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british ANr. For eros prelp soci efy. Soue enlightened friend of this Institution has recently published a pamphlet entitled “The Advantages of distributing the Holy Scriptures among the Lower Orders of Society, chiefly by their own Agency".” If our limits admitted of it, we should be glad to transcribe the whole of this sinall but interesting work into our pages. We must, how. ever, content ourselves with drawing the attention of our readers to the subject by laying before them, in a concise form, the chief suggestions of this writer.
“Whoever is acquainted with the history of the Reformation, cannot fail to have ohserved the extreme anxiety displayed by our Martyrs and Reformers for the free circulation of the Bible. The same feeling has been found to animate wise and good men in every age, since the promulgation of the Gospel.”
“One of the most important and effective institutions, in this view, is the British and Foreign Bible Society. The efforts and utility of such an institution can be limited only by its means; and in proportion to the augmentation of its funds, will it extend the empire of knowledge and of truth. The assistance which has been afforded by Auxiliary Societies in many parts of the country, can hardly be estimated at too high a rate. By calling the attention of the opulent to the want of Bibles in their own vicinity, they have contributed very essentially to the be
nefit of thousands, who might otherwise have.
remained in ignorance; and, by aiding the funds of the parent institution, they have enabled it to carry on its foreign operatious with great and increasing success.” “That a project of this tendency should be checked or narrowed by the want of resources, is a circumstance deeply to be lamented. Yet nothing is more certain, than that the efforts already made, however unex. ampled, are not commeusurate with the magnitude of the case. Here is a world in ignorance! a world to be enlightened and evangelized 1" “To complete the system, no measure seems to have occurred of such reasonable
* It is sold by Seeley, and Hatchard; and, in a cheap form, by the Printers of this work, at 17s.6d. for two hundred and fifty, *t 11. 14, for five hundred,
.vated in the scale of society.
promise as Bible Associations". The comtributors to the Institution in London, and to its Auxiliaries and Branches in different parts of the country, consist in general of that class of persons, who are somewhat eleIt is the object of Bible Associations to bring into action also the inferior classes; to collect subscriptions not merely from the opulent, but likewise from that large body of the people, who are unable to give much, and are yet not unwilling to give a little. Hs the number of contributors be great, the accumulation even of small sums will not be contemptible; and it may be presumed, that most persons who are not absolutely in the lowest walks of life, can afford a subscription of a penny a week.” “Many are the evils, both of a public and private nature, to which human legislation can apply no remedy : they are to be removed by that influence alone which can reach the heart; by those sacred principles which are developed and enforced in the records of unerring wisdom. The Scriptures have ever been acknowledged, by good men, as the best foundation of morals; and those who labour to give them general circulation, and to excite a general interest for the perusal of them throughout the great body of the people, must be considered as rendering no common service both to individuals and to their country. “Let it be granted, that by any means the Holy Scripture is perused with diligence by every poor man who is able to read it; what would be the consequence? Is it too much to hope, that the noise of tumult and disorder may be hushed in peace? that men may be taught to fear God, and to honour the king? to do unto others as they wish that others should do unto them 2 and to dis
“* Bible Associations have been established in many places. The Auxiliary Bible Society for Blackheath and its neighbourhood, has ten within its district: and one within the town of Darlington, produces after the rate of seventy pounds a year, being more than adequate to supply the deficiency of the Scriptures amongst the poor of that town; thereby completely liberating the funds of the Auxiliary Bible Society for Darlington and its vicinity, so far as relates to the town of Darlington itself, for the supply of foreign parts.”
