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Church Missionary Society
REV. JOSIAH THOMAS, M. A.
ARCHDEACON OF BATH.
TO THE FIFTEENTH EDITION.
A VARIETY of publications, professing to reply to the 6 Defence of the Church Missionary Society," have appeared ; and though they do not, as it appears to me, contain any objections of real weight, yet I may possibly hereafter, if my friends should think it advisable, make a brief and general answer'. It may seem, however, expedient to advert, without further delay, to one topic of a personal nature; especially as it may be dispatched in a very few words, and has little real connection with the general and immensely important question under discussion.
A strenuous effort has been made in one of the publications alluded to, and has been even circulated by means of the public prints, to prove that the Reverend the Archdeacon of Bath acted throughout under the direct sanction of the Bishop of Bath and Wells. But I cannot help remarking, that no averment whatever is made on the only point in question, namely, by what
· The author, upon more mature reflection, was dissuaded from making any reply to the twenty or thirty pamphlets occasion*ed by his tract. His simple reasons were, the extraordinary weakness of the arguments employed; and yet more, the almost immediate activity in the cause of M ons, which marked the two great Societies to which his Defence principally addressed itself.
authority the Archdeacon issued his Protest in the name of his diocesan, the Bishop of Bath and Wells. I must be permitted, therefore, to conclude, that my original opinion was correct; and that, whatever inferences the singular precipitancy of mind exhibited by the Archdeacon on this occasion, may have erroneously, though I doubt not conscientiously, deduced from general obliging expressions and the characteristic urbanity of the Bishop, his Lordship never did give him authority to protest in his name at the meeting; a step of so serious a nature as obviously to require a distinct and positive appointment. From the reply made by his Lordship to the Secretary of the Bath Missionary Association, and from various other circumstances, I cannot but concur in the conviction generally entertained, that his Lordship, though he declined to support, never himself intended to oppose the formation of the Church Missionary Association at Bath ; a conviction greatly strengthened by the consideration of the distinguished moderation and judgment of his Lordship’s conduct to wards the members of the Auxiliary British and Foreign Bible Society in his own diocese. It is, I believe, well known, that his Lordship has always declined any interference with his clergy upon this subject, and has allowed each individual to act entirely according to his own discretion.
Chapel Street, Bedford Row,
March 9, 1818.
The Reverend the Archdeacon of Bath having published an Address which he delivered at a meeting held in that city on Monday the 1st of December, 1817, against the formation of an Auxiliary Church Missionary Society for that populous neighbourhood, it may seem requisite, in order that the statements of that publication may be properly considered, to take a brief view of the general cause of Missions, and of the circumstances which led to the formation of the various associations in connection with the Church Missionary Society.
It had long been the reproach of the Christian Church, that so little had been done for propagating the faith among heathen nations. The zeal which animated her members in her earlier days, seemed almost extinguished; and, after the lapse of nearly eighteen centuries, the last command of her Redeemer, to preach the Gospel to every creature, was yet unaccomplished