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Correct Returns from all Auxiliaries, &c. very desirable.

means by which the design of the institution has been promoted.* But it cannot be too strongly recommended to National Societies, to provide for the early and regular delivery of those publications to their subscribers and affiliated societies, and to apportion the space allotted to intelligence, so that every department may receive a due share of attention. The Annual Report should appear as soon as possible after every General Meeting, so as to confirm the impression made and the interest excited by the latter. The Appendix should contain a judicious selection of extracts; but brevity should be studied, not only from motives of economy, but because a voluminous report is seldom read by the great majority of those who receive it, and is unnecessary in reference to those Societies which publish monthly extracts of correspondence. For similar reasons, the list of individual subscribers may be advantageously omitted in the copies designed for general circulation. Every means should be adopted to procure correct returns of all Societies in connexion with the National Institution, and to insert them in the Annual Report, under their respective heads of-Auxiliaries, Branches, Associations, Marine, Juvenile, and Mechanics' Societies-the five latter being classed under the Auxiliary Societies with which they are severally connected. The interest and advantage of such a list would be materially increased, if the following particulars were inserted opposite to each:-1. The estimated population of the district. 2. The number of individuals engaged as officers, collectors, &c. 3. The total number of subscribers. 4. The total number of Bibles and Testaments distributed. 5. The total amount received and, 6. The amount remitted for the general object of the Parent Society. A printed circular, with a blank form of the required abstract, sent annually to the Committee of every Auxiliary Society, appears to be the best mode of attaining this object; which will be sufficiently illustrated by the following specimen of a return-the entries in Italics being made by the Secretaries of the Auxiliary Society. By deducting the aggregate population of those districts in which a Branch Society and Associations are established, from the total population of the entire district embraced by the Auxiliary Society, as specified in the first line, the proportion of the latter, which is still unoccupied by Local Bible Institutions, is immediately ascertained.

* See Section VIII.

N° 5.*

Specimen of an Annual Return from an Auxiliary Society.

SPECIMEN.

Reading AUXILIARY SOCIETY.

Abstract to the 11th of April 1820.

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* The Number refers to that of the Reading Auxiliary Society in the alphabetical

list inserted in the Annual Report.

A Depository requisite.-Bibles, &c. should be stamped.

In addition to the annual reports and monthly extracts of correspondence, occasional papers, similar to the "Brief View" and "Compendium," may be circulated with considerable advantage by National Bible Societies, particularly in districts where the design of the institution is not generally known or understood.

6. To insure a regular and adequate supply of Bibles and Testaments, a Depository is indispensably requisite. In Russia, America, Wurtemberg, and other countries where National Bible Societies are instituted, an establishment for printing and binding constitutes an important branch of this department; but in Great Britain, where the privilege of printing the holy scriptures of the authorised version is confined to the two universities, the king's printers, and, under certain limitations, the patentee, a printing establishment is un

necessary.

The trouble of examining and collating copies is materially diminished, except in the first instance, by the invention of stereotype printing; but those who are charged with the superintendence of the depository cannot bestow too much attention on the duties of this appointment. The quality of the paper, ink, and binding materials, as well as the workmanship, should be carefully examined, and no copies be sent out before they are properly seasoned. The designation of the society should be stamped upon the binding of every Bible and Testament issued,-a precaution which was adopted by the Parent Institution in London at its outset, and has been followed with advantage by the Russian, American, and some other National Societies.

It may not be altogether unnecessary to observe, that Auxiliary Societies, and, through them, Branch Societies and Associations, should receive their Bibles and Testaments from the National or Parent Society exclusively. The character of the institution is, in degree, involved in the acts of its connected societies; and if incorrect copies of the Scriptures, or any additions to them, were issued by any one of the latter, the whole would suffer. It should be the constant object and study of each and all, to preserve inviolate their fundamental principle.

7. The funds placed at the disposal of a National Society consist of its direct subscriptions, donations, and legacies; remittances from the institutions connected with it; the pro

• See Appendix, Nos. v. and vi.

