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the high office, to which he has been but a few years consecrated, as well as of his contempt of ecclesiastical order?
BUT THIS IS A CHURCH OF ENGLAND SOCIETY!! Where are the majority of the Established Clergy of this city, and of the neighbourhood, that they attend not to support a meeting, convened under that assumption? Did they not hear of it? Was it possible for them not to hear of it? Did not the newspapers announce, not only the public meeting of this Society, but that, to promote the views of this Institution a Sermon would be preached by the Hon. and Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of Gloucester, at the Octagon Chapel? (I quote the very words of the advertisement.) I ask again, where are the majority of the Established Clergy of this city and neighbourhood, that they attend not to support this Church-of-England Society? Perhaps it may be said that the Archdeacon influenced their minds. The Archdeacon solemnly declares, that he has not communicated, nor authorised any person to communicate, to any one of them his intention to be here..
But I have said, that this Church Missionary Society is 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. I go further. That this Society is in any respect calculated to promote the sober, orderly, manly, intelligent, and intelligible piety of the Church of England, I do utterly deny. I look at the names of the prime and principal promoters of this project; names, I allow, of the highest respectability on many accounts, but certainly of very little weight in the balance of the Church of England; since some of the parties, to whom. those names belong, have not scrupled to communicate with those, who renounce her doctrines and discipline.
Do not imagine that I mean to speak with disrespect
of Conscientious Dissenters. I quarrel with no man for his religious creed. I love honesty, though I may think it perverse. I venerate Piety, though I may think it erroneous. But those respectable dissenters do not halt between two opinions; they are not of the Church to-day, and of the Meeting-house to-morrow; and we know their meaning. But do the ministers of any dissenting community go about proclaiming the insufficiency, the worldlymindedness, and the want of gospel-zeal in their own brethren? Does any party of ministers, in any communion among them, assume to itself all the piety and all the virtues of their common function? or look down with supercilious horror on their less assuming brethren? Does, any minister among the dissenters, intrude upon the charge of a brother minister, not only without leave, but in defiance of all denial? No.-These are perfections of religious zeal, peculiar to certain elect persons, who have set. up this, and some other institutions, calling themselves Serious Christians, and Evangelical Ministers.
Serious Christians! What? Is no man in earnest repecting the mercies of God in the redemption of mankind? is no man serious in his faith, and earnest in his religious. and moral duties? has no man a regard for the salvation of souls, except this PARTY?
Evangelical Ministers too! Why more evangelical than their brethren--who have received the same Apostolical ordination; profess the same faith; have taken the same oaths; use the same form of sound words in the services of the same Church; and exercise the same priesthood at the same altar? I speak to members of the Church of England, (for such by the title of the meeting I may fairly conclude all present to be :) and I ask, in what sense, but as the Shibboleth of a Party, this exclusive title of Evangelical can be assumed by ministers of the Church of Eng
land over their brethren? over men, in every respect, whether of piety, of morals, or of learning, at least, their equals? I ask, why I cease to be a true minister of the gospel, because I disdain to join a Sect, whose disorderly proceedings I disapprove.
Respecting this Church-of-England Missionary Society, I beg leave to call the attention of the meeting, to two extraordinary circumstances :-First, that on looking over the list of vice-patrons, I see the names of only two Bishops; one, The Hon. and Right Rev. prelate here present; the other, The Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of Norwich! Now, if this Society were founded on principles so firm and so evangelical, by what fatality did it happen that the other.
bishops did not join it at first? Nay, how comes it to pass, that they have not come in on conviction? I can readily account for the reluctance of a man to tread back the hollow and rotten ground over which he has travelled : but this reluctance to set foot on firm ground; on the ground of the Church of England! this is a mystery too deep for me to fathom.
Secondly, The next extraordinary circumstance is, that among the list of High Persons on THE REPORT of this Church-of-England Missionary Society for THE EAST, I see not the name of the only person, who can give either order or consistency to their proceedings in that quarter of the globe. I mean the truly learned and sound BISHOP OF CALCUTTA. What! was that great man solicited to take under his care and controul-which, as the Hon. and Right Rev. Vice-Patron knows, the Church of England would demand-was that great man solicited to take under his care and controul the pious missionaries, who should be sent into his diocese from this Society;—and did he re- ́ fuse to receive them? Or, did the steady adherents to the Church of England, who projected this Society, never
apply to his Lordship for that purpose? I profess myself utterly ignorant on both these questions. But of this I am certain, viz.-that "the concerns of the society in the north of India" are stated in the report under the article MISSIONS, to be under no other authority or controul, than "the management of a Corresponding Committee." A Church of England Missionary Society, under the MANAGEMENT (that is the word) of a CORRESPONDING COMMITTEE! I have indeed heard, but I will not assert it as a fact, a circumstance that would solve these difficulties; to wit, that the leading persons of the London Missionary Society, which consists of persons of all kinds of religious persuasions, are on the best of terms with the leading persons of the Church Missionary Society for Africa and the East. This circumstance, if true, would also account for other circumstances in the history of restless and disorderly pietists, compassing sea and land to gain proselytes; and disturbing their own country with religious contention.
4. I now proceed to the last consideration, viz. That the formation of a Branch Society in this place, would be pernicious.
The peace of the city is hardly yet restored, from the confusion occasioned by a religious feud; in which (where the blame lay is no question at present) but in which, the Rector was not only insulted, grossly insulted, in the performance of his duty, in his own parish-church; but was compelled to resort to the police-officers to protect him from personal outrage. For my part, I declare my opinion, that if you proceed to gratify the same PARTY, who generated that feud, with the triumph of a Church Missionary Society, in the futherance of which that party is chiefly interested, and they too are members of the Church, you will renew the
feuds, which may otherwise sink into oblivion; and will render Bath, like a neighbouring city, a hot-bed of Heresy
and Schism. And sure I am, that the mischiefs which you will occasion at home, will never be compensated by any good that a Society, so formed and managed, can do abroad.
Permit me here to observe, that if any person supposes me to be hostile to the professed object of this Church Missionary Society, viz. the universal diffusion of the knowledge of the mercies of God in Christ Jesus; he totally mistakes both my principles and my character. The professed object of this Society is, I trust, as dear to my heart, as it is to the most zealous of your members; as it is to the Honorable and Right Reverend Vice-patron himself. But that grand purpose will never be furthered, much less accomplished, by such means, as are offered or afforded, by an irregular association like this: an association of a character so equivocal, that had not the Lords Bishops of Gloucester and of Norwich honored it with their exemplary names, it might as well be supposed a Church-ofRome Society, or a Scottish Kirk-Society, or a Swedenborgian Church Society, as to pertain to the Church of England. No-The conversion of the heathen to the faith of the Son of God, must be founded, as at the beginning, on a system of ORDER and of UNION; ministered by men. duly qualified, and orderly consecrated to their holy office. On such a system, and on such men alone, can the Grace of the Eternal Spirit, the God of ORDER and of UNITY, and not of confusion, be reasonably expected to descend. The ground-work, and little more than the ground-work, of such a system is now laid in the East, founded on a regular apostolical commission, under the superintendance of a sound apostolical Bishop. But with neither of these, it seems, does this Church Missionary Society hold communion! But, whether that be the fact or not, I call on you,