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Local deficiencies best supplied by Associations.
pleasure and their reward in their success. It is scarcely necessary to add, that few societies have more liberally contributed to the funds of the Parent Institution, or more thoroughly investigated and supplied the local deficiencies.-In the other instance, the number of the Committee was similar; and, during the first year, the average attendance exceeded two-thirds : but it was then resolved
to meet quarterly; and this attendance was reduced to one-fourth : punctuality was disregarded; and the society rapidly declined. There was little business transacted, because the interest had subsided : and, while the local wants were neither ascertained nor supplied, the contributions to the Parent Institution were diminished to one-fourth of their original amount. In the former instance, the Committee experienced the truth of that scripture, as "Iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend;" but in the latter, the solitary secretary had to adopt the language, “ Woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.”
vi. The practical tendency of the Eighth Rule will be considered in Section III.: and, in reference to the Ninth, a full explanation of the mode of proceeding has been already given in Chapter I. Section VI.-A strict attention to the suggestions there offered, will save considerable trouble to all parties.
VII. One of the first difficulties in the way of an Auxiliary Committee, will arise out of the provisions of the Tenth Rule, as they regard the supply of the poor, and the applications for gratuitous grants. It is here that the wisdom and the firmness of the Committee will be called into exercise. Nothing is easier, if sufficient funds be at their disposal, than to supply their district with Bibles and Testaments; but to effect this desirable object in the best manner, requires serious and deliberate consideration. The evils attendant on an indiscriminate gratuitous supply, are obvious :—the difficulty of deciding on the comparative merits of claimants, is easily perceived; and it must be evident, that the preferable mode of disseminating the holy scriptures is that by which an additional value is attached to them in the eyes of the receivers. That no plan hitherto devised is so well calculated to secure these advantages, and to avert those evils, as that of Bible Associations, the evidence of facts and experience abundantly testifies: consequently, one of the first cares of the Committee, after their appointment and organization, should be with reference to this important subject, which
Arrangements preparatory to a General Meeting. naturally arises out of the Twelfth general Rule. For this purpose, the division into districts, and the appointment of the District Committees, should be made with a view to this result; and the latter should be instructed to examine and report thereon. But, in order to facilitate the attainment of this great object, it is absolutely necessary that the Committee should refuse all applications for gratuitous grants, at the commencement of their labours, (except in extraordinary and peculiar cases of very rare occurrence,) even from deserving persons; and thus excite a desire for the formation of Bible Associations. In numerous instances, this apparent harshness at the moment, towards the few, has produced eventual and permanent good to the many.
VIII. The subject of Branch Societies, as involved in the Eleventh Rule, will be considered in a separate section.
IX. The practical operation of the Thirteenth Rule will be found extremely advantageous where Bible Associations are not formed: but the establishment of these admirable insti. tutions will, generally, supersede the necessity of requiring a return of Bibles and Testaments for congregational collections. Considerable benefit has been derived, especially at the commencement of an Auxiliary Society, from the publicity given to the object by the recommendatory sermons of clergymen and other ministers of local influence. The great importance of distribution by sale, rather than by gift, will be considered in the chapters which treat of Associations.
x. Few circumstances, connected with the detail of a Bible Society, demand more attention than those which relate to the Annual General Meetings. These should be held, in all practicable cases, on a fixed and specified day; and after such arrangements with neighbouring societies, as shall not only prevent interference, but assist the general cause : and the time agreed on, and inserted in the rules, should never be altered, except some extraordinary occurrence render the alteration absolutely necessary. Twelve o'clock has been found the most convenient hour for such meetings, to which every possible publicity should be given, by placards, hand-bills, and advertisements. A Sub-Committee of three or more members, should be appointed a few weeks previous to the meeting, to whom the preliminary regulations should be confided. The treasurer's account ought to be clear and explicit, and be examined and signed by two or more auditors appointed by the Committee. The reports of Auxiliary
Importance of an early meeting of the Committee.
Societies, especially those at a considerable distance from the seat of the National Society, may advantageously include a condensed view of the operations of the latter; but the primary object should be, a full detail of the local proceedings, and of such beneficial results as appear most interesting and important. This division of the report should always include a general abstract of the Auxiliary Society and its connected institutions, similar to the return already inserted in Chap. I. Section XIV. The suggestions on the subject of General Meetings, in the same section, are respectfully submitted as equally applicable to those of Auxiliary Societies :-such further remarks as appear necessary, will be offered in Sect. V. of this chapter.
xi. The duty prescribed by the last clause of the Eighteenth Rule is too frequently neglected ; but it should be remembered, that it constitutes the official notification of the society's establishment, and induces a recognition of that relation which is so highly beneficial to all parties.