charge with fidelity all the duties and relations of life? Is it an unreasonable expectation, that husbands may learn to cherish their wives and to love their children that woman may rise to her just elevation and legitimate influence? and that the virtues of the parents may shine forth in their offspring: If the blessings of Christianity should be extended to all according to the measure in which they are enjoyed by many, how would this world of sorrow and of pain be converted into a picture of Heaven! Should we refer to past experience, there is no fact more certain, than that the religious and moral state of every country may be fairly estimated by the facility of procuring Bibles, and the disposition to read them.” “It would seem as if the very touch of the inspired volume had power to communicate new feelings, and to kindle new desires; to elevate the standard of principle, and to raise the tone of morals; to purify the springs of domestic happiness, to tame the fierceness of the passions, to civilize manners, to bind in harmony the various members of the embodied state,’ and to give to the family on earth some resenblance of the family above.” “Let it be granted that the Scriptures are read with assiduity through the whole extent of our population, and results like these may be confidently anticipated. What though the effects are not immediately perceptible; the promise is indisputable, and the blessing is sure.” “If this be a just representation of the moral change which a knowledge of the Bible is calculated to produce, and if the system of Bible Associations tends, in an especial degree, to the general diffusion of that knowledge, few arguments can be so powerful as those which recommend their adoption. To the rich and to the middle ranks it may be urged;—You have a deep interest in the welfare of the poor. If the security of a state depend upon the loyalty and morals of its people, by what other means can you contribute so essentially to the preservation of order, to the authority of the law, and the stability of the government? Among what description of men will you look for patience and industry, for sobriety and obedience? Who are the persons most deceut in their demeanour, most frugal in their habits, and (what is no mean political consideration) most anxious to avoid the necessity of becoming chargeable to their parishes? The answer is obvious. And is it not, then, a matter of policy as well as of duty, to create an interest among the lower classes for the possession aud perusal of those sacred records from which benefits so great and various are acknowledged to flow 2
And if ‘righteousness exalteth a nation, if national piety be recompeused by national mercies, in what way can we hope so effectually to secure to our native country the protection of Him by whom ‘kings reign and princes decree judgment,’ as by extending the knowledge of his name, and the blessings of his religion?” “If a concern for tile circulation of the Scriptures be excited through the great body of our population, the lapse of a few years will furnish every poor family in the British dominions with the treasure of a Bible. If the poor can be induced to subscribe, even the smallest weekly sum, for the possession of the Scriptures, and the distribution of them to others still poorer—if they can be led to inquire into the wants of their neighbours, and to arrange the best means of supplying them— an interest will gradually be created in their own minds, to which they have hitherto been strangers; and that, which at first was matter of indifference, will become the object of earnest attention. Such is the natural progress of the human mind. Those who give the Bible will soon find a desire to peruse it; and while engaged in recommending it to others, they will be impelled to examine it for themselves; to read it in their houses; to teach it to their children, and to make it the frequent subject of their thoughts and conversation.” “Will it be insinuated, that the lower orders would rather associate and contribute for a bad purpose than for a benevolent object? The very persuasion of their proneness to associate, should be an argument for attempting, with all your might, to give a right direction to that tandency, and to correct and improve it. If, by thus employing them in a good cause, they can be preserved from base and injurious combinations, you will render, both to them and to society, a double service. In times like the present, these considerations come with peculiar force.” “Will it be contended, that no great effect can be produced by small contributions The contribution of an individual to the government is small; but it is by the aggregate of such sums that the state is supported. A ray of light and a drop of rain are small; but it is by the sun and the shower that our harvests wave in the field, and by the accumulation of waters that the riches of all lands are transferred to this.” “This is a work which may bring all classes into action without prejudice to any: here the rich and the poor may meet together in common exertion, for common good : poverty itself may be thus enriched, and the lowest rank ennobled: