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exposed in all its inconsistency. The expectation of such a union appears to do more credit to the candid disposition of those churchmen who have entertained it, than to their knowledge of mankind, or to their judgment in applying their knowledge. Two of the letters in this pamphlet are admirable specimens of their kind; one, (that from Bradford, Dec. 4th,) is a specimen of that self-complacency with which a Chairman of an Auxiliary Bible Society sometimes is affected, while he treats his brethren as if they were as thoughtless, and as indifferent to means in pursuit of an end, and as regardless of consequences as himself. The other (that dated 'Birstall, 23rd January, 1824,') reminds one of the days of Charles the First, and of the productions of a class of persons who then were profanely familiar in their use of terms, which those who fear God always introduce with caution and reverence. Should any notice be taken of this pamphlet, in the way of answer to the remarks herein contained, it will perhaps lead to some further remarks on the same subject."

H. H.

The pamphlet thus introduced to our notice tells a tale which we were sure sooner or later would be told, that the homage paid by dissenters to those of the Clergy whom they can induce to become associates with them in Bible Societies is only one among the many insidious means they are constantly devising of undermining the Church establishment, and will be tendered no longer than those purposes are served by that treacherous conciliation and affected humility.

The case as set forth in the pamphlet appears to be this. In 1814 the Clergy of Birstall-six in number-giving the Bible Society full credit for the benevolent intention of the spreading the Bible amongst the poor-procured the papers on that subject which it puts in circulation, and both planned and introduced to the notice of their parishioners a Central Bible Association for the benefit of the poor inhabitants of Birstall and those of the several townships dependant upon it; the "operations of which were chiefly conducted and in a great measure rendered efficient by themselves," and continued peaceably answering all the good purposes of the Bible Society, up to the anniversary meeting of the Bradford Auxiliary in the autumn of 1822.

At that meeting the following denunciation was delivered by a Mr. Scott, the independent teacher at Cleckheaton:

"There is a large parish not more than four or five miles from this place, where there are six Clergymen, six Dissenting Ministers, and I believe as many Methodist Preachers, in which they had formed a Bible Association some years ago, but it has (or they have) slumbered and slept for seven years, and it is (or they are) asleep now, and the speaker concluded in the words of the Macedonian to St. Paul, 'Come over and help us.'" P. 5.

The Bradford Auxiliary of which a Clergyman is the Chair

man, lost no time to issue the necessary instructions, and a deputation of its members actually went to Birstall without any previous intimation to the Clergy of their intended visit, and superseded the existing association by an auxiliary of their own creation, the actual existence of which was first brought to the knowledge of the aforesaid Clergy by a request to give up their accounts and pay over their balances. With this statement in hand the reader will now be prepared to enter on the ensuing correspondence, which shall soon be left to speak for itself.

"Dear Sir,

"Nov. 26, 1822."

"I understand that a deputation from the Bradford Bible Society has been sent, or is likely to be sent, to the Parish of Birstall. I feel a good deal interested in a business of this kind, and shall take it as a favour if you will kindly inform me-What is the precise object of this Mission;-By what particular means its object is to be accomplished;Who are the Persons employed;-As well as the circumstances which have given rise to the measure.'

"The confined situation in which I live, must be my apology for the trouble I give you by these inquiries. Being much confined at home I am less acquainted with what is going on in these matters than I could wish to be. It is not possible for me to leave home to gain the information necessary to form a judgment by which to regulate my own conduct on such an occasion. I do not know that I am of sufficient consequence to be consulted on this occasion, but in the case of being applied to in any way, I should feel embarrassed unless I knew more particulars than at present I possess.-Will you have the goodness to put me in possession of the circumstances by an answer to each of the above enquiries, adding any remarks or information which you think may fully enable me properly to regulate my own conduct in case I should be applied to on this occasion. You will thereby greatly oblige, Dear Sir, Yours truly."

"Bradford, Dec. 4th, 1822."

