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Letter from Pastor Oberlin.-Maria Schepler-Catharine Scheiddegger.

for her even ten years. When she replied, that she could never consent to part with her poor orphans, he nobly answered, 'Whoever takes the mother, takes the children too.' So he did-and all these children were brought up by them in the most careful and excellent manner. Lately, they have taken in some other orphans, whom they are training up in the fear and love of God. Though these excellent people pass rather for rich, yet their income is so limited, and their benevolence so extensive, that sometimes they hardly know how to furnish a new suit of necessary clothes. To them I intend to give a Bible, considering that their own is very often lent out in different Roman-Catholic villages.

2. "A second Bible I intend to give to an excellent woman, MARIA SCHEPLER, who lives at the opposite end of my extensive parish, where the cold is more severe, and the ground unfruitful; so that nearly all the house. holders are poor people, who must lend their clothes to each other when they intend to go to the Lord's Supper. This poor woman is also a very distinguished character, in whose praise I could say much, were I to enter into particulars. Though distressed and afflicted in her own person and circumstances, yet she is a mother, benefactress, and teacher to the whole village where she lives, and to some neighbouring districts too. She takes the most lively interest in all which relates to the Redeemer's kingdom upon earth, and often groans under a sense of all the inroads made by the powers of darkness. She also has brought up several orphans without receiving the smallest reward, keeps a free school for females, and makes it a practice to lend her Bible to such as are entirely deprived of it.

3. “A third Bible-present I intend to make to an excellent widow woman, CATHARINE SCHeiddegger, who is, like the former, a mother to orphans, and keeps a free-school; as also does another young woman, who instructs little children in a neighbouring village, in such knowledge as may render them useful members of human and Christian society.


I might easily enumerate many more characters of a similar description, whose eyes will overflow with grateful tears if they are favoured with the present of a Bible."

How many English Sophias, animated by this example, have directed the fainting steps of the orphan to HIM who is "a father of the fatherless:"-how many Marias have become blessings "to the villages wherein they dwell:"-how many Catharines have placed in the hands of children that sacred guide which has taught them "the way in which they should go!" May the voice from the mountains of Alsace be still heard in Britain, and her daughters be excited to perseverance in a cause so holy!

2. The idea originally suggested by this communication, was materially strengthened by the result of subsequent inquiry, which established the fact of a desire, on the part of the female sex, to co-operate in this work of mercy. In addition to the "Sheffield Juvenile Bible Society," (see Chapter V. Section I.), another institution of a remarkable character deserves attention, as a fresh illustration of the tendency and effects of that benevolent spirit which had been awakened in the country, and in its progress gradually per

Aberdeen Female-Servants' Society.-Regulations.

"The Aberdeen Female

vaded every class of the community. Servants' Society, for promoting the diffusion of the Scriptures," is thus introduced by the Committee of the Edinburgh Bible Society, in their Second Annual Report:

"Some time ago, a few female-servants in Aberdeen, desirous of testify. ing their good-will toward the support of these excellent institutions formed of late in the country, for sending the Scriptures, and, by them, the know. ledge of salvation, to such as are yet destitute of that inestimable privilege, Resolved to meet together, and contribute a little in aid of the funds of such institutions. Their numbers increasing, and having obtained the consent of some ministers of the Gospel to preside at their meetings, they did, on the 16th of August 1809, form themselves into a society, to be called 'The Aberdeen Female Servant Society, for promoting the diffusion of the Scrip tures.'

"Grateful that their own humble situations have been cheered by those discoveries and prospects presented in the Bible, the members of the society cannot be indifferent to the condition of such as are yet in darkness and in the shadow of death; persuaded that the present appearance of Divine Providence invites co-operation in the cause of righteousness, from those who, individually, could accomplish little; apprehending perseverance in the course they have begun likely to promote their own religious improvement, and encouraged by what they have hitherto experienced, they have adopted, for the conduct of the society, the following Rules :

I. The society shall admit as members, such female-servants of decent character, and other females of good report, of different religious denominations, as may be inclined to join them.