one generous feeling may animate all the orders of society, may impel them to the same labour of love, and * crown them with the same reward. “What pleasure can be derived even from wealth, like the pleasure of doing good? and this is a gratification which, without riches, you who are poor, may enjoy in its highest measure. Look upou your poorer brethren, and then ask, whether any delight can surpass the enjoyment of charity like this 2– of charity, that extends blessings the most pure and exalted, to the humblest of mănkind—that produces ‘an elevation of mind and of feeling, which no poverty but Christian poverty can exhibit’—that gives light to the blind, heals the broken in heart, brings life and immortality to light among those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, and renders the poor of this world rich in faith and heirs of the promises. If the blessings of those who are ready to perish be worthy of acceptance, then may you be blessed; if there be joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, then may the angels of God rejoice even in your labours, and the Father of mercies himself look down with approbation upon you. Above all other considerations, let this be supreme;— if by engaging in these acts of benevolence, you are induced to read your Bibles with more earnestness for yourselves, you may become Christians indeed; and, however low your situation in this life, the treasures of that better world will be your rich and eternal repayment. “And is it not a recommendation to men of all classes, that this system will soon carry the tidings of salvation into the most distant lands? When the demands at home shall have been satisfied by the contributions of the poor, the subscriptions of the more opulent to the parent Society and all the Auxiliaries may be wholly converted into foreign channels. Thus will the lower orders, by their exertions at home, greatly contribute to the increase of the supply abroad; and, in this view, may even they be considered as elevating on high the standard of Chris
tianity, as becoming heralds of salvation
to the ends of the earth.”” Among the resolutions recommended for adoption at meetings assembled for the formation of Bible Associations, are the following: That every member of the Association subscribe not less than one penny a week;-that the committee chosen to conduct its affairs shall divide the neighbourhood into districts, and appoint a sub-committee for each distriot, for the purpose of soliciting subscrip
tions from the inhabitants thereof;—that the committee shall make it their business to inquire, by the appointment of sub-committees, whether any families or individuals, residing within its sphere, are in want of Bibles or Testaments, and unable to procure them; in which case it shall be the duty of the committee to furnish them therewith at reduced prices, or gratis, according to their circumstances;–and that the whole of the funds of the association shall be expended in the purchase of Bibles and Testaments, to be sold or given among the poor of the neighbourhood, until they shall be adequately supplied with the Holy Scriptures; in which case the amount of future subscriptions and donations shall be remitted to the Auxiliary or Branch Bible Society from which the Association sprung. . . It is recommended to the sub-committees to inquire of the poor, first, whether. they possess copies of the Scriptures, and in what condition ; secondly, if not, and yet are desirous of possessing them, whether they have the means, in whole or in part, at once, or by degrees, of purchasing copies; thirdly, if any, and how many, of the family can read: and enter such information in separate columns. The plan of selling the Scriptures to the poor has been tried, and has been found to possess several important advantages (where practicable) over gratuitous distribution. When purchased, even at a low rate, they are generally held in higher estimation, and more carefully preserved, than when given. The expediency of extending this mode of supply as widely as possible, is forcibly urged by the consideration, that, if sold at an average but of one half of the cost price, the number of copies thus circulated will be nearly double that which could have been gratuitously circulated. The effect which the adoption of this system will have in accelerating the supply at home, and in enabling the Society to enlarge its exertions abroad, must be obvious to every considerate person,
Before we quit the subject of the Bible Society, we think it proper to advert to a statement of Dr. Marsh, by which he endeavours to prove, in opposition to what had been asserted by Mr. Vansittart, Mr. Dealtry, and ourselves, that the sale of Prayer-books had diminished since the formation of the Bible Society. His statement is, that the number of Prayer-books printed at Cambridge during the eight years which preceded the formation of the Bible Society, was
