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The two following Speeches having been reduced to writing at the request of the Committees of the Societies in behalf of which they were delivered, and published with the Reports, properly belong to the “Works” of their Author, and may advantageously succeed to his Missionary Sermons and Address.-J. S.
Though accustomed professionally to speak in public, I am wholly unused to address public meetings; and I sensibly perceive the difference. Yet, at my time of life, and on such a glorious and joyful occasion, I cannot think it consistent with my duty merely to give a silent assent to your proceedings. Should I, therefore, fail in the proprieties of a situation which is in a great measure new to me, I trust I shall meet with your candid indulgence.
It is not requisite that I should insist on the admirable nature, the enlarged and most beneficent objects, and the wise and excellent measures of the British and Foreign Bible Society. These have, both at the institution of this Auxiliary Society, and at present, been spoken of fully, and in a highly satisfactory manner. I, on the former occasion, observed that I considered the object of the institution as the noblest, the most enlarged, and, in one word, the most Christian, which had cver entered into the heart of uninspired men ; and that I did not give the honour of it to those highly respectable and honourable persons who first formed the design, but to that God who put . it into their hearts to do so.
To form a design for communicating the word of God alone, without comment or note, to every person in every nation through the whole earth, to each in his own language; to enable, even without miracle, prophets and apostles to speak to every man, all over the globe, in his own tongue ; and to form such a plan as, if adequate means can be attained, will without doubt accomplish this object, and which for the time has accomplished more than its most sanguine friends could have hoped: this is an attempt unexampled in the annals of the world, and it overwhelms the mind with its vastness and its excellency.
It is to communicate to those who “sit in dark
ness” the whole of that sacred word ; a small part of which caused David to exclaim, “ The en“trance of thy word giveth light, it giveth under
standing to the simple.” “ Thy testimony is
sure making wise the simple.” It is to communicate to those who are in the region and shadow “of death” “ the light of life.” Much is heard of enlightened nations, and of the great luminaries of learning and philosophy; but here alone we have “ the light of life!” The holy scriptures are able to “ make us wise unto salvation, through “ faith in Jesus Christ,” and “ thoroughly to fur“ nish us for every good work.”I might enlarge, but after what you have heard it is not needful.
The woman of Canaan, a Syrophenician, living near Tyre, without the borders of the promised land, where probably neither Priests, Levites, nor Synagogues were found, had obtained and
The design of this Society, though uniform in its grand object, and simple beyond all example, is, by the state of the world, compelled to assume a two-fold aspect; as its very name implies. "The * British and Foreign Bible Society.'--As the British Bible Society, it purposes to furnish the inhabitants of Britain with the sacred scriptures alone, without other books, and without note or comment, and exclusively in the authorized version. As the Foreign Bible Society, it purposes not to terminate or limit its exertions; but to persevere in endeavouring, by all proper means, to supply the inhabitants of all nations with the sacred scriptures, in approved translations already made, or to be made for the purpose, each country and tribe in its own language. To each of these attempts objections and oppositions have been made : but, my friends, what good design was ever set on foot in this evil world, to which no opposition, no objection was made? Such a design as I have stated, indeed, directly aims at the subversion of the kingdom of the prince of darkness, the “ god of this world.” And can it be expected that he will suffer his kingdom to be subverted without exciting opposition ?
I own it does not appear to me that the opposition made, and the objections brought against the Society, will produce much effect on those who, with a candid and impartial mind, have opportunity and leisure fully to investigate the subject; but the bulk of those to whom the Society looks for a large part of its resources are, in great measure, out of the way of those accurate researches which are needful to repel the assaults of its opponents; while their arguments are plausible, and may easily impose on such as are but partially informed on the subject. I shall, therefore, beg your
read the scriptures of the Old Testament, and had heard of the miracles of Jesus; and, comparing them together, she was led to believe in him as the promised Messiah, and was a disciple of superior excellence: and this by the word of God alone, read, and without a preacher.
candid attention to a few remarks, or questions relating to it.
In respect of the home department of the Bible Society, our opponents strenuously contend, that it is wholly inconsistent in the members of the establishment, to countenance or support a Society for dispensing Bibles alone, unaccompanied by the Common Prayer Book; and that it will prove subversive of the church of England. This is their grand objection ; urged in every way, and enforced by every argument they can adduce.
As a member, and now for above forty years a minister, of the established church, I
may posed to have some predilection for her. And, if the circulation of any other book, except the Bible, was thought likely to subvert the church of England, I should firmly discountenance the circulation: but, if the dispersion of the word of God ALONE tend to subvert the church, then let it be subverted!
But do the members of our church, by supporting the Bible Society, indeed exclude themselves from giving away Prayer Books, or the Homilies, or any other books; or from forming societies for dispersing them? When a number of persons form a coal-shed for supplying the poor with fuel alone, do they exclude themselves from giving away