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Bible was still prohibited to the Catholics? Being convinced thereby, that you was mindful even of the poor Catholics, I was particularly moved and edified; for indeed nothing is more affecting than that love which embraces all, without the least distinction; for "God is love; and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him." I felt myself, therefore, constrained to thank you in the name of all honest and well-disposed Catholics, for these your fraternal sentiments.
In answer to your question, I observe, properly speaking, the Bible has never been entirely prohibited to the Catholics. The Council of Trent only states, — Indiscriminata lectio Sacre Scripturæ interdicta est. Well-informed Catholics took this always in that sense only: that not all books of the Bible, promiscuously, should be put into the hands of the common people; referring chiefly to some books of the Old Testament. Besides, this prohibition of the Council of Trent has never been admitted as binding by the whole body of the Roman Catholic clergy in Germany; but so much is true, that all blind bigots of our church have always spread the opinion, that it was entirely forbidden for all laymen to read the Bible: and this prejudice is, alas! still deeply prevalent among the greater part of the people. There are, however, at present, many of our clergymen, both in Swabia and Bavaria, who strongly recommended the reading of the Bible, chiefly of the New Testament; and do every thing in their power to promote it. I have, for my own part, distributed many New Testaments, and some Bibles, among better enlightened Catholics; and several of my dear brethren in Christ do the same.
We are, however, not able to satisfy all the demands for Bibles,
Ist, Because there is not any cheap Catholic edition of the Bible to be got; whilst our situation renders it exceed ingly difficult to distribute Protestant editions,
would tolerate but commend the reading of it.
I feel a very great desire to witness the formation of a similar Bible Society amongst the Roman Catholics; and, indeed, I will make some attempts, though I foresee many difficulties; and can hardly suppose that so many active and benevolent friends of the Bible are to be found amongst the Roman Catholics as would be requisite for such an undertaking. Your question, however, respecting the Catholics, inspiras me with the hope, that your Society is desirous to extend its beneficial induence likewise to the Catholics, wishing only to know, whether a dispersion of Bibles amongst them would be practicable?—and, indeed, it would not only be practicable, but desirable in the highest degree. Let me, however, candidly observe, that a Protestant edition of the Bible would hardly be suffered to have its free course, after all I know of the minds of most of the Catholie people and clergy. It ought, therefore, to be either a Catholic edition of the Bible; or, if a Protestant, it ought to have the same appearance as if printed in a Catholic town; for instance, the books of the Bible ought to be placed in an order different from that which is generally adopted in Protestant Bibles.
adly, Because the property of individuals is not sufficient for such an undertaking, there being so many poor people who cannot purchase a Bible at all. Should an institution be established amongst us, upon your plan, I am sure we could dispose of a good number of Bibles and New Testaments. The people seem to get more and more desirous of the Bible; and the number of clergymen is increasing, who not only
Now, I beg you, my dear brother in Christ, to receive these few lines in love. I wrote this, trusting it might be acceptable to your venerable Society. I cannot express, in terms sufficiently strong, the fervency of my joy and love towards all who, throughout England, heartily believe in Jesus Christ as their only Saviour, and zealously endeavour to extend the Redeemer's kingdom. I embrace them all as the beloved and elect of God, as friends and brethren in Christ, let them be of whatever name, or belong to whatever church or denomination. The more distant the countries, and the more different the outward forms and establishments are, the more I rejoice, if I am privileged, to hear that our ever-faithful Lord and Saviour is gathering from amongst them a flock of believing people. Truly, God has a numerous army of reserve in England, who do not bow before the Baal of the age, nor sacrifice to the idol of the times. Let all who know his name, glorify him for this mercy! May the peace of God, and the all-suf ficient grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all!
SINCE the introduction of sin into our world, the mind of man has not only been liable to error, but to the most awfel extremes. At one time it is impelled by sceptical principles to deny the most evident truths; and then, by the induence of a strange credulity, it receives, as infallibly true, the most absurd an i unseripturai notions.
I have been led to these remarks, Mr. Editor, by the appearance of a new sect, and the busile they have made in he neighbourhood of London. The place where these people meet, being crowded to an unusual decree, even on nights when the darkness and rain, one might have thought, would even have put Curiosity and the Love of Novelty at defiance. I was half-inclined to have gone myself, and satisfied my mind as
to the truth or untruth of the varicus and strange reports which, from time to time, were brought me, of the extravagant absurdity and bold impiety of the propagators of this new system. Thinking, however, that my presence might help to sanction the imposture, I refrained; and, instead of this, procured the principal pauphlets they have published; and beg leave to give you an outline of the business:
There are several actors in this religious farce: Joanna Southcott, formerly of Exeter, has been longest known, and constitutes the prominent figure in this groupe. She avows herself a Prophetess; and professes to have frequent revelations from Heaven, as to what shall befall both the church and the nation.