"Dear Sir, "I ought to apologize for not replying to your letter sooner, but having been called from home I have not been able to write to you before. In answer to your enquiries, I beg leave to say that the object of the deputation sent into your neighbourhood, was to assist in the forming of an Auxiliary Bible Society. And that the means by which so very desirable an object was intended to be accomplished should be by inviting the co-operation of all parties, especially the Clergy, and it is the particular wish of all that they would take the lead in the business.-The persons appointed to afford their services on this occasion were, the Rev. Mr. Morgan and Wm. Maud, Esq. one of the Society of Friends in Bradford.

"Mr. Morgan could not attend on account of severe illness, but Mr. Maud gave his services and met a few friends.-And the circumstance which gave rise to such a measure was a particular request sent to the

Committee of the Bradford Bible Society, which stated that there was no Auxiliary Bible Society in your neighbourhood, and that it was very desirable to have one.- Of course you must be well acquainted with the views of your Parishioners on this subject, and I do think that we, as Clergymen of the Established Church, are only doing our duty when we take a part in furthering the designs of the British and Foreign Bible Society, although we may be members of the valuable and ancient Society for promoting Christian Knowledge.We have I think nothing to fear from the Dissenters, whilst we act with them in distributing the sacred oracles to the Poor, for in this large and populons Parish I have always found that it was their wish to submit to any plans suggested by the Clergy, and they appear rather to desire to follow after, than to take the lead, in any institution where we are found doing our duty. Hoping that you will see the necessity of willingly giving your valuable services in promoting the establishment of an Auxiliary Bible Society in your neighbourhood, that thus the poor cottagers may be provided with that blessed book which is able to make them wise unto salvation, and not doubting but that I shall soon have the pleasure of hearing of your kind co-operation in this most necessary work,

Believe me to be, &c."

"This letter from the Chairman of the Bradford Auxiliary Bible Society produced the following reply.

"Dear Sir,

"An unusual pressure of engagements has delayed my attention to your letter dated the 4th instant, as it did not seem to require an immediate answer. The subject is however of some importance, and I trust what I say upon it will be received with candour.

"The Committee of the Bradford Bible Society appear to have been unguarded in adopting a resolution to interfere in the business of circulating Bibles in the Parish of Birstall; and the mode of enforcing that resolution seems to have been still more unfortunate.-The Clergy of Birstall have not been insensible to the religious interests of the ignorant and misguided population of their Parish; nor inactive in the spread of the Bible, and of biblical principles. They long ago adopted a much more efficient plan of supplying their 'poor cottagers' with the Bible, than that of an Auxiliary Bible Society. This plan has continued in operation more or less to the present time; and will be modified and revived in such a manner, and at such times, as to the Clergy themselves shall seem convenient and desirable.

"It is not reasonable to suppose that under these circumstances the Clergy here should concur in a measure, which, besides that it interferes with their own plans, appears to have originated in something very like a species of calumny and falsehood; and, which has been entered upon in no very gracious manner.

"Had the kind of assistance so awkwardly offered been really wanted, it would have been sought from a more convenient quarter than Bradford.--Permit me to add also a hint to the clerical members of the Bradford Bible Committee; a caution not to lend themselves too easily to the views of persons, who, possibly, may not be entirely governed by

a single eye to the spread of the Bible,—as well as against interfering in a parish where their services are not requested.

"It should also be recollected that a Clergyman may retire from a stage, which is not always trod with decorum, and where a Clergyman is not always quite secure from a sort of public insult, and yet be a sincere friend to the British and Foreign Bible Society. There may be genuine friends to that valuable and highly honoured Institution, who do not find themselves called upon to advertise their exertions; or to appear in the train of persons, who, if indeed, as you suggest, they be disposed to follow the lead of the Clergy, are not very happy in the steps they take to manifest this disposition.

"There is reason to apprehend that the Bible Society will suffer more in its value and respectability, if its agents and professed friends cease to conduct themselves with delicacy, than it is likely to lose by the want of Branch Societies in country villages.

"You will, I trust, admit the assurance, that the expression of the foregoing sentiments is unattended with any feelings which are inconsistent with the declaration,- -that I am, Dear Sir,

"Dec. 19, 1822."

