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The Tablet is of white marble, 5 feet by 3, beautifully executed by Mr. Brown, of Derby, and erected over the south door of the Church,
with the following inscription:
Sacred to the Memory of - the Rev. WILLIAM MADAN, M.A. *
late Vicar of this Parish,
(where he was admitted B.A. with the highest Academical Distinction ;) This Tablet is erected by his grateful Parishioners, To whom he was not less endeared By his Talents, his Integrity, his Benevolence, His unassuming Manners, and Christian Humility, than by the faithful, zealous, and exemplary Discharge of all his Parochial Duties, and the fervent Piety with which he inculcated the pure and Apostolic Doctrines of the Church of ENGLAND.
He died April 17, 1824. Aged 31 Years.
SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE. LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS.
At a general Meeting of the Society, on Tuesday, January 11th, Amidst the other business of the day, a vote of thanks was unanimously passed to the Lord Bishop of Chester, for his late very useful exertions throughout his diocese in promoting the interests of the Society. The Venerable the Archdeacon of London, in proposing the vote of thanks to his Lordship, observed, that he did not rise merely to suggest an expression of gratulation to the excellent individual, who had so strongly attracted the notice of the Society on his late elevation to the highest office of the Church, though there was much that he might say on that account;he might allude to the distinguished course by which he had advanced to his present dignity—to his eminent usefulness as a parochial minister—or to his bright career at the University— that place, above all others, where borrowed plumes were useless, and where every man found his place by his own specific gravity—but this was vol. VII. NO. II.
not the object of his present motion— he considered some return was due to the Bishop of Chester for services relidered—which had been peculiarly valuable—his Lordship having obtained, by his immediate personal labours in convening meetings and laying the claims of the Society fairly and fully before the Public, in the course of the last few months, no less a sum than 1500l.— 500l. of which were annual subscriptions. It would demand, he said, the abilities of his Lordship himself, for him to do justice to the merits to which he, called the attention of the meeting—he should not attempt therefore to dilate on this topic—but would only repeat that he considered “the thanks of the Society due to his Lordship for essential. services conferred by him.” The Lord Bishop of Llandaff seconded the motion, adding, that he could not be satisfied to give a silent vote on such an occasion, but took a pleasure in expressing how cordially he concurred in the motion which had been submitted to the meeting. The question was then formally put. by the Lord Bishop of Down and Connor, who was in the Chair, and carried with very great approbation. ,
A meeting of the menbers and friends of this Society was held on Monday, the 13th December, 1824, in the Free Grammar School of Manchester, for the purpose of “taking into consideration what further measures might be expedient for rendering the exertions of the Manchester and Salford District Committee of the Society more efficient, and especially for inore generally supplying the poorer inhabitants of these towns and their neighbourhood with Bibles, Common Prayerbooks, and religious Tracts, at reduced prices.
The Lord Bishop of the Diocese entered the room at ten o'clock, and after the usual prayers of the Society, proceeded to address the meeting.
In entering upon the duties of his pastoral office in this populous and extensive diocese, his Lordship observed, he felt to the fullest extent, he believed, the great weight and responsibility which had been imposed upon him. Among the numerons objects of his solicitude, almost his first inquiry was, as to the disposition felt in the manufacturing districts to propagate the sacred truths of religion among the lower classes; and in the pursuit of that inquiry, his attention was particularly directed to the condition of that Society on behalf of which they were at present assembled. He had fondly anticipated that here he should find that the public liberality had been shown in favour of this Society, in a degree fully commensurate with its worth—that in a town, not more distinguished for its commercial prosperity' than for its loyalty, its constitutional attachment to the throne of these realms, and for its veneration for our excellent Church Establishment, he should have the hap. piness of finding that the Society had been adequately encouraged and supported. But judge of his astonishment and regret, when he discovered from the statement of the Society's accounts and condition, that in these very towns, containing a population amounting, he understood, to nearly 200,000, the actual number of subscribers to the Dis. trict Committee of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge was less than one hundred? Why, he would ask, was it so, when other religious societies, This institution has extended considerable support to Missionaries in soreign parts. His Lordship said, he did not feel disposed to press the claim of the Society as being the earliest to take the charge of Missionaries abroad: their operations had been, in a degree, limited, owing to the want of funds; but they continued to prosecute this good work to the extent of their ability, and were still labouting in this part of the vineyard of the Lord. In the southern parts of India much good had been done through the instrumentality of the Society's Missionaries; and he believed that not fewer than 20,000 Christians in these parts might be regarded as the fruits of their exertions. District Committees had been formed, and are in active operation, at the seats of government, and principal stations in the Indian peninsula; great numbers of religious books had been printed in the country, and distributed, together with still greater numbers sent from home; and a considerable number of schools had been established in the neighbourhood of Calcutta, which were well attended by the children of the natives.