The next is Joseph Prescott, an ignorant but artful lad, who professes to see visions, and hear audible voices speaking to him from God. Some of his visions he has himself drawn, and never was learnt the art of drawing. It is affirmed by his adherents, that he received this gift by immediate inspiration of God.
The next individnal in this worthy phalanx is Mr. Elias Carpenter, in whose house, at the Neckinger, Joseph Prescott, the young visionary, resides; and where most of the visions are said to have been received; and where representations of them are to be seen. It appears they have been inspected by many thousands of people. Mr. Carpenter is both an advocate for, and
an expositor of, the revelations of Joanna Southcott, and the visions of Joseph Prescott; and he has adopted several ways of endeavouring to make proselytes to the reveries of the supposed messengers of Heaven: First, By writing; secondly, By public lecturing on Lord's Day and Thursday evenings; and that to very crowded congregations; - Fastly, By private exhibitions of the pictures, &c.; on which occasions, it seems, Miss Carpenter also takes a cheerful and an active part; and discovers no mean talent in carrying on the farce.
But the most singular trait in this business is yet to be told, namely, that there are three clergymen, who have not only expressed their conviction of the truth and importance of what I cannot but call these awful delusions, but they have signed a public testimony to this effect; and published it to the world in the most grave and solemn manner. The reader will, no doubt, be surprized to be informed that these three gentlemen, Messrs. F. B. and W. however, still continue their connection and communion with the Church of England, of which they are ministers. It is equally true as well as strange, that these three divines have obtained, both from Joanna Southcott and Elias Carpenter, the appellation of the three' witnesses, in direct allusion to 1 John v. 8.
But the reader, it may be, wishes to know what is the import of the revelations and visions which these deluded persons are broaching, as communicated from Heaven to them. It comprehends, as far as the writer can judge (by such of their publications as he has seen) a heterogeneous and confused mass of materials; one branch of which is nonsensical rhapsodies; and the other is prophane, I had almost said blasphemHere and there a Scripture-truth is intervowen; but, in general, either so mutilated, or so intermixed, that you scarce know it.
Among the worst parts of this gross imposition upon the credulity of the present generation, I select the following: - On the part of Joanna it is gravely affirmed, that she is "the bride, the Lamb's wife;" that she is also "the woman clothed with the Sun," &c. in Rev. xii. 1, &c.: and her good friend and ally, Elias Carpenter, occupies six pages of his publication in attempting
to prove his point, and running the parallel between that passage and Joanna Southcott. This immaculate lady also claims the power and privilege of sealing those who are to escape the judg ments which God has shewed her are speedily coming on the world; and which will inevitably fall upon those who reject and despise her testimony. Having obtained one of the seals which she gives to her disciples, I can describe it: The one I have consists of half a sheet of common writing-paper; on one side is an oval line, made seemingly with a pen, in which was inscribed the name of the person supposed to be sealed. In one quarter of the opposite side is written,-"The sealed of the Lord, the elect precious. - Man's redemption to inherit the tree of life.To be made heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. May 21, 1803. JOANNA SOUTHCOTT." It is then folded up, and directed in the name of the person sealed. It was originally sealed with two seals; the impression of one of these is J. C. and two stars; the other is so broken, in opening the paper, as not to be legible: it looks as if there had been a lion and a C. There are no less than three hand-writings. The mutilated texts of Scripture are written in one hand, the date of the paper by another, and the whole is subscribed by Joanna herself; at least I think so, having seen her hand-writing before.
and hear the oddities of Mess. Joseph," Elias, and Joanna; and it is said, that' this trio boast of from 20 to 30,000 disciples!
Whether this be true or not, the writer cannot but regret any persons should swallow such palpable absurdities and impositions, which are opposite both to the letter and spirit of divine revelation. Weighed in this righteous balance, the visions and revelations of these misguided enthusiasts are lighter than vanity what one apostle would call cunningly devised fables; and what another would not scruple to name strong delusions. J. T.
The Bristol Education Society
HELD their annual meeting, Aug. 1, 1804, when a sermon was preached by the Rev. Js. Dore, A. M. from Prov. xvi. 23.
At this meeting it was stated by Mr. Coles, that the academy at Bristol has hitherto been the only public institution of the kind among the Baptists - that the young men educated there bear no due proportion to the number of Bap tist churches in this kingdom, which are little short of 400 that it seems indispensably necessary to increase the number of students, and that, consequently, a suitable addition to their resources will be required.
