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Society, is making great progress in preparations for circulating the scriptures in Chinese ; and has actually begun the work among those immense multitudes who understand this and no other language: that the London Missionary Society's Missionaries have formed an Auxiliary Bible Society in the South Sea Islands; a part of the world not long since regarded as peculiarly unpromising: and that the rulers of St. Domingo, in the West Indies, a nation of Free Negroes, are preparing to concur with our Bible Societies for circulating the scriptures among their subjects, who are generally Roman Catholics speaking the French language. Thus the benign impulse given in Britain is felt, and that to good effect, almost in every region of the globe: and what pious heart does not wish to do something in forwarding so excellent a design?
To come then nearer to ourselves. Our newlyformed Auxiliary Society is indeed, comparatively, a very small and obscure concern, not so much with respect to the sum raised in the first
of its existence, which, all things considered, is perhaps as much as could have been reasonably expected; but as to its peculiar circumstances. An Auxiliary Society without Patron, President, or Vice-President! Not one Nobleman, Member of Parliament, or Gentleman of independent fortune, belonging to it, or any of the Clergy much superior to the Rector of little Aston Sandford! A
very few of the inferior clergy, some farmers and tradesmen, with the mechanics and labourers of half a dozen villages are its sole supporters! Well, is not this discouraging? By no means: I say, we at least begin with hope. He that is at the top of the ladder can only come down: he that is at the bottom may probably ascend. We, in this at least, the more resemble the “ grain of mustard seed," and the “ stone cut out of the mountain without “ hands." Let us but proceed with vigour, prudence, and a spirit peaceful and loving, yet undismayed by contempt or opposition, and I do not hesitate to foretel that the Society will, ere long, be better entitled to the name, which, as by anticipation, it has taken, 'The Vale of Aylesbury
Auxiliary Bible Society. It will not, if thus conducted, always be confined to half a dozen parishes; more will ere long be added to its list: nor do I despair of Aylesbury itself at length joining in it, affording its accommodations to your annual meetings, and its liberal contributions to
funds. The less of human patronage we can at present obtain, the more should we look to God, for his
· Extracts of letters written in the course of the ensuing year.
“ Oct. 7, 1817. You remember our Bible Meeting at Haddenham; and would, I am sure, have sympathized with us in our wonder and gratitude had you been present at the Anniversary held last Tuesday in the County Hall at Aylesbury !.... We had a glorious meeting: about 1500 people present; and capital speeches from the chairman, Sir James Mackintosh....the Vicar of Aylesbury, &c. ....Lady Mackintosh became president of the Ladies' Association for the town, which was immediately formed..... Your father is highly delighted with his grandchild, as he calls this Auxiliary."
“ Dec. 12, 1817. Two Branch Societies and seven Associations have been set a going since the Anniversary at Aylesbury, and are now in vigorous operation. ....We trust that ere long every village in the Vale of Aylesbury will be co-operating with the Bible Society.”
I wish I could add that no declension had since taken place. J. S.
all-sufficient patronage; and this, if vouchsafed, will countervail all other deficiencies, and secure its eventual success. It is by no means, indeed, uncommon for God to begin a good and even great work in this manner; according to the prophecy concerning the restoration of Israel, “ The “ Lord shall save the tents of Judah first, that the
glory of the house of David, and the glory of the “ inhabitants of Jerusalem, do not magnify them“selves against Judab." I hope what is here stated will not be understood, as implying that the Society would not thankfully and respectfully receive the countenance and patronage of the Nobility, Gentry, or superior Clergy, in the vicinity, if it could be attained; but hitherto all our applications have met with a discouraging reception.
The attempt was indeed encouraged by a sort of confidence in the effects of religious instruction, which, in many of the neighbouring places, has long been given ; and by a persuasion that the judgment and heart of the people, as to the blessed book whence that institution was deduced, would effectually influence the concurrence of numbers. If the Bible was indeed your treasure, your solace, the ground of your hope, the light of your path, the joy of your heart, the guide of your youth, or the support and comfort of your old age, and in the near prospect of death; we are assured you would gladly concur in a design of rendering its invaluable contents more generally known in the neighbourhood, and indeed to the ends of the earth, and would be induced to use every active exertion, and to afford a liberal contribution, according to your circumstances, for that purpose : that “the “ abundance of your joy and your deep poverty, « would abound to the riches of your liberality.”. I trust the Society will also be blessed to invigorate and extend these principles and desires, and, in proportion, to render them more abundantly and durably effectual.
It would be vain in me to attempt, on this occasion, to enumerate the various and most important advantages resulting from the Parent Society and its extensive efforts ; and from every one of its active assistant Societies, in their several circles.You have heard to what a degree even the effects of war itself have been by its means mitigated, and converted into an occasion and an opportunity of attempting “to overcome evil with good.” It also unites the most distant and discordant nations in one bond of union, and opens an intercourse between them, far more benign and salutary than can result from the most honourable and equitable commerce. It brings the several parts of the Christian church, in many nations, to act in concert in one grand design; and, by the correspondence thus carried on, and the mutual assistance afforded, and the many prayers and thanksgivings offered for each other, to unite them, far more nearly than before, in love and communion, and a lively interest in each others' welfare. In this our land, the British and Foreign Bible Society forms one central spot, in which the ministers and members of the established church, and all the different descriptions of dissenters, may meet on friendly ground and combine in one work of exalted piety and philanthropy, without giving up one tittle of their respective sentiments; and so learn to love,
and bear with, and help one another : thus softening also the deplored asperities of religious controversy. The design brings rich and poor, young and old, together, as concurring in the same great and good work; while it also, at the very time, reciprocally reminds them of their several duties towards each other, and excites each in his place to practice them with increased love and cordiality. It expands the understanding, even of the most unlettered, to those views of the state of the human race at large, respecting the grand concerns of religion, which in other circumstances few even of the learned attain to; and it excites an interest in the heart, “a good will to man,” tending powerfully to universal benefit.
In every place where Auxiliary Societies are formed, they greatly excite the poor to learn to read the book thus circulated among them, and parents to get their children taught to read ; and this stimulates their superiors to furnish them with the means of accomplishing it. Even the poorest, and children also, are thus excited to a salutary hope of rendering themselves useful, as well as receiving good from others ; and this proves a happy remedy to those low pursuits, and that mischievous indolence, which generally in other cases occupy their leisure hours. Like the bee-hive to the bees, the Society in the neighbourhood is a repository in which to place to good purpose those trifling sums, which children and young persons - so generally waste in' things useless, if not pernicious; but which, (like the particles of honey in the hive,) when thus collected, form a useful store. Thus they learn to