« VorigeDoorgaan »
racter of a patentee, who really understood his position, could be prevailed upon to accept such a monopoly?"
Mr. Spottiswoode, the Queen's printer, bas published a letter in the Times newspaper in reply to Jethro, in which he says that his facts and figures are singularly incorrect ; that the English Bible, for its size, is the cheapest book extant ; that the profits on it are very small; that the greater part of the money paid for it is laid out in paper and wages; that Mr. Campbell's object is to form a new Bible Society (which be avows), and to collect a “ rent,” which we suppose he would deny. With all this we have little to do; we do not admit Mr. Spottiswoode's evidence in the matter—though we have no reason to question its truth--but our argument is, that there is no monopoly; and that between his establishment and the two universities, the public have the substantial benefits of rivalry without some of its usual evils. But what we have to remark is, that at present, right or wrong, the printing of Bibles is confined by the law of the land to these sources; so that to infringe the patent is law-breaking and robbery. Dr. Pye Smith, judging of all his brethren by his own feelings of justice, denies that any of the Dissenters wish to carry their objects otherwise than by“ peaceable” and
equitable” measures; but the same anti-christian spirit which prompted the “passive resistance " of refusing to obey the law of the land in paying churchrates, is ready to break out wherever the agitators have a point to carry. No Chartist, no Socialist, has written more strongly in opposition to the command of Christ and his Apostles to obey the powers that be, and to render tribute to Cæsar, than does this Jethro of the Tabernacle. He urges the breach of the law of the land; he tells the multitude to prove itself strong enough to trample on it; and then legislation, patents, and parchments, will prove but rotten withes to bind the many-headed Samson. As for what shew of argument lurks under his violent words and unscriptural suggestions, we boldly meet him, and are quite willing that Dr. Smith shall be the umpire between us. We assert that even if it were true that the restrictions to certain presses is a tax on Bibles,-as he falsely alleges,—yet even then the tax-unjustifiable as it would be-ought to be paid till he can succeed in getting it legally abolished. This new system of altering laws by breaking them with tumultuous violence, is a trick which was never learned in the Bible; and if the great body of teachers of Dissenting Sunday schools do not unequivocally express their abhorrence of the advice thus tendered to them, they will prove themselves very strange instructors of youth in the principles of the Gospel. But we do not believe that as a body they will listen to such frantic ravings.- Now for a specimen. As for Mr. O'Connell he is but a whipster in inculcating the ways and means of law-breaking beside the magnanimous Jethro.
“Sunday-school Teachers of England ! In drawing to a close, let us now en. deavour to give the whole matter a definite aspect, and a practical bearing. If you ask us what ought to be done, we will frankly tell you what, in our judgment, ought not to be done."
“ You ought not to rest in quiet apathy, looking for others to plead your cause. There was a point in the heathen adage, • The gods help those who help themselves.'
Awake, brethren ; throw off at once, and for ever, the drowsy spirit of a crouching and slavish dependence, which the genius of patronage has widely diffused over all the land. Remember you are men-Englishmen, too_Constitutional freemen! Have you forgotten your numbers ? What are they ? Last year was not the estimated total of the teachers of the United Kingdom one hundred and seventy-three thousand, five hundied and thirty-three? Have not a multitude so vast-taken as a whole, of such intelligence, character,
connexions, with such motives and objects—a voice of power sufficient to make itself heard and respected from the throne outwards to the extremities of the empire? Who are your clients? More than two millions of blooming youth, the flower of our families and the hope of our country! Arise, then, for you are well able, and plead your own cause !
“1. Petition the patentees for a supply of Bibles for Sunday and all other schools, at the same rate as you recently received them from the Bible Society. [This is a lawful but preposterous request; for how can the patentees be expected to give away such enormous sums ?]
"2. Import the two sizes, the Bible and Testament, from Edinburgh. The late monopolists there will most cheerfully supply you on the terms already men. tioned. [This the author knows and avows to be illegal; but he defies law to cope with the physical force of two million law-breakers ?] But you say, the English patentee will oppose. Will he set himself against 2,000,000 of Sunday scholars ? Try. But if you wish a still cheaper market,
“3. Import from the New Scottish Board for Cheap Bible Circulation, the institution created by Dr. Thomson. It has yet to be shown that the English patentee can arrest the process. If he should, the very attempt will be death to his monopoly:
“4. Print for yourselves. Every Sunday-school Union in England ought to have and to exercise the right to print its own Bibles and Testaments, as well as its own Hymn-Books. This would be found one of the most easily practicable projects imaginable. If they were to move against you, and in virtue of the terms of the patent, 10 succeed, their days are numbered ! The instant the in. junction issues, the war begins. From the Grampians to Snowdon the cry will be heard echoing and re-echoing from vale to vale, and the beacon-fires will blaze on every hill! Nothing more will be required to arouse the lion of Old England; and amid the thunders of his first roar, the famine-foes of England's children will expire!
