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AN ADDRESS delivered at the Second An
niversary of the BLOOMSBURY and South PANCRAS AUXILIARY BRITISH and FoREIGN BIBLE SOCIETY, · February 27, 1815.
I am sure every one must participate in my feelings in rising after what you have already heard. No one can hope to add any thing to the impression which has been made : it only remains for him not to lessen the effect which he cannot produce. And indeed, I must confess I rejoice in witnessing the emotions which are excited on this occasion, because I have always thought that the simple and high cause of the British and Foreign Bible Society, calls not so much for argument as feeling, and appeals rather to the kindling energies of a pious mind, than to the cold deductions of a tame and distrustful prudence. For who can justly appreciate the sacred Volume of Inspiration, or feel aright the obligations under which we lie to that God who has blessed us with the gift, and not employ every legitimate effort to disseminate it throughout the earth? It really, Sir, does surprise me, the more I consider the subject, that in this Protestant country, any se rious objection should be made to the peaceful union of Christians for such a cause as this. And yet, objections are stated and circulated with so much of misrepresentation and confidence, that it may perhaps be allowed to me, as a Secretary of this Auxiliary Society, to notice slightly one or two points.
If I am asked, then, on what principle, as a clergyman of the Church of England, I unite-in this Society with Christians who are separated from her communion, my reply is, that the Holy Scriptures is common ground which all Christians may fairly occupy.
If indeed I were a member of the Church of Rome, which maintains that there is no salvation out of her own communion, and condemns without discrimination to eternal punishment those whom she brands as heretics, I might hesitate even on so simple a subject as this. But, Sir, I profess myself a member of the Protestant Church of England, which has seceded from that apostate body, and seceded upon this principle, amongst others, that the Bible alone is the fountain of authority and truth. I belong to a church which, whilst it adheres to its own reformed apostolical discipline, admits all those other