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REV. HERBERT MARSH.

THE

Sir,

It is impossible for me to express to you the pleasant sensations I have experienced, whilst lately reading a little tract, from your pen, intitled, An INQUIRY INTO THE CONSEQUENCES OF NEGLECTING TO GIVE PRAYER-Book WITH THE Bible. The perusal of this little work, induced me to purchase your correspondence with Mr. Vansittart on the same subject; together with your sermon preached in St. Paul's Church, London, on June 13, 1811.– You may easily conceive, then, with what real delight and satisfaction I observed, that, in these writings, you contend for this principle, “ true religion cannot be found by the Bible alone.The soundness of this doctrine was originally contested by Luther; and as you well know, has been a subject of dispute between Catholics and Protestants, from that period to the present time. Allow me then to congratulate with

you and religion, on the bold and manly manner, in which you have given up this vital principle VOL.I. No. II.

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of Protestantism. To err is the common accident of our nature—but to acknowledge error is the act of the hero and the saint !

In passing a cursory glance over your little work, the INQUIRY, I cannot tell you how pleased I am with the position by which you advance to the subject.—“ Whoever objects to the British and Foreign Bible Society, is invariably asked, Where is the harm in giving away a Bible ? I will answer, therefore, by saying, None whatever. On the contrary, the more widely the Scriptures are disseminated, the greater, in all respects, must be the good produced. Having answered this question, and, as I hope to the satisfaction of every member of the society, I beg leave to ask in my turn; Where is the harm of giving away a Prayer Book ?”

Now, Sir, I must candidly tell you, that both these sentences are in strict conformity with my own reflections, and such as I most earnestly wish to see impressed upon my flock. For as you observe (No. I. page 100,)“ When we consider, that there is, at present, hardly a town, or even a village, which is not visited by illiterate teachers, who expound the Bible with more confidence than the most profound theologian ; it becomes doubly necessary, if we would preserve the poor of the establishment in the religion of their fathers to provide them with a safeguard against the delusions of false interpretation :- under these circumstances, you add, to leave the poor, who without assistance cannot understand the Scriptures, as the itinerant preachers themselves admit by their own practice, to leave, I say,

under such circumstances, to be tossed about by every wind of doctrinc, which they must be, unless provided with that authorised exposition of the Scriptures, which is contained in the Liturgy—is, at least in my judgment—such a dereliction of our duty as Churchmen, that I little expected to hear clergymen within the precincts of the university, reprehend a professor of divinity, because he contended, that the Prayer Book should be distributed with the Bible.

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As you must know, Sir, we have always entertained, as well as yourself, a high respect for the Liturgy; and though we have never thought of placing it on an “ equality with the Bible," a charge at which you very properly spurn

in No. 11. page 379 of your letter to Mr. Vansittart; yet explaining myself in your own words (No. II. page 380,) we “urge the distribution of it, not as being equal with the Bible, but as being in conformity with the Bible.”

You define the Liturgy (No.1. pp. 100, 101, 104.), a book, " which contains the doctrines of the Bible according to its true exposition ; in which these doctrines are applied, throughout the prayers and collects to the best purposes of religion, and are condensed in a manner which is intelligible to all, in that excellent formulary the Church Catechism ;” also an "authorised exposition of the Scripture—which every

honest churchman must believe to be the true one;"- thirdly, a work“ in which the doctrine of the Trinity, the Atonements, the Sacraments, with other doctrines of your Church, are delivered as contained in the Bible."

This is, then, exactly what the Liturgy and Catechism are amongst Catholics—they are two names for the same thing. I have given, Sir, a new edition of our LITURGY,' accompanied with explanatory notes ; and am not less strenuous than yourself, that as far as Catholics are in question, it should be put into their hands together with the Bible. But, Sir, you will excuse me if I say,

have committed a great mistake, by affirming in your note of page

that
you

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'Liturgy, or a Book of Common Prayers and Administration of Sacraments, with other rites and ceremonies of the Church, for the use of all Christians in the united kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

No. 1. 114, “ that Catholics give no Bible at all.”—By which, I suppose, you mean to say, that in the Catholic Church Bibles are denied to the people. Now, at this very period of time, in this Country, we have two Catholic editions of the Bible in the Press ; which moreover are printing in shilling numbers, for the convenience of the people. One is edited by a printer of the name of Sayers, – the other by one of the name of Haydock—both inhabitants of Manchester. The Rev. John Worswick, Catholic clergyman of Newcastleupon-Tyne, is also engaged in printing a cheap edition of the Testament, expressly for the poor. I take no notice of other editions of the Bible conducted in Ireland. A vender, moreover, of these Bibles constantly stands, by my permission, at the door of my own chapel, in London, during divine service, soliciting subscriptions to these works. It is true that we do not form large societies, for the purpose of distributing them indiscriminately—because we have always conceived, like yourself, that “ the poor without assistance cannot understand the Scriptures.”—2dly, Because putting the Bible into the hands of such persons would be to expose them wantonly, to the“seduction of false interpretation,”—by which they might “ soar into the regions of what you term abstract religion (No. 1. p. 129,) and become bewildered in their way, till, at length, they wander to the devious passage, where Christianity itself becomes lost from the view.” (No. 1. p. 113.) Yet, Sir, if any of the Bible Societies feel disposed to try

our esteem for the Bible, by presenting us some copies of a Catholic version, with or without notes, we will gratefully accept and faithfully distribute them.

I therefore confidently trust, Sir, that since we are likely to suffer much, through your mistake, in the opinions of our countrymen,

will see the necessity of correcting your assertion, in the next edition you may give of the INQUIRY. You are aware that this is particularly incum

that you

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