161,750; while the number printed during the eight years which followed it was only 140,900; being an absolute decrease of 20,850. We can inform Dr. Marsh, however, of a still more alarining fact, namely, that the number of Prayer-books printed by the University of Oxford, during the eight years which preceded the formation of the Bible Society, was 100,000 more than the number printed in the eight years subsequent to that event. Here them, we have a falling off in the number of Prayer-books, to the enormous extent of 120,850, in the last eight years, as compared with the eight which preeeded these. How powerfully would such a Facr, particularly if unexplained, strengthen Dr. Marsh's reasoning, on the injurious tendency of the Bible Society? But what explanation does it admit of It seems to be a stubborn circumstance, which no ingenuity of reasoning can quality, so as to prevent the obvious inference to be drawn from it to the disadvantage of the Bible Society. The accessity of taxing our ingenuity on the occasion, is, however, happily obviated by an additional FAct, which we shall uow take the liberty'o mentiouing. The number of Prayer-books printed by the King's Printer, during the first series of eight years already referred to, was only 5000; but during the last series, it has been 240,000, leaving an excess in the latter period of 235,000. When from this amount the decrease in the nunber printed by the universities is deducted, there will still remain an absolute increase in the number printed in England, during the last eight years, as compared with the preceding eight years, of 114,150, or aboup 14,270 a year on the average; and this without taking into the account, that there has been of late an increased importation of Bibles from Scotland, into the northern counties of England. Before Dr. Marsh says one word more, on the injurious tendency of the Bible Society in diminishing the circulation of Prayer-books, he ought either to disprove the F4 ct, that upwards of 14,000 more Prayer-beoks have on the average been printed annually in England, since the formation of this Society, than were printed before its formation; or, if he cannot disprove it, he should at least shew how it can be made to coincide with the line of his argument. We know the extent of his powers, and we wait with anxiety for the display of them which such a task as this will maturally call for. We had intended inserting in this place a few observations on a new enemy to the Bible Society, or, more properly, to all Bible Societies, or, most properly, to the Bible itself,
in the person of the learned Dr. Edward Malthy; but we forbear, for this reason, that the examination of the hardy speculations of this clergyman has already been undertaken, as we have announced in our Literary Intelligence, by one far more competent to do justice to the cause, in whose hands we confidently leave it.
BLACKHEATH A U x1 LIARY BIBLE Society.
A general meeting of this Society was held on Saturday, the 9th of May, and was most numerously and respectably attended. Lord Dartmouth, the president, being unavoidably absent with his regiment, the chair was taken by the Right Hon. N. Vansittart, M.P. on the motion of the Hon. and Rev. the Dean of Windsor. It appeared from the Report, that the Committee had ascertained that at least 5000 families in this populous district were without a Bible; that great eagerness was every where evinced to obtain the word of God; that actual application for it had been made by between two and three thousand; that the state of the parent Society's stock of Bibles, as well as of their own funds, had not as yet enabled them to distribute more than one thousand Bibles and Testaments; and that of these very few had been given away, the money received in return for them aulounting, on the average, to nearly two shillings for each. The amount of subscriptions and donations is now about 1000l.; and ten Bible Associations are already formed within the district. Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales was declared Patrouess; and Lord Hood, Lord Eardley, Admiral Sir J. Colpoys, Rear-Admiral Taylor, and the Rev. J. Mathew (successor of Dr. Burnaby to the living of Greenwich), were added to the list of Vice-Presidents. Among other favourable circumstances connected with the growth of this Auxiliary Society, is the great number of military and naval men, of rauk and influence, who are its supporters and friends. The speakers who principally distinguished themselves at this meeting, besides the Right Hon. Chairman, were Lord Eardley, the Dean of Windsor, Dr. Clarke of the Naval Asylum, Dr. Gregory of the Royal Military Academy", Major Torrens of the Royal Marines, John Dyer, Esq. of the Admiralty, Mr. Rayley (a Barrister), Mr. Myers, of the Royal Military Academy, and the Rev. Dr. Collyer, Messrs. Lane, Scott,Townsend, Percy, and Simons.
* Of the specch delivered by Dr. Gregory we have seen a detailed report, and should have been glad had it been in our power to insert it.
Mr. Vansittart, in acknowledging a vote of thanks to the principal writers in vindication of the British and Foreign Bible Society, adverted, with great good humour and much felicity of argument, to the principal reasonings (if such they can be called) in the pamphlet published by Dr. Marsh relative to the Foreign Transactions of the Society. 1,iverpool di B Le society.