II. That the society shall have a general meeting at least once every quarter; the duration of which, for obvious reasons, shall be short; when such ministers of the Gospel as may be favourable to the society, shall be requested to attend, that they may give necessary information and advice. III. Each member shall pay one shilling on admission, and the like sum, or what she can afford, at each quarterly meeting afterwards, to the funds of the society.

IV. That a Treasurer shall be annually chosen by the society, who shall keep a list of the members, the accounts of the society, and dispose of the funds according to the society's direction.

V. That a Committee shall be chosen annually, consisting of six members of the society; who shall provide for the accommodation of the society at its meetings, warn the other members of the times of the stated and occasional meetings, and bring the contributions of such as may be prevented from giving personal attendance.

VI. The application of the society's funds shall be determined on, only

It would appear, by the following extract from the Annual Report of the Paisley and East Renfrewshire Auxiliary Society, that this Rule was subsequently modified in its practical application. "Let it be remembered, that the first Bible Association consisted of 240 female-servants in a town in Scotland. They had voluntarily associated, even before any Bible Society had been esta blished in that part of the United Kingdom, for the purpose of contributing each a penny a-week, towards the general objects of the British and Foreign Bible Society. They met at a stated hour, every Saturday evening, and each paid her penny to the persons appointed as Receivers: and such was their punctuality, that though many of them came from a distance, the time occupied in the payment seldom exceeded five minutes.”

Legacy from a Female Servant at Nurenberg.

in a general meeting of the society, either at a quarterly meeting, or one called by the ministers who countenance the society, for the express purpose; and in determining how the society shall distribute its funds, it shall be guided by what appears to be the most urgent call of Providence, in behalf of the respective institutions for diffusing the Scriptures.

The society consists at present of 110 members; meeting statedly on the first Wednesday of August, November, February, and May.

Aberdeen, 6th February, 1811.

The first donation of this Society was presented to the Edinburgh Bible Society, amounting to 201. sterling: and 201. Is. has been lately given towards aiding the translations of sacred scripture now carrying forward · by the Missionaries at Serampore, in the East Indies."

There is every reason to believe that this was the first association of adult females for promoting the object of the Bible Society; although its remittances have not been limited exclusively to that institution, but have occasionally aided the funds of various Missionary and School Societies. From the time of its establishment to March 1820, the aggregate amount derived from this comparatively humble source exceeded 2201.; and the number of subscribers at the latter period was about one hundred and fifty.

It is pleasing to reflect, that this benevolent disposition on the part of domestic servants is not confined to our own country. In the Wenden Association, connected with the Dorpatian Branch of the Russian Bible Society, "Female servants presented their gifts with joy."-Two sisters replied to the question, whether they meant their gifts as a donation or annual subscription; "That they wished for the honour of being enrolled among the members of the Bible Society; and were determined to offer a similar gift next year, though they should have to sacrifice their rest for several nights.' One added, "Love to the Redeemer minds no trouble." And a still more remarkable evidence of this generous feeling has transpired while the first sheets of this work were going through the press, in the following communication from a correspondent in Nurenberg, to the Committee of the Parent Society:

"I had lately an affecting proof of the great interest excited even among the humbler classes of the community, by the cheering accounts of the extensive operations of your society. A maid-servant, who had for some time lived in the family of the Rev. Mr. Ranner, City Librarian in this place, and who had frequently heard of the excellent effects of the labours of the British and Foreign Bible Society, was so penetrated with admiration and esteem, that on her death-bed she left a legacy of 100 florins (about 10%) to your society, naming me as the person through whom it should be transmitted. The legacy was announced to me in the town-hall, by order of the magistrates; and as soon as it shall be paid to me, I shall remit you a bill to that amount."

Fourteenth Report of the British and Foreign Bible Society, p. 135.

Westminster Ladies' Auxiliary Society.-Rules.

A coincidence of no common kind will be traced in this event. It is the first legacy bequeathed by an European foreigner. She resided in that city wherein the first Continental Bible Society was formed; and she belonged to that humble but important class of the community, among the members of which the first female institution for promoting the circulation of the Scriptures was established.