* Teachers, any of these methods will be productive of great good to you and your schools. Our notions of the degrees of their worth, respectively, are indi. cated by their numerical position. The third is excellent; the fourth is superlative."
That is, the excellence is in proportion to the daringness of the illegality. We have extracted only scraps, but there are two newspaper columns in the same style ; for which the patentees may probably indict the parties for a conspiracy to rob them by violence of their legal property. If any thing would perpetuate the present system (right or wrong) by acclamation among English gentlemen, it would be this base radical law-breaking Dissenting violence. If it does for “ the Tabernacle”—though we should hope it does not,-it will be met only with scorn and abhorrence elsewhere.
Postcript.-Since writing the above, we have seen a Glasgow Testament licensed by the new Board. The Contents of the Chapters are ewly-modelled after the editor or printer's own fashion. The Italics must call down the displeasure of our correspondent Scotus, who will find that throwing open the printing has not furthered his views. We have not had time to collate the readings, &c. ; but we are struck at the first glance with the new and fanciful system-or rather caricature-of punctuation which deforms the book, and is a very serious evil. Thus on opening at the very first page, we find, from verse 2 to the end of verse 11 of Matthew i. no stop but a comma. The heads of genealogy (which are usually separated by a semicolon, as the sense indispensably requires, they being separate announcements,) are here run with commas only; so that no human organs could read, or ears endure, the verses as they are printed—ten verses in a breath! But this is not the worst. We open for example upon Jude v. 9, where we find the words “he disputed about the body of Moses,” placed in a parenthesis; which mutilates the inspired text; throwing an essential portion of it into an incidental remark, and
with a sort of “knowing” flippancy; for the parenthesis gives the effect of "by the bye, he was disputing about the body of Moses," whereas there was no“ by the bye" in the matter–for the words are a direct portion of the narrative. — Thus every printer in Scotland is to be his own Bible-monger by license, and “in terms of her Majesty's patent.” The parenthesis is a comment, and a bad one. There is no security that any two Scotch editions, except from plates, will be uniform! and besides errors from carelessness and parsimony, there will be innumerable new crops of editorial fancies ! Scotland ought to have been too canny to have allowed itself to be exposed to this direful mischief. We have not said so much of the agents in the “ agitationing scheme” as we ought to have done. Mr. Child is the well-known Radical anti-church-rate printer of Bungay, to promote the sale of whose plates, himself, Dr. A. Thomson of Coldstream, and“ Mr. Campbell of the Tabernacle,” (whose notoriety at the Police Office, in the “ Tabernacle " agitation, is not forgotten) are stimulating this pelfish attack upon the English Universities. Mr. Thomson says, in his .“ Proposal,” that it was " by the Dissenters” that the battle was fought and won in Scotland ; and that he had been “led to think of devising some scheme by which, if possible, the rights of Dissenters might be upheld," and he requests “each Dissenting congregation" to raise a rent to be committed to a Board which “shall have the entire control of the funds to be raised.” This Board is not to publish “ without note or comment;" for Dr. Thomson had already forthcoming the stereotype plates for a “Family Bible with 5300 Notes."
As to cheapness, we do not believe that there is much, if any, room for reduction ; if there be, we ought to have it; but of course a fraction might be saved by allowing lighter, coarser, dingy paper, worn types, old plates, inferior ink, careless register, and smudgy press-work, to be substituted for our present beautiful, legible, and lasting Bibles. But there is no occasion for this illadvised stinginess.
We are no friends to Bible monopoly ; and we by no means confound those who are ignorantly led astray by false information, with those who are making unfair representations and urging the breach of the law. Our whole argument has been that there is in reality no monopoly; and that Bibles are as cheap as they are likely to be if all persons might print them, quality being taken into consideration; and our only reason for thinking any restriction desirable or bearable, is to secure accuracy, uniformity, and the best getting up. We recoil from the idea that the funds of benevolent institutions, such as the Christian Knowledge Society, the Bible Society, and Missionary and Education Societies—that the shillings of the poor and the pence of Sunday School children, are taxed to fill the coffers of Oxford and Cambridge. Still it might be right and wise and Christian for the authorities at Oxford and Cambridge to make known that it is their determination and their practice to afford Bibles as cheaply as possible, due respect being had to all the particulars above-mentioned. Their office is honorary; not for lucre, but conservation. We believe that they have discharged it honourably ; but the whole question ought to be placed in such a light, that the church
may be able to shew that it seeks nothing but the widest possible circulation of the pure word of God.
