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FIRST LETTER

TO

THE REV. DR. MARSTI,

Warraret Professor of Divinity in the University of Cambridge ;)

OCCASIONED BY HIS

ADDRESS TO THE SENATE OF TIIAT-UNIVERSITY.

DEAR SIR, I beg to return my best acknowledgments for the com

BEG munication of your Address to the Senate of Cambridge ; which I the more strongly feel as a mark of

your

kind attention, as I have not the honor of belonging to that University, and as it is a considerable time since I have been so fortunate as to have an opportunity of meeting you. You were perhaps not aware that you were sending your Address to a member of the British and Foreign Bible Society ; but I accept, as a proof of kindness, your candid and friendly admonition, which affords me an opportunity of justifying myself to you, as a Church of England man, for contributing my assistance to that Institution.

I never indeed before thought it necessary to offer any apology for so doing; for though I was aware, before I engaged in the Society, that it had been represented as dangerous to the Church, it appeared to me that this charge had been so completely refuted, that it is with no less surprise than regret that I now learn that you still think it well founded.

I must first remark that your observation respecting the funds of the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge, compared with those of the Bible Society, must give a very erroneous impression respecting the comparative wealth of the two Societies. You state that the funds of the latter are much superior to those of the former. This is so far from being the case, that, by the latest annual account, the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge appears to be possessed of property in the public funds producing about 5300l. per annum, besides some landed property; while the Bible Society was, in April last, possessed of no more than 3591. per annum in the funds, and of money and exchequer bills, capable of producing about 180l. more, making together about 5701. per annum : and although its total receipts within the year exceeded those of the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge, in the proportion of about 24,6001. to about 19,0001. yet these receipts were not only principally derived from casual and occasional sources, such as congregational collections, and contributions from Auxiliary Societies, but they actually fell short of the expenditure of the year by upwards of S600l. It is not therefore without necessity, much less is it from an invidious spirit of rivalry towards any other institution, that the friends of the Bible Society are making those exertions to obtain further patronage and support from the public, which appear to excite your alarm—an alarm for which I

confess myself totally unable to account, when I consider that the sole and exclusive object of the Bible Society, so far as it respects the United Kingdom, is THE CIRCULA- . TION OF THE AUTHORIZED TRANSLATION OF THE SCRIPTURES WITHOUT NOTE OR COMMENT. I should, as a member of the Church, be very sorry to think that the devout study of the SCRIPTURES could lead to the disregard of our LITURGY; on the contrary, I should hope that it

would produce a more general acknowledgment of its excellence, as it originally, at the period of the Reformation, led, through the blessing of Divine Providence, to its establishment. The Bible, says Chillingworth, and the BIBLE ONLY, IS THE RELIGION OF THE PROTESTANT; it is the sole basis of the Church of ENGLAND, and the only one on which you, I am sure, would wish to place it. But you observe, that "you can have no guarantee, that as the power of the Bible Society increases, other objects, inimical to the Church, will not in time be associated with the main object.” To this I answer, that so long as the members of the Church take part in the Bible Society, its very constitution will afford such a guarantee as you desire. The PRESIDENT, and all the Vice-PRESIDENTS, without exception, are Churchmen, and are constant members of the managing committee, in which they always preside; and of the other members of this committee, the Church. men are equal in number to all the Dissenters of different sects; so that, in every question, the Church must have a constant majorily; and in the general meetings, in which alone all points affecting the constitution of the Society must be decided, the members of the Church must have a weight corresponding to their numbers and consequence. In proportion, therefore, as Churchmen of talents, rank, and influence, join the Society, this preponderance must increase. Among the patrons, either of the parent Society, or its branches, are already numbered the four ARCHBISHOPS OF IRELAND, and eight ENGLISH and eight Irish BISHOPS. I doubt whether the SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE, which now, as you observe, enjoys the countenance of the whole episcopal Bench, was, at so short a period from its formation, honored with the support of so large a body of the Prelates; and I should hope the time might not be far distant, when the two societies may equally florish under the general patronage

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