3. The first Ladies' Bible Society, in direct and exclusive connexion with the Parent Institution, appears to have been that of Westminster, established in August 1811, under the following regulations :

"I. That this society for raising subscriptions in aid of the British and Foreign Bible Society, be denominated 'The Westminster Ladies' Auxiliary Bible Society.'

II. That the Committee consist of forty-eight ladies, with a Treasurer and Secretaries, who shall be requested to raise subscriptions, and transact the business of the society.

III. That subscriptions of one penny or more per week, and all donations, be received by the Committee, and paid into the hands of the Secretaries, who will rest the same in the hands of the Treasurer.

IV. That any member of the Committee be allowed to propose a new member, till the number be completed. Notice of these elections shall be given to the Secretary, by the proposing member, with the name and place of abode of the person proposed, at least fourteen days before she be elected. V. That this and all other questions be determined by a majority of votes. VI. That the Committee meet in the vestry of the Adelphi Chapel, the second Monday in every month, at eleven o'clock in the morning.-Five of the members constituting a quorum.

VII. That an annual general meeting of the society be held the second Monday in March, to review the business of the preceding year, and for the election of officers and new members of the Committee, if necessary.— At such meeting, any subscriber of a penny per week may give a vote in any business then discussed.

VIII. That the moneys collected be remitted to the British and Foreign Bible Society annually."

This society commenced its operations by circulating a judicious and forcible Address to the Public, which tended in no inconsiderable degree to prepare the way for the subsequent establishment (in December 1812) of the Westminster Auxiliary Bible Society. But it will readily be perceived, that the regulations adopted were inadequate to the end designed. Of this the Committee soon became sensible; and in the winter of 1815, the author was invited to assist in the organization of the society, which appeared to be in a very declining state. He accordingly prepared a code of Rules and By-laws, which provided for the division of Westminster and its immediate vicinity into thirteen suitable districts, and the establishment of a Ladies' Association in each. This was

Paisley Female Bible Association.

the first approach towards that system which will be more fully developed in the succeeding sections: and in order to illustrate its advantages, it is only necessary to state, that the total amount collected by the Westminster Ladies' Auxiliary Society, in the four preceding years, was about 150l., and the number of Bibles and Testaments distributed, 223; whereas the aggregate amount collected by the same institution and its connected associations, in the five following years, exceeded 26501; and more than 2400 Bibles and Testaments were distributed.

In reference to this early and important institution, it would be improper to omit the following record of the sentiments, with which the Committee of the Westminster Auxiliary Society contemplated the organization, on more systematic principles, of the pre-existing establishment. In their Third Annual Report, they observe,

"Your Committee unfeignedly rejoice in announcing to you an event which will shed, they are persuaded, a lustre over the proceedings of the past year, and form an era in the history of the society, to which memory shall never recur but with feelings of animated and lively gratitude. They refer to an union which has been effected between this society and a society instituted in the year 1811, under the denomination of "The Westminster Ladies' Auxiliary Bible Society.' On the circumstances connected with this union, your Committee will not enlarge; but they congratulate you on the advantages which may be anticipated from the combined exertions of the two societies in the promotion of the one great cause, whose interests are interwoven with the best affections of your hearts. They who have often visited the poor man's dwelling, to wipe away the tear of human misery, and assuage the bitterness of temporal distress, are now become fellow-labourers with you in circulating that sacred volume, which not only affords the sweetest consolation amidst the calamities of life, but directs the weeping eye to a world where there is no more curse, neither sorrow nor pain, but where the poor in spirit and the pure in heart shall see Gop."

4. In the year 1811, a society was formed at PAISLEY, under the title of "The Paisley Female Bible Association," for the purpose of affording to the Ladies of that town" an opportunity of contributing to the promotion of the best interests of mankind, by encouraging the translation and distribution of the Bible." The regulations of this society exhibit a nearer approach to that system which has been subsequently adopted throughout the nation, than those which have been already considered. The business was conducted by "a Treasurer and Secretary, seven Directors, and thirtytwo Collectors. The town being divided into sixteen wards, two collectors were appointed for each, who collected the subscriptions quarterly." This appears to have been the first association of adult females which contemplated the

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