the gospel, and the practice of the multitude who profess to believe it.Boss tlie menns), who have the common feelings of humanity, and enjoy the advantages of civilized society.
Perhaps some may be disposed to attribute these remarks to a desire of bringing into contempt a body of respectable and useful men. But it is not for the sake of joining the common cry against the clergy that they make their appearance. The writer wishes to appeal to matter of fact; he is convinced that the existence of a distinct body of men, as thp 6ole teachers of Christianity, is contrary to divine revelation; that if Christians in general acted as they ought to do, the supposed necessity of such an order of men would very soon disappear; that they are the cause of the great ignorance that reigns among the various sects professing Christianity, inasmuch as they keep back the exercise of the talents of thousands, whose united exertions, as members of the church
of God, might do much in promotingthe interests of religion.
Should any one feel inclined to controvert these senti-
1 am, Sir, your's, &c.
To those men who may have objections to unite with us in our benevolent pursuits, on account of our religious principles, we would strongly recommend the adoption of a similar plan in their own circles; for where the work is extended, even without our junction, we shall honestly say, M We do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice."
We would advise religious bodies and others in the country, to institute similar societies, which appears to us practicable in almost every neighbourhood; for the smallest individual subscription, when combined with a number of others, may form a fund capable of lessening the distresses of their surrounding poor.
From persons in both town and country, who may be desirous of joining with us in our earnest endeavours, we shall be glad to receive the smallest subscription, at the same time reminding them to consult their circumstances, and on no account give more than they can afford, as there is often more pure Denevolence in the widow's mite, than the most splendid gift thrown into the treasury.
Being anxious not to detain your readers any longer, from a perusal of the following regulations, I shall only wish that they may experience as much pleasure in the perusal as that originally felt by
London, Feb. 9, 1813. A Subscriber.
REGULATIONS OF THE BENEVOLENT SOCIETY.
1. That a Benevolent Society be instituted, for the relief of thepoor of all denominations.
2. That none ofthe members of the Church meeting at this place be permitted, on any account, to participate in the relief to be afford-, ed by the Society.
3. That subscriptions to the fund be open to all persons desirous of aiding so laudable an institution, whether members of the Church or not.
4. That the subscriptions be from one penny per week and upwards, and that a Treasurer be appointed to receive the same, and a Secretary to keep an account of the receipts and disbursements.
5. That the Society meet every Sunday evening at seven o'clock* when subscribers are invited to attend. i
6. That at this meeting a short Lecture on Benevolence be delivered by one of the junior members of the Church.
- 7. That eight visitors be appointed from the junior members of the Church, who shall convey the sum allotted, and give such adviee and instruction to the persons vit>ited, as the case shall seem to require.