"In christian regard, yours, &c."

"P.S. I am authorized to say that the sentiments of the rest of the Clergy in this Parish are in unison with those which I have above stated as my own."

P. 8.

With the transactions which followed this correspondence, the Clergy of Birstall did not interfere, and no futher intercourse between them and the usurpers of their functions took place till the close of the year, when the subjoined circular was addressed to each of them as well as to other Clergymen in the neighbourhood.

"Revd. Sir,

"Gomersall, December 11, 1823.

"At a meeting of the Committee of the Auxiliary Bible Society for the Parish of Birstall and the Neighbourhood, it was unanimously resolved,

"That the Committee regretting the existence of any misunderstanding which may have prevented the union of all parties in the support of this Auxiliary, now agree, that a respectful invitation be addressed to all the Clergy of the Parish and Neighbourhood, most cordially soliciting their co-operation in disseminating the Holy Scriptures, precisely upon the same principle with the British and Foreign Bible Society; and also requesting the favour of their attendance at the next Committee Meeting, to be held in Mr. Taylor's School, Gomersall, on Wednesday, January 21, 1824, at 2 o'clock.

"Signed in behalf

of the Committee.



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DAVID STONER, Secretaries.” » "We the undersigned Clergy in the Parish of Birstall, hereby acknowledge the receipt of a circular letter, dated Gomersall, December

11, 1823,




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containing a copy of a resolution passed at a meeting of a Committee of a Society at Gomersall, which styles itself' the Auxiliary Bible Society, for the Parish of Birstall and the neighbourhood.'

"The general form in which this circular comes to us, and the manner in which the resolution it contains is worded, creates a difficulty on our part, in returning a specific answer; and would lead us to decline any reply, were we not desirous to manifest our disposition to shew every candid attention which our circumstances admit, to what we imagine to be the spirit of the communication we have received. We are hence induced to offer a few observations connected with the subject, rather than to acknowledge the circular by the simple information, that we do not think it consistent with our views of duty to comply with the invitation implied in the resolution it contains.

"In the first place, having no specific knowledge of the constitution of the Society at Gomersall, nor any concern in its proceedings, we know of no' misunderstanding' to which the committee of that society appear to allude. On our part there has been no misunderstanding.

"Further, we jointly and severally disclaim any hostile feelings whatever towards the British and Foreign Bible Society, so far as we understand the constitution of that society, and its legitimate operations. Neither are we disposed to turn to its disadvantage, what may appear to us, indiscretions in the conduct of individuals who profess to be its friends and assistants. Yet there are several reasons why we cannot co-operate with the Gomersall Bible Society.

"The circumstances under which that society took its origin, conveyed to us the idea that our co-operation was not desired. Without any private admonition previously suggested from any quarter whatever, a very public accusation of indolence was exhibited against us before strangers, in a place where we had no opportunity of defence ; and strangers were invited to assist in forming a Bible society in the parish of 'six' inactive' clergymen,' and for the benefit of their parish; and strangers did there actually commence that business, before any intimation of such a design had been given to any of these clergymen; and, in utter exclusion of any opinion which they might have wished to express upon the subject.-This conclusion, from the mode in which the business was begun, is confirmed by the connexion in which the words now agrec'-are placed in the above-mentioned resolution communicated to us from Gomersall.

"We have further to observe, that however well disposed we may be towards endeavours to increase the distribution of Bibles in our parish, we cannot co-operate with the Gomersall Bible Society, because such a co-operation on our part, would countenance to our own disadvantage the unfounded charge publicly expressed before strangers, and afterwards repeatedly alluded to in an assembly of our parishioners. And, moreover, because we should thereby seem to justify the insinuation that our accusers have a more intense concern for the spiritual improvement of the people of the parish of Birstall, than that which is felt by the clergy of that parish opinions, in our view, unfounded, and injurious to our usefulness as parish priests, and to the credit of that church whose value and estimation we find ourselves under a most happy necessity to vindicate and uphold.

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