But let me extract a point or two from the visions of Joseph Prescott: In one of these he reports he saw a crown; for a while, he doubted what it was; but, at last, he heard a voice saying, "Tell my servant to style it a crown; for it is a representation of the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”—Mr. Carpenter also assures us, that Joseph Prescott saw "a representation of the ascension of the spirit of a departed friend: he saw it precisely three days after the decease; and it was accompanied with these words: "That as Christ was three days in the grave before his resurrection, so is every believer that dies, three days before his ascension to glory."
I think I have given enough to the reader as a specimen of the revelations and visions of those unhappy and deluded persons who are led astray by the wildness and irregularity of their own imagination; and have the impudence and wickedness to say, "Thus saith the Lord;" and yet such is the rage for novelty, such is the rage for nonsense and for the marvellous, that numbers flocked from all parts to see
The Society also resolved to look out for ground, on which to erect a new building for the academy, in a more eligible and healthy situation than the present, and adapted to the reception of more students. A subscription for this purpose was immediately commenced, amounting to about 400l.
It was likewise recommended to the Baptist churches to subscribe an annual sum, for the support of the seminary, in their collective capacity, as many persons may be found who will cheerfully contribute smaller sums, tho' unable to subscribe a guinea.
A circular address was also agreed upon, to be transmitted to ministers and gentlemen, with a request that they would not only receive subscriptions, but use their utmost exertions in promoting the important objects of this Society. To this address are subjoined the names of Baptist ministers in the principal country towns, and the names. of the Rev. Messrs. Dore, Coxhead, and Gray, in London.
We are happy to hear that a Society, called the Schoolmasters' Union, has lately been formed for the benefit of Schoolmasters of all denominations,
when rendered incapable, by age or infirmity, of following their professions ; which is supported by the voluntary contributions of the friends of religion, as well as the subscriptions of its meanbers. We heartily wish it success, being fully convinced of the absolute necessity of such an institution.
July 26, 1804. The Rev. Geo. Pritchard was ordained Pastor of the Baptist Church at Colchester, Essex, late under the pastoral care of Mr. Thomas Stevens. Mr. Geo. Hall, of Ipswich, asked the usual questions, &c.; Mr. J. Martin, of London, gave the charge from 2 Cor. iii. 5; Mr. J. Upton (also of London) addressed the church from Heb. xii. 20-22.
Oct. 2. The Associated Ministers and their friends met at St. Columb, when the Rev. Mr. Wildbore preached in the morning, and Mr. Cope, of Langeeston, in the evening. On the preceding evening Mr. M'All, of St. Ives, preached. The largest congregations ever seen in that part of the country attende i on this occasion; the number of ministers aud religious friends from different parts was very great; and the prospects of future openings for the spread of the gospel, afforded much satisfaction.
Oct. 24. The Rev. John Styles was ordained Pastor over the recently formed church at West Cowes, in the Isle of Wight. Mr. Tyreman, of Newport, introduced the service by prayer and reading; Mr. Winter, of Newport, defivered an introductory discourse; Mr. Bogue, of Gosport, offered up the ordination prayer with imposition of hands; Mr. Bennet, of Romsey, gave the charge; Mr. Adams, of Winchester, offered up the intercessory prayer; Mr. Kingsbury, of Southampton, preached to the people; and Mr. Sedcole, of Swanage, concluded. The preceding evening, Mr. Loader, of Ford ng Bridge, preached; and the following evening Mr. Bogue, of Gosport; Messrs. James, Davies, Cox, and Scamp, engaged in prayer.
Oct. 25. Mr. Tyso was ordained to the Pastoral Office over a newly-formed Baptist church at Helston, Cornwall. Mr. Opie Smith, of Bath, introduced the service with reading and prayer; Mr. Birt, of Plymouth Dock, delivered the introductory address, &c.; and after Mr. Rowe, of Rednuth, had offered up the ordination prayer, Mr. Birt gave the charge from 1 Tim. iii. 15; after which ir. Redding, of Truro, preached to the people from Phil. ii. 14, 16; Mr. Saunders, of Penzance, conclud
ed; Mr. Griffin, of Falmouth, preached in the evening from John xvii. 24. Nov. 14. The Dorset independent ministers held their half-yearly meeting at Sherborne, when the new chapel, lately built there, was opened.Mr. Sedcole began by prayer and reading the Scriptures; Mr. Higgs delivered an appropriate discourse; Mess. Keynes and Grey exercised in prayer. In the afternoon, while the ministers of the county attended to the basess of the teraney, Mr. Pittard prenched; Mess. Jones and terdemompragelį Mr.Cracknell preached in the evening; Messrs. Vickery, Martin, and "bron, envared in conducting the devotional pares of the service of the eve... Tue pros pect is more pleasing in thus town then for many years past.