XIl. It frequently happens, that the “address," alluded to in the Nineteenth Rule, is prepared and published previous to the establishment of the society; and that a subsequent address, during the first year, is not considered necessary. In such cases, the latter part of this resolution may be omitted; as nothing should appear in the rules with which a strict compliance is not contemplated. Copies of the laws and regulations, with the names of the officers and Committee annexed, may be beneficially circulated in the district.
It will be found very advantageous for the Committee to hold their first meeting on as early a day as possible after the general meeting, while the subject is fresh on the minds of the members. One of the first matters for discussion at such meeting will constitute the subject of the next section.
BY-LAWS OF THE COMMITTEE.
1. If there be any merit in filling up an outline so admirably defined, it is of a very humble nature. It did, however, appear, that something more was necessary; and that while those excellent rules and regulations, detailed in the preceding section, clearly point out what is to be done, they did not specify with sufficient accuracy how it should be accomplished. This defect—if such it can be called—was indeed
unavoidable ; the system, in all its parts, had not been reduced to practice, and it was evident that many minor regulations must arise out of the application of those elements to local circumstances.
2. On a more close examination of the rules, it will be perceived that the object of the Committee, generally, may be classed under the two heads of, Local Supply, and Co-operation with the Parent Society; and that these branch themselves out into the following duties; viz.
1. Collecting subscriptions, and obtaining patronage.
Bibles and Testaments.
v. Supplying members on privilege.
vili, Establishing and supplying Bible Associations.
3. On the establishment of the SOUTHWARK Auxiliary Bible Society, in June 1812, it became the official duty of the author to consider this subject in its practical bearing, and to provide for the regular application of the appointed means to the desired end. In pursuing this object, with which the plan of Bible Associations was naturally and inseparably connected, the necessity of a code of By-Laws appeared manifest, in order to define with accuracy the several duties of the Committee, and to point out the mode by which the fundamental rules of the society should be carried into effect. This code was unanimously adopted by the Committee, and has been subsequently introduced by many Auxiliary Societies with considerable advantage.--It is now submitted, with those few alterations which experience has suggested. The specimen selected is that of Plymouth, &c.; and the local application of the words printed in Italics will be readily perceived.
By-Laws recommended for adoption.
4. By-Laws recommended for adoption by the Committees of AUXILIARY
GENERAL COMMITTEE. I. The Committee shall meet at the Council Chamber in the Town-hall on the third Monday in every month, precisely at six o'clock in the evening.
II. As soon after six o'clock as five members are present, the chair shall be taken, and the business be commenced.
III. The chair shall be taken by the President; in his absence, by one of the Vice-presidents; or, in their absence, by the Treasurer: but should none of these officers be present, the members shall elect a chairman from amongst themselves. IV. The order of proceeding at each monthly meeting shall be :1. To read the minutes of the preceding meeting, and to dispose of any
business arising therefrom. 2. To call for the treasurer's report of the state of the funds, and of his
receipts and disbursements for the last month. 3. To call for the depositary's report of the stock of Bibles and Testa
ments on hand, and of his receipts and deliveries in the last month. 4. To call for a written report from each District Committee : such
report to be taken into consideration, and to be received, if approved. 5. To receive the secretaries' report of remittances from the Branch
Societies and Associations, and of payments made by the collector, with any official communications which they may have to make.
After which, fresh propositions shall be taken into consideration. V. The names of the members shall be called over at half past six o'clock ; and no one who attends subsequently shall be considered as present, in reference to re-election, although entitled to vote.
VI. The secretaries are authorised to order Bibles and Testaments, when necessary. The designation of this society, or one of its affiliated institutions, shall be inscribed or stamped on the title-page of every copy issued by the society.
VII. The General Committee, as provided by the fundamental rules, shall consist of thirty-six members, of whom one-half shall be members of the Established Church. When any vacancies occur, the secretaries shall notify the same, stating under which denomination new members are to be admitted.
VIII. The election of new members shall be by ballot; and no person proposed shall be admitted without the consent of three-fourths of the members then present. No ballot shall take place before the names have been called over.
IX. A depository of Bibles and Testaments shall be established; from which no books shall be delivered without an order signed by one of the secretaries. The depositary shall present, monthly, to the secretaries, to be laid before the Committee, an account of all Bibles and Testaments received and issued, and of the stock on hand.
X. Two or more auditors shall be appointed annually ; who shall examine the accounts, and present a statement of the same, signed by them, to the committee meeting immediately preceding the annual meeting in each year. All bi sha be referred to the auditors for examination, and signed by two of them, before they are discharged.
XI. On notice being given, that any one of the societies in connexion with this society is about to hold a general meeting, the Committee shall