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communities, whether abroad or at home, who separate from us, yet I rejoice to hasten to the spot above that where the stream divides, and to drink together with them of that river which flows for the refreshment and life of the world. Let us differ, if it must be so, on every other to, pic, but let us at least agree in this, to distribute the word of God to every creature. I am sure, Sir, this is the true way to support the interests of our own venerable and scriptural establishment. Our Church was never really served by coldness and pride, and distance and repulsion, by straining matters of discipline beyond their fair importance, and laying on them a weight they can never bear—No, Sir, he best promotes her stability who acts with honest and discriminating firmness on points of real moment, and yet can unite in the bonds of charity with all other Christians in matters like that of the Bible Society, where no difference of sentiment can possibly arise. Besides, in this happy country it is the privilege of Britons to join in schemes of general duty and general benevolence, without regard to their particular differences. We unite in loyal attachment to the same Sovereign, and in obedience to the same laws. We sit in the same representative body. We fight in the same battles, and partake a common protection. Our local schemes of charity or of munificence are supported and governed without one exclu. sive principle. Christians of different denominations join in erecting a bridge or in founding an hospital: and yet there is a deeper gulph than the wintry torrent ever formed, there is a more beneficent house of mercy than any hand of charity ever reared—and why should not all Christians unite in throwing a bridge over the otherwise impassable gulph of misery and sin, and in building an hospital where moral distempers are for ever cured? This principle indeed is so clear, that our Society enjoys a greater patronage at this moment than was probably ever obtained by any religious Institution in so short a time. A majority of the Right Reverends the Bishops of the United Kingdom support our cause; and a Society exactly similar in its plan, The Naval and Military Bible Society, has at its head his Grace the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primate of all England. To possess universal approbation was never the lot of any human scheme. Our passions and prejudices too effectually prevent this. If our Society had passed on without some opposition, the world would have been in a state not to need its aid. It is our part then to conduct ourselves with the utmost charity towards those who may differ from us, but to pass on ardently in the career of mercy which is before us. How little the objections raised against us really avail may appear from a single circum
stance. A friend of our Institution in Russia was asked by Prince Gallitzin, whether there were any controversies in England on the subject? The gentleman replied that there certainly were. Being pressed to explain them, he said the objections were chiefly two--that we did not circulate the Prayer Book with the Bible, and that we admitted Christians of every community to unite in this cause.
The Prince appeared astonished, and assured our friend that these two objections, as they were called, were the very things which commended the Bible Society to his approbation, and that if the Society had not come loaded with them, it never would have been welcomed in Russia. I dwell the longer on this point of my subject, because I am aware of the misrepresentation which has been propagated respecting it,, and because I know that if we begin unhappily to consider a question through the confused mist of prejudice and difficulty, it is not possible to obtain a luminous and comprehensive view of it. Let the Bible Society only be regarded in its native splendour and proportions, and it must win every benevolent heart. The more accurately it is examined, the more lovely will it appear. Nor can I doubt for a moment that the liberality of its constitution is so far from being a real deformity, that it forms one of its brightest ornaments, and renders it most ac
ceptable in the eyes of the Common Father and Redeemer of all. If however I am mistaken in taking this high tone of confidence as to our general plan, yet I am sure I am not mistaken in saying--all that is necessary in such a cause — that the unparalleled magnitude of the benefits which it has conferred on mankind justly throws into the shade any minor considerations of external discipline or temporal policy, which might properly have their weight on a question of less vital moment to the salvation of the world.
But, Sir, I beg pardon for the length of these observations, and hasten to another part of the subject. For we may naturally ask, Whether our older charities have been injured since the establishment of the British and Foreign Bible Society? Because, though our object be good, the apparent necessity strong, and the means unexceptionable, yet if other Societies have been materially injured during our progress, some considerable deductions must be made from the entire amount of good accomplished. Now, Sir, I believe the fact to be, that all our old Societies have flourished with a new vigour since the formation of the Bible Institution. The venerable Society for promoting Christian Knowledge, of which I was a meinber long before the existence of this great Institution, has increased during the last twelve
years in an admirable manner. In 1804, when our Society first began, its gross annual receipts were £12,390; in the present year they are £50,226. In 1803, its new subcribers were two hundred and nine; in 1815, two thousand. Its books and tracts circulated in 1804 amounted to one hundred and fifty-five thousand six hundred and nine; in 1816 to one million two hundred and two thousand nine hundred and sixty-one. Nor has the increase in the distribution of Prayer-books been less remarkable. I would particularly call the attention of the meeting to this, because it was formerly made an objection to our cause that it would induce our Church members to neglect to give away the Prayer-book. Now the number of Prayer-books given away in 1804 was fourteen thousand two hundred and thirty; the number in 1816 was sixty seven thousand and fifty-seven, or nearly five to one and this, when another Society had been formed, chiefly by the Church-members of the Bible Society, which had in the four last years distributed nearly thirty thousand Prayer books, and above three hundred thousand Homilies in tracts. In like manner, all our old Societies will be found to have acquired a new life during the same period. The spring from which all charity flows has been fed by this noble and sacred cause. All neighbour institutions have partaken