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Comparative issues of Bibles and Testaments at Oxford and Cambridge.
The total numbers of Bibles and Testaments printed at
And the respective numbers printed in the fifteen years,
3,175,680 Deducting from this total, the number of copies
printed by the Universities for account of the >1,243,517 British and Foreign Bible Society
The remainder, printed for other societies, or for sale to the public, is
which exceeds the number printed in the former period, by 650,163 copies, or more than one half; and establishes the fact of an increased demand, to this extent, during the last fifteen years.
The following extract furnishes satisfactory evidence, that no inconsiderable portion of this extraordinary supply was required by individual purchasers. It is taken from an account laid on the table of the House of Commons, of the number and value of books printed within the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, which have been furnished to booksellers for sale, during the seven years ending December 1816:-it appears that there were sold, in
Bibles. Testaments. Total. 1810
42,288 63,984 106,272 1811
37,292 62,045 99,337 1812
50,611 79,408 130,019 1813
67,585 50,344 117,929 1814
60,816 62,167 122,983 1815
66,388 64,229 130,617 1816
65,183 81,109 146,292 There is every reason to believe, that if returns were procured from the King's printers, the result would be still
Increase in the general sale of Bibles and Testaments.
more conclusive of the gratifying fact, that, notwithstanding the vast additional number of Bibles and Testaments thrown into circulation by means of the society, and of kindred institutions, the number purchased by individuals has considerably increased. Nor is it immaterial to observe, that, as means were specially provided for the supply of the labouring classes, it is but reasonable to conclude, that the greater part of these copies have been purchased by persons in the higher and middle ranks of life.
To these statements, another fact may be added, demonstrative of the beneficial tendency and effects of Bible Associations, which were first projected and established in the year 1812:- In the eight years which have subsequently elapsed, a greater number of Bibles and Testaments have been printed at the two Universities, than in the twenty-two preceding years.
The preceding observations will derive additional strength from the following summary account of the proceedings of “ The Naval and Military Bible Society," established in the year 1780 :- In the thirty-one years, ending in May 1811, the total number of Bibles and Testaments issued by that excellent institution, was about 47,000. But in the nine following years, ending in May 1820, the number distributed was about 91,000, and the annual issues now average about 9000 copies.
13. Of the many other collateral benefits of the Bible Society, there are only two to which a distinct reference will now be made-the extraordinary impulse communicated to kindred institutions, and the increased circulation of the Book of Common Prayer, and other valuable publications. These are effects of no ordinary excellence; and are so far identified, as to justify their consideration under the same head.
It was, indeed, a natural expectation, that, while additional facilities were thus given to the distribution of that sacred volume, which the various denominations of the Christian world regard as the standard of their common faith, a corresponding desire should be excited in each, to possess that particular formulary to which education, habit, or conscientious preference had attached a value, inferior only to that with which the holy scriptures are regarded. That such has been the effect with regard to the Liturgy of the Church of England, will now be demonstrated.
By the official document which has been already quoted, it appears, that of the number of copies of the Book of Common
Great increase in the sale of the Book of Common Prayer.
Prayer, printed at Oxford and Cambridge, and furnished to
94,004 And the author is enabled to state, that the aggregate number of Prayer Books printed at the two Universities in the fifteen years ending 31st December 1819, exceeds, by 134,800 copies, the total number printed during the preceding fifteen years; and that nearly as many copies have been printed during the last eight years as in the preceding twenty. This is a striking illustration of one of the many beneficial effects resulting from the establishment of national and other schools, which, in connection with Bible Associations, have excited an increased desire to possess and read the Book of Common Prayer.
This increasing demand for the Liturgy, and other authorised publications of the Established Church, led to the formation of the “ PRAYER BOOK AND HOMILY SOCIETY." instituted in May 1812. From that period to the 31st of March 1820, the following have been issued from its Depository in London: Number of Books of Common Prayer 69,063 Psalters
8,050 Homilies, &o.
