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tents himself with merely receiving the emoluments of his office! '»
When this honourable and reverend gentleman first entered into the aforesaid holy orders, he maintained, and asserted, in the face of the whole world, that he was moved to do so, by the actual influence of the Holy Ghost! Quere. What influence moved him, when he voluntarily abjured that office, in order to obtain a rich wife ; and what, when, by accepting it again, he gained the possession of a valuable and a productive living? Was this, or was it not, also brought about by the influence and under tne inspiration of the Holy Spirit? 1 remain, &c.
REPORT OF A SPEECH, SUPPOSED TO BE DELIVERED BY A FREETHINKING CHRISTIAN, AT THE MEETING HELD AT THE
. LONDON TAVERN, MARCH 16, 1813-r-HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS TBiE DUKE OE KENT IN THE CHAIR—FOR THE FORMATION OF THE NORTH EAST LONDON AUXILIARY BIBLE SOCIETY.
To the Editor of the Freethinhing Christians' Magazine.
HOW pleasingly deceptive are the powers of Imagination! By their delightful witchery the wilderness becomes a garden, and the naked rock is clothed with eternal verdure. Under the influence of Imagination, the fettered limb walks abroad, and the dungeon is a pavilion, from whose airy and lightsome sides the prospect rises and falls in beautiful gradation. The body, Sir, may be chained down, and deprived ofliberty by the oppressive arm of man, but the Imagination knows no limits or controul. There is no part of the earth, there is no point of space, there is no company however elevated by rank and fortune, where Imagination may not be present—at its potent touch all the immutable distinctions of society vanish away, and the plodding mechanic emerges from his garret into the presence of his sovereign, and before kings and rulers he sets forth his wrongs. 1 own myself, Mr. Editor, not a little subject to these pleasing fits—to these delightful delusions of the Imagination. In the lanes of the city I sometimes wander through the woodland way ; and the noise of the dray. cart is to me the thundering of some distant cataract.
*' In cold December fragrant chaplets blow,
At other times I am addressing with indignant declama* tion a venal senate, or telling a profligate Prince the opi* nion of his people, or rising from a jury-box, and laying bare to an astonished court the corruption and villainy of its judge—when suddenly my fist, in oratorical motion, will come in contact with some passer by—spoil my speech— dissolve the court—dismiss the Prince—adjourn the Comroons—and teach me, to my sorrow, it was all Imagination!
On the 16th of last March, Mr. Editor, as I was passing through Bishopsgate Street, my attention was attracted by the number of persons of both sexes, and of almost all ranks, classes, and descriptions, pouring into the London Tavern.
ff A motley mixture! in long wigs, in bags,
On enquiry, I learnt it was one of the Bible Society meetings, at which the Duke of Kent was to preside. This sight led to much meditation, and much curious reflection in my mind, till at last, following the concourse, 1 found myself in the spacious and splendid room where the company were assembling, comfortably seated between a peer and a priest! .. The Royal Chairman opened the business, and several speakers had already addressed the meeting—there was a silent pause in the assembly, when I arose, and spoke to the following effect.
"may It Please Yodr Royal Highness, and this august assembly, to lend your attention to one whose only recommendation to your notice is a desire as pure, as ardent asyour own, to promote (he diffusion of knowledge, and the spread of the Christian religion. On any other occasion, Sir, I should tremble in your presence; but we meet here as Christians, and consequently as brethren—we assemble to support a cause which admits of no pre-eminence among its members, but that of virtue and usefulness! It is on this account, Sir, that I feel confidence before you—that I feel I am a man, and a member of that kingdom in wlfich all earthly distinctions are as nothing!
"My Lords, Ladies, and Gentlemen—I presume our object in distributing the Bible among our fellow men, is to propagate and diffuse the religion of the Bible, or rather, the religion of our master Jesus; and truly, when 1 look about me, I am struck with the imposing spectacle which presents itself—at our head the King's Son—on- either ride Wealth, Rank, and Titles, combine to disseminate the religion of Jesu9 of Nazareth ! This is the conquest of truth—> the triumph of the cross! Little did the carpenter's son, and the fishermen of Galilee, anticipate such a day as this!! If the son of Joseph lived in these time*, he would no longer exelaim * how hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!' His satire, conveyed in those memorable words that ' it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to see the kingdom of God,' would flow be pointless; for in that kingdom welivetoseetheMonarch ofthese Realms I his Illustrious Family ! his Nobles! and Ministers of Stale!!! Jesus, it is true, declared his kingdom was not of this world; but the world has changed! he taught his disciples to ex;>ect to be brought before kings and ruler* for his sake, and for the testimony of his religion; but kings and rulers u-ed then to be ambitious, corrupt and wicked!- Oli! it is at) animating sight to observe pniEsTS too, who have never been active but in mischief, in degrading, and enslaving the human mind, exerting themselves in the spread of our pure and holy religion J Surely, Illustrious Sir, my Lords, and Reverend Gentlemen, these are the times foretold in the scriptures, when the brute tribes should change their nature, and the lion lie down with the lamb!