which, to allow them their full share of nierit, could not be compared with this Society in point of usefulness, (as anxiliaries to that Church which we believe to be the depository of true religion), were in so flourishing a condition : Why, amidst so large a number of religious institutions, should one so valuable as this have been permitted to languish, when it ought to have been warnily and cordially supported? The cause he believed he had discowered, and he was almost ashamed of mentioning it. The town did not appear to be wanting in attachment to the Fstablished Church—the crowded congregation which assembled in the parish church on Sunday, and not more crowded than attentive and devout, were a demonstrative proof that this was not the case. No, it was not a want of regard for the Church that caused the Society he was advocating to languish : he could attribute it only to an ignorance of its merits. Nor, indeed, he was bound to say, was this ignorance confined to this district; for even in the neighbourhood of his own residence in the metropolis, within the very verge and sphere of the Society's exertions, he had recently found that hundreds of persons, sincere members of the Church, knew nothing of, its existence, and that a still greater degree of ignorance prevailed as to its objects. This might have arisen from carelessness, or from misrepresentation, to the source of which he would not now allude; and probably the same cause might have produced similar effects here. Under other circumstances, he should not have ventured to trespass upon their time, by entering into a detail of the origin, objects, and operations of the Society: but, as it was, he felt it necessary to offer a few words in explanation of these points. The Society was established in 1599, by several distinguished individuals, for the purpose of counteracting the evils with which the country was then threatened, by the dissemination of Popish principles and infidel publications; and of promoting among the people the growth of true Christian knowledge. Shortly afterwards it was considered expedient to separate the Society into two branches, one of which, under the
title of “the Society for Propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts,” was incorporated by charter. This Society had proceeded steadily up to the present time, in the discharge of the sacred trust reposed in it; and with the aid of Government (though not to the extent to which he should have wished), had sent out to different parts not less than two hundred Christian Ministers, to preach the saving truths of the Gospel in the North American colonies.
The objects of the other Society, namely, “the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge,” were, the propagation of Christian truth at home— the foundation and cncouragement of Charity Schools—and the sending of Missionaries to foreign parts—the distribution of the Holy Scriptures, the Book of Common Prayer, and other books explanatory of the doctrines of the Established Church. For many years the exertions of the Society were extremely limited, by the straitness of its means. Indeed, it was well known, that the increased demand for the Scriptures commenced only within the last few years ; and he must here take leave to say, that in a great degree the present wide diffusion of the Word of God was attributable, under the Divine blessing, to the exertions of this Society; in the hands of the Lord it had been the earliest institution to aid the Established Church—in directing the minds of the people to the sacred truths of religion. This Society was also the first to stand forward in that labour of love, the religious education of the children of the poor. It laid the foundation of that noble and comprehensive scheme of charity which had been developed by the National School Society—a monument of piety, whose praises would be written in the annals of our country in characters of light. And although that Society had now taken upon itself this department of Christian charity, yet be it remembered, that the National Schools throughout the kingdom were supplied with religious and useful books by “the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.” So that upwards of three hundred thousand children were even now indirectly imbibing the pure streams of knowledge at the hands of this Society.
The chief object of this Society, however, was, the dissemination of religious books, including the Holy Scriptures. Not one person in the meeting, he was sure, would call in question the great necessity there was of distribut ing the Bible; but still he saw no reason why, as members of the Established Church, the meeting should not attach its full importance to the Book of Common Prayer. Was he called upon to say, at the present time, when so much inconsistency and contrariety in discipline and in doctrine prevailed, that there was no need to introduce a help to the right interpretation of the Scriptures? Was it sufficient to acquire a knowledge of the rudiments of Gospel truth only, and leave the superstructure unfinished He would contend, that it was our especial duty, as sincere members and supporters of the Church of England, to use our best exertions in disseminating such books as would enable our fellow-men to interpret the word of God aright; and to answer this desirable purpose, and to instruct their minds, he knew of no better book than the Common Prayer. And he was
sure the candid seceder would admit the propriety and the justice of their pursuing this course; for he believed that no liberal nonconformist would maintain, that a man might not become a sincere Christian, by acting up in all things, to the doctrines set forth in the Book of Common Prayer. Next to the laborious exertions of the Clergy, the operations of this Society might be the means of bringing again 'within the pale of the Church, many individuals who had left it. Why not, then, 'standup in defence ofcur motherChurch, and try openly, but fairly and kindly, to reclaim our seceding brethren? He felt deeply impressed with the inconsistency which presented itself in this place. While the Ministers of the 'Gospel were officiating in the house of 'God, they were surrounded by thousands of hearers, exhibiting every appearance of attention and zeal; and yet, to the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, whose object was the dissemination of genuine Church principles, not a hundred subscribers were found in these extensive and populous towns ! So impressed was he with the importance of the subject, that he could not resist further trespassing upon their attention. He should mention a fact, and it ought to be sufficient to induce the meeting to come forward in support of the Society. The number of books distributed during the last fourteen years amounted to nearly fifteen millions, a great portion of which were the Holy Scriptures and a great portion Prayer Books. But, that he might not be considered as attaching too much importance to this fact, he would add, and he could state it from his own personal knowledge, that the demand for Prayer Books was commensurate with the demand for the Holy Scriptures, the people at home and abroad very loudly calling for the Book of Common Prayer; and at this moment so great was the demand for it in India, that a corresponding supply could not be procured. They could not therefore be charged with a forced distribution of the Prayer Book. There was, he repeated it, a demand for that excellent book. It was, therefore, the duty of the members of the Established Church to come forward and