System of Control over the Funds of the Society.-General Meetings. duce of sales of Bibles and Testaments; and occasional grants from the Parent Society in London. The appropriation of these funds should be under the control and direction of the General Committee; but the examination and payment of bills may be referred to a judicious Sub-Committee, which should report monthly. The mode of keeping the accounts with Auxiliary Societies has been already detailed in its proper place; but it may be suitably observed here, that whether Auxiliary Societies give notice of their intention or not, they are at liberty to order Bibles and Testaments to the amount of the balance standing at their credit; and they should be requested, annually, to specify what proportion of such balance may be transferred for the general purposes of the National Society. A statement of the receipts and expenditure, duly authenticated and signed by the auditors, should be included in the Annual Report.

8. As the tone and spirit of the General Meetings of Bible Institutions depend, in a considerable degree, on the recommendation and example of those who represent the Parent Society on these occasions, this appears to be the most suitable place to introduce the subject.

Whoever has been in the habit of attending those meetings, especially within the last few years, must have perceived a material and progressive improvement in the manner of conducting them. In the earlier period of the society's existence, when its principles and its practice were alike questioned, the advocates of both found themselves compelled to adopt a defensive course, and an argumentative style, which are, happily, no longer necessary. The importance of the cause, and the strict adherence of those who conduct its proceedings to their fundamental principles, are generally felt and acknowledged; and it only remains to confirm and extend these impressions, by the prudence, the wisdom, and the Christian liberality of its public agents, and the gradual developement of its beneficial tendency and effects.

"It were much to be desired," observes the Rev. J. Owen, "that in anniversary meetings in general, controversial topics should be wholly avoided, as alien from the nature of such commemorations, and adverse to the purposes for which they are held." And the following extract affords a gratifying evidence, that a similar feeling prevails on the continent of Europe:

"Bible Societies are neither preachers nor interpreters; they provoke * See Preface to Owen's Hissory, Vol. I. p. xvi.

:

Proper feelings to be cherished by the Society's advocates.

no controversies; neither do they infringe the rights of any individual, or church they content themselves with giving the book which every Christian communion respects, and which all acknowledge to contain the only laws which GOD has revealed to man. They engrave, on metal, the same commandments which were traced by the finger of GOD on tables of stone; and they leave to the ministers of every religious persuasion the task of explaining them, and engraving them on the heart. Since, in the sight of GOD, there is no exception of persons, revealed religion belongs to the whole human race and who can object, that this charter of the liberties and prerogatives of man should be translated into every language; for where is the nation, or where the savage tribe, that has not its lot or part in this inheritance ?"

Animated by sentiments like these, the Christian advocate of the Bible Society will pursue his course, "zealously affected in a good cause," but asserting its merits with temper and moderation;-firm and unshaken in his attachment, but governed, in his expression of it, by that charity which "suffereth long, and is kind;"-expecting a continuance of that success which has hitherto attended his exertions, but prepared to attribute it to the mercies of GOD in CHRIST JESUS; and influenced by a desire to ascribe all the power and all the praise to the source of "every good and perfect gift." Allowing, in its utmost latitude, the right of private judgment, he will never condemn the motives of those whose opinions differ from his own; and will always recollect, that a man may love his Bible, and yet decline to co-operate with the Bible Society. Among the many causes which have contributed to the success of the institution, none have been more conspicuous than the meekness and liberality manifested by its advocates: they appear to have imbibed the benevolent spirit of the cause, and to have realized the hope so admirably expressed by the present Chancellor of the Exchequer :-" It is not simply," he observes, "to the diffusion of the Bible, but to the co-operation of all Christians to diffuse it, and to the effect of that co-operation on our own hearts, that I look, not only for the establishment of Christian faith, but the extension of Christian charity." And in the loud language of their conduct, they seem to have said one to another, "If we cannot reconcile all opinions, let us endeavour to unite all hearts."+ Neither is it in his individual capacity alone, nor in the line of public advocacy, that he may thus illustrate the tendency and recommend the claims of the institution. His example will have a powerful influence on those who conduct the

• Third Report of the Bible Society at Lausanne, for the Canton de Vaud. + See Letters to the Rev. Dr. Marsh, and John Coker, Esq. Appendix, No. 1.

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