457,755 The following statement, compiled from the Annual Reports
THE SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING Christian KNOWLEDGE,' affords a further and more gratifying illustration of the subject; and exhibits a striking evidence of the increased means and extended usefulness of that venerable institution.
It should be premised, that “the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge” was instituted in the year 1699; and in the year 1810 adopted the auxiliary system, by the esta blishment of District Committees.
“ The British and Foreign Bible Society" was formed, it will be recollected, in the year 1804; and, in 1809, Auriliary Societies in connection with it were first established.
Comparative operations of the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge.
Comparative View of the Receipts, Subscribers, and Issues of the
Society for promoting Cıristian Knowledge, in the undermentioned
£. $. d. £. S. d. £. S. d. £. S. d. Amount of Donations and
377 14 6 1,177 10 5,968 17 10 6,893 11 Legacies Annual Sub
2,549 30 3,033 00 scriptions
11,684 10 3 10,529 5 3 Receipts for Books sent out
4,659 5 11 6,229 14 2 21,784 19 5 23,251 11 1 Gross Receipts. 12,390 1 8 16,053 15 10 60,221 17 055,939 8 8
14. This brief and rapid sketch of the direct and collateral results of the institution cannot be more appropriately closed, than in the just and animated language of the Fourteenth Report:
“ If to have roused the attention of a thoughtless world to the momentous concerns of eternity, and to the study of that word which reveals the only way to peace and salvation ;-if to have supplied the ignorant and inquiring with the means of gratifying their desire for spiritual and life-giving knowledge ;- if to have moderated the prejudices, and conciliated the affections of Christians of every denomination, and to have taught them the wisdom and the duty of keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace ;if effects like these deserve to exalt and endear the instrument by which they have been produced, the British and Foreign Bible Society may reasonably challenge no common rank in the esteem and the gratitude of mankind.”
Exclusive of the Society's Family Bible, of which nearly 16,000 copies were sold in two years.
+ These numbers are estimated, as the Report for 1819 does not specify the precisę number of subscribers,
On the Hibernian Bible Society.“ Dublin Association,” 1792.
THE HIBERNIAN BIBLE SOCIETY. As this institution could not, with propriety, be classed under the head of Foreign National Societies, and does not come under the denomination of an Auxiliary; this appears to be the
most proper place for its introduction. Identified in its design, and intimately connected in its details with the Parent Establishment, it acquires, from the scene of its labours, the magnitude of its proceedings, and the peculiar features of its constitution, an importance which justifies this arrangement.
1. Before entering on the immediate subject of this section, it is due to the Christian liberality and feeling of the sister island to observe, that a society was formed in Dublin, in the year 1792, under the title of “The Dublin Association for discouraging Vice, and promoting the Knowledge and Practice of the Christian Religion." — With such an object in view, the distribution of the Scriptures necessarily became a principal object of their attention; and with a zeal that can neither be too highly commended, nor too closely imitated, they expressed their hope, in a printed address, “that effectual provision would be made that no house, no cabin, in the whole kingdom, in which there was a single person who could read, should be destitute of the holy scriptures."
In an official communication to the British and Foreign Bible Society, dated October 11, 1804, the Secretaries of this Association” state, that “ between the commencement of the association in 1794, and the 5th of October 1804, there had been distributed, at reduced prices, (besides Prayer Books, Tracts, &c.) Bibles
16,725 at an expense to the Society Testaments
of £.2380. 12. 3d." In this letter, it is further stated, “ that the demand for Bibles daily increases so much, that the funds of the association are unable to supply it.”
In confirmation of this latter fact, the following extract of a letter from a clergyman in Ireland may be appropriately introduced :
“I am sorry to mention, that there is no part of the United Kingdom in greater want of Bibles than the southern part of this kingdom, with which alone I am acquainted. As far as I have been able to discover, not more than one-third of the Protestant families have Bibles; and the Roman.