endeavour to answer that demand. The blessed fruits proceeding from the distribution of this and other books issued by the Society, we now had the happiness of enjoying. The meeting well knew the mischievous effects that were attempted to be produced a few years ago by the circulation of infidel publications, calculated to shake the attachment of the people to our venerable institutions in Church and State. For the failure of these efforts of the great enemy to mankind, we owed most especially our thanks to God; but no inconsiderable praise was due to the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, who, in this hour of threatened danger, appropriated a large sum of money in the printing and circulating of nearly a million of anti-infidel publications. The happy result of this measure, under God's blessing, they all well knew. Had he not, then, his Lordship said he would ask, established the indefeasible claims of this Society to the hiberal support of the public Was the dissemination of the Scriptures to be considered as the work of the Clergy exclusively and were they to go through this duty without any assistance from the Laity This ought not to be the case. He would, therefore, call upon the meeting to assist in this work; there was an ample field for their exertions: he would intreat them to cooperate in the zealous endeavours of the Society to reclaim sinners, and to furnish them with an accurate knowledge of the sacred truths of the Gospel—to come manfully forward, and perform the duties of soldiers of Christ's militant Church; not to interfere with the constituted teachers of the Word in the work of the ministry, but to assist them in placing in the hands of the people the materials of religious and useful knowledge. Without casting the slightest imputation on any Christian Association, or questioning their motives or their principles, he would earnestly call upon every person possessed of competent means, to aid this Society to the best of his ability, particularly in this district, where the people were so independent and intelligent, and where the humbler classes manifested so strong a desire to be taught the sav
ing truths of the Bible. As the chief Pastor of this extensive and important diocese, he could not refrain from saying, that an unspeakable responsibility rested on those individuals who derived their profits from the labour of the persons placed under their control; who, by the exertions of their dependents, had amassed wealth, and been elevated among their fellow-men; and who, besides the pittance they gave for their exertions, had a sacred but too much forgotten duty to perform in return, in watching over the religious principles and moral conduct of their dependents—a duty, his Lordship feared, not estimated as it ought to be, but for the neglect of which, if he understood the Gospel, and the laws of his country aright, masters were deeply responsible. By keeping a watchful eye upon their conduct—by placing in their hands moral and religious books—by the establishment of lending libraries —by these means, masters would very much contribute to the present and eternal interest of their servants; and, he would add, would likewise be contributing, in a great degree, to their own. His Lordship said a great variety of topics pressed themselves upon his attention; but by entering upon them now, he should be led farther than he could wish. He hoped, however, that what he had advanced would have some good effect—that it would have the happiest result. But let it be borne in mind, that whatever the immediate fruits of this day's meeting might be, and he saw the most pleasing grounds for anticipating a great increase of support to the Society, still it would only be the laying of the first stone of a larger building; its erection could only be accomplished by the active personal exertions of every one who wished well to the cause. He trusted that every subscriber would solicit the support of his neighbour, and that all would co-operate with the ministers of the Established Church, to procure support to the Society. They who engaged in this labour of love would most assuredly receive their reward. - His Lordship observed, in conclusion—“Permit me to thank you for
the very kind attention you have paid to the observations l have made. If, in the course of my remarks, I should have used some expressions that may be considered too strong, I hope you will think of the great importance of my office, as spiritual Pastor of this populous district; in the discharge of the duties of which I consider myself justified in speaking on such a topic as this, with an energy and warmth, which, on another occasion, I should certainly feel some reluctance in using.” Several resolutions were then proposed by James Brierley, Esq. and seconded by Samuel Grimshaw, Esq. the Boroughreeve. Previously to their being put to the vote, the Lord Bishop said, he ought to have stated, in the remarks he had made to the meeting, that in three instances in this diocese, within the last few weeks, he had witnessed the warmest concern for the success of the Society. In the city of Chester, his Lordship convened a meeting, which was numerously attended; and in the course of a few days, upwards of 500l. were subscribed. Not long afterwards, a meeting was held for the same purpose, in Warrington, where 200l. were subscribed in the room; and since then a meeting had been held in Liverpool, at which his Lordship presided, when a very considerable sum was subscribed forthwith. The resolutions were then put, and unanimously carried. On the motion of the Very Rev. the Warden, seconded by James Norris, Esq. the cordial thanks of the meeting were voted to the Bishop for the zeal and ability with which he had advocated the cause of the Society, and for his
conduct in the chair.
In acknowledging this vote, his Lordship said—“I return you my sincere thanks for this mark of your approbation, and I trust I shall not be considered as having gone beyond the limit of my duty. Whilst I am particularly an advocate for the Established Church, I have most sincerely at heart the spirit tual welfare of the Universal Church of Christ.”
Prayers were again offered up by his Lordship, after which the meeting was dissolved.