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THE TOWN-HALL, IN THE CITY OF BATH,
UNDER THE PRESIDENCY OF THE
HION. AND RT. REV. THE LORD BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER,
MONDAY, THE 1ST. DAY OF DECEMBER, 1817;
FOR THE PURPOSE OF FORMING A
Church Missionary Society
IN THAT CITY;
WORD FOR WORD AS DELIVERED FROM WRITING;
Against the establishment of such a Society in Bath.
BY THE REV. JOSIAH THOMAS, A. M.
ARCHDEACON OF BATH.
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE SECOND EDITION.
THE First Edition of this Address was published, according to the Title-page, as delivered from writing. It has been suggested, that, in justice to myself, I ought to say something about my threatening to call in the Mayor's Officers. The Address, as delivered from writing, could take in nothing incidental; and I could not calculate on being hooted, hissed, and insulted in the grossest manner, by a CHURCH SOCIETY, for executing my office! On being so treated, I used, to the best of my recollection, these words:
"I stand here, as Archdeacon of Bath, in the execution of my duty. Not all the hisses and clamour that you can utter shall prevent me from performing that duty; nor shall the business of your Society proceed, till I have said what I intend to say; and if you proceed to further outrage, I shall call in the Mayor's Officers."
I take leave also to observe, that the most violent clamour took place, when I repeated the words at page 218 :-"BUT THIS IS A CHURCH OF ENGLAND SOCIETY!!!" I then spoke thus-" Is this a Church of England Society, or is it NOT?" No answer was given. I then demanded again emphatically" Is this a Church of England Society it NOT? WHAT is it?" No answer again. I then said— "Well then, I will take it for a Church of England Society;" and proceeded in reading my Address.
I am also informed, that my quitting the room, without waiting for reply, gave offence. gave offence. To which I answer, that I did not go to that meeting for debate-but to PROTEST against the purpose of that meeting. And, I apprehend, it is not usual for a person to wait for an answer to his own PROTEST. J. T.
MY LORD VICE-PATRON, AND PRESIDENT OF THIS
A CHURCH-SOCIETY holding a meeting within this city, and presided over by a Bishop of the Church of England, will, I presume, allow the right of the Archdeacon of Bath, to declare his sentiments on the subject of their Meeting. As I am not in the habit of attending such meetings, and do not chuse " to talk without book," I beg leave to deliver my opinions from this paper; to which I can hereafter resort, if I see occasion.
I desire, however, before I proceed, that it be understood, that my attendance on this meeting is altogether official: and, therefore, as I conclude that I am addressing Church Assembly, I shall speak as a Churchman to Churchmen; and if I should bring some strange things to the ears of many, they will be such as the Hon. and Right Rev. Vice-Patron, who presides over this meeting, cannot, as a Bishop, disallow; however obsolete they may have become through disuse.
However I may and do revere the piety and well-intending zeal of some individuals, whom I know to be members of this Missionary Society, I scruple not to express my convictions:
I. That this Church Missionary Society was originally unnecessary; because the Incorporated Society for the Pro
pagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, was, and is, in existence, and in action.
II. That several of the rules and regulations of this Church Missionary Society, and especially the means which it employs to increase its funds, are utterly unworthy of the name which it would assume-that of a Church-ofEngland Society.
III. That this Church Missionary Society tends to the subversion of ecclesiastical order; and to promote and augment divisions among the members, and especially the clergy of the Church of England; being plainly supported in conformity to the views of a NEW SECT in the Church: a sect, of which the adherents distinguish themselves by the names of serious Christians, and evangelical ministers.
IV. That the formation of a branch of this Church Missionary Society, in this city, will be pernicious; because it will promote religious feuds here, as similar speculations have done in other places.-Of each of these in their order.
1. I said that this institution was originally unnecessary: -The Incorporated Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts has been in existence and in usefulness, but, though a Church-of-England Society, little encouraged, more than a hundred years. It is probable that many of this auditory, in all respects qualified to be members of that Society, never heard of its name. To them I take leave to recommend it, not as a new project, but as an established and orderly system. And certainly the zeal and the liberality of members of the Church of England, would be more consistently employed in the support of that, than in the formation of any new Society.
2. I said that I considered some of the rules and regulations of this Church Missionary Society, and especially the means which it employs to increase its funds, to be utterly unworthy of the name which it would assume; viz. that of
a Church of England Society. For example-Is it worthy of the Church of England, is it worthy of the members of the Church of England, to authorise persons to go about, collecting pence and farthings from servants, school boys, and apprentices, in order that the collectors of one shilling per week, or five shillings per month, may be elevated into members-of a Church of England Society? And, moreover, be tempted to the additional honor of voting at meetings, of receiving copies of the Annual Report and Sermon, and one number of the Missionary Register? This is the statement in Rule VI. of your Report: but I proceed to other matter.
3. I said that this Society tends to the subversion of ecclesiastical order; and to promote and augment divisions among the members, and especially the Clergy of the Church of England. Can a stronger proof of this assertion be offered than is, at this moment, exhibited before your eyes? Here you have the Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of Gloucester presiding in the chief city of the diocese of Bath and Wells, over the formation of a Society, which the Lord Bishop of Bath and Wells DISCLAIMS. Does the Honor able and Right Reverend Vice Patron of this Church-ofEngland Missionary Society know this fact? If not, by what rule, not of Apostolical authority, but of common propriety, does he invade the province of his venerable brother? By what right does he come hither, thrusting his sickle into another man's harvest? Perhaps he thought the husbandmen asleep! I trust that he will find us waking and watchful. But if his Lordship did know the sentiments of his venerable Diocesan as well as mine, (for the Dean of Wells is as much under canonical rule as any other clergyman) I ask, if his Lordship did know the sentiments of his venerable Diocesan as well as mine, could he give a more decisive proof of his indifference to the dignity of