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essentially to the preservation of order, to the authority of the law, and the stability of the governmert? Among what description of men will you look for patience and industry, for sobriety and obedience? Who are the persons most decent 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 and perusal of those sacred records, from which benefits so great and various are acknowledged to flow?

And if "righteousness exalteth a nation," if national piety be recompensed by national mercies; in what way can you hope so effectually to secure to your 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? By such means may this empire be fixed indeed upon the Rock of ages-tranquil amidst general disturbance, and safe amidst surrounding ruin.

Your zeal has already been attended by great success. By your liberal exertions, Britain has already become the benefactress of distant lands; and, while the nations are crumbling around her, she stands alone and preeminent. You have opened many channels, through which the streams of mercy and of life may flow: but extensive deserts are still to be found, and England itself yet contains many a parched and thirsty waste. If the lower orders be ignorant, it must be yours to instruct them: if they be careless and indifferent in this good cause, it must be yours to rouse them into action. Shew them their privileges and their duty; lay before them the benefits which they must themselves experience from hearty co-operation in such a service; and appeal to their best feelings, by displaying the blessings which they will confer upon others. Let a concern for the circulation of the Scriptures be thus excited through the great body of our population, and 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.

Let not coldness or timidity suggest, that the attempt will be abortive: if despair of success should be the guide of our counsels, what great project could ever be accomplished? Had this feeling been suffered to damp the ardour of those who first raised the standard of Christianity among our ignorant forefathers, or to depress the spirit of our Reformers, what might have been at this day the condition of England! Was it in despair of success that the champions of humanity fought for twenty long years the battles of injured Africa? Was it thus that they rose again and again, after combat and defeat, still fresh for engagement? No! confident in their good cause, and in the approbation of Him who is the friend of the poor and needy, hoping as against hope, they pursued with determination their glorious way, till at length they broke her chains, and gave freedom to her sable sons. And why should you doubt of success, in attempting to interest the poor upon the most interesting of all subjects? Have they not senses, feelings, affections, passions like ourselves? Are they not influ

enced by the ordinary motives of hope and fear? Shall the ebullitions of folly, and the harangues of democracy, awaken their enthusiasm for earthly liberty, even in cases when they can complain of no oppression, and can urge no wrong-and shall they be utterly insensible, when called to con template that heavenly liberty which makes them "free indeed"—which releases them from the dominion of those sordid habits and degrading passions, whose tyranny they experience every day-which rescues them from the bondage of Satan, and converts them into the children of God? Are they, in so many instances, ready to confer a trifling benefit upon their poor neighbour, and will they deny him the greatest which a child of mortality can bestow? Shall the motives which direct and govern them in the ordinary transactions of life fail in that instance alone from which they derive tenfold force and incalculable importance? Shall the impression be less, as the reasons are more powerful?

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 tendency, and to correct and approve 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 urged, that we have no encouragement to proceed in this work of charity? What! when millions are rousing themselves, in different quarters of the world, from the lethargy of ages, anxious to behold "the Desire of all nations," can we possibly need any additional encouragement or motive for circulating those inestimable records which testify of Him.

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.

"Freely ye have received, freely give:" if you acknowledge for yourselves the blessed influence of divine revelation, invite others to partake of it. The light of heaven is streaming, in all its effulgence, above and around you: O, let not the beams be intercepted! Open for it a free passage into the dwellings of the poor!

To men of humbler condition it may be observed, in addition to the arguments already adduced :

Although, for reasons best known to infinite Wisdom, the Almighty has withheld from you rank and opulence, yet has he given to you the privilege of conferring benefits on others, and of conferring them in the highest degree. The facilities which you possess for discovering the wants of those immediately around you, may be considered as an intimation of Providence, that, according to your ability, you should seek to relieve them. Silver and gold you may have none to give; but you can give that which is better than rubies. You cannot, indeed, raise your poor neighbours above the pressure of the times, or remove those afflictions which are especially incident to his condition; but you can furnish him with a remedy for all: you can present him with those oracles of wisdom which will enlarge his views and brighten his prospects; which will teach him that this scene of trouble is but the pilgrimage of a day; that he is but the tenant of an earthly tabernacle, which shall presently be dissolved; and that the disembodied spirit shall then seek its everlasting home, shall ascend to that "building of GOD, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."

Since the beginning of time, no method has ever been devised, by which you might do good on so large a scale, and by such easy means. The effects arising from other acts of charity, must often be confined to the immediate object; but the influence of your liberality will probably be permanent, and descend, with increasing blessings, from age to age. It is an enterprize of exalted benevolence, which would become a sovereign better than his crown, and add a greater lustre to his throne than the widest enlargement of dominion. 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 may enjoy in its highest measure. Look upon your poorer brethren, and then ask whether any delight can surpass the enjoyment of charity like this;—of charity, that extends blessings the most pure and exalted, to the humblest of mankind-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 us. 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 re-payment.

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 be considered as elevating on high the standard of Christianity,-as becoming "heralds of salvation to the ends of the earth."

They will share in the services and in the triumphs of those, who, by the blessing of the Almighty, shall be made the instruments of "shewing his glory" to the millions of their fellow-creatures that sit in utter darkness, or that hitherto have only caught glimpses of the light of Revelation, like interrupted flashes, distantly shooting across a gloomy sky. They will march, if we may so speak, in the retinue of Him who shall come forth "conquering and to conquer." They will add wings, as it were, to that angel of mercy, who shall fly into all lands, bearing the everlasting gospel. Their hearts will be gladdened by the gratitude of those, whom, under GOD, they shall have assisted to save: and they will receive yet a far ampler reward in that place where they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars, for ever and ever."