At the anniversary meeting of this society, in May, a very interesting Report was made by the Committee of their proceedings during the past year. They had taken peculiar pains to furnish copies of the Scriptures to such of the numerous foreign seamen who croud their port as were able to read them, and also to the prisoner, the sick, the needy, and the distressed, at hone. The eagerness to possess the sacred volume is stated to have been general and strongly marked ; and where there is “an unaffected wish to read, it is scarcely possible that they should not profit by the word of God.” An examination had been instituted, for the purpose of ascertaining how many families of the poor were in want of Bibles. The examination had as yet extended only to 4386 families; but of these only 1544 were possessed either of Bible or Testament. “Enough therefore," the Committee observe, “yet remains to stimulate the zeal and exhaust the resources of the society: much of ignorance remains to be instructed; much of religious indifference to be roused into action ; much of vice and licentiousness to be subdued; much of poverty and affliction to be comforted.” “It is a peculiar feature,” they add, “in the character of this country, that in times of general distraction, when the irritated feeling which a protracted war excites has been exasperated into the fiercest rage, the spirit of mercy should yet preside over the shock of angry passions, and the best gift of God to man should be presented with affectionate zeal to the very enemies who seek our ruin." The sum remitted to the parent society was 1800l. The number of Bibles in different languages distributed, has been 1340, and of Testaments 2046. Nothing prevented a much larger distribution, but the absolute inability of the parent society to supply the growing demands of its auxiliaries; the presses hitherto employed in printing Bibles being insufficient for the purpose.
MAN CHESTER AND sa LFor D BIBLE soCi ETY. The second anniversary of this society was held on the 22d of June, the Rev. Dr. Blackburne, the warden of Manchester, and pre
sident of the society, in the chair. An able Report was read by the Chairman, by which it appeared, that, notwithstanding the extraordinary pressure of the times, by which this district was also peculiarly affected. the receipts of the past year had far exceeded their most sanguine expectations; and five Branch Societies had been formed, viz. at Warrington, Knutsford, Bowden, Bacup, and Bury. From Warrington, about 100l. had been received; from Knutsford, 80l.; from Bowden, 150l.; from Bacup, 66l. ; and from Bury, 370l. The second year's income of the society amounted to 2070l. 15s. ; the whole of which was sent to the parent institution. in addition to about 400l. the balance of last year's account. The inability of the parent society to furnish Bibles to supply the demands which pressed on them from all quarters, prevented so large a distribution as might otherwise have been effected. The number circulated was 2677 Bibles, and 3052 Testaments. The speakers on this occasion, besides the Chairman, were the Rev. C. W. Ethelston, the Rev. S. Bradley, the Rev. H. Grey, the Rev. S. Piggott, the Rev. C. D. Wray, Mr. J. H. Heron, L. Peel, Esq., the Rev. Mr. Thistlethwaite, the Rev. E. Symth, the Rev. J. Reynolds, the Rev. Mr. Porter, the Rev. W. Roby. It would be impossible for us Pven to give a hasty sketch of these different speeches, some of which were highly distinguished by their eloquence; but we select trom them a very few passages, which either contain interesting facts, or may happen to place the subject of the distribution of Bibles in a seasonable light. Speaking of the objections made to the Bible Society, Mr. Ethelston observed, “Another point relates to an illfounded jealousy which, I am concerned to state, has subsisted amongst some very worthy characters, whose names are in the list of subscribers to that venerable institution. “The Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge.” These gentlemen affirm, that some members of the British and Foreign Bible Society have spoken in a very invidious manner of that institution, and have taken pains, by an artful and illnatured contrast with their own, to lower the old establishment in the opinion of the public. I know of no such characters amongst us. I have had letters on the subject from some distinguished patrons of that good old cause; and, being a subscriber myself, was anxious to prove that such an opinion, whether true or false, had done it no injury. For this purpose, I made it my business to call at the office of the Society in Bartlett's Buildings, when I was in London last May.