THE WICKED HUSBANDMEN.
(Continued from p. 710.)
For the Christian Observer. IN applying to the Christian Church the parable of the wicked
husbandmen, which undoubtedly, in its primary application, had reference to the sins and judgments of the Jewish church, we considered, in my last paper, what must be the necessary consequences of unrepented sin at the day of final retribution. This assuredly is a most important and legitimate view of the parable ; indeed the view of it to which every other is useful only as it is subservient. But there is a visitation of individuals, of nations, and of churches, previous to that at the last coming of the Son of man; and it is evidently of this, rather than of the final judgment, our Lord here speaks, when He threatens that at it the kingdom of God shall be taken from the unfaithful, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
That individuals may sin away their means of grace, so that those means, in just jndgment, are removed from them by the retributive dispensations of a righteous Providence, is an awful truth which we see but too frequently exemplified.
To speak only of one instance, (but that an instance of a most comprehensive and striking character) children, and especially the children of the humbler classes, furnish daily and painful illustration of the withering result of abused means and neglected opportunities. To the children of the poor the few first years of early youth are inestimably precious, because the only years in which the materials of knowledge and the faculty of acquiring it are to be obtained by them, the necessities of the mere animal life soon compelling their individual attention. This is therefore, in an emphatic sense, the spring time of their life, in which the soil must be cultivated, and the seed sown; or after-life is doomed to intellectual barrenness and moral desolation. And this cultivation, in the case of the poor, requires the co-operation of peculiar diligence, industry, and docility, on their own Christ. OBSERV. App.
part, in that the soil and the circumstances are ungenial. The teacher, whether of the daily or Sunday-school for the poor, has not only to contend, as in the case of others, with the dulness, the sloth, and the evil tempers of nature, but he is still further employed, during the few hours of his intercourse with them, in endeavouring to counterwork and neutralize the influence which their every other connexion exercises upon them. He is engaged in a laborious and incessant struggle to emancipate and elevate their understandings and affections from the debasing and besotting bondage of mere animality, in which their home and companions, their habits and circumstances, would chain them down : and by all these his constant toilsome efforts are as incessantly counterworked. But the docile child who co-operates with him acquires the instruments and materials, for it can be little more, by which knowledge, in despite of circumstances, may hereafter be wrought out. The main spring has been introduced. The moral mechanism has been set a-going. The brute mass of the em. bryo rational man has not been still-born, but quickened into intellectual life. The understanding has been developed. He begins to know what knowledge means, and is capable of perceiving that he possesses it not. Decent habits, elevating tastes, conservative principles, are imparted. The memory is stored with the pregnant truths and texts of Scripture ; ot-to speak but humanly—that expanding, refining, moralizing volume which must ever be the great cultivator of the poor man's intellect, as well as the regenerator of his moral nature; and which teaches a science, that he who has learned can never be ignorant, and he who loves can never be debased by any circumstances, however depressing. Hence, enabled, when he quits early the school of secular and religious instruction for the field of constant toil, to join in the public services of the sanctuary, not only with the spirit, but with the understanding also, the Sabbath's rest, the ordinances of religion, the family worship, the ministry of the word, written, read, or preached, become to him a weekly school of intellectual no less than moral improvement. They develope and invigorate his understanding, while they regulate his conduct, and refresh his soul. His conduct and improvement have gained for him, as their sure and valuable reward, the good opinion of those who, in days of active benevolence like the present, have gratuitously instructed and watched over him. This operates upon him as a powerful check to all evil, and stimulus to all good: and upon them, in creating a willingness to confer upon him the benefit of their advice and experience; to continue a connection of which the promotion of his welfare was the sole originating motive; to recommend him to the notice and patronage of those whose intercourse would be profitable to him; and gladly to seize upon any opportunity which Providence may offer, of placing him in such a situation as will advance his temporal and spiritual well-being; and which situation he, on his part, is qualified by education and discipline to accept, to retain, and to improve.
On the other hand, he who wastes in stupifying and besotting idleness, or in more ruinous vice, the fieet-winged and golden hours of infancy, till compelled to quit the school of intellectual development for the theatre of daily labour, goes out upon the wide world without having gained for himself a friend, or amassed any inherent treasure. He is hopelessly doomed for life to be the mere drudge of