"The Workmen wrought, and the work was perfected by them, and they set the House of GOD in his state, and strengthened it."-2 Chron. xxiv. 13.

THE British and Foreign Bible Society is a treasury, open to receive not only the gifts of the rich, but the mites of the poor. The widow of old, who of her want threw all that she had into the offerings of GOD, was said by our SAVIOUR himself to have cast in more than all they that of their abundance had cast in much. Who then shall say, “I am too poor to contribute any thing of value to so amazing a work as the publication of the Scriptures in every language, among every people under heaven?"-GOD sees the heart of every man, and judges its thoughts: He watches the motions of every hand, andr ecords its deeds. If the heart be right towards Him, the deeds of the hand, however few and small, will be accepted and sanctified. It is, therefore, right that the poor should lend unto the LORD, by bestowing on those who are poorer than themselves, that Book which may enrich them for ever. It is right:-is it not more than right ?-Is it not necessary that every one, according to his ability, should minister in the service of GOD, the Author of all the good he ever had, or has, or hopes to have? Under the law, none approached the altar without a gift: the gifts were indeed proportioned to the circumstances of the parties; but every one was required to bring a gift. Oxen, and sheep, and goats were sacrificed by those who could afford them; but the most needy were not exempted from making some oblation. Have you not heard of a mother, who came to present her first-born Son in the temple of GOD? Too poor to furnish a lamb, she brought only a pair of doves for an atonement;-yet shall all generations call her blessed; and that Son, whom at his birth she had laid in a manger, was the LORD from heaven. O how did God honour poverty here! And how does he still honour poverty, by receiving and recompensing its meanest offerings! "Whosoever shall give you a cup of cold water to drink, in my name, verily he shall not lose his reward." So said our Saviour concerning the gift of the poor to the poor,a cup of cold water to one of his disciples. Does our Saviour bless a cup of cold water, given for his sake; and hast thou not a cup to spare for thy brother who is perishing for thirst? When there was a sore famine in Israel, GoD sent his prophet to ask bread of a poor widow, who had but a handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse, and who was gathering two sticks, as she said, to dress it for herself and her son before they died of want. You know the story: she made a cake for the prophet first ;—and did she repent of her generosity? No: none ever trusted in the LORD in vain. But is it practicable for the poor to contribute effectually to the purposes of the Bible Society? Remember the saying of the LORD JESUS," It is more blessed to give than to receive." What, then is the greater blessing reserved for the rich alone; and can the poor only enjoy the lesser? GOD - forbid! The whole tenor of Scripture contradicts the supposition, that there is one higher blessing promised, in any passage of it, to the rich than to the poor. The poor therefore may give as well as receive: they may possess the greater as well as the lesser blessing. A labouring man who can support his family,


may well afford a penny a-week to a Bible Association, which will enable him, at the year's end, to be the benefactor of a man poorer than himself, by presenting him with a gift more precious than all the treasures of the earth. If it be thus blessed to receive a Bible, how much more to give me!

The poor are as deeply interested in the success of the Bible Society as any other class of people;-and in the promotion of this great work, they can essentially contribute to its success. How?-A penny a-week subscribed by every poor person in this kingdom, who really could afford it out of his earnings without hurting his family,-for how little food can a penny purchase!-would exceed, on a very moderate calculation, half a million annually. And who can not afford a penny a-week for such a noble end?—those only who are in the lowest state of famine, wretchedness, and disease. Among all others, wherever there is health and a willing heart, there is an able kand. On these we call, not to confer an obligation upon the Bible Society, but to partake of its benefits, by sharing its labour of love. We call upon them to exercise a right, and to enjoy a privilege, which belongs as well to them as to the rich. All that have, may give, whether of their poverty or their abundance ;—and all may prove that it is more blessed to give than to receive.

When our SAVIOUR opened his mission on earth, he read to his audience, from the prophecy of Isaiah, “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, because the LORD hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor." And who was this preacher ?—our LORD Jesus Christ, "who, though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich." And whom did he afterwards send to preach this Gospel to every creature?-poor fishermen, and others in the humblest ranks of life. Thus, in its commencement, was the Gospel preached, not only to the poor, but by the poor; herein shewing its excellency above the philosophy of the heathen, which was confined to the learned, the rich, and the great; the common people being overlooked, and despised as a profane herd.

To you then, ye Poor, is this Gospel sent: and if ye receive it, ye will be eager to send it forth to others. When ye have found it the power of GoD unto salvation in your own souls, ye will earnestly desire the salvation of the souls of your neighbours.-And who are your neighbours? Not the rich only, but the poor throughout this land, and all throughout the world, who are yet strangers to GoD and his truth. Come then, Men and Brethren, join hearts and hands with us! We are building the Church of GOD, by the promulgation of his Word. In such a work, what the greatest among us can do, is little; and what the least does, is something;-all shall receive their reward-they that labour in the foundations, as well as they that bring forth the head-stone with shoutings, crying, “Grace, grace unto it!"

No. IX.



"Search the Scriptures.”—John V. 39.

READER, is it in your power to obey this command? Have you a Bible? -In a Christian country, this may appear a strange question; but, Reader, it has lately been asked in more than ten thousand families in the metropolis

This Address was written in the year 1812.

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