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Remarks relative to Auxiliary Societies in America.

A mature consideration of this part of the subject by every National Bible Society, will probably induce a general adoption of the plan.

It has been already remarked, that the constitution of the American Bible Society approximates more nearly to the system of the Parent Institution, than that of any other national society. In no one respect is this more evident, than in the provision for exciting and extending an interest in the cause, by means of the auxiliary system. At an early period after their establishment, the Board of Managers appointed a "Standing Committee" of five of their members, under the denomination of the "AUXILIARY SOCIETY COMMITTEE," for the purpose of "devising and suggesting means to promote the establishment, and animate the exertions of Auxiliary Societies; with authority to depute persons to attend meetings for these objects, and to open a correspondence with intelligent and influential persons, in different places, with a view of gaining such information as might enable them successfully to prosecute the above-mentioned designs."

In connection with this important subject, the Board of Managers further observe,

"To accomplish, in their wished-for and practicable extent, the great objects toward which the National Society should not cease to direct its aim, the multiplication of Auxiliaries is indispensable. It is through their agency, principally, that the Parent Society must expect those supplies of a continually exhausting treasury, that will enable it to enlarge the extent of its operations to the progressively increasing demand for the Bible. It is almost entirely through the discoveries made by such societies in their various districts, and their subsequent activity in the work of distribution, that the beneficent objects of this institution can be thoroughly effectuated, and the precious boon dispensed where it is most pressingly required. Under these impressions, the Managers sincerely hope, that the instrumentality of individuals as Agents, in promoting the views of the society in various parts of the United States, may not be lost sight of: and to facilitate the prosecution of so promising an expedient, the Committee charged with the subject have been engaged in diligent inquiries after suitable persons to enter upon that service." +

It may be proper to state, that the American Bible Society has three Secretaries, who are thus designated :

Rev. J. Milnor, D. D. New York, for Foreign Correspondence. Rev. S. S. Woodhull, New York, for Domestic Correspondence. Mr. John Pintard, New York, Recording Secretary.

• Fourth Report of the American Bible Society.
+ Ibid.

Speech of the Right Hon. Mr. Roell.

The titles and duties of the other officers, are similar to those already specified in reference to the British and Foreign Bible Society.



1. THE distribution, by the society, of two millions and a half of Bibles and Testaments in the languages of the United Kingdom, while it furnishes a decided and irrefragable evidence of the necessity that existed for such an institution, has been urged as a reason for relaxing those efforts which have conferred such honour on our country, by exhibiting her to the universe as the Almoner of the MOST HIGH. Were the object of the society exclusively British, this argument might be admitted to have some weight; though the deficiency that still exists in various parts of Great Britain and Ireland, and which are daily becoming more evident by means of Bible Associations, will require the exertions of many years to supply. But it is in reference to the Foreign department that the claims on the society assume an importance, whose awful magnitude could scarcely be contemplated without dismay, were not the appeal directed to British liberality and Christian sympathy. Well has it been said,-" In other projects, though suggested by benevolence, and planned with ability, the success is uncertain, the operation partial, the benefit transient: but HERE WE Are fellow-wORKERS WITH OMNIPOTENCE; WE LABOUR FOR THE WHOLE HUMAN RACE; WE SOW

FOR ETERNITY." The argument referred to, if such it may be called, has been so ably refuted by an enlightened statesman in a neighbouring country, that it is only necessary to transcribe his words :

"He who is acquainted with the Bible, who believes its doctrines, and wishes to apply them to himself, cannot hesitate to offer to others also the enjoyment of the same advantage; with him there cannot exist a moment's doubt of the part he ought to take. To believe in the Bible, and yet de cline the propagation of it, would be acting in open contradiction to the spirit and very letter of the precepts of Christianity... I am not unacquainted with the arguments of some of our opponents, who contend, that many nations are not yet ripe for the reception of the Bible; and that it would be necessary first to humanize them, and after that to make them Christians. But oh, how little do they understand the contents of that Holy Book, who do not find in it instruction for the temporal, as well as the religious conduct of

Remarks of the Rev. Robert Hall of Leicester.

mankind! And does not the very spectacle exhibited by those formerlyuncultivated people, among whom Christianity is introduced, place in the clearest light the untenableness of such an opinion?