Nov. 14. The Annual Sermon for the Benefit of the Society for Religious Knowledge among "ne was preached at Broad Street, by the Rev. John Kello, from Join ÷ after which a collection was made i aid of the charity, as usual.
Nov. 15, was opened a small chanel at Haslemere in Surry, where the gospel was introduced by the late Rev. 2.`yre, and has since been principally supported by the Village itinerancy and the Surry Mission. Some good has been done to adults; and about 130 children are instructed. The ministers engazed on the above service were Messrs. Collison, Grithin, Wells, Tracy, Exalt, and Gray; the three former of who.......preached, and the others engaged in prayer.
Now 21. The Rev. John Knight was publicly set apart to the pastoral lice over the church of Christ at nder's End. Mr. Brookshank began with prase er, &c.; Mr. Thomas, of End, delivered the introductory discourse; Mr. Ford prayed; Mr. Barber preacued from Acts xvii. 9; and Mr. Burder concluded.
Dec. 12. A small decent place, erected for divine worship in the parish of Barton St. David, Somersetshire, opened. Messrs. Evans, Cox, ilerasman, Gale, aul Reynolds, prayed. In the morning Mr. Herdsm in preached on Rev. ii. 7. The afternoon Mr. In Evans, of Wells, on Isa. Ivi. 7. the evening, Mr. Cox, of Horsington, on 1 Sam. vii, 12. (“Ebenezer ') The gospel was preached in this dark paysh in 1773 by the students of Lady Huntingdon. Many of the first fruits of their labours are fallen asleep in Jesus. Ever since, divine worship has been kept up
in private houses. The labours of Mr. Reynolds, a gentleman of CharltonAdam,have been mu h blessed within a few years past. The dwelling-house being now far too small, the people subscribed cheerfully, and have raised a place for God, almost solely by their own exertions.
Dec. 18. A new meeting-house was opened at Thatcham, near Newbury.The place was much crowded, and the preachers were, Mr. Elliott, of Devizes, in the morning, and Mr. Cook, of Maidenhead, in the evening; and the ministers who otherwise engaged were from Reading, Wallingford, Goring, Hungerford, and Newbury.
place the gospel is to be preached to the poor, and probably to the poor only.
Dec. 20. A new place of worship in Wilson Street, near Finsbury Square, was opened for the use of the congregation under the care of the Rev. Charles Buck, their former chapel in Princes Street having been pulled down to make room for some public improvements.Three sermons were preached in the course of the day by the Rev. Messrs. Moody, Thorpe, and Burder; the Rev. Messrs. Wilks, Stollery, Brooksbank, Jones, and Ball, engaged in prayer.
Nov. 25. Two charity sermons were preached for that truly benevolent institution, the Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb, by the Rev. B. Wood, at Benfinck Chapel, Paddington, when collections were made, amounting to sool. and new annual subscriptions of 401. Since the establishment of this Asytum in 1792, there have been received into it -6 boys and 24 girls, together 100; of which number 13 girls and 31
Feb. 13, W.
Mar. 12, Tu. April 16, Tu. May 14, Tu.
June 13, Th. July 17, W. Aug. 13. Tu. Sept. 1, Tu. Oct. 15, Tu.
boys have left it, greatly benefited, and are now filling useful stations in society, as mechanics, or servants, &c.Three or four have been discharged for want of intelleet; about ity are now under tuition; and nearly ico are anxiously waiting for admission. The annual expenditure for the number at prcsent on the foundation, is necessarily very considerable, as they are boarded and educated at the expence of the institution. They are taught to speak and read articulately; to write, to cypher, to understand what is spoken or written to them; and to convey their own ideas with satisfactory readiness and precision. The time required to give them a competent education is five years. -"Though the number of pupils has been gradually augmented from six to near fifty, it is stated with deep concern, that at every election the nnmber of candidates nearly ten times exceeds the umber of vacancies - only for want of more ample funds; for the plan itself is limited to no number, denomination, or district within the British dominions." We are happy to add, evidence has appeared that several of the pupils have not only been rendered useful members of society, but, by divine grace, truly serious Christians.
Mr. Kicherer, and the Hottentots, when in London, were remarkably anx ious for the liberation of some pious Dutch fishermen, who had been taken prisoners, and were confined at Chatham. We have the pleasure to learn that they have at length obtainnd their liberty, and have returned home to their respective families.
Bristol Monthly Lecture, 1805.
Castle Green. Broadmead.
Bridge Street. The Pithay. Tabernacle. Castle Green. Broadmead. Bridge Street. Nov. 14, Th. The Pithay.
Dec. 10, Tu. Castle Green.