"And here let me pause to pay the tribute©! praise to the absent, as hir as my feeble lips can proclaim the praise of one tvho is indeed above all praise !your Royal Brother, Sir, the Regent Of ENGLAND, whom to name,as has been often said, is to name every thingthat is splendid jn rank! exalted in virtue! unrivalled in intellect! and dignified in humanity! •^be, too, must be ardent in this sacred cause—though the pressure of public affairs—the various engagements resulting from his solicitude for a nation's happiness, deprive ua of his company ;—but to compensate for this, it is sufficient for us to know that His Royal Highness is supporting in his life and in his actions the cause in which we are engaged -»-that in the performance of the social duties of the husband, the father, or the friend, he is shewing to his family and his people a pattern of all that is good,,and a nature replete with amiability—which things will reflect the greatest honour on his religion, and throw the truest splendour' round his throne!
"It was delightful to listen to the eloquence of the noble Lord Holland,* who has just addressed us, in behalf of the purposes of this meeting, and to remember that he is
•' Report, page 83?
the relative of that illustrious senator, who has gone befors us to the skies! I allude to Mr. Fox—who, had he lived to see this day, would have a place in his noble bosom for all those generous feelings and pious sentiments which run through the soul of this assembly ! Fox, Sir, was the friend and companion ofyour brother—like Jonathan and David, their souls were knit together—but. I see the subject is touchW?g—let us believe that Fox has gone before to prepare a place for him!!
"The gallant Admiral Gambier !* Who could hear without emotion? Much of his valuable life has been devoted to the glorious work of human destruction—he appears here with much propriety, to assist us in putting a bookinto the hands of men, which teaches them to live in peace and concord with each other, and which reprobates "war as proceeding from the worst passions of the human heart! To the Noble Lord, then, let us give the right hand of fellowship—let us strike our colours to the Christian Adn.iralV!!
"Among the listof great and good men, who have joined with us in the cause of Christ, let me not pass over unnoticed Ma. Whitbrkad, who 1 observe has lent us the aid of his powerful talents, and who, in whatever he undertakes, will be equally zealous and useful, whether in arranging the affairs of the playhouse or the church!
"Our object, Sir, istocirculcate the scriptures ; and that all men should be allowed to read the scriptures for them? selves, is a proposition which I do not expect to hear denied —though gentlemen have quoted the authority ofyoux.Royal father in support of this obvious principle; and by the way I cannot help observing, that it would be well for his Majesty, if gentlemen were less profuse in their praise of those words which fell from him—his wish that "every poor child might be able to read the Bible," has been more than Once quoted in this room, and a thousand times and in a thousand places besides! It really looks as though some folks thought it a miracle for a sensible or a good observation to escape the lips of his Majesty! These suspicious compliments on your illustrious father, Sin, might well be spared, as they are really calculated to bring dignities into contempt. But not to digress farther, my Lords and Gen* tletnen, on this subject-TM-let me claim your patient and attentive hearing to a matter of unrivalled importance, and intimately connected with the furtherance of the object of
* Report, page ?7,
this institution. All the wealth, the ranis, the intellect of the country, is now engaged in enabling men to read the scriptures—let me call upon that wealth, that rank, and that intellect, to engage in enabling men to understand those scriptures! fortius I prestufte is the end of alt your generous exertions! When I inform you that there is an institution opposed to this we are about to form" this day— when I tell you there is an association in Europe of great power and long establishment, expressly directing all their energies against the understanding of these scriptures— you will only demand to know the fact in order to guard against it! The Prince, the Peers, the Priests, the Senators, before whom I speak, will leap forward to oppose the common enemy!!!
• "Gentlemen, I observe your eagerness—it is creditable to your feelings !—Believe, me, there is no tongue, there is no language, there is no force of words, capable of conveying to your noble minds the mischief which this association will threaten to our cause! And this is no secret association from which I fear so much—it is not concealed under the mantle of night—its members walk at large, and commit their depredations in the face of day '.—This body of men are distributed over every country in Europe; nor indeed are they confined to this quarter of the globe. They uniformly dress in such a way as to excite feelings of awe and respect for their characters—the pomp, the solemnity, or the simplicity of their garb, is the ground work of their success. The plan of their operations varies with time and circumstances—they will not now oppose us in distributing the Bible—they dare not now do this, or their power would fall a sacrifice to the common sense of mankind! Heretofore, they kept the scriptures to themselves, and represented it as impious to wish to pry into the divine records; but now they must talk differently—they will even assist us in the distribution of the Bible! But mark me, Sir! mark me, my Lords! mark me, Gentlemen! No sooner have you sent your Bibles into the world, than they will follow them in every direction—they will tell the people it is a hook difficult to understand, that it contains doctrines essential to solvation, the interpreters and expounders of which they assume to be—they will declare themselves the ambassadors of heaven, and the appointed of God! The effect of this will be, that in a little time they will bring the sole task of teaching religion into their own hands; and as these men themselves agree in nothing but in deluding the people, one will assert this to be the religion of the Bible,' and ana