"It therefore behoves us, not to waver in the conviction, that to distribute the Scriptures, is not only a favour conferred, but a duty to be performed; and no opportunity ought to be lost, of impressing this upon others, and representing to them what responsibility they take upon themselves, not only by counteracting the measure, but even by merely withholding their aid."

To this testimony in favour of the principle and object of the society, the author cannot deny himself the gratification of adding the following observations of his invaluable friend, the Rev. Robert Hall of Leicester :

"In the prosecution of this design, our party is THE WORLD; the only distinction we contemplate, is between the disciples of revelation and the unhappy victims of superstition and idolatry: and as we propose to circulate the Bible alone, without notes or comments, truth only can be a gainer by the measure. It is to be lamented, that Protestant nations have been too long inattentive to this object: we rejoice to find that they are now convinced of their error; and that, touched with commiseration for the unhappy condition of mankind, they are anxious to impart those riches which may be shared without being diminished, and communicated without being lost to the possessor. Such is the felicity of religion; such the unbounded liberality of its principles. Though we should be sorry to administer fuel to national vanity, we cannot conceal the satisfaction it gives us to reflect, that while the fairest portion of the globe has fallen a prey to that guilty and restless ambition which, by the inscrutable wisdom of Providence, is permitted for a time to 'take peace from the earth,' this favoured country is employed in spreading the triumphs of truth, multiplying the means of instruction, and opening sources of consolation to an afflicted world." +

2. But if the obligations on the Christian, to use his most strenuous exertions to communicate the scriptures of truth to all mankind, be imperative, he will find, in contemplating the state of the world, that this duty demands his active and persevering attention. The following extracts are selected with a view to bring the subject more immediately before him, in as brief a manner as is consistent with the nature of this work, yet so as to exhibit the wants of different nations, and the desire of many to possess the inestimable gift.

• Speech of the Right Honourable Mr. Roell, Minister of the Interior, and President of the Netherlands' Bible Society.-See Appendix to the Fourteenth Report of the British and Foreign Bible Society, p. 218 et seq. + Address of the Leicester Auxiliary Bible Society, 1809.

EUROPE.-Iceland-scarcity of the Holy Scriptures.-Germany.


ICELAND. In addition to the particulars relative to the inhabitants of this country, stated in Section VII. it is observed,

66 They have a bishop, 305 parish churches, and between 150 and 200 clergymen. The Bible, and particularly the New Testament, is read before the family, in every place where this precious book can be had. It is very lamentable, however, that it is not now to be obtained, even for money. When it happens to appear at an auction, it sells at an enormous price.Never will Iceland forget her dear Stistrup, who, at his own expense, bought, and sent to this place, a great number of Bibles and New Testaments, to be given away gratis. This has now ceased, however, for the space of sixty years and upwards; and the most of these Bibles are now worn out. I remember frequently to have heard the best farmers in the parish warmly contending which of them should have the loan of the Bible, which was sent to their parish, for themselves and children. The printing-press in the island is no longer in order; we therefore cannot do any thing to supply this want; and the common people in Iceland will within ten years be entirely deprived of this blessed book, which is so dear and precious to them."-Third Annual Report, Appendix, No. vi.

"In the east of the island," says Dr. Henderson, "I fell in with a clergyman, who has been seeking in vain to obtain a Bible for the long period of seventeen years! His joy on my arrival was inexpressible. I passed also through a parish, lately, in which there are only two Bibles; and another, considerably more populous, in which there are none at all. In general, there are not above five or six in any parish which I have visited, except such as contain between 300 and 400 souls; and in them there are not more than ten or twelve copies. For the accuracy of these statements I have the best vouchers-the Registers of Souls, which every clergyman in Iceland is obliged to keep; in which, beside other particulars relative to his parishioners, he records what books are possessed by each family."

GERMANY." Every day's experience proves to us that the fields are white for the harvest. The poor, and especially the Catholics, come in crowds for Testaments; others write the most pathetic letters; one of which, from a shepherd, I inclose.

"Letter from a Shepherd at Wertheim.

"Reverend Sir-As I am a lover of religious books, and have heard a great deal of your Society, I am sure you will not refuse to give the Catholic Old Testament to a poor shepherd who cannot hear the Word of God. I have got the New Testament from the Rev. Pastor Müller, in Wertheim; but neither do I find there the Psalms of David, nor the history of the Patriarchs, Jacob, Moses, and David, who were all shepherds. All this I wish to read, and to follow the example of those great men. I therefore request your Society to send this book to a poor shepherd who is day and night with his flock. The blessing of GoD will be with you, if you give these books to poor Christians who can hardly earn a bit of dry

See "Iceland; or the Journal of a Residence in that Island, in the Years 1814, 1815, &c. by E. Henderson, Doctor in Philosophy;" a work of peculiar interest and merit.

Germany-earnest desire to possess the Scriptures.—Prussia.

bread. This holy book is not much seen among us Catholics: formerly we were not allowed to read it; but now we may, and ought to do so. Have the goodness to let me have this book of life. When I read it, in my solitude, I shall find in it many things which will be profitable to me and my children.'"-Sixteenth Report, Appendix, p. 97 et seq.

"The country clergymen cannot find words adequately descriptive of the thirst which is felt by numbers of people for this sacred gift, or of the joyful hope with which they anticipate it.”—Ibid. Appendix, p. 109.

"Inclosed, you will receive documents which will prove that I have observed with concern the great want of the Scriptures in several parts of Protestant Hessen, and gladly embraced every opportunity of supplying them. I succeeded in procuring a number of Bibles from Bâsle, of the Protestant version; but they scarcely sufficed to satisfy the wants of the poor children in this city: in the country, the deficiency is still greater: of this I have personally convinced myself in several neighbouring villages, in which the schoolmasters assured me, that in some, which contained no less than sixty families, there were scarcely eighteen Bibles, most of which were sadly torn. Many of the scholars had no Bibles, and their parents were too poor to pay a rix-dollar (between three and four shillings) for one. Having made a present of the New Testament to children as well as to adults, both in town and country, I am importuned with petitions for the whole Bible; and really, sometimes my heart bleeds to observe the hunger and thirst after the bread and water of life, without my being able to satisfy it.

"You will observe that the Protestant superintendant, Justi, feels truly desirous to distribute Bibles in the many schools under his inspection. Here, my brethren, the soil is prepared for the reception of the seed: the hearts of thousands appear open to the instruction and consolation which the perusal of the sacred writings is calculated to convey. Oh that I might succeed in obtaining some considerable assistance towards the distribution of Protestant Bibles in the schools! Thousands of copies are wanted. I know my request is a large one; but still larger is God's mercy. I have just sent sixty-eight copies of my Testament to poor people who have lost nearly their all by the calamities of the war."-Letter from Prof. Van Ess. Eleventh Report of Brit. and For. Bible Society, Appendix, No. XIV.

PRUSSIAN STATES.-In August 1816, Professor Van Ess writes—“ I have laid, with frankness, before the King of Prussia, the following view, by no means exaggerated, of the great want of Bibles among the Catholics in his States :

"1. There are many, very many Catholic priests, who very probably have not a whole Bible in their possession, either in Latin or German, and do not even possess a German New Testament.

66 2. Among schoolmasters, hardly one in 500 has a German Bible, and hardly one in 200 possesses a New Testament.

"3. Among laymen, scarcely one in 1000 is in possession of the New Testament, much less of a whole Bible."-Thirteenth Report, Appendix, p. 220.

ALSACE.-" Again I write to you, knocking as it were at the door of your heart, in behalf of the poor inhabitants of Alsace; and shall not desist until I am heard. Satisfy, I beseech you, the desire of the poor people, as well as that of the poor clergy, who indeed want help to answer the demands made on them. How did the clergymen stretch out their hands, when I distributed the first thirty copies of the New Testament! how gratefully did they press them to their bosom, with the most earnest solicitation to

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