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now acquiring those principles of religion, and those habits of industry, which, if they are careful to preserve them, will ensure their happiness in this world, and in the world to come.
And may God Almighty, of his infinite goodness, so rule their wills and affections, so put into their minds good de sires, that, by his continual help, they may bring the same to good effect, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
An Address to the Members of the Senate of the University of Cambridge, occasioned by the Proposal to introduce in that Place an Auxiliary Bible Society.
W e have at present two very extensive Bible Societies, the one founded in 1699, the other in 1804. Both of our Archbishops and all our Bishops (with the Prince Regent at the head) are members of the former : neither of the two Archbishops, and only a small proportion of the Bishops are members of the latter. The members of the former, now amounting to about five thousand, are exclusively Churchmen, no one being admitted to it without testimony of his attachment to the Constitution, as well in Church as in State. The members of the latter are much more numerous, than those of the former, but they consist of Churchmen and Dissenters indiscriminately. The two Societies agree in the very laudable object of distributing Bibles, both at home and abroad, though the number of Bibles distributed by the latter, especially abroad, greatly exceeds the number distributed by the former. For not only are the funds of the latter much superior to those of the former, but those funds are employed in the distribution of Bibles only, whereas the funds of the former are employed partly on Bibles, partly on Prayer-Books, and partly on Religious
Tracts, which are in unison with the doctrine and discipline of the Established Church.
From this short statement it appears, that the former, or the ancient Society, is not only a Bible Society, but likewise (what the other is not) a Church-of-England Society. With the former it is an invariable rule, in promoting Christian Knowledge, to keep in view the doctrines, which the members of the Society believe and maintain. Especially, where the Church of England is established, they consider it as their duty to promote Christianity, not under any form, but under that particular form, which, above every other, they are pledged to support, which alone is the tenure of ecclesiastical and even of civil preferment. In conformity with that rule, the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge (the ancient Bible Society) distributes, in its home circulation, as well the Liturgy as the Bible : for though, in the spirit of true Protestantism; it acknowledges the Bible as the only fountain of religious truth, yet, it knows, from the experience of all ages, that the waters of that fountain will be clear or turbid, according to the channel into which they are drawn. And as the members of the Society believe (though without reproach to those whose belief is different) that the doctrines of the Liturgy are correctly derived from the Bible, they consider it as their indispensable duty to unite the one with the other. Indeed, uniformity of doctrine can never be produced without an adherence to this rule ; for every Christian party either finds, or supposes. that it finds, its peculiar doctrines in the Bible. But this salutary rule, so necessary to promote uniformity, so desirable therefore by every true Churchman, cannot be observed by the modern Bible Society ; for such a rule would not only be contrary to its present avowed object, but absolutely inadmissible from the very constitution of the Society. For it not only consists of Dissenters